1.3.2 Curves

This section explains how to create various expressive marks that are curved: normal slurs, phrasing slurs, breath marks, falls, and doits.


Slurs

Slurs are entered using parentheses:

f4( g a) a8 b(
a4 g2 f4)
<c e>2( <b d>2)

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Slurs may be manually placed above or below the notes, see Direction and placement.

c2( d)
\slurDown
c2( d)
\slurNeutral
c2( d)

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Simultaneous or overlapping slurs are not permitted, but a phrasing slur can overlap a slur. This permits two slurs to be printed at once. For details, see Phrasing slurs.

Slurs can be solid, dotted, or dashed. Solid is the default slur style:

c4( e g2)
\slurDashed
g4( e c2)
\slurDotted
c4( e g2)
\slurSolid
g4( e c2)

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Predefined commands

\slurUp, \slurDown, \slurNeutral, \slurDashed, \slurDotted, \slurSolid.

Selected Snippets

Using double slurs for legato chords

Some composers write two slurs when they want legato chords. This can be achieved by setting doubleSlurs.

\relative c' {
  \set doubleSlurs = ##t
  <c e>4( <d f> <c e> <d f>)
}

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Positioning text markups inside slurs

Text markups need to have the outside-staff-priority property set to false in order to be printed inside slurs.

\relative c'' {
  \override TextScript #'avoid-slur = #'inside
  \override TextScript #'outside-staff-priority = ##f
  c2(^\markup { \halign #-10 \natural } d4.) c8
}

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See also

Music Glossary: slur.

Learning Manual: On the un-nestedness of brackets and ties.

Notation Reference: Direction and placement, Phrasing slurs.

Snippets: Expressive marks.

Internals Reference: Slur.


Phrasing slurs

Phrasing slurs (or phrasing marks) that indicate a musical sentence are written using the commands \( and \) respectively:

c4\( d( e) f(
e2) d\)

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Typographically, a phrasing slur behaves almost exactly like a normal slur. However, they are treated as different objects; a \slurUp will have no effect on a phrasing slur. Phrasing slurs may be manually placed above or below the notes, see Direction and placement.

c4\( g' c,( b) | c1\)
\phrasingSlurUp
c4\( g' c,( b) | c1\)

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Simultaneous or overlapping phrasing slurs are not permitted.

Phrasing slurs can be solid, dotted, or dashed. Solid is the default style for phrasing slurs:

c4\( e g2\)
\phrasingSlurDashed
g4\( e c2\)
\phrasingSlurDotted
c4\( e g2\)
\phrasingSlurSolid
g4\( e c2\)

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Predefined commands

\phrasingSlurUp, \phrasingSlurDown, \phrasingSlurNeutral, \phrasingSlurDashed, \phrasingSlurDotted, \phrasingSlurSolid.

See also

Learning Manual: On the un-nestedness of brackets and ties.

Notation Reference: Direction and placement.

Snippets: Expressive marks.

Internals Reference: PhrasingSlur.


Breath marks

Breath marks are entered using \breathe:

c2. \breathe d4

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Musical indicators for breath marks in ancient notation, divisiones, are supported. For details, see Divisiones.

Selected Snippets

Changing the breath mark symbol

The glyph of the breath mark can be tuned by overriding the text property of the BreathingSign layout object with any markup text.

\relative c'' {
  c2
  \override BreathingSign #'text = \markup { \musicglyph #"scripts.rvarcomma" }
  \breathe
  d2
}

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Inserting a caesura

Caesura marks can be created by overriding the 'text property of the BreathingSign object. A curved caesura mark is also available.

\relative c'' {
  \override BreathingSign #'text = \markup {
    \musicglyph #"scripts.caesura.straight"
  }
  c8 e4. \breathe g8. e16 c4

  \override BreathingSign #'text = \markup {
    \musicglyph #"scripts.caesura.curved"
  }
  g8 e'4. \breathe g8. e16 c4
}

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See also

Music Glossary: caesura.

Notation Reference: Divisiones.

Snippets: Expressive marks.

Internals Reference: BreathingSign.


Falls and doits

Falls and doits can be added to notes using the \bendAfter command. The direction of the fall or doit is indicated with a plus or minus (up or down). The number indicates the pitch interval that the fall or doit will extend beyond the main note.

c2-\bendAfter #+4
c2-\bendAfter #-4
c2-\bendAfter #+8
c2-\bendAfter #-8

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The dash - immediately preceding the \bendAfter command is required when writing falls and doits.

Selected Snippets

Adjusting the shape of falls and doits

The shortest-duration-space property may have to be tweaked to adjust the shape of falls and doits.

\relative c'' {
  \override Score.SpacingSpanner #'shortest-duration-space = #4.0
  c2-\bendAfter #+5
  c2-\bendAfter #-3
  c2-\bendAfter #+8
  c2-\bendAfter #-6
}

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See also

Music Glossary: fall, doit.

Snippets: Expressive marks.


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Notation Reference