Programmers sometimes use tools like pastebin or GitHub Gist when they want to share snippets of code with people that they are collaborating with or seeking help from. You open up the webpage, paste your code, click a button, and now you have a short link you can give to others.

A couple of days ago, I had a thought: “can sharing snippets of musical ideas be as easy as sharing code?”

Sure, there are many such tools that already do musical collaboration. But these tools are all pretty heavy-weight. What if all you really want to do is to write down a small phrase that’s stuck in your head?

I spent this morning exploring the idea a bit, and came up with abcbin. On the face, it’s a live ABC notation editor built on top of abcjs that outputs to SVG and MIDI.

But it has easy sharing! You can copy the full URL in your address bar (it auto-updates as you edit) and send it to people. Or if you don’t want to send out extremely long URLs, just click on the button on the top right and it’ll generate a shortened link.

I hope I’m not reinventing the wheel here. If someone’s already done this, do let me know. Also let me know if this tool is any use to you!

Update (2018-11-27): I randomly stumbled upon not one, but two projects that do this, but for LilyPond, which is another way to represent musical notation in a text file:

Both of these have modes where the state of the composition is saved to the cloud, which allow for much longer compositions to be shared.