The current best bet for music typesetting is to use
musixtex. Musixtex is a three-pass system that
has a TeX-based pass, a processing pass and then a further TeX
pass. The middle pass, a program called
optimises the spacing and sorts out slurs and ties.
Musixtex is demanding of TeX resources, and any
significant score requires that typesetting is done using ε-TeX,
whose expanded variable- and box-register ranges allow for more of the
“parallel” activities that abound in a music score.
Of course, musixtex also requires music fonts; those are
available in a separate package on the archive.
A further preprocessor,
M-Tx, allows preparation of music
M-Txs output is fed into
thence to musixtex.
An alternative path to music examples within a (La)TeX document is
Lilypond is (at heart) a batch music typesetting system
with plain text input that does most of its work without TeX.
Lilyponds input syntax is less cryptic than is
MusiXTeX's, though similar quality is achieved. The
FAQ mentions programs
with graphical user interfaces, that export lilypond output.
For occasional music references (sharp and flat signs, notes, clefs
and so on, there is a (LaTeX) package (with associated font) called
lilyglyphs. This uses
lilyponds fonts (which
are included in the package), and also provides the means to add stuff
from other sources.
Another alternative in the production of music is the ABC
notation, which was developed to notate the traditional music of
Western Europe (which can be written on a single stave), though it can
be used much more widely. A front end to musictex (see
abc2mtex, makes ABC typesetting possible.
midi2tex can also generate musictex
output, from MIDI files.
The history of music in TeX goes back some time; the earliest “working” macros were MuTeX, by Angelika Schofer and Andrea Steinbach. MuTeX was very limited, but it was some time before Daniel Taupin took up the baton, and developed MusicTeX, which allows the typesetting of polyphonic and other multiple-stave music; MusicTeX remains available, but is no longer recommended.
For Gregorion chant there is gregoriotex is a software application for engraving Gregorian chant scores.