ABC notation, the basics

The basic idea behind ABC music notation is to represent musical notes and rhythms using simple text-based symbols. The notation uses letters to represent notes, with uppercase letters representing lower-pitched notes, and lowercase letters representing higher-pitched notes.

For example, the letter “C” represents a middle C note, and the letter “d” represents a D note in the higher octave. Other letters are used to represent different notes, with the full range of notes in Western music represented by a combination of letters and additional symbols. With the extra , and ‘ symbols you can notate notes form the lower and higher octave, so 4 octaves are accessible.

X: 1
C c D d

And here is the corresponding score:

In addition to notes, ABC notation also uses numbers to represent the duration of each note. The numbers represent the length of the note in relation to a “default” note length, specified in the tune header. For example, the number “4” represents a quarter note, while “8” represents an eighth note.

To specify the rhythm of a tune, ABC notation also uses additional symbols such as dots and dashes to indicate different types of rests, ties, and slurs. These symbols allow the notation to capture the timing and flow of a tune in a way that is both simple and expressive.