Zap's abc

Frequently asked questions
 Main screen
 Menu key

Frequently asked questions

What is abc?
Abc is a language for notating music using the ASCII character set. It was originally developed by Chris Walshaw. Please see Wikipedia for details and history. A nice tutorial can me found for instance on the LeSession site. More advanced users may want to look a The ABC Plus Project by Guido Gonzato.

What does the checkmark button do?
The idea is that it will verify that the written abc code is technically correct locally before the actual conversion runs. Currently it usually stumbles after the primary headers, so you will mostly have to rely on the remote error messages for now. I will look into this later on... (Tool: abc4j)

What does the eye button do?
The abc file will be converted to a more conventional musical score and shown as PDF - you may need to install Acrobat Reader, QuickOffice or similar from Market. (Tool: abcm2ps)

What does the sound button do?
The abc file will be converted to midi format and played back to you. The standard Music application normally handles this, but you can use any application that supports midi. (Tool: abc2midi) Note: The ZTE Blade Music application appears not to support midi even though it accepts the file - please find an alternative one. This is likely to apply to most ZTE 2.2 devices.

What does the line of small buttons above the editor do?
These are shortcuts (added on popular request in 0.9.8) for entering basic abc without using the keyboard - should be useful both for beginners and for more experinced users who find the virtual keyboard in their phone/tablet less than helpful. Each button had a double function as their react both to normal clicks and long presses, bringing up suggestions on what to enter. For the letters, long press changes octave, for the others long press shows more advanced alternatives. Suggestions for additions and reorganizations are welcome, however for the really advanced entry (including lyrics) you will need to fall back on the standard keyboard.

Why is there network traffic during conversion?
Conversion is done on a server - both for performance and for more flexible implementation. However, the result is cached on your SD card, so it is only sent if needed. If you pay per sent/received byte you may want to do this only when on a wifi connection.

How can I copy/paste from a web browser?
It appears that many browsers (for instance the builtin one and Dolphin) will NOT preserve the newlines when you copy from a webpage. Opera Mini does the right thing.

What's up with the icon?
You'll figure out what it is if you think about it for a while... ;-)

I want the application translated to my own language
I'll happily send you a text file for translation and include that in a future release.


Main screen

The idea is that you can do most of your work in the main screen, just write your text and press the buttons along the top. Use the menu key to access less critical functions,

Menu key

Pressing the Menu key will show actions to create a new song (enter a name), save current work (done autmatically when you convert), load other files (from the dedicated folder on the SD card), show an About screen, show the Help (what you are reading now), show change history (pops up once automatically after upgrade), fetch demo songs (send me songs and I'll be happy to include them!) and finally a way to send me feedback - by default it will attach your current song.


I've played quite a bit with abcm2ps in the past and also made a prof of concept producing MIDI as well as a PDF score out of a handwritten score on Anoto patterned paper so now that one of my daughters started music collage I decided to try to do something useful with it.

I also have a few other apps the Market, including Prisjakt/PriceSpy (find best prices) and Inventory (keep track of your stuff) - try and see! My stuff on Android Market

Best / Jonas