I’m excited because now I can share with you the snippets of music that I’m having trouble with or enjoying. 

abc is a standard for sharing music as ASCII text.   It can be rendered into postscript, pdf, or even midi by various helper programs such as abc edit.  Of course, brief snippets are considered fair use according to most copyright conventions around the world, but check your local laws and avert your eyes if necessary!

More information can be found by searching wikipedia.  I’ll just cover some brief points as it pertains to (beginner) cello music.  The lowest octave of music playable on the cello is notated C,,through B,,.  That’s upper case with two commas.  Moving up in pitch, the next octave is written as upper case with one comma, then upper case, then lower case, and finally apostrophes.  By now you’re in the highest ledger lines of the treble clef.

If you can play that high, you’re too advanced for this blog.

For slurs, enclose the group in parentheses, as in (C,,D,,E,,F,,) and for double stops or chords, use braces [C,,E,,G,,] for a c major chord.  That should be enough to be able to read the stuff I post.  More advanced usage can be found at the appropriate websites, linked earlier.

Here is a sample of what the open strings looks like as text

T: Open Strings of Cello % title
C: % composer
O: % origin.
M:C % meter
L:1/4 % length of shortest note
Q: % tempo
K:G Major, clef=bass % key
V:1 % voice 1
C,,G,,D,A,:|+downbow+[C,,G,,][G,,D,] [D,A,]|

and here is what it looks like as graphics

Two bars of sample music

Two bars of sample music

Of course, the second bar has the wrong number of beats.  To make one of them twice as long (as the shortest note, in this case a quarter) put a 2 after the note or chord.

There is a way to put finger markings too, but I’ll cover that some other time.