Igor Engraver

NoteHeads Music Experts Systems AB, Sweden

holistic designs, Sweden

NoteHeads is a company dedicated to bringing musicians and publishers together through the medium of highly sophisticated Internet-oriented music publishing software. Igor Engraver is the main product of NoteHeads.

holistic designs is a small consulting company specialised in technical software, such as image processing for medical applications, speech synthesis and, more specifically, Igor Engraver.

Igor Engraver is a music notation program, used for composing and arranging music. It can be likened to a typesetting program that works on music and music notation rather than words. As such, the problem of typesetting music is more complicated than typesetting text (which in itself is complicated). There are more issues to handle when notating music, as music has more dimensions than text.

Igor Engraver provides an intuitive user interface for inputting music in different modes, a notation engine that takes care of notation and a playback engine that can play the written music using MIDI equipment. Playback is also an interesting problem in itself as a mechanical playback (exactly as the music is written) will sound rather dull and devoid of life. Igor Engraver has knowledge of the specific workings of different instruments so, for example, a glissando is played differently on a piano and a trombone.

Igor Engraver also solves a common problem in music notation by allowing the composer to work either directly in a score or a part - a change in one is reflected in the other, even if one is a transposition of the other. Also, there are no restrictions on the order in which music is to be entered - the composer can work in the manner that suits him or her, that is, not adapting to a software imposed work flow.

Igor Engraver is written almost entirely in Lisp, meaning less than 1% is non-Lisp.

Igor Engraver was first available on Mac OS (before LispWorks for Macintosh was available). When considering a Windows version, LispWorks for Windows was found to be the most cost effective alternative. Development of LispWorks has since been ongoing and a Mac OS version has been released. There are now plans to go full circle and release a version of Igor Engraver using LispWorks for Macintosh.


Thanks to Cons T Åhs, holistic designs (also CTO of NoteHeads) for the account above. Cons adds:

The Lisp savvy will probably wonder about my name. FAQ:
1. Is your name really Cons?
A: Yes.
2. Were your parents Lisp hackers?
A: No.
3. Is it just a coincidence, Cons being a short form of, say, Constantin?
A: No, my name really is Cons and Lisp is the origin. Lisp was the third language to cross my way (in days long yonder, before my undergraduate studies) and it was a pleasant experience from the start. When engaging in role playing (as an alternative to studying), one character was named after some rather common Lisp primitives (Cons among them). Shortly thereafter, I was given an account on a computer belonging to the computer science department (I was doing physics), not knowing at that time what they were into (AI, Lisp and Prolog as it turned out), so I used the RPG character's name for the account. As is quite common, the user name stuck, became a nickname, was shortened to just Cons. Before getting married, I registered it as my offical name.
4. ..and the T?
A: Initial for the name that only my parents insist on using.
5. Which is?
A: You're not one of my parents, I think.

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