[Tex/LaTex] MusiXTeX vs LilyPond


MusiXTeX and GNU LilyPond both appear to be based around TeX and its syntax. Is there a difference? What makes one better than the other?

Best Answer

MusiXTeX is TeX based. Its latest versions also uses the auxiliary program musixflx that reformats the first attempt made with MusiXTeX in order to adjust the spacing between (groups of) notes or bars in order to completely fill the lines.

It's a very remarkable piece of software, all TeX based apart from that external intervention. Notes are made with characters and very complex scores can be produced. One can find several scores at the Werner Icking Music Archive now merged with the International Music Score Library Project.

LilyPond, on the other hand, has a syntax that is largely inspired by TeX, but that's the only likeness. It's a completely different system and uses its own engine and fonts for typesetting music. According to the Wikipedia article, LilyPond started off from MusiXTeX and this explains the similarities in syntax, but rapidly separated from its progenitor.

It's actively developed and is capable of very high level results, even better than expensive proprietary software (according to a musician friend of mine).

Personal note: I wrote a package for integrating in LaTeX music typeset with a different system (ABC); I tried to adapt it also to LilyPond, but the similarities in syntax are an obstacle. However integration is possible the other way around with scripts such as lilypond-book.

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