Draw the Dots

What is this?

The purpose of this site is to have a web-based musical notation transcription service where music can be entered, stored, shared, and printed without needing any software other than a modern browser. This is for you if you want to have a place to create and store sheet music. You can share your creations with others if you wish.

What can I type into this program?

This is an implementation of the ABC musical notation. There are many things written about this notation system on the web. In a nutshell, this is a notation system that is composed of regular characters, so it is easy to email to someone, and it is easy to write it down on a bar napkin. There are a number of versions and dialects of ABC, but the main two definitions are the widely supported but limited ABC version 1.6 definition and the much more comprehensive but not universally supported ABC version 2.0 definition. This software attempts to be supportive of the 2.0 definition and also as many dialects as possible. Unfortunately, there are places where the standard is either incomplete or a common dialect conflicts with it. This software attempts to support the most features it can and tries to do something sensible with all input.

Do I need to create an account?

No. You can use the page to create and view music, and copy and paste your tune to a file on your own computer without creating an account. You can also view the music that others have shared without an account.

If you do create an account, you can store your tunes and tunebooks on the server and share whichever ones you want. If you have an open band, for instance, you can put the repertoire in a tunebook and just give the participants the address of that tunebook and they would then have all the music.

How do I use this?

Either type a tune into the text area provided or paste a tune from another source into the text area. Every time you type a character, the music changes to reflect what you've typed. If you click on a note in the displayed music, the text that corresponds to that note is selected, and vise versa, if you select some text in the text area, then the corresponding notes are highlighted.

How does it work?

(You don't need to know the following, but you might be curious.)

The sheet music is created entirely through javascript using the open source project abcjs. See that site for details.

Webmasters: Here are some simple demos of how you can include abcjs on a web page:

  1. For a simple way to render notation, this is for you.
  2. For a very simple editor with just the essentials, try this.
  3. For a way to automatically turn abc on a web page into standard notation, go here.