Command: yank


yank – extract passages from a Humdrum input


`` yank [-c] -l -r range [inputfile ...] yank [-c] -m regexp -r range [inputfile ...] yank [-c] -n regexp -r range [inputfile ...] yank [-c] -o regexp [-e regexp] -r range [inputfile ...] yank [-c] -s section_label -r range [inputfile ...]``


The yank command permits the selective extraction of segments or passages from a Humdrum input. Yanked material may consist of specified input records – addressed by absolute line number, or relative to some marker. In addition, yank is able to output logical segments (such as measures, phrases, or labelled sections), and is able to output material according to content. The output always consists of complete records; yank never outputs partial contents of a given input record.


The yank command provides the following options:

-c include all comments prior to the yanked material in the output
-e regexp define end-delimiter for yanked segments as regexp; used with -o
-h displays a help screen summarizing the command syntax
-l yank all lines whose line numbers appear in -r range
-m regexp yank lines matching regexp listed in -r range
-n regexp yank segments delineated by regexp according to cardinal -r range
-o regexp yank segments delineated by regexp according to ordinal -r range
-r range yank section in ranges listed in range; used with -l, -m, -n, -o and -s
-s section yank section labelled section according to -r range

Options are specified in the command line.

The simplest operation for yank occurs when the -l option is specified. In this case yank echoes those lines in the input stream whose line-numbers appear in a specified range. The range consists of one of more integers separated by commas; inclusive ranges can be specified by separating two integers by a dash (-). For example, the following command selects lines, 5, 13, 23, 24, 25, and 26 from the file named dvorak:

yank -l -r 5,13,23-26 dvorak

The dollar sign ($) can be used to refer to the last record in the input. For example, the following command yanks the first and last records from the file verdi.

yank -l -r ‘1,$’ verdi

(Note that single quotes may be needed in regular expressions and range specifications in order to prevent the shell from misinterpreting characters such as the dollar sign or the asterisk.) Records prior to the end of the input can be specified by subtracting some value from $. For example, the following command yanks the first 20 records of the last 30 records contained in the file ginastera. (Notice that the dash/minus sign is used both to convey a range and as an arithmetic operator.)

yank -l -r ‘$-30-$-10’ ginastera

In addition to the specified output lines, yank also outputs interpretations and comments as described below (see INTERPRETATIONS AND COMMENTS).

Alternatively, yank can output lines relative to some user-defined marker. This mode of operation can be invoked using the -m option. Markers are specified as regular expressions. The following command outputs the first and third data records following each occurrence of the string “XXX” in the file wieck.

yank -m XXX -r 1,3 wieck

The -r option is used to specify the range. If the value zero (“0”) is specified in the range, then the record containing the marker is itself output.

Since markers are interpreted by yank as regular expressions, complex markers can be defined. For example, the following command yanks the first data record following all occurrences of any record in the file franck beginning with a letter and ending with a number:

yank -m ‘^[a-zA-Z].*[0-9]$’ -r 1 franck

In musical applications, it is often convenient to yank material according to logical segments such as measures or phrases. In order to access such segments, the user must specify a segment delimiter using the -o or the -o and -e options. For example, common system barlines are represented by the presence of an equals-sign (=) at the beginning of a data token. Thus the user might yank specific measures from a `` **kern`` file by defining the appropriate barline delimiter and providing a range of (measure) numbers. Consider the following command:

yank -o ^= -r 1,12-13,25 joplin

Unlike the -m option, the -o option interprets the range list as ordinal occurrences of segments delineated by the delimiter. Whole segments are output rather than specified records as is the case with -m. As in the case of markers, delimiters are interpreted according to regular expression syntax. Each input record containing the delimiter is regarded as the start of the next logical segment. In the above command, the command-line range specifies that the first, twelfth, thirteenth, and twenty-fifth logical segments (measures) are to be yanked from the file named joplin. All records starting with the delimiter record are output up to, but not including the next occurrence of a delimiter record.

Where the input stream contains data prior to the first delimiter record, this data may be addressed as logical segment “zero.” For example,

yank -o ‘^=’ -r 0 mahler

can be used to yank all records prior to the first common system barline. With the -o option, notice that actual measure numbers are irrelevant: yank selects segments according to their ordinal position in the input stream rather than according to their cardinal label.

When the -n option is invoked, however, yank expects a numerical value to be present in the input immediately following the user-specified delimiter. In this case, yank selects segments based on their numbered label rather than their ordinal position in the input. For example,

yank -n ^= -r 12 goldberg

will yank all segments begining with the label =12 in the input file goldberg. If more than one segment carries the specified segment number(s), all such segment are output. Note that the dollar-sign anchor cannot be used in the range expression for the -n option. Note also that input tokens containing non-numeric characters appended to the number will have no effect on the pattern match. For example, input tokens such as =12a, =12b, or =12; will be treated as equivalent to =12.

As in the case of the -o option, the value zero (“0”) addresses material prior to the first delimiter record. Like the -o option, the value zero may be reused for each specified input file. Thus, if file1, file2 and file3 are Humdrum files:

yank -n ^= -r 0 file1 file2 file3

will yank any leading (anacrusis) material in each of the three files.

When the -s option is invoked, yank extracts passages according to Humdrum section labels encoded in the input. Humdrum section labels are tandem interpretations that conform to the syntax:

`` *>label_name``

Labels are frequently used to indicate formal divisions, such as, coda, exposition, bridge, second ending, trio, minuet, etc. The following command yanks the second instance of a section labelled First Theme in the file haydn08:

yank -s ‘First Theme’ -r 2 haydn08

Note that with “through-composed” Humdrum files it is possible to have more than one section containing the same section-label. (See the **thru** command.)


If yank is given a Humdrum input, it always produces a syntactically correct Humdrum output. All interpretations prior to and within the yanked material are echoed in the output. The yank command also appends the appropriate spine-path terminators at the end of the yanked segment.

Any comments prior to the yanked passage may be included in the output by specifying the -c option.


The following examples illustrate how the yank command may be used.

yank -l -r 1120 messiaen

yanks line 1120 in the file messiaen.

yank -n ^= -r 27 sinfonia

yanks numbered measures 27 from the **kern file sinfonia.

yank -n ^= -r 10-20 minuet waltz

yanks numbered measures 10 to 20 from both the **kern files minuet and waltz.

yank -o ^= -r ‘0,$’ fugue ricercar

yanks any initial anacrusis material plus the final measure of both fugue and ricercar.

`` cat fugue ricercar | yank -o ^= -r ‘0,$’``

yanks any initial anacrusis material from the file fugue followed by the final measure of ricercar.

yank -n ‘Rehearsal Marking ‘ -r 5-7 fugue ricercar

yanks segments beginning with the strings `` “Rehearsal Marking 5,” “Rehearsal Marking 6,”`` and `` “Rehearsal Marking 7.”`` Segments are deemed to end when a record is encountered containing the string `` “Rehearsal Marking ”.``

yank -o { -e } -r ‘1-$’ webern

yanks all segments in the file webern beginning with a record containing “{” and ending with a record containing “}.” The command:

yank -o { -e } -r ‘1-4,$-3-$’ faure

yanks the first four and last four segments in the file faure – where segments begin with an open brace ({) and end with a closed brace (}). In the **kern representation, this would extract the first and last four phrases in the file.

yank -s Coda -r 1 stamitz

will yank the first occurrence of a section labelled Coda in the file stamitz.


Where integer ranges are specified in the yank range-list, overlapping values are collapsed. For example, the command yank -l -r 5-7,6-8 is interpreted as equivalent to yank -l -r 5-8; lines 6 and 7 will be echoed only once in the output stream. If the user wishes to have multiple occurrences of material in the output stream, the yank command can be invoked more than once (e.g. yank -l -r 5-7 ...; yank -l -r 6-8 ...).

Note that yanked segments cannot be output in an order other than their order in the input. For example, assuming that measure numbers in an input stream increase sequentially, yank is unable to output measure number 6 prior to outputting measure number 5. Once again, the order of output material can be rearranged by invoked the yank command more than once (e.g. yank -l -r 100 ...; yank -l -r 99 ...; yank -l -r 98 ...).

In the case of the -m option, note that range elements cannot address records more than one marker away from the current marker. For example, in a file where markers occur every 10 records, range expressions such as `25' and `$-17' will result in no output. In addition, range expressions such as `1-25' and `$-17-$' will have the same effect as `1-10' and `$-9-$. Note also that for the same input file, the range expression `6-$-7' will result in no output.


The files find_reg.awk, findpair.awk and number.awk are used by yank.


DOS 2.0 and up, with the MKS Toolkit. OS/2 with the MKS Toolkit. UNIX systems supporting the Korn shell or Bourne shell command interpreters, and revised awk (1985).


`` awk (UNIX), extract (4), grep (UNIX), egrep (UNIX), patt (4), pattern (4), regexp (4), regexp (6), timebase (4), thru (4)``