Rhythms

These snippets illustrate the Notation Reference, section Rhythms.


Adding beams, slurs, ties etc. when using tuplet and non-tuplet rythms.

LilyPond syntax can involve many unusual placements for parentheses, brackets etc., which might sometimes have to be interleaved. For example, when entering a manual beam, the left square bracket has to be placed after the starting note and its duration, not before. Similarly, the right square bracket should directly follow the note which is to be at the end of the requested beaming, even if this note happens to be inside a tuplet section. This snippet demonstrates how to combine manual beaming, manual slurs, ties and phrasing slurs with tuplet sections (enclosed within curly braces).

{
  r16[ g16 \times 2/3 { r16 e'8] }
  g16( a \times 2/3 { b d e') }
  g8[( a \times 2/3 { b d') e'] ~ }
  \time 2/4
  \times 4/5 { e'32\( a b d' e' } a'4.\)
}

[image of music]


Adding drum parts

Using the powerful pre-configured tools such as the \drummode function and the DrumStaff context, inputting drum parts is quite easy: drums are placed at their own staff positions (with a special clef symbol) and have note heads according to the drum. Attaching an extra symbol to the drum or restricting the number of lines is possible.

drh = \drummode { cymc4.^"crash" hhc16^"h.h." hh hhc8 hho hhc8 hh16 hh hhc4 r4 r2 }
drl = \drummode { bd4 sn8 bd bd4 << bd ss >>  bd8 tommh tommh bd toml toml bd tomfh16 tomfh }
timb = \drummode { timh4 ssh timl8 ssh r timh r4 ssh8 timl r4 cb8 cb }

\score {
  <<
    \new DrumStaff \with {
      drumStyleTable = #timbales-style
      \override StaffSymbol #'line-count = #2
      \override BarLine #'bar-size = #2
    } <<
      \set Staff.instrumentName = #"timbales"
      \timb
    >>
    \new DrumStaff <<
      \set Staff.instrumentName = #"drums"
      \new DrumVoice { \stemUp \drh }
      \new DrumVoice { \stemDown \drl }
    >>
  >>
  \layout { }
  \midi {
    \context {
      \Score
      tempoWholesPerMinute = #(ly:make-moment 120 4)
    }
  }
}

[image of music]


Automatic beam subdivisions

Beams can be subdivided automatically. By setting the property subdivideBeams, beams are subdivided at beat positions (as specified in beatLength).

\new Staff {
  \relative c'' {
    <<
      {
        \voiceOne
        \set subdivideBeams = ##t
        b32[ a g f c' b a g
        b32^"subdivide beams" a g f c' b a g]
      }
      \new Voice {
        \voiceTwo
        b32_"default"[ a g f c' b a g
        b32 a g f c' b a g]
      }
    >>
    \oneVoice
    \set beatLength = #(ly:make-moment 1 8)
    b32^"beatLength 1 8"[ a g f c' b a g]
    \set beatLength = #(ly:make-moment 1 16)
    b32^"beatLength 1 16"[ a g f c' b a g]
  }
}

[image of music]


Automatic beams two per two in 4/4 or 2/2 time signature

In a simple time signature of 2/2 or 4/4, 8th notes are beamed by default as two sets of four.

Using a macro which overrides the autobeaming behavior, this snippet changes the beaming to quarter note beats.

% Automatic beams two per two in 4/4 or 2/2 time signature
%              _____
% Default     | | | |
%              _   _
% Required    | | | |

% macro for beamed two per two in 2/2 and 4/4 time signature
qBeam = {
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end 1 8 * *) 1 4 'Staff)
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end 1 8 * *) 2 4 'Staff)
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end 1 8 * *) 3 4 'Staff)
}

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \relative c'' {
        \time 4/4
        g8-"without the macro" g g g g g g g
        g8 g g g4 g8 g g
      }
    }
    %Use the macro
    \new Staff {
      \relative c'' {
        \time 4/4
        \qBeam
        g8-"with the macro" g g g g g g g
        g8 g g g4 g8 g g
      }
    }
  >>
  \layout {
    \context {
      \Staff
      \override TimeSignature #'style = #'()
    }
  }
}

[image of music]


Avoiding collisions with chord fingerings

Fingerings and string numbers applied to individual notes will automatically avoid beams and stems, but this is not true by default for fingerings and string numbers applied to the individual notes of chords. The following example shows how this default behavior can be overridden.

\relative c' {
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(up)
  \set stringNumberOrientations = #'(up)
  \set strokeFingerOrientations = #'(up)
  
  % Default behavior
  r8
  <f c'-5>8
  <f c'\5>8
  <f c'-\rightHandFinger #2 >8
  
  % Corrected to avoid collisions
  r8
  \override Fingering #'add-stem-support = ##t
  <f c'-5>8
  \override StringNumber #'add-stem-support = ##t
  <f c'\5>8
  \override StrokeFinger #'add-stem-support = ##t
  <f c'-\rightHandFinger #2 >8
}

[image of music]


Beam endings in Score context

Beam-ending rules specified in the Score context apply to all staves, but can be modified at both Staff and Voice levels:

\relative c'' {
  \time 5/4
  % Set default beaming for all staves
  #(score-override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 5 4) 3 8)
  #(score-override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 5 4) 7 8)
  <<
    \new Staff {
      c8 c c c c c c c c c
    }
    \new Staff {
      % Modify beaming for just this staff
      #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 5 4) 6 8 'Staff)
      #(revert-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 5 4) 7 8 'Staff)
      c8 c c c c c c c c c
    }
    \new Staff {
      % Inherit beaming from Score context
      <<
        {
          \voiceOne
          c8 c c c c c c c c c
        }
        % Modify beaming for this voice only
        \new Voice {
          \voiceTwo
          #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 5 4) 6 8)
          #(revert-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 5 4) 7 8)
          a8 a a a a a a a a a
        }
      >>
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Beam grouping in 7/8 time

There are no default automatic beam groupings specified for 7/8 time, so if automatic beams are required the grouping must be specified. For example, to group all beams 2-3-2 in 7/8 time, specify beam endings at 2/8 and 5/8:

\relative c'' {
  \time 7/8
  % rhythm 2-3-2
  a8 a a a a a a
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 7 8) 2 8)
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 7 8) 5 8)
  a8 a a a a a a
}

[image of music]


Beams across line breaks

Line breaks are normally forbidden when beams cross bar lines. This behavior can be changed as shown:

\relative c'' {
  \override Beam #'breakable = ##t
  c8 c[ c] c[ c] c[ c] c[ \break  
  c8] c[ c] c[ c] c[ c] c
}

[image of music]


Changing beam knee gap

Kneed beams are inserted automatically when a large gap is detected between the note heads. This behavior can be tuned through the auto-knee-gap property. A kneed beam is drawn if the gap is larger than the value of auto-knee-gap plus the width of the beam object (which depends on the duration of the notes and the slope of the beam). By default auto-knee-gap is set to 5.5 staff spaces.

{
  f8 f''8 f8 f''8
  \override Beam #'auto-knee-gap = #6
  f8 f''8 f8 f''8
}

[image of music]


Changing form of multi-measure rests

If there are ten or fewer measures of rests, a series of longa and breve rests (called in German "Kirchenpausen" - church rests) is printed within the staff; otherwise a simple line is shown. This default number of ten may be changed by overriding the expand-limit property:

\relative c'' {
  \compressFullBarRests
  R1*2 | R1*5 | R1*9
  \override MultiMeasureRest #'expand-limit = #3
  R1*2 | R1*5 | R1*9
}

[image of music]


Changing text and spanner styles for text dynamics

The text used for crescendos and decrescendos can be changed by modifying the context properties crescendoText and decrescendoText. The style of the spanner line can be changed by modifying the 'style property of DynamicTextSpanner. The default value is 'hairpin, and other possible values include 'line, 'dashed-line and 'dotted-line:

\relative c'' {
  \set crescendoText = \markup { \italic { cresc. poco } }
  \set crescendoSpanner = #'text
  \override DynamicTextSpanner #'style = #'dotted-line
  a2\< a
  a2 a
  a2 a
  a2 a\mf
}

[image of music]


Changing the time signature without affecting the beaming

The \time command sets the properties timeSignatureFraction, beatLength, beatGrouping and measureLength in the Timing context, which is normally aliased to Score. Changing the value of timeSignatureFraction causes the new time signature symbol to be printed without changing any of the other properties:

\relative c'' {
  \time 3/4
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a

  % Change time signature symbol but keep 3/4 beaming
  % due to unchanged underlying time signature
  \set Score.timeSignatureFraction = #'(12 . 16)
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a

  \time 12/16
  % Lose 3/4 beaming now \time has been changed
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a
}

[image of music]


Changing the tuplet number

By default, only the numerator of the tuplet number is printed over the tuplet bracket, i.e., the denominator of the argument to the \times command. Alternatively, num:den of the tuplet number may be printed, or the tuplet number may be suppressed altogether.

\relative c'' {
  \times 2/3 { c8 c c }
  \times 2/3 { c8 c c }
  \override TupletNumber #'text = #tuplet-number::calc-fraction-text
  \times 2/3 { c8 c c }
  \override TupletNumber #'stencil = ##f
  \times 2/3 { c8 c c }
}

[image of music]


Changing time signatures inside a polymetric section using \scaleDurations

The measureLength property, together with measurePosition, determines when a bar line is needed. However, when using \scaleDurations, the scaling of durations makes it difficult to change time signatures. In this case, measureLength should be set manually, using the ly:make-moment callback. The second argument must be the same as the second argument of \scaleDurations.

\layout {
  \context {
    \Score
    \remove "Timing_translator"
    \remove "Default_bar_line_engraver"
  }
  \context {
    \Staff
    \consists "Timing_translator"
    \consists "Default_bar_line_engraver"
  }
}

<<
  \new Staff {
    \scaleDurations #'(8 . 5) {
      \time 6/8
      \set Timing.measureLength = #(ly:make-moment 6 5)
      b8 b b b b b
      \time 2/4
      \set Timing.measureLength = #(ly:make-moment 4 5)
      b4 b
    }
  }
  \new Staff {
    \clef bass
    \time 2/4
    c2 d e f
  }
>>

[image of music]


Chant or psalms notation

This form of notation is used for the chant of the Psalms, where verses aren’t always the same length.

stemOn = { \revert Staff.Stem #'transparent }
stemOff = { \override Staff.Stem #'transparent = ##t }

\score {
  \new Staff \with { \remove "Time_signature_engraver" }
  {
    \key g \minor
    \cadenzaOn
    \stemOff a'\breve bes'4 g'4
    \stemOn a'2 \bar "||"
    \stemOff a'\breve g'4 a'4
    \stemOn f'2 \bar "||"
    \stemOff a'\breve^\markup { \italic flexe }
    \stemOn g'2 \bar "||"
  }
}

[image of music]


Compound time signatures

Odd 20th century time signatures (such as "5/8") can often be played as compound time signatures (e.g. "3/8 + 2/8"), which combine two or more inequal metrics. LilyPond can make such music quite easy to read and play, by explicitly printing the compound time signatures and adapting the automatic beaming behavior. (Graphic measure grouping indications can also be added; see the appropriate snippet in this database.)

#(define ((compound-time one two num) grob)
  (grob-interpret-markup grob
    (markup #:override '(baseline-skip . 0) #:number
      (#:line (
          (#:column (one num))
          #:vcenter "+"
          (#:column (two num))))
      )))

\relative c' {
  \override Staff.TimeSignature #'stencil = #(compound-time "2" "3" "8")
  \time 5/8
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end 1 8 5 8) 1 4)
  c8 d e fis gis
  c8 fis, gis e d
  c8 d e4 gis8
}

[image of music]


Conducting signs, measure grouping signs

Options to group beats within a bar are available through the Scheme function set-time-signature, which takes three arguments: the number of beats, the beat length, and the internal grouping of beats in the measure. If the Measure_grouping_engraver is included, the function will also create MeasureGrouping signs. Such signs ease reading rhythmically complex modern music. In the example, the 9/8 measure is subdivided in 2, 2, 2 and 3. This is passed to set-time-signature as the third argument: '(2 2 2 3):

\score {
  \relative c'' {
    #(set-time-signature 9 8 '(2 2 2 3))
    #(revert-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 9 8) 3 8)
    #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end 1 8 9 8) 1 4)
    #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end 1 8 9 8) 2 4)
    #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end 1 8 9 8) 3 4)
    g8 g d d g g a( bes g) |
    #(set-time-signature 5 8 '(3 2))
    a4. g4
  }
  \layout {
    \context {
      \Staff
      \consists "Measure_grouping_engraver"
    }
  }
}

[image of music]


Controlling tuplet bracket visibility

The default behavior of tuplet-bracket visibility is to print a bracket unless there is a beam of the same length as the tuplet. To control the visibility of tuplet brackets, set the property 'bracket-visibility to either #t (always print a bracket), #f (never print a bracket) or #'if-no-beam (only print a bracket if there is no beam).

music = \relative c'' {
  \times 2/3 { c16[ d e } f8]
  \times 2/3 { c8 d e }
  \times 2/3 { c4 d e }
}

\new Voice {
  \relative c' {
    << \music s4^"default" >>
    \override TupletBracket #'bracket-visibility = #'if-no-beam
    << \music s4^"'if-no-beam" >>
    \override TupletBracket #'bracket-visibility = ##t
    << \music s4^"#t" >>
    \override TupletBracket #'bracket-visibility = ##f
    << \music s4^"#f" >>
  }
} 

[image of music]


Engraving ties manually

Ties may be engraved manually by changing the tie-configuration property of the TieColumn object. The first number indicates the distance from the center of the staff in staff-spaces, and the second number indicates the direction (1 = up, -1 = down).

\relative c' {
  <c e g>2 ~ <c e g>
  \override TieColumn #'tie-configuration =
    #'((0.0 . 1) (-2.0 . 1) (-4.0 . 1))
  <c e g> ~ <c e g>
}

[image of music]


Entering several tuplets using only one \times command

The property tupletSpannerDuration sets how long each of the tuplets contained within the brackets after \times should last. Many consecutive tuplets can then be placed within a single \times expression, thus saving typing.

In the example, two triplets are shown, while \times was entered only once.

For more information about make-moment, see "Time administration".

\relative c' {
  \time 2/4
  \set tupletSpannerDuration = #(ly:make-moment 1 4)
  \times 2/3 { c8 c c c c c }
}

[image of music]


Flat flags and beam nibs

Flat flags on lone notes and beam nibs at the ends of beamed figures are both possible with a combination of stemLeftBeamCount, stemRightBeamCount and paired [] beam indicators.

For right-pointing flat flags on lone notes, use paired [] beam indicators and set stemLeftBeamCount to zero (see Example 1).

For left-pointing flat flags, set stemRightBeamCount instead (Example 2).

For right-pointing nibs at the end of a run of beamed notes, set stemRightBeamCount to a positive value. And for left-pointing nibs at the start of a run of beamed notes, set stemLeftBeamCount instead (Example 3).

Sometimes it may make sense for a lone note surrounded by rests to carry both a left- and right-pointing flat flag. Do this with paired [] beam indicators alone (Example 4).

(Note that \set stemLeftBeamCount is always equivalent to \once \set. In other words, the beam count settings are not "sticky", so the pair of flat flags attached to the lone c'16[] in the last example have nothing to do with the \set two notes prior.)

\score {
  <<
    % Example 1
    \new RhythmicStaff {
      \set stemLeftBeamCount = #0
      c16[]
      r8.
    }
    
    % Example 2
    \new RhythmicStaff {
      r8.
      \set stemRightBeamCount = #0
      c16[]
    }
    
    % Example 3
    \new RhythmicStaff {
      c16 c
      \set stemRightBeamCount = #2
      c16 r r
      \set stemLeftBeamCount = #2
      c16 c c
    }
    
    % Example 4
    \new RhythmicStaff {
      c16 c
      \set stemRightBeamCount = #2
      c16 r
      c16[]
      r16
      \set stemLeftBeamCount = #2
      c16 c
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Forcing rehearsal marks to start from a given letter or number

This snippet demonstrates how to obtain automatic ordered rehearsal marks, but from the letter or number desired.

\relative c''{
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark #14
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  \break
  \set Score.markFormatter = #format-mark-numbers
  c1 \mark #1
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark #14
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
  c1 \mark \default
}

[image of music]


Grouping beats

Beaming patterns may be altered with the beatGrouping property:

\relative c'' {
  \time 5/16
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 5 16) 5 16)
  \set beatGrouping = #'(2 3)
  c8^"(2+3)" c16 c8
  \set beatGrouping = #'(3 2)
  c8^"(3+2)" c16 c8
}

[image of music]


Guitar strum rhythms

For guitar music, it is possible to show strum rhythms, along with melody notes, chord names, and fret diagrams.

\include "predefined-guitar-fretboards.ly"
<<
  \new ChordNames {
    \chordmode {
      c1 f g c
    }
  }
  \new FretBoards {
    \chordmode {
      c1 f g c
    }
  }
  \new Voice \with {
    \consists "Pitch_squash_engraver"
  } {
    \relative c'' {
      \improvisationOn
      c4 c8 c c4 c8 c
      f4 f8 f f4 f8 f
      g4 g8 g g4 g8 g
      c4 c8 c c4 c8 c
    }
  }
  \new Voice = "melody" {
    \relative c'' {
      c2 e4 e4
      f2. r4
      g2. a4
      e4 c2.
    }
  }
  \new Lyrics {
    \lyricsto "melody" {
      This is my song.
      I like to sing.
    }
  }
>>

[image of music]


Heavily customized polymetric time signatures

Though the polymetric time signature shown was not the most essential item here, it has been included to show the beat of this piece (which is the template of a real Balkan song!).

#(define plus (markup #:vcenter "+"))
#(define ((custom-time-signature one two three four five six
           seven eight nine ten eleven num) grob)
            (grob-interpret-markup grob
              (markup #:override '(baseline-skip . 0) #:number
                (#:line (
                    (#:column (one num)) plus
                    (#:column (two num)) plus
                    (#:column (three num)) plus
                    (#:column (four num)) plus
                    (#:column (five num)) plus
                    (#:column (six num)) plus
                    (#:column (seven num)) plus
                    (#:column (eight num)) plus
                    (#:column (nine num)) plus
                    (#:column (ten num)) plus
                    (#:column (eleven num))))
                )))

melody = \relative c'' {
  \set Staff.instrumentName = #"Bb Sop."
  \key g \major
  #(set-time-signature 25 8 '(3 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 2 2))
  \override Staff.TimeSignature #'stencil =
    #(custom-time-signature "3" "2" "2" "3" "2" "2"
      "2" "2" "3" "2" "2" "8")
  c8 c c d4 c8 c b c b a4 g fis8 e d c b' c d e4-^ fis8 g \break
  c,4. d4 c4 d4. c4 d c2 d4. e4-^ d4
  c4. d4 c4 d4. c4 d c2 d4. e4-^ d4 \break
  c4. d4 c4 d4. c4 d c2 d4. e4-^ d4
  c4. d4 c4 d4. c4 d c2 d4. e4-^ d4 \break
}

drum = \new DrumStaff \drummode {
  \bar "|:" bd4.^\markup { "Drums" } sn4 bd \bar ":" sn4.
  bd4 sn \bar ":" bd sn bd4. sn4 bd \bar ":|"
}

{
  \melody
  \drum
}

[image of music]


Making an object invisible with the transparent property

Setting the 'transparent property will cause an object to be printed in "invisible ink": the object is not printed, but all its other behavior is retained. The object still takes up space, it takes part in collisions, and slurs, ties and beams can be attached to it.

This snippet demonstrates how to connect different voices using ties. Normally, ties only connect two notes in the same voice. By introducing a tie in a different voice, and blanking the first up-stem in that voice, the tie appears to cross voices. To prevent the blanked stem’s flag from interfering with tie positioning, the stem is extended.

\relative c'' {
  \time 2/4
  <<
    {
      \once \override Stem #'transparent = ##t
      \once \override Stem #'length = #8
      b8 ~ b\noBeam
      \once \override Stem #'transparent = ##t
      \once \override Stem #'length = #8
      g8 ~ g\noBeam
    }
    \\
    {
      b8 g g e
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Manually controlling beam positions

Beam positions may be controlled manually, by overriding the positions setting of the Beam grob.

\relative c' {
  \time 2/4
  % from upper staff-line (position 2) to center (position 0)
  \override Beam #'positions = #'(2 . 0)
  c8 c
  % from center to one above center (position 1)
  \override Beam #'positions = #'(0 . 1)
  c8 c
}

[image of music]


Merging multi-measure rests in a polyphonic part

When using multi-measure rests in a polyphonic staff, the rests will be placed differently depending on the voice they belong to. However they can be printed on the same staff line, using the following setting.

normalPos = \revert MultiMeasureRest #'staff-position

{
  <<
    {
      c''1
      R1
      c''1
      \normalPos
      R1
    }
    \\
    {
      c'1
      R1
      c'1
      \normalPos
      R1
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Modifying tuplet bracket length

Tuplet brackets can be made to run to prefatory matter or the next note. Default tuplet brackets end at the right edge of the final note of the tuplet; full-length tuplet brackets extend farther to the right, either to cover all the non-rhythmic notation up to the following note, or to cover only the whitespace before the next item of notation, be that a clef, time signature, key signature, or another note. The example shows how to switch tuplets to full length mode and how to modify what material they cover.

\new RhythmicStaff {
  % Set tuplets to be extendable...
  \set tupletFullLength = ##t
  % ...to cover all items up to the next note
  \set tupletFullLengthNote = ##t
  \time 2/4
  \times 2/3 { c4 c c }
  % ...or to cover just whitespace
  \set tupletFullLengthNote = ##f
  \time 4/4
  \times 4/5 { c4 c1 }
  \time 3/4
  c2.
}

[image of music]


Multi-measure rest markup

Markups attached to a multi-measure rest will be centered above or below it. Long markups attached to multi-measure rests do not cause the measure to expand. To expand a multi-measure rest to fit the markup, use a spacer rest with an attached markup before the multi-measure rest.

Note that the spacer rest causes a bar line to be inserted. Text attached to a spacer rest in this way is left-aligned to the position where the note would be placed in the measure, but if the measure length is determined by the length of the text, the text will appear to be centered.

\relative c' {
  \compressFullBarRests
  \textLengthOn
  s1*0^\markup { [MAJOR GENERAL] }
  R1*19
  s1*0_\markup { \italic { Cue: ... it is yours } }
  s1*0^\markup { A }
  R1*30^\markup { [MABEL] }
  \textLengthOff
  c4^\markup { CHORUS } d f c
}

[image of music]


Permitting line breaks within beamed tuplets

This artificial example shows how both manual and automatic line breaks may be permitted to within a beamed tuplet. Note that such off-beat tuplets have to be beamed manually.

\layout {
  \context {
    \Voice
    % Permit line breaks within tuplets
    \remove "Forbid_line_break_engraver"
    % Allow beams to be broken at line breaks
    \override Beam #'breakable = ##t
  }
}
\relative c'' {
  a8
  \repeat unfold 5 { \times 2/3 { c[ b a] } }
  % Insert a manual line break within a tuplet
  \times 2/3 { c[ b \bar "" \break a] }
  \repeat unfold 5 { \times 2/3 { c[ b a] } }
  c8
}

[image of music]


Positioning multi-measure rests

Unlike ordinary rests, there is no predefined command to change the staff position of a multi-measure rest symbol of either form by attaching it to a note. However, in polyphonic music multi-measure rests in odd-numbered and even-numbered voices are vertically separated. The positioning of multi-measure rests can be controlled as follows:

\relative c'' {
  % Multi-measure rests by default are set under the second line
  R1
  % They can be moved with an override
  \override MultiMeasureRest #'staff-position = #-2
  R1
  % A value of 0 is the default position;
  % the following trick moves the rest to the center line
  \override MultiMeasureRest #'staff-position = #-0.01
  R1
  % Multi-measure rests in odd-numbered voices are under the top line
  << { R1 } \\ { a1 } >>
  % Multi-measure rests in even-numbered voices are under the bottom line
  << { c1 } \\ { R1 } >>
  % They remain separated even in empty measures
  << { R1 } \\ { R1 } >>
  % This brings them together even though there are two voices
  \compressFullBarRests
  <<
    \revert MultiMeasureRest #'staff-position
    { R1*3 }
    \\
    \revert MultiMeasureRest #'staff-position
    { R1*3 }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Printing metronome and rehearsal marks below the staff

By default, metronome and rehearsal marks are printed above the staff. To place them below the staff simply set the direction property of MetronomeMark or RehearsalMark appropriately.

\layout { ragged-right = ##f }

{
  % Metronome marks below the staff 
  \override Score.MetronomeMark #'direction = #DOWN
  \tempo 8. = 120
  c''1

  % Rehearsal marks below the staff
  \override Score.RehearsalMark #'direction = #DOWN
  \mark \default
  c''1
}

[image of music]


Printing music with different time signatures

In the following snippet, two parts have a completely different time signature, yet remain synchronized. The bar lines can no longer be printed at the Score level; to allow independent bar lines in each part, the Default_barline_engraver and Timing_translator are moved from the Score context to the Staff context.

\paper {
  indent = #0
  ragged-right = ##t
}

global = { \time 3/4 { s2.*3 } \bar "" \break { s2.*3 } }

\layout {
  \context {
    \Score
    \remove "Timing_translator"
    \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
    \remove "Default_bar_line_engraver"
    \override SpacingSpanner #'uniform-stretching = ##t
    \override SpacingSpanner #'strict-note-spacing = ##t
    proportionalNotationDuration = #(ly:make-moment 1 64)
  }
  \context {
    \Staff
    \consists "Timing_translator"
    \consists "Default_bar_line_engraver"
    \consists "Time_signature_engraver"
  }
  \context {
    \Voice
    \remove "Forbid_line_break_engraver"
    tupletFullLength = ##t
  }
}

Bassklarinette = \new Staff <<
  \global {
    \bar "|"
    \clef treble
    \time 3/8
    d''4.
    
    \bar "|"
    \time 3/4
    r8 des''2( c''8)
    
    \bar "|"
    \time 7/8
    r4. ees''2 ~
    
    \bar "|"
    \time 2/4
    \tupletUp
    \times 2/3 { ees''4 r4 d''4 ~ }
    
    \bar "|"
    \time 3/8
    \tupletUp
    \times 3/4 { d''4 r4 }
    
    \bar "|"
    \time 2/4
    e''2
    
    \bar "|"
    \time 3/8
    es''4.
    
    \bar "|"
    \time 3/4
    r8 d''2 r8
    \bar "|"
  }
>>

Perkussion = \new StaffGroup <<
  \new Staff <<
    \global {
      \bar "|"
      \clef percussion
      \time 3/4
      r4 c'2 ~
      
      \bar "|"
      c'2.
      
      \bar "|"
      R2.
      
      \bar "|"
      r2 g'4 ~
      
      \bar "|"
      g'2. ~
      
      \bar "|"
      g'2.
    }
  >>
  \new Staff <<
    \global {
      \bar "|"
      \clef percussion
      \time 3/4
      R2.
      
      \bar "|"
      g'2. ~
      
      \bar "|"
      g'2.
      
      \bar "|"
      r4 g'2 ~
      
      \bar "|"
      g'2 r4
      
      \bar "|"
      g'2.
    }
  >>
>>

\score {
  <<
    \Bassklarinette
    \Perkussion
  >>
}

[image of music]


Rest styles

Rests may be used in various styles.

\layout {
  indent = 0.0
  \context {
    \Staff
    \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
  }
}

\new Staff \relative c {
  \cadenzaOn
  \override Staff.Rest #'style = #'mensural
  r\maxima^\markup \typewriter { mensural }
  r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 s32 s64 s128 s128
  \bar ""
  
  \override Staff.Rest #'style = #'neomensural
  r\maxima^\markup \typewriter { neomensural }
  r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 s32 s64 s128 s128
  \bar ""
  
  \override Staff.Rest #'style = #'classical
  r\maxima^\markup \typewriter { classical }
  r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 r32 r64 r128 s128
  \bar ""
  
  \override Staff.Rest  #'style = #'default
  r\maxima^\markup \typewriter { default }
  r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 r32 r64 r128 s128
}

[image of music]


Reverting default beam endings

To typeset beams grouped 3-4-3-2 in 12/8 it is necessary first to override the default beam endings in 12/8, and then to set up the new beaming endings:

\relative c'' {
  \time 12/8

  % Default beaming
  a8 a a a a a a a a a a a

  % Revert default values in scm/auto-beam.scm for 12/8 time
  #(revert-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 12 8) 3 8)
  #(revert-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 12 8) 3 4)
  #(revert-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 12 8) 9 8)
  a8 a a a a a a a a a a a

  % Set new values for beam endings
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 12 8) 3 8)
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 12 8) 7 8)
  #(override-auto-beam-setting '(end * * 12 8) 10 8)
  a8 a a a a a a a a a a a
}

[image of music]


Rhythmic slashes

In "simple" lead-sheets, sometimes no actual notes are written, instead only "rhythmic patterns" and chords above the measures are notated giving the structure of a song. Such a feature is for example useful while creating/transcribing the structure of a song and also when sharing lead sheets with guitarists or jazz musicians. The standard support for this using \repeat percent is unsuitable here since the first beat has to be an ordinary note or rest. This example shows two solutions to this problem, by redefining ordinary rests to be printed as slashes. (If the duration of each beat is not a quarter note, replace the r4 in the definitions with a rest of the appropriate duration).

% Macro to print single slash
rs = {
  \once \override Rest #'stencil = #ly:percent-repeat-item-interface::beat-slash
  \once \override Rest #'thickness = #0.48
  \once \override Rest #'slope = #1.7
  r4
}

% Function to print a specified number of slashes
comp = #(define-music-function (parser location count) ( integer?)
  #{
    \override Rest #'stencil = #ly:percent-repeat-item-interface::beat-slash
    \override Rest #'thickness = #0.48
    \override Rest #'slope = #1.7
    \repeat unfold $count { r4 }
    \revert Rest #'stencil
  #}
)

\score {
  \relative c' {
    c4 d e f |
    \rs \rs \rs \rs |
    \comp #4 |
  }
}

[image of music]


Skips in lyric mode (2)

Although s skips cannot be used in \lyricmode (it is taken to be a literal "s", not a space), double quotes ("") or underscores (_) are available.So for example:

<<
  \relative c'' { a4 b c d }
  \new Lyrics \lyricmode { a4 "" _ gap }
>>

[image of music]


Skips in lyric mode

The s syntax for skips is only available in note mode and chord mode. In other situations, for example, when entering lyrics, using the \skip command is recommended.

<<
  \relative { a'1 a }
  \new Lyrics \lyricmode { \skip 1 bla1 }
>>

[image of music]


Specifying context with beatGrouping

By specifying the context, the effect of beatGrouping can be limited to the context specified, and the values which may have been set in higher-level contexts can be overridden. The \set commands must be placed after all \time commands:

\score {
  \new Staff <<
    \time 7/8
    \new Voice {
      \relative c'' {
        \set Staff.beatGrouping = #'(2 3 2)
        a8 a a a a a a
      }
    }
    \new Voice {
      \relative c' {
        \voiceTwo
        \set beatGrouping = #'(1 3 3)
        f8 f f f f f f
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Stemlets

In some notational conventions beams are allowed to extend over rests. Depending on preference, these beams may drop ’stemlets’ to help the eye appreciate the rhythm better, and in some modern music the rest itself is omitted and only the stemlet remains.

This snippet shows a progression from traditional notation, to beams over the rest, to stemlets over the rest, to stemlets alone. Stemlets are generated by overriding the 'stemlet-length property of Stem, while rests are hidden by setting 'transparent = ##t.

Some \markup elements are included in the source to highlight the different notations.

\paper { ragged-right = ##f }

{
  c'16^\markup { traditional } d' r f'
  g'16[^\markup { beams over rests } f' r d']
  
  % N.B. use Score.Stem to set for the whole score.
  \override Staff.Stem #'stemlet-length = #0.75
  
  c'16[^\markup { stemlets over rests } d' r f']
  g'16[^\markup { stemlets and no rests } f' \once \override Rest #'transparent = ##t r d']
}

[image of music]


Sub-dividing beams

The beams of consecutive 16th (or shorter) notes are, by default, not sub-divided. That is, the three (or more) beams stretch unbroken over entire groups of notes. This behavior can be modified to sub-divide the beams into sub-groups by setting the property subdivideBeams. When set, multiple beams will be sub-divided at intervals defined by the current value of beatLength by reducing the multiple beams to just one beam between the sub-groups. Note that beatLength defaults to one over the denominator of the current time signature if not set explicitly. It must be set to a fraction giving the duration of the beam sub-group using the make-moment function, as shown here:

\relative c'' {
  c32[ c c c c c c c]
  \set subdivideBeams = ##t
  c32[ c c c c c c c]

  % Set beam sub-group length to an eighth note
  \set beatLength = #(ly:make-moment 1 8)
  c32[ c c c c c c c]

  % Set beam sub-group length to a sixteenth note
  \set beatLength = #(ly:make-moment 1 16)
  c32[ c c c c c c c]
}

[image of music]


Three-sided box

This example shows how to add a markup command to get a three sided box around some text (or other markup).

% New command to add a three sided box, with sides north, west and south
% Based on the box-stencil command defined in scm/stencil.scm
% Note that ";" is used to comment a line in Scheme
#(define-public (NWS-box-stencil stencil thickness padding)
  "Add a box around STENCIL, producing a new stencil."
  (let* ((x-ext (interval-widen (ly:stencil-extent stencil 0) padding))
         (y-ext (interval-widen (ly:stencil-extent stencil 1) padding))
         (y-rule (make-filled-box-stencil (cons 0 thickness) y-ext))
         (x-rule (make-filled-box-stencil
                  (interval-widen x-ext thickness) (cons 0 thickness))))
;    (set! stencil (ly:stencil-combine-at-edge stencil X 1 y-rule padding))
    (set! stencil (ly:stencil-combine-at-edge stencil X -1 y-rule padding))
    (set! stencil (ly:stencil-combine-at-edge stencil Y 1 x-rule 0.0))
    (set! stencil (ly:stencil-combine-at-edge stencil Y -1 x-rule 0.0))
    stencil))

% The corresponding markup command, based on the \box command defined 
% in scm/define-markup-commands.scm
#(define-markup-command (NWS-box layout props arg) (markup?)
  "Draw a box round @var{arg}.  Looks at @code{thickness},
@code{box-padding} and @code{font-size} properties to determine line
thickness and padding around the markup."  
  (let* ((th (chain-assoc-get 'thickness props  0.1))
         (size (chain-assoc-get 'font-size props 0))
         (pad (* (magstep size)
                 (chain-assoc-get 'box-padding props 0.2)))
         (m (interpret-markup layout props arg)))
    (NWS-box-stencil m th pad)))

% Test it:

\layout { ragged-right = ##f }
\relative c' {
  c2^\markup { \NWS-box ABCD }
  c2^\markup { \NWS-box \note #"4" #1.0 }
}

[image of music]


Using beatLength and beatGrouping

The property measureLength determines where bar lines should be inserted and, with beatLength and beatGrouping, how automatic beams should be generated for beam durations and time signatures for which no beam-ending rules are defined. This example shows several ways of controlling beaming by setting these properties. The explanations are shown as comments in the code.

\relative c'' {
  \time 3/4
  % The default in 3/4 time is to beam in three groups
  % each of a quarter note length
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a

  \time 12/16
  % No auto-beaming is defined for 12/16
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a

  \time 3/4
  % Change time signature symbol, but retain underlying 3/4 beaming
  \set Score.timeSignatureFraction = #'(12 . 16)
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a

  % The 3/4 time default grouping of (1 1 1) and beatLength of 1/8
  % are not consistent with a measureLength of 3/4, so the beams
  % are grouped at beatLength intervals
  \set Score.beatLength = #(ly:make-moment 1 8)
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a

  % Specify beams in groups of (3 3 2 3) 1/16th notes
  % 3+3+2+3=11, and 11*1/16<>3/4, so beatGrouping does not apply,
  % and beams are grouped at beatLength (1/16) intervals
  \set Score.beatLength = #(ly:make-moment 1 16)
  \set Score.beatGrouping = #'(3 3 2 3)
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a

  % Specify beams in groups of (3 4 2 3) 1/16th notes
  % 3+4+2+3=12, and 12*1/16=3/4, so beatGrouping applies
  \set Score.beatLength = #(ly:make-moment 1 16)
  \set Score.beatGrouping = #'(3 4 2 3)
  a16 a a a a a a a a a a a
}

[image of music]


Using ties with arpeggios

Ties are sometimes used to write out arpeggios. In this case, two tied notes need not be consecutive. This can be achieved by setting the tieWaitForNote property to #t. The same feature is also useful, for example, to tie a tremolo to a chord, but in principle, it can also be used for ordinary consecutive notes.

\relative c' {
  \set tieWaitForNote = ##t
  \grace { c16[ ~ e ~ g] ~ } <c, e g>2
  \repeat tremolo 8 { c32 ~ c' ~ } <c c,>1
  e8 ~ c ~ a ~ f ~ <e' c a f>2
  \tieUp
  c8 ~ a
  \tieDown
  \tieDotted
  g8 ~ c g2
}

[image of music]


Snippets List