Typesetting songbooks and leadsheets

Songbooks with LaTeX

You probably know this already: I’ll be talking about typesetting songbooks and leadsheets with LaTeX (what else?). In particular I like to present a new project of mine: the leadsheets package. It is not yet on CTAN because I’m waiting for user feedback first.

There already are a few packages for the purpose. The two most prominent ones are probably songs and songbook. I must confess that I haven’t tested them thoroughly which means I don’t really have an opinion on them.

The leadsheets Package

The leadsheets package is made of three major parts: the first part makes the MusiXTeX font available as a text font in LaTeX. This way the nice symbols for, e.g., sharp and flat can easily be used. Those symbols are then used in the second part: basically a command that allows a natural input of chord names which then are printed as they should be: \chordname{Ebmi7(b5)}. The output is (I’m inclined to say: of course) user customizable.

liederbuechleinThe third part is the central part of the package: typesetting of songs. The syntax in major parts is the usual LaTeX syntax: environments where you expect them, macros for the rest. Each song is to be input in the song environment and can be given a number of properties (users can add more properties if they wish to do so). Those properties are not directly used by the song environment. The idea is to use those properties for defining a template which typesets the song title. Depending on the definition of the template this can contain the song’s name, the band or artists who interpreted it, the songwriters and texters, the key, the year it was written or published, or … you get the idea. If the template is programmed well the corresponding artists or song titles can for example also be added to an index (or different indexes).

Tagging of Songs

There’s one property which I think is also useful: songs can get tags and a user can then choose a set of tags to determine which songs should be printed in the final document.

I tested the package myself, of course. Indeed I used it to create the small songbook you’re seeing in the picture to this post.

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