For beginners

Getting started

Abjad makes powerful programming techniques available to you when you compose. Read through the points below and then click next to proceed.

Knowing your operating system

Before you start working with Abjad you should review the command line basics of your operating system. You should know how move around the filesystem, how to list the contents of directories and how to copy files. You should know enough about environment variables to make sure that your operating system knows where Abjad is installed. You might also consider installing any OS updates on your computer, too, since you’ll need Python 2.7 or Python 3.3+ to run Abjad. When you start building scores with Abjad you’ll find the system to be almost entirely platform-independent.

Chosing a text editor

You’ll edit many text files when you work with Abjad. So you’ll want to spend some time picking out a text editor before you begin. If this is your first time programming you might want to Google and read what other programmers have to say on the matter. Or you could ask a programmer friend about the editor she prefers. Linux programmers sometimes like vi or emacs. Macintosh programmers might prefer TextMate. Whatever your choice, make sure your editor is set to produce plain text files before you start.

Launching the terminal

To work with Abjad you’ll need a terminal window. The way that you open the terminal window depends on your computer. If you’re using MacOS X you can navigate from Applications to Utilities and then click on Terminal. Linux and Windows house the terminal elsewhere. Regardless of the terminal client you choose, the purpose of the terminal is to let you type commands to your computer’s operating system.

Where to save your work

Where you choose to save the files you create with Abjad is up to you. Eventually you’ll want to create a dedicated set of directories to organize your work. But for now you can create the files described in the tutorials on your desktop, in your documents folder, or anywhere else you like.