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There is now a vast array of software (mostly freeware or shareware) which can read or edit abc. It is almost impossible to maintain a list of what software has which functionality on each platform but the following tables may help (N.B. the entries are based on what software developers say about their own programs rather than independent testing).

Disclaimer: The software listed on this page is not the responsibility of abcnotation.com and its inclusion here does not represent a recommendation (although there are some excellent programs here). If you have any problems, suggestions or comments on any of the programs listed, please report it to the software developer.

First select your platform:

Software marked with a new label has been added to this page within the last three months (although they may have been around for sometime before that).



Web-based software

 Feature
ProgramCostDisplay musicPlay soundTransposeOther utilities
Abc Converterfreeyesyesyesyes
TunePal (iPhone, iPad, android)small feeyesyes yes
ABCJfreeyesyes  
abcjsfreeyesyes  
convert-a-maticfreeyesyes  
tunepal.orgfreeyesyes  
eTuneBookfreeyes yesyes
VexABCfreeyes  yes
ABCPigfreeyes   
MediaWiki Scorefreeyes   
Norman Schmidt's abc converterfreeyes   
PmWiki AbcMusicfreeyes   
ScoreRenderfreeyes   
abcharmotabfree  yesyes
abctransposerfree  yes 
abc to xmlfree / commercial   yes
abc2xmlfree   yes
abcnwcfree   yes
WaterPig eCardsfree   yes

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Windows software

 Feature
ProgramCostDisplay musicPlay soundTransposeOther utilities
music21freeyesyesyesyes
EasyABCfreeyesyesyesyes
abc2scorefreeyesyesyesyes
ABCEditorfreeyesyesyesyes
ABCexplorerfreeyesyesyesyes
mc musiceditorfreeyesyesyesyes
MEFAfreeyesyesyesyes
MusicEasecommercialyesyesyes 
MusiCADfreeyesyesyes 
ABCJfreeyesyes  
Five Line Skinkfreeyesyes  
flabcfreeyesyes  
Harmony Assistantcommercialyesyes  
Melody Assistantsharewareyesyes  
Runabc.tclfreeyesyes  
ABCMusiExfreeyesyes  
TablEditcommercialyesyes  
ABACUSsharewareyesyes  
abc2winsharewareyesyes  
AbcNavigatorfreeyesyes  
Buskersharewareyesyes  
abctab2psfreeyes  yes
abcm2psfreeyes   
AbcEdit [EB]freeyes   
BowTIEfreeyes   
abcluanewfree yes yes
fiddleabcfree yes yes
abcmusshareware yes  
PlayQABCfree yes  
abc2lyfree   yes
MidiZyx2abcfree   yes
Mxml2abcfree   yes
abc to xmlfree / commercial   yes
m2gfree   yes
MAIDENSfree   yes
ooo_abcfree   yes
word_abcfree   yes
ABC2NWCshareware   yes
ABC2Tabfree   yes
BIABToolsfree   yes
RandomABCfree   yes

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Mac software

 Feature
ProgramCostDisplay musicPlay soundTransposeOther utilities
music21freeyesyesyesyes
EasyABCfreeyesyesyesyes
MusicEasecommercialyesyesyes 
BarFlyfreeyesyesyes 
Erniefreeyesyesyes 
ABCJfreeyesyes  
Five Line Skinkfreeyesyes  
flabcfreeyesyes  
Harmony Assistantcommercialyesyes  
Melody Assistantsharewareyesyes  
Runabc.tclfreeyesyes  
TablEditcommercialyesyes  
abctab2psfreeyes  yes
abcm2psfreeyes   
abcluanewfree yes yes
abc2lyfree   yes
MidiZyx2abcfree   yes
Mxml2abcfree   yes
abc to xmlfree / commercial   yes
MAIDENSfree   yes

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Linux/Unix software

 Feature
ProgramCostDisplay musicPlay soundTransposeOther utilities
music21freeyesyesyesyes
abctoolfreeyesyesyesyes
ABCJfreeyesyes  
Five Line Skinkfreeyesyes  
flabcfreeyesyes  
Harmony Assistantcommercialyesyes  
Melody Assistantsharewareyesyes  
Runabc.tclfreeyesyes  
ABCMusiExfreeyesyes  
abc2mtexfreeyes yes 
abctab2psfreeyes  yes
abcm2psfreeyes   
abc2psfreeyes   
jaabc2psfreeyes   
jcabc2psfreeyes   
YAPSfreeyes   
abcMIDIfree yesyes 
abcluanewfree yes yes
playabcfree yes  
ModPlug XMMSfree yes  
abc2lyfree   yes
MidiZyx2abcfree   yes
Mxml2abcfree   yes
abc2indexfree   yes
abc2prtfree   yes
abc4jfree   yes
ABCpfree   yes
abcppfree   yes
AbcUtilitiesfree   yes
abc-vimfree   yes
Code Soundingfree   yes
microabcfree   yes
ooo_abcfree   yes
word_abcfree   yes
abc-mode.elfree   yes
JedABCfree   yes

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Mobile (iPhone, Android, Palm, etc) software

 Feature
ProgramCostDisplay musicPlay soundTransposeOther utilities
TunePal (iPhone, iPad, android)small feeyesyes yes
The Craic (iPhone, iPad)small feeyesyes yes
ABassC (palm)freeyesyes  
iPABC (iPhone)small feeyesyes  
Zap's abc (android)freeyesyes  
ABCViewer (palm)freeyes   
TuneBook (iPhone)small feeyes   
PalmABC (palm)free yes  
PocketABC (pocket PC)free yes  
Blue Notes (iPhone)small fee  yesyes
TradTunes (iPhone)small fee   yes

See also Moshe Braner's forum post on handling abc on Palm OS devices.

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Command Line software

 Feature
ProgramCostDisplay musicPlay soundTransposeOther utilities
abctoolfreeyesyesyesyes
abc2mtexfreeyes yes 
abcm2psfreeyes   
abc2psfreeyes   
jaabc2psfreeyes   
jcabc2psfreeyes   
YAPSfreeyes   
abcMIDIfree yesyes 
abc2cvmfree yes yes
abc2sco.tclfree yes yes
abcsoundfree yes yes
playabcfree yes  
abcplay.pyfree yes  
abc2lyfree   yes
MidiZyx2abcfree   yes
Mxml2abcfree   yes
abc2indexfree   yes
abc2prtfree   yes
abc4jfree   yes
ABCpfree   yes
abcppfree   yes
AbcUtilitiesfree   yes
abc-vimfree   yes
Code Soundingfree   yes
m2gfree   yes
microabcfree   yes
abc2harpfree   yes
abc2mmafree   yes
abc2xml / xml2abcfree   yes
Abc Music Notation Utilitiesfree   yes
Haskell abcnotation packagefree   yes
raga2abc.awkfree   yes

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Multi-platform software

ProgramWebWinMacLinuxMobile
abc2ly yesyesyes 
ABCJyesyesyesyes 
abclua yesyesyes 
abcm2ps yesyesyes 
ABCMusiEx yes yes 
abctab2ps yesyesyes 
abc to xmlyesyesyes  
EasyABC yesyes  
Five Line Skink yesyesyes 
flabc yesyesyes 
Harmony Assistant yesyesyes 
MAIDENS yesyes  
Melody Assistant yesyesyes 
MidiZyx2abc yesyesyes 
music21 yesyesyes 
MusicEase yesyes  
Mxml2abc yesyesyes 
ooo_abc yes yes 
Runabc.tcl yesyesyes 
TablEdit yesyes  
TunePal (iPhone, iPad, android)yes   yes
word_abc yes yes 

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abc software packages

Note that to handle Postscript files (generated by several of these packages including abc2ps and its variants, and abc2mtex) you may need to install Ghostscript and GSView.

Software list (alphabetic order):-

  • ABACUS
    ... is a shareware Windows program from Bryan Creer which edits, plays and prints abc.
  • ABassC
    ... is a freeware viewer/player from Norman Schmidt which runs on Palm Handhelds and displays music in either treble or bass clef.
  • abc2cvm
    ... will translate abc into Colecovision music data for use with the Colecovision utility library. From Philipp Klaus Krause.
  • abc2harp
    ... is a Perl script from Gek Low that adds harmonica (harp) tab to abc notation in the form of lyrics text.
  • abc2index
    ... is an open source project from Sam Cantrell that indexes an abc file to produce a general tune listing or an index by song category either in plain text or CSV format.
  • abc2ly
    ... is a script shipped with LilyPond that converts from abc notation to LilyPond's (ly) format.
  • abc2mma
    ... is a Perl script from Gek Low that reads abc containing chords and produces MMA output.
  • abc2mtex
    ... is the original abc package for converting abc into sheet music. It is freeware and should in principle work on any platform (PC, Mac and UNIX). However, you will also need to install all (or at least a large part) of the TeX and MusicTeX packages. These too are freeware but may take considerable efforts to set up (although they are often available in educational establishments).
  • ABC2NWC
    ... a shareware Windows program from Bryan Creer that converts abc to / from the Noteworthy Composer format.
  • abc2prt
    ... from Guido Gonzato is a simple tool to extract parts from multivoice ABC music files.

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  • abc2ps
    ... is Michael Methfessel's package for converting abc into sheet music which avoids the need to install TeX and MusicTeX. A Mac version is now available!
  • abc2score
    ... is a Windows freeware program from John Layton. It can handle large files with speed and includes many features such as transposition, tune searching, midi saving and appending.
  • abc2sco.tcl
    ... from Hudson Lacerda converts ABC to Csound SCO and Scala SEQ formats.
  • ABC2Tab
    ... is an abc to Mountain Dulcimer ASCII Tablature convertor from Lyle Melick. It is currently available as a Windows95 & WindowsNT command line program and PERL source code.
  • abc2win
    ... is a package by Jim Vint which supports the entry of abc notation and viewing the musical notes on PCs. Tunes can also be played as a means of checking the accuracy of the transcription.
  • abc2xml
    ... is a web service which will convert abc notation into musicXML.
  • abc2xml / xml2abc
    ... are command line utilities from Willem Vree that convert abc to/from xml
  • abc4j
    ... is a java based API for abc. It provides a set of basic classes to easily manipulate abc tunes. In particular, the parser provides an object representation of abc notation on which developers can build their own high level features such as tune printing, midi playing, etc.
  • Abc Converter
    ... is a web-based abc-to-staff converter which transposes/converts abc tunes to pdf and midi. It also converts MusicXML into abc - just enter the XML into the converter and it will auto-detect and convert it. Originally developed by Jon Freeman at folkinfo.org and now hosted by Simon Becker at mandolintab.net.
  • AbcEdit [EB]
    ... is a simple editor for ABC from Eberhard Beilharz which wraps abcm2ps and GhostScript.

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  • ABCEditor
    ... is a Windows program from Elizabeth Scarlett (hosted at Alf Warnock's site) which allows you to create, edit, play and organise abc files. It can transpose, reformat, adjust beaming, create cheet sheets and search for tunes. It uses abcm2ps for printing music, abc2midi for playing it, ABCTools for reformatting and ABCFind for searching.
  • ABCexplorer
    ... is a Windows program which allows you to create, edit, play and organise abc files. It uses abcm2ps for printing music and abc2midi for playing it.
  • abcharmotab
    ... is a web-based tool from Anthony Rouaux which inserts harmonica tablature in abc files. It can also transpose. Just select your harmonica type and paste in some abc.
  • ABCJ
    ... is a pure Java abc player/editor from Steve Spencer-Jowett which should run on any platform with Java installed. There is also a web-based applet.
  • abcjs
    ... is Gregory Dyke and Paul Rosen's javascript engine for rendering abcs on web pages. Can be used to transform a textarea into an abc editor, with scoresheet and audio, or as a plugin, rendering all the abc it finds on a page.
  • abclua
    ... is abc parsing for Lua. This library can read and emit (almost all) abc 2.1 and generate Lua tables representing the song structure. It can transform abc source into a token stream, transform a token stream into an abc string, transform a token stream into an event stream (with timing, repeats expanded etc.), and transform these event streams into MIDI.
  • abcm2ps
    ... is Jean-François Moine's clone of abc2ps which handles more than one voice per staff. Compiled versions for Windows, Mac & Linux may be found at the abcplus page.
  • abcMIDI
    James Allwright's package to convert abc to MIDI and MIDI to abc. Since most standard music packages support MIDI output, this should make it easier to generate abc from commercial software. It is available on the web as C source code. It also contains abc2abc which can be used to transpose abc.
  • abc-mode.el
    ... from Matt Junker is an emacs major mode for editing abc files designed for use with abcm2ps and abc2midi, but easily customisable for other packages.
  • abcmus
    Henrik Norbeck's abc player/tunebook manipulator for MSWindows with lots of nice features (search, automatic chordsetting, different import and export options, etc).

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  • Abc Music Notation Utilities
    … are a collection of TCL scripts from Luis Pablo Gasparotto for working with abc.
  • ABCMusiEx
    (ABC Music Sight Reading Exercises Generator) ... is open source software from Rodolfo Alcazar Portillo aimed at creating sight reading exercises which you can read and practise while the audio parts are being played!
  • AbcNavigator
    ... is a multi-featured program for handling abc files which can play tunes through your sound card, save them as MIDI files and which includes an abc editor with syntax highlighting.
  • abcnwc
    ... is a web-based form from Warren Porter which converts abc to Noteworthy Composer notation.
  • ABCp
    ... is an embeddable library for abc notation. Its aim is to take care of all the parsing details for code developers.
  • ABCPig
    ... is a web-based abc editor from Barnaby Walters which includes an interface for creating multi-voiced abc tunes.
  • abcplay.py
    ... is a python script from Trevor King which wraps abc2midi and timidity to play abc tunes from the command line.
  • abcpp
    ... from Guido Gonzato is a simple yet powerful preprocessor designed for, but not limited to, ABC music files. It provides conditional output, macros, symbol renaming, and file inclusion.
  • abcsound
    ... a preprocessor from Joe Knapka converts abc notation into Csound score data.
  • abctab2ps
    ... is a program from Christoph Dalitz for typesetting music and lute/guitar tablature with abc. It is available for Mac, Windows & Linux platforms.

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  • abctool
    ... is a python script from Atte André Jensen that manipulates abc files. It relies on external programs (such as abcm2ps) for certain tasks.
  • abc to xml
    ... is not a bit of software, but an ongoing discussion about the best way to convert between abc and MusicXML. Click on the link above for details - the current recommendations are to use Abc Converter (free) to go from xml to abc and Harmony Assistant (commercial) to go the other way.
  • abctransposer
    ... is a web-based javascript program from Jens Wollschläger that can transpose abc.
  • AbcUtilities
    ... from Luis Pablo Gasparotto is a collection of packages for abc to abc processing, which can compress rests, reduce accidentals and extract parts.
  • ABCViewer
    ... is an abc viewer from Dave Holland which runs on Palm Pilots.
  • abc-vim
    ... is a collaborative project initiated by Lee Savide to produce vim scripts for handling abc code.
  • BarFly
    Phil Taylor's Mac program for handling abc musical notation. It can play, check, transpose and display tunes in abc notation.
  • BIABTools
    ... is a Windows program from Alf Warnock which can convert certain types of Band-in-a-Box files to abc.
  • Blue Notes
    ... is an iPhone app from Tino Heth that can import abc files into its database of songs. It currently focuses on harmonica players and can display tabs and lyrics. Transposing of tunes is supported.
  • BowTIE
    ... is a Windows application from David Randolph designed to help trumpet and horn players learn to transpose which uses abc as its native file format. Euphonium and tuba players may also find BowTIE useful for learning fingerings on instruments in various keys.

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  • Busker
    ... is Windows shareware from Jos Mass which can play abc files and automatically add accompaniment based on the chords in the abc file. The abc files can also be printed in staff notation.
  • Code Sounding
    ... is a bit unusual - using abc, it converts computer source code to sound files. For programmers who want to hear the "inner breath" of their software. From Roberto Mannai.
  • convert-a-matic
    ... is a web-based abc-to-staff converter from Paul Schwartz which converts abc tunes to pdf and midi.
  • DokuWiki ABC Plugin
    ... is a DokuWiki plugin which will render abc scores inside a DokuWiki site. From Anika Henke.
  • EasyABC
    ... by Nils Liberg is an open source program which allows you to edit and play abc files. It supports conversion from MusicXML and MIDI to ABC. The latter uses a custom implementation (midi2abc is not used) in order to produce very readable ABC output. Direct midi input is supported for people with a midi keyboard. It uses abcm2ps for printing music and abc2midi for playing it.
  • Ernie
    ... is a graphical front-end to abcm2ps and abc2midi. It was written by Ted Chew out of desperation after discovering that several other similar applications had stopped working when he upgraded to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion).
  • eTuneBook
    ... is a web app from Martin Fleischmann which allows you to manage abc tune collections in your browser.
  • fiddleabc
    ... is a program from Mike Casey for PCs which plays abc tunes while displaying the notes on a screen fiddle/banjo fingerboard.
  • Five Line Skink
    ... is a java application from Wil Macaulay which supports the abc 1.6 standard. It can open, edit, save, and display abc files (and runs on Unix & Linux platforms, as well as Windows & Mac).
  • flabc
    ... is an abc editor from Christoph Dalitz based on the cross platform C++ GUI toolkit FLTK. It is available for Windows, MacOS X and Linux platforms.

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  • Harmony Assistant
    ... is a full-scale score editor that speaks abc and the commercial version of Melody Assistant. It can print, play and even create guitar tablature and runs on both PCs and Macs.
  • Haskell abcnotation package
    … is a a Haskell representation and parser for abc notation from Hans Hoglund.
  • iPABC
    ... is an abc player/editor from Steve Spencer-Jowett which runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Although the full version is not free, there is a Lite version that stores a limited number of tunes which is free.
  • jaabc2ps
    ... is John Atchley's version of abcm2ps (including precompiled versions for Windows).
  • jcabc2ps
    ... is John Chambers' clone of abc2ps. It implements a number of extensions to handle the variants of abc that the abc tune finder finds on the web. These include several syntaxes for clefs, multiple voices, endings past the second, and non-classical key signatures.
  • JedABC
    ... from Guido Gonzato is an extension to the Jed editor that turns it into a powerful and easy to use IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for ABC files, with full integration with converters, players and previewers.
  • m2g
    ... is a WIndows program from Jerry Dallal which can add guitar or mandolin tablature to abc files.
  • MAIDENS
    … is a free composition tool from Claudius Iacob, which allows musicians to generate music based on algorithms. The base application allows you to edit, save, playback and export the score using a graphical interface and features a free generation algorithm.
  • mc musiceditor
    ... is a music editor from Reinier Maliepaard which speaks standard abc (as well as its own modification of abc). It also contains a number of utilities including transposition, extracting parts and file management.
  • MediaWiki Score
    ... is an extension for MediaWiki which will render abc scores inside a MediaWiki site.

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  • MEFA
    ... is a Windows program (previously known as ABCedit) from Joop Coolegem that can be used for writing, printing and playing abc files. It also has a number of other features including fingering charts, transposition, calculation of chords, etc. (NB Users will need to install abcm2ps and abc2midi separately).
  • Melody Assistant
    ... is a full-scale shareware score editor that speaks abc and the shareware version of Harmony Assistant. It can print, play and even create guitar tablature and runs on both PCs and Macs.
  • microabc
    ... is free software from Hudson Lacerda which generates macros to represent microtonal music in ABC notation.
  • MidiZyx2abc
    ... is a program from Alexander Scheutzow which converts midi to abc and will work with multi-part scores and lyrics. It is written in Java so should run on any platform in principle.
  • ModPlug XMMS
    ... is abc plugin for XMMS under linux. Peter Grootswagers recommends libmodplug which can be obtained from the CVS tree.
  • music21
    ... is a set of tools for helping scholars and other active listeners answer questions about music quickly and simply. It can read abc, display music (via MusicXML), play MIDI sound and transpose, as well as offering many other utilities.
  • MusiCAD
    ... is a fully featured score editor from Musys Software which can import and export abc. Although MusiCAD is not freeware, it's use with abc does not require payment.
  • MusicEase
    ... is a full-featured editor which imports abc and SongWright files. Edits, transposes, prints and plays. Features include automatic conversion to tablature, automatic addition of chord fret diagrams, and general MIDI instrument support.
  • Mxml2abc
    ... is a command line tool from Steve Merrony which converts single and multiple voice MusicXML files into ABC files.
  • Norman Schmidt's abc converter
    ... a web-based abc-to-staff converter from normanschmidt.net which converts abc tunes to staff notation.

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  • ooo_abc
    ... OpenOffice.org macros from Marc Sabatella to incorporate abc notation within OpenOffice documents.
  • PalmABC
    ... is an abc player/editor from Steve Spencer-Jowett which runs on Palm Pilots.
  • playabc
    ... is a program by Don Ward which will play abc files through the speaker of most UNIX systems.
  • PlayQABC
    ... is a part of Jim Vint's abc2win package for PC users, but is also available for free as a standalone to play abc tunes on any PC/DOS system.
  • PmWiki AbcMusic
    ... is a PmWiki cookbook recipe which will render abc scores inside a PmWiki site. From Patrick Michaud.
  • PocketABC
    ... is an abc player/editor from Steve Spencer-Jowett which runs on Pocket PC 2002 devices such as the iPaq.
  • raga2abc.awk
    ... an AWK script to convert Indian Bhatkande notation to abc.
  • RandomABC
    ... is a Windows program from Alf Warnock which generates random abc tunes within a certain range. It can help you practice sight-reading and is in a file called SightRead.zip
  • Runabc.tcl
    ... is a Tcl/Tk GUI (graphical user interface) for abc2ps & abc2midi from Seymour Shlien which helps you manage a database of abc tunes. Requires Tcl/Tk 8.0 or higher.
  • ScoreRender
    ... is a plugin, from Abel Cheung, for the popular blogging system WordPress, which renders sheet music fragments into images. It supports abc as well as several other notation systems.

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  • TablEdit
    ... is a Windows program for creating, editing, printing and listening to tablature and sheet music (standard notation) for guitar and other fretted, stringed instruments (including 5 string banjo) as well as harmonica, diatonic accordion, drums and violin. TablEdit can both read & write ascii, MIDI & abc files (and read Bucket O' Tab & Tabestry).
  • The Craic
    ... is an iOS app from Wil Macaulay that enables you to find, edit and view abc tunes on iPhones and iPads.
  • TradTunes
    ... is an iPhone app that holds a database of over 4,000 (mainly) Irish Trad tunes.
  • TuneBook
    ... is an iPhone app from Jerry Huxtable for viewing abc tunes in staff notation.
  • TunePal
    ... is an abc player and query-by-playing search engine from Bryan Duggan which runs on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad & android devices. Also a free online service.
  • tunepal.org
    ... is a remarkable query-by-playing search engine which will transcribe sound into abc and then search for tunes that match.
  • VexABC
    ... from Mikael Nousiainen, is an abc notation parser and renderer for VexFlow
  • Virtual Composer
    ... is a score editor for the Mac from Ioannis Galidakis which exports abc (but does not read it).
  • WaterPig eCards
    ... are folk / medieval themed electronic greetings cards which allow you to attach an abc tune along with your message! Provided by Barnaby Walters.
  • word_abc
    ... Word macros from Marc Sabatella to incorporate abc notation within Word documents.

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  • YAPS
    (yet another abc to PostScript converter) ... is James Allwright's merge of the abcMIDI parser and the library of PostScript routines from abc2ps.
  • Zap's abc
    ... is an Android app from Jonas Petersson for displaying and playing abc tunes.


Note for newcomers: If you've stumbled across this page by accident - perhaps via a web search - welcome, and thanks for visiting the abc web site! Here is just a taste of what you can find at abcnotation.com, either here or via a link:

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