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Transcribe music on Wikipedia to LilyPond
Open, Stalled, Needs TriagePublic


Problem statement

Wikipedia and its sister projects have many articles on musical pieces and the theory behind the composition of those songs. However, music uses a different notation to normal prose, and so requires different tools to write it. This represents a barrier to being able to analyse and understand the piece.

Some Wikipedia articles such as for the Polovtsian Dances found a method to show such notation by including images of snippets from the suite. To expand on the completeness of articles in the field, both this visual material and audio of the work itself is vital for the article. Other pages, such as The Planets only have audio of the works.

Solution & Task

Through MediaWiki-extensions-Score, musical notation can be written inside Wikipedia articles using LilyPond to provide both important parts of the pieces, including an automated audio rendering of the music. This adds useful information to entries, and makes analysis easier with source downloading.

The task is to take musical notation that is in a format such as .pdf or .png (among others), and transcribe it to LilyPond. With your new code, insert it in the relevant Wikipedia (&c.) page and save!


LilyPond is a programming language and file format built for engraving all sorts of musical notation. It is free software known for its high level of flexibility.

Sample code

Taken from Peter and the Wolf (The bird's theme, played by flute).

<score vorbis="1">
	\relative c'''' {
		\clef treble \time 4/4 \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"flute" \tempo "Allegro" 4=176 
		\slashedGrace a8\mf( g8-.)[ e-.] \slashedGrace a( gis-.)[ gis-.] gis-.[ gis-.] \slashedGrace a( gis-.)[ e-.] |
		d16->( ees des c b8) \times 2/3 {a16( b a } g8->) g-. c-. e-. |
		\slashedGrace a8( g8-.)[ e-.] \slashedGrace a( gis-.)[ gis-.] gis-.[ gis-.] \slashedGrace a( gis-.)[ e-.] |
		d16->( ees des c g'!8-.) \slashedGrace b,( a-.) g2->

This code produces this image:

NOTE: I will not require transcribing of snippets that would lead to LilyPond of that complexity. This is just an example of what can be done.

Google Code-in

I (@Ebe123) will be mentoring this (non-beginner) task. Students have 3 days to transcribe 3 snippets. They are not expected to have any musical training; I can guide them through basic musical notation/theory. They may choose what they will work on, but I may give suggestions if requested. The complexity of transcriptions can be taken into account. This is in the Code category

I will be available on IRC (America/Toronto time) for questions.

Tags: music, wikipedia, writing

External Links

  • LilyPond - the software used
  • Pages on that use <score - Examples of code
  • IMSLP - Non-WMF wiki that serves as a library of musical partitions (notation). Material that could be transcribed
  • Music Theory - Some online exercises that gives a primer on musical notation (and why its written in such a way)
  • LilyPond manual - The official notation manual for LilyPond.

Event Timeline

Ebe123 created this task.Aug 9 2018, 7:38 PM

From last year:

This is a task for people who like music. :)

Musical articles on Wikipedia pages often have an image of sheet music to show a motif or incipits, etc. However, built into Wikipedia is a MediaWiki extension called "Score" to display sheet music more natively than with images. It also allows for playback so others can listen to the music!

Your task is:

  1. Learn Lilypond
  2. Find and select 3 musical articles that use images for a music sheet on a Wikipedia page
  3. Make sure you are logged in. (Create an account on Wikipedia via the "Create account" link at the top, if you haven't done already.)
  4. Transcribe the images into Lilypond, replacing the images by the <score> that you have written, and publish your changes on those pages. An edit summary for your changes like "Convert musical sheet image into a score" or something like that is welcome, so other Wikipedia authors know what you have been doing in your Wikipedia edit. General information on editing wiki pages is available.
  5. Provide links to your changes here in this GCI task.

Found it posted 😊

Ebe123 updated the task description. (Show Details)Sep 14 2018, 2:57 PM
mb added a subscriber: mb.Sep 21 2018, 10:53 PM
Bjornskjald updated the task description. (Show Details)Nov 3 2018, 10:34 PM
Ebe123 added a subscriber: Peachey88.

@Peachey88: The MediaWiki-extensions-Score tag is more used for sheet music projects generally, not just the extension, really. Anyway, it is just as bad as a categorisation in either case as Wikimedia-General-or-Unknown is also software-related.

Ebe123 changed the task status from Open to Stalled.Mar 6 2019, 12:25 AM

For the next GCI :)