1.75 27 Sep 2009

Editor/player/viewer for abc music files.


Developer website: Phil Taylor

BarFly is an integrated text editor/player/viewer for abc music files.

What's abc? abc is a system of notation for music which uses ordinary ASCII text to represent the symbols which you would normally write on music manuscript. It is simple, human-readable, and if you can touch type it is much faster to enter abc at the keyboard than it is to use a graphical music program to place notes on a staff using the mouse. Because it's plain old ASCII, you can use it to post music to newsgroups (it's very bad netiquette to post MIDI, GIF or other binary files to text-only newsgroups) email tunes to your friends, or use it as a highly efficient way of storing music (you can store thousands of tunes on a single floppy disk).

abc was invented by Chris Walshaw, and for a complete description of the language, links to other software and music collections in abc go to his abc home page.

What's New

Version 1.75:
  • Fixed a bug which caused the program to lose track of its windows, misbehave and eventually crash after using the Print or Page Setup commands under some versions of OS 10.5.
  • The File Search command will now search any files with a .abc or .txt extension in addition to files with the file type set to 'TEXT".
  • Using aligned words (w:) after un-aligned words (W:) in a multi-voice tune will no longer cause the program to crash. (It still won't work - you should not follow a W: field with a w: anyway.)
  • By default, the program will now not allow you to type smart quotes into the editor. This was causing problems with OS 10.6, which automatically substitutes smart quotes for the straight ascii quotes " and '. Although you can turn this behaviour off in the Language and Text preferences pane, the change does not stick when you re-start (an Apple bug). Smart quotes have no place in abc. If you really want to enter smart quotes (e.g. in the title or words of a tune), there is a checkbox in the General Preferences dialog which will allow it.


Mac OS 8.5 or later, including Mac OS X.


Current Version (1.x)


Version Downloads
Multimedia Design / Audio
27 Sep 2009
OS Classic / OS X / PPC 32