10.7.3 Debugging Scheme code

Scheme code can be developed using the Guile command line interpreter top-repl. You can either investigate interactively using just Guile or you can use the debugging tools available within Guile.

Using Guile interactively with LilyPond

In order to experiment with Scheme programming in the LilyPond environment, it is necessary to have a Guile interpreter that has all the LilyPond modules loaded. This requires the following steps.

First, define a Scheme symbol for the active module in the ‘.ly’ file:

#(module-define! (resolve-module '(guile-user))
                 'lilypond-module (current-module))

Now place a Scheme function in the ‘.ly’ file that gives an interactive Guile prompt:


When the ‘.ly’ file is compiled, this causes the compilation to be interrupted and an interactive guile prompt to appear. Once the guile prompt appears, the LilyPond active module must be set as the current guile module:

guile> (set-current-module lilypond-module)

You can demonstrate these commands are operating properly by typing the name of a LilyPond public scheme function to check it has been defined:

guile> fret-diagram-verbose-markup
#<procedure fret-diagram-verbose-markup (layout props marking-list)>

If the LilyPond module has not been correctly loaded, an error message will be generated:

guile> fret-diagram-verbose-markup
ERROR: Unbound variable: fret-diagram-verbose-markup
ABORT: (unbound-variable)

Once the module is properly loaded, any valid LilyPond Scheme expression can be entered at the interactive prompt.

After the investigation is complete, the interactive guile interpreter can be exited:

guile> (quit)

The compilation of the ‘.ly’ file will then continue.

Using the Guile debugger

To set breakpoints and/or enable tracing in Scheme functions, put

\include "guile-debugger.ly"

in your input file after any scheme procedures you have defined in that file. This will invoke the Guile command-line after having set up the environment for the debug command-line. When your input file is processed, a guile prompt will be displayed. You may now enter commands to set up breakpoints and enable tracing by the Guile debugger.

Using breakpoints

At the guile prompt, you can set breakpoints with the set-break! procedure:

guile> (set-break! my-scheme-procedure)

Once you have set the desired breakpoints, you exit the guile repl frame by typing:

guile> (quit)

Then, when one of the scheme routines for which you have set breakpoints is entered, guile will interrupt execution in a debug frame. At this point you will have access to Guile debugging commands. For a listing of these commands, type:

debug> help

Alternatively you may code the breakpoints in your Lilypond source file using a command such as:

#(set-break! my-scheme-procedure)

immediately after the \include statement. In this case the breakpoint will be set straight after you enter the (quit) command at the guile prompt.

Embedding breakpoint commands like this is particularly useful if you want to look at how the Scheme procedures in the ‘.scm’ files supplied with LilyPond work. To do this, edit the file in the relevant directory to add this line near the top:

(use-modules (scm guile-debugger))

Now you can set a breakpoint after the procedure you are interested in has been declared. For example, if you are working on routines called by print-book-with in ‘lily-library.scm’:

(define (print-book-with book process-procedure)
  (let* ((paper (ly:parser-lookup '$defaultpaper))
         (layout (ly:parser-lookup '$defaultlayout))
         (outfile-name (get-outfile-name book)))
    (process-procedure book paper layout outfile-name)))

(define-public (print-book-with-defaults book)
  (print-book-with book ly:book-process))

(define-public (print-book-with-defaults-as-systems book)
  (print-book-with book ly:book-process-to-systems))

At this point in the code you could add this to set a breakpoint at print-book-with:

(set-break! print-book-with)

Tracing procedure calls and evaluator steps

Two forms of trace are available:

(set-trace-call! my-scheme-procedure)


(set-trace-subtree! my-scheme-procedure)

set-trace-call! causes Scheme to log a line to the standard output to show when the procedure is called and when it exits.

set-trace-subtree! traces every step the Scheme evaluator performs in evaluating the procedure.

LilyPond — Contributor’s Guide v2.19.22 (development-branch).