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  • Added on: May 06 2011 11:58 AM
  • Views: 4494
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LotRo: Music Instrument Guide

Guide on the use of ABC Files and Playing Instrument Music in LotrO

Posted by Zippity on May 06 2011 11:58 AM
My Music And Me!!!

So, you've got all these Instruments in Lord of the Rings Online, and now you wanna do something with em?

Well, you have two options, either you can play music of your own creation Live and In-Concert using your keyboard, or you can start using ABC files... Personally, unless you're a musician, I believe ABC files are the way to go... But in this guide I will mention both aspects, starting with the dreaded Keyboard Method...

While in the game, first make sure your character has an equiped Instrument, these can range from the a-typical Lute, to a bagpipe, to a flute, a cowbell and so on... Not all character classes come with the ability to use all instruments, but they can be trained on all instruments by other players (see Instrumenting Up!!! later in this guide)...

The Dreaded Keyboard!!! Muahahahaha!!!

With your trained instrument of choice equiped, type in the following command in game:


Your toon will go into a ready stance with instrument in hand... From this point regardless if you use ABC files or not you can use your keyboard to play key musical notes as you can see based off the chart below (btw, understanding of musical notes is a must to really get the gist of this chart unless you just experiment with the notes and play it by ear, since each instrument sounds a bit different). The left column shows the appropriate Note and the the right side shows the appropriate Keyboard sequence:

1 through 8 means you press the appropriate Number key on your Keyboard

s1 through s8 means you hold the Shift key and press the appropriate Number 1 to 8

c1 through c8 means you hold the CTRL key and press the appropriate Number 1 to 8

The (#) sign nest to the appropriate set means you play that note Sharp, as an example (#)c2 means CTRL-2 plays C charp

The (b) sign next to the appropriate combo means you play that note Flat, as an example (b)c2 means CTRL

Note, that there is some overlap (ie. E = 3 & c4, B = 7 & c8, c = 8 & s1, etc)

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Best bet is to experiment and see how it sounds.

The ABC's in LotrO!!!

Now to show you how to utilize ABC files in LotrO... ABC files are basically Text files containing a sequence of letters and numbers that LotrO deciphers into playable ingame music when commanded to do so... ABC files for use in LotrO can be found in many different placed across the internet and can include just about every genre of music available... Note that not all ABC files sound good when played with every instrument in game, so you'll have to experiment to see what works and what stinks...

1 ) Once you've located some ABC files, you first need to place them in the appropriate directory on your Hard Drive so that LotrO can find them... If you've never used ABC files with LotrO before you will have to create a sub-directory called Music to place these files into...

Here is a list of where the sub-directory should be located, if the Music folder does not exist then you need to create it in the location as shown:

Vista or Windows 7

C:\Users\{User Name}\Documents\The Lord of the Rings Online\Music

Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\{User Name}\The Lord of the Rings Online\Music

The files must have the extension of .ABC for them to properly work... Make note of the name of the file before the extension prior to going into the game, for the next step...

2) In-game, make sure your character has an instrument equiped and type the following command in the text box:


3) You're character should go into a ready stance with instrument in hand... From here you type the following command in the text box, appropriate to the name of the ABC file you wish to play (for the purposes of this tutorial we will assume one of the files you added in step 1 was called groove.abc):

/play groove

At this point the abc file entitled "groove" will begin to play... Note you do not include the extension in the command line... In your text box it will display some information from inside the abc file (usually this will be the song title and perhaps the song length, but not always, depends on who made the file)...

When the song is complete, your character will still be in Music ready mode, but no sound will play until you repeat step 3 for another file, move your character, log out, or use your keyboard to play music as mentioned The Dreaded Keyboard!!! section earlier... If you should exit Music mode accidentally, you will need to repeat step 2 to go back into Music mode...

The ABC's

So now you're asking yourself, "Where do i find these things?"

Here are some links to some ABC file download locations:




In a later Guide I'll go more into how to make your favorite MIDI file into a ABC file...

Inside the ABC Beast!!!

So you wanna know what's inside that text file? Well, i'm here to show you the imporant innards of an ABC text file, as seen below:

X: groove
T: groove (1:28)
Z: Transcribed by LotRO MIDI Player
% Original file: groove.mid
% Transpose: 0
L: 1/4
Q: 120
K: C

d/2 [G/2G,/2] [G/2G,/2] [G/2G,/2] [G/2G,/2] [^f/2A/2] [g/2B/2]
[e/2c/2] [d/2B/2] [G/2G,/2] [G/2G,/2] [G/2G,/2] [G/2G,/2] [d/2B/2]
[e/2c/2] [c/2A/2] [B/2G/2] G/2 [B/2G,/2] d/2 [g/2B,/2] d/2 [g/2G/2]
a/4 b/4 [a/2D/2] g/2 [^f/2E/2] e/2 [d^F] [cD] [B/2G,/2] G/2 [G/2G,/2]

As you can see above, it looks like a jumbly bruhaha of letters and numbers, of which only some items are discernable... Well I'm here to tell ya, it's not all as convoluted as it seems... In fact, everything is in a very logical order, as I will explain...

Each line in the header represents certain key information that is usually required for the file to play correctly (unless otherwise noted)... Line X and line T are required at the top while line K is required at the bottom prior to an empty line followed by the sequence of notes:

X = (the title of the song or file)

T = (the time signature, which can include the song title as well or any other short bit of text, this is what will appear in the Text box inside LotrO when you /play the file)

Z = Misc Text about Transcription (not required)

% = Misc Remarks (not required)

L = The timing of the tune

Q = Tempo

K = The key (example K: Em would mean in key E minor)

There are many others, but for the purposes of use in LotrO, these are sufficient...

One thing to note about ABC files for use in LotrO:

If you wish the song to repeat without you having to type the command again, you can edit the ABC file with Notepad or another TXT file editor then Copy the notes listed at the bottom and Paste them on the end, then Save the changes... Or you can copy-paste it as many times as you want, within reason... :)

Instrumenting Up!!!

Here is a chart showing what instruments are learned from your class trainer and the level requirement for that instrument:

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  • = Starting proficiencies

L:? Level you can learn instrument proficiencies

To learn an instrument beyond what your class trainer offers, you have to be Mentored by a Minstrel with the specific Mentor Instrument ability... This usually requires a high enough level Minstrel that has learned the Mentor skill for that instrument, and almost always has a very long cool down period before they can use the Mentor skill again...

Mentoring the Horn and Clarinet are gained at level 30 from the Minstrels trainer, and the same for the basic Cowbell at level 36. There is no mentoring skill for the Lute since all other classes get the skill at level 5 from their class trainer. Below is a list of the remaining Mentor Scrolls and requirements for mentoring the other instruments (Using any mentor skill requires the Minstrel to know how to use the instrument first):

Mentoring Moor Cowbell (min lvl 50, Rare Drop from level 50+ Instance content including the Rift for both the Mentoring and Learning scrolls)

Mentoring the Harp (Ally standing with Rangers of Esteldin, Rep vendor)

Mentoring the Flute (min lvl 46, rare drop from various Shadows of Angmar enemies, for example the Cargul bosses in Carn Dum or the Rift)

Mentoring the Drum (min lvl 42, rare drop from various Shadows of Angmar enemies, for example the Cargul bosses in Carn Dum or the Rift)

Mentoring the Theorbo (min lvl 44, rare drop from various Shadows of Angmar enemies, for example the Cargul bosses in Carn Dum or the Rift)

Mentoring the Bagpipes (unknown lvl req, rare drop from various Shadows of Angmar enemies, for example the Cargul bosses in Carn Dum or the Rift)

All these mentoring scrolls with the exception of the Harp are not bound, so you may find them on the Auction House... Also, Minstrels able to Mentor a instrument can also scribe a scroll capable of teaching the instrument when used, but it is very expensive (around 500 silver to purchase a blank manual) and requires the Minstrel to have the Scribe Stance skill (lvl 30)... When the Mentor skill is used, while Scribe Stance is active, on the blank manual, a Learning Scroll for that instrument will be created, and will place a 10 day cooldown on all Mentor skills...

Live and In Concert!!!

I hope this guide helps you have a better understanding of the Music System in LotrO and how to go about getting your Music Groove on in game... If you find any of this still confusing, you can get with one of the many awesome chapter officers in game or here in the Covenant of the Phoenix Forums... Or feel free to contact myself, Zippity... Until then...

Live and in Concert!! It's you!!!
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