Ancient notation

Ancient notation


Adding a figured bass above or below the notes

When writing a figured bass, you can place the figures above or below the bass notes, by defining the BassFigureAlignmentPositioning.direction property (exclusively in a Staff context). Choices are #UP (or #1), #CENTER (or #0) and #DOWN (or #-1).

This property can be changed as many times as you wish. Use \once \override if you don’t want the override to apply to the whole score.

bass = {
  \clef bass
  g4 b, c d
  e d8 c d2
}

continuo = \figuremode {
  <_>4 <6>4 <5/>4
  \override Staff.BassFigureAlignmentPositioning.direction = #UP
  %\bassFigureStaffAlignmentUp
  < _+ >4 <6>
  \set Staff.useBassFigureExtenders = ##t
  \override Staff.BassFigureAlignmentPositioning.direction = #DOWN
  %\bassFigureStaffAlignmentDown
  <4>4. <4>8 <_+>4
}

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff = bassStaff \bass
    \context Staff = bassStaff \continuo
  >>
}

[image of music]


Ancient fonts

Shown here are many (all?) of the symbols that are included in LilyPond’s support for ancient notation.

upperStaff = \new VaticanaStaff = "upperStaff" <<
  \context VaticanaVoice <<
    \transpose c c {

      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.punctum
      \key es \major
      \clef "vaticana-fa2"
      c1 des e f ges

      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.inclinatum
      a! b ces'
      \bar "|"

      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.quilisma
      b! des'! ges! fes!
      \breathe
      \clef "vaticana-fa1"
      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.plica
      es d
      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.reverse.plica
      c d
      \bar "|"

      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.punctum.cavum
      es f
      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.lpes
      g as
      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.upes
      bes as
      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.vupes
      g f
      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.linea.punctum
      \once \override Staff.BarLine.bar-extent = #'(-1 . 1) \bar "|"

      es d
      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.epiphonus
      c d
      \override NoteHead.style = #'vaticana.cephalicus
      es f

      \override Staff.KeySignature.glyph-name-alist = #alteration-medicaea-glyph-name-alist
      \override Staff.Accidental.glyph-name-alist = #alteration-medicaea-glyph-name-alist
      \override Staff.Custos.style = #'medicaea
      \override NoteHead.style = #'medicaea.punctum
      \clef "medicaea-fa2"
      ces des
      \bar "|"

      e! f! ges
      \clef "medicaea-do2"
      \override NoteHead.style = #'medicaea.inclinatum
      a! b! ces'
      \override NoteHead.style = #'medicaea.virga
      b! a!
      \bar "|"

      ges fes
      \clef "medicaea-fa1"
      \override NoteHead.style = #'medicaea.rvirga
      e des ces

      \override Staff.KeySignature.glyph-name-alist = #alteration-hufnagel-glyph-name-alist
      \override Staff.Accidental.glyph-name-alist = #alteration-hufnagel-glyph-name-alist
      \override Staff.Custos.style = #'hufnagel
      \override NoteHead.style = #'hufnagel.punctum
      \clef "hufnagel-fa2"
      ces des es
      \bar "|"

      fes ges
      \clef "hufnagel-do2"
      \override NoteHead.style = #'hufnagel.lpes
      as! bes! ces'
      \override NoteHead.style = #'hufnagel.virga
      bes! as!
      \bar "|"

      ges! fes!
      \clef "hufnagel-do-fa"
      \override NoteHead.style = #'hufnagel.punctum
      es! des ces des! es! fes!
      \bar "||"

      s32*1
    }
  >>
>>

lowerStaff = \new MensuralStaff = "lowerStaff" <<
  \context MensuralVoice <<
    \transpose c c {

      \key a \major
      cis'1 d'\breve gis'\breve e'\breve \[ e'\longa fis'\longa \]
      \set Staff.forceClef = ##t
      \clef "neomensural-c2"
      cis1
      \bar "|"

      \[ g\breve dis''\longa \]
      b\breve \[ a\longa d\longa \]
      \clef "petrucci-c2"

      fis1 ces1
      \clef "petrucci-c2"
      r\longa
      \set Staff.forceClef = ##t
      \clef "mensural-c2"
      r\breve
      \bar "|"

      r2
      \clef "mensural-g"
      r4 r8 r16 r16
      \override NoteHead.style = #'mensural
      \override Rest.style = #'mensural
      \clef "petrucci-f"
      c8 b, c16 b, c32 b, c64 b, c64 b,
      d8 e d16 e d32 e d64 e d64 e
      r\longa
      \set Staff.forceClef = ##t
      \clef "petrucci-f"
      r\breve
      \bar "|"

      r\breve
      \clef "mensural-f"
      r2 r4 r8 r16 r16

      \set Staff.forceClef = ##t
      \clef "mensural-f"
      e\breve f g a1
      \clef "mensural-g"

      \[ bes'!\longa a'!\longa c''!\longa \]
      e'1 d' c' d' \bar "|"
      \bar "|"

      bes'!\longa fis'!1 as'!1 ges'!\longa % lig
      \set Staff.forceClef = ##t
      \clef "mensural-g"
      e'2 d' c' \bar "|"

      \set Staff.forceClef = ##t
      \clef "petrucci-g"
      c'2 d' e' f'
      \clef "petrucci-g"
      g' as'! bes'! cis''!
      bes'! as'! gis'! fis'!
      \set Staff.forceClef = ##t
      \clef "mensural-g"
      es'! des'! cis'!1 \bar "||"
    }
  >>
>>

\paper {
  line-thickness = #(/ staff-space 5.0)
}

\score {
  <<
    \upperStaff
    \lowerStaff
  >>
  \layout {
    indent = 0.0
    line-width = 17.25\cm
    \context {
      \Score
      timing = ##f
    }
    \context {
      \MensuralVoice
      \override NoteHead.style = #'neomensural
      \override Rest.style = #'neomensural
      \override Flag.style = #'mensural
      \override Stem.thickness = #1.0
    }
    \context {
      \MensuralStaff
      \revert  BarLine.transparent
      \override KeySignature.glyph-name-alist = #alteration-mensural-glyph-name-alist
      clefGlyph = #"clefs.petrucci.c2"
    }
    \context {
      \VaticanaStaff
      \revert  BarLine.transparent
      \override StaffSymbol.thickness = #2.0
      \override KeySignature.glyph-name-alist = #alteration-vaticana-glyph-name-alist
      \override Custos.neutral-position = #4
    }
  }
}

[image of music]


Ancient notation template – modern transcription of gregorian music

This example demonstrates how to do modern transcription of Gregorian music. Gregorian music has no measure, no stems; it uses only half and quarter note heads, and special marks, indicating rests of different length.

\include "gregorian.ly"

chant = \relative c' {
  \set Score.timing = ##f
  f4 a2 \divisioMinima
  g4 b a2 f2 \divisioMaior
  g4( f) f( g) a2 \finalis
}

verba = \lyricmode {
  Lo -- rem ip -- sum do -- lor sit a -- met
}

\score {
  \new Staff <<
    \new Voice = "melody" \chant
    \new Lyrics = "one" \lyricsto melody \verba
  >>
  \layout {
    \context {
      \Staff
      \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
      \remove "Bar_engraver"
      \hide Stem
    }
    \context {
      \Voice
      \override Stem.length = #0
    }
    \context {
      \Score
      barAlways = ##t
    }
  }
}

[image of music]


Ancient time signatures

Time signatures may also be engraved in an old style.

{
  \override Staff.TimeSignature.style = #'neomensural
  s1
}

[image of music]


Chant or psalms notation

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

stemOff = \hide Staff.Stem
stemOn  = \undo \stemOff

\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]


Custodes

Custodes may be engraved in various styles.

\layout { ragged-right = ##t }

\new Staff \with { \consists "Custos_engraver" } \relative c' {
  \override Staff.Custos.neutral-position = #4

  \override Staff.Custos.style = #'hufnagel
  c1^"hufnagel" \break
  <d a' f'>1

  \override Staff.Custos.style = #'medicaea
  c1^"medicaea" \break
  <d a' f'>1

  \override Staff.Custos.style = #'vaticana
  c1^"vaticana" \break
  <d a' f'>1

  \override Staff.Custos.style = #'mensural
  c1^"mensural" \break
  <d a' f'>1
}

[image of music]


Incipit

When transcribing mensural music, an incipit at the beginning of the piece is useful to indicate the original key and tempo. Musicians today are used to bar lines, but these were not known during the period of mensural music. As a compromise, bar lines are often printed between the staves, a layout style called mensurstriche layout.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
% A short excerpt from the Jubilate Deo by Orlande de Lassus
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

global = {
  \set Score.skipBars = ##t
  \key g \major
  \time 4/4

  % the actual music
  \skip 1*8

  % let finis bar go through all staves
  \override Staff.BarLine.transparent = ##f

  % finis bar
  \bar "|."
}

discantusIncipit = {
  \clef "neomensural-c1"
  \key f \major
  \time 2/2
  c''1.
}

discantusNotes = {
  \transpose c' c'' {
    \clef "treble"
    d'2. d'4 |
    b e' d'2 |
    c'4 e'4.( d'8 c' b |
    a4) b a2 |
    b4.( c'8 d'4) c'4 |
    \once \hide NoteHead
    c'1 |
    b\breve |
  }
}

discantusLyrics = \lyricmode {
  Ju -- bi -- la -- te De -- o,
  om -- nis ter -- ra, __ om-
  "..."
  -us.
}

altusIncipit = {
  \clef "neomensural-c3"
  \key f \major
  \time 2/2
  r1 f'1.
}

altusNotes = {
  \transpose c' c'' {
    \clef "treble"
    r2 g2. e4 fis g |
    a2 g4 e |
    fis g4.( fis16 e fis4) |
    g1 |
    \once \hide NoteHead
    g1 |
    g\breve |
  }
}

altusLyrics = \lyricmode {
  Ju -- bi -- la -- te
  De -- o, om -- nis ter -- ra,
  "..."
  -us.
}

tenorIncipit = {
  \clef "neomensural-c4"
  \key f \major
  \time 2/2
  r\longa
  r\breve
  r1 c'1.
}

tenorNotes = {
  \transpose c' c' {
    \clef "treble_8"
    R1 |
    R1 |
    R1 |
    % two measures
    r2 d'2. d'4 b e' |
    \once \hide NoteHead
    e'1 |
    d'\breve |
  }
}

tenorLyrics = \lyricmode {
  Ju -- bi -- la -- te
  "..."
  -us.
}

bassusIncipit = {
  \clef "mensural-f"
  \key f \major
  \time 2/2
  r\maxima
  f1.
}

bassusNotes = {
  \transpose c' c' {
    \clef "bass"
    R1 |
    R1 |
    R1 |
    R1 |
    g2. e4 |
    \once \hide NoteHead
    e1 |
    g\breve |
  }
}

bassusLyrics = \lyricmode {
  Ju -- bi-
  "..."
  -us.
}

\score {
  <<
    \new StaffGroup = choirStaff <<
      \new Voice = "discantusNotes" <<
        \set Staff.instrumentName = #"Discantus"
        \incipit \discantusIncipit
        \global
        \discantusNotes
      >>
      \new Lyrics \lyricsto discantusNotes { \discantusLyrics }
      \new Voice = "altusNotes" <<
        \set Staff.instrumentName = #"Altus"
        \global
        \incipit \altusIncipit
        \altusNotes
      >>
      \new Lyrics \lyricsto altusNotes { \altusLyrics }
      \new Voice = "tenorNotes" <<
        \set Staff.instrumentName = #"Tenor"
        \global
        \incipit \tenorIncipit
        \tenorNotes
      >>
      \new Lyrics \lyricsto tenorNotes { \tenorLyrics }
      \new Voice = "bassusNotes" <<
        \set Staff.instrumentName = #"Bassus"
        \global
        \incipit \bassusIncipit
        \bassusNotes
      >>
      \new Lyrics \lyricsto bassusNotes { \bassusLyrics }
    >>
  >>
  \layout {
    \context {
      \Score
      %% no bar lines in staves or lyrics
      \hide BarLine
    }
    %% the next two instructions keep the lyrics between the bar lines
    \context {
      \Lyrics
      \consists "Bar_engraver"
      \consists "Separating_line_group_engraver"
    }
    \context {
      \Voice
      %% no slurs
      \hide Slur
      %% Comment in the below "\remove" command to allow line
      %% breaking also at those bar lines where a note overlaps
      %% into the next measure.  The command is commented out in this
      %% short example score, but especially for large scores, you
      %% will typically yield better line breaking and thus improve
      %% overall spacing if you comment in the following command.
      %%\remove "Forbid_line_break_engraver"
    }
    indent = 6\cm
    incipit-width = 4\cm
  }
}

[image of music]


Mensurstriche layout (bar lines between the staves)

The mensurstriche-layout where the bar lines do not show on the staves but between staves can be achieved with a StaffGroup instead of a ChoirStaff. The bar line on staves is blanked out by setting the transparent property.

global = {
  \hide Staff.BarLine
  s1 s
  % the final bar line is not interrupted
  \undo \hide Staff.BarLine
  \bar "|."
}

\new StaffGroup \relative c'' {
  <<
    \new Staff { << \global { c1 c } >> }
    \new Staff { << \global { c c } >> }
  >>
}

[image of music]


Rest styles

Rests may be used in various styles.

}

\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 ""
  \break

  \override Staff.Rest.style = #'neomensural
  r\maxima^\markup \typewriter { neomensural }
  r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 s32 s64 s128 s128
  \bar ""
  \break

  \override Staff.Rest.style = #'classical
  r\maxima^\markup \typewriter { classical }
  r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 r32 r64 r128 s128
  \bar ""
  \break

  \override Staff.Rest.style = #'z
  r\maxima^\markup \typewriter { z-style }
  r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 r32 r64 r128 s128
  \bar ""
  \break

  \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]


Using tags to produce mensural and modern music from the same source

By using tags, it’s possible to use the same music to produce both mensural and modern music. In this snippet, a function menrest is introduced, allowing mensural rests to be pitched as in the original, but with modern rests in the standard staff position. Tags are used to produce different types of bar line at the end of the music, but tags can also be used where other differences are needed: for example using “whole measure rests” (R1, R\breve etc.) in modern music, but normal rests (r1, r\breve, etc.) in the mensural version. Note that converting mensural music to its modern equivalent is usually referred to as transcription.

menrest = #(define-music-function (note)
  (ly:music?)
#{
    \tag #'mens $(make-music 'RestEvent note)
    \tag #'mod $(make-music 'RestEvent note 'pitch '())
#})

MensStyle = {
  \autoBeamOff
  \override NoteHead #'style = #'petrucci
  \override Score.BarNumber #'transparent = ##t
  \override Stem.neutral-direction = #up
}

finalis = {
  \once \override BreathingSign.stencil = #ly:breathing-sign::finalis
  \once \override BreathingSign.Y-offset = #0
  \once \override BreathingSign.minimum-X-extent = #'(-1.0 . 0.0)
  \once \override BreathingSign.minimum-Y-extent = #'(-2.5 . 2.5)

  \breathe
}

Music = \relative c'' {
  \set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t
  \key f \major
  \time 4/4
  g1 d'2 \menrest bes4 bes2 a2 r4 g4 fis2. \tag #'mens { \finalis } \tag #'mod { \bar "||" }
}

MenLyr = \lyricmode { So farre, deere life, deare life }
ModLyr = \lyricmode { So far, dear life, dear life }

\score {
  \keepWithTag #'mens {
    <<
      \new MensuralStaff
      {
        \new MensuralVoice = Cantus \clef "mensural-c1" \MensStyle \Music
      }
      \new Lyrics \lyricsto Cantus \MenLyr
    >>
  }
}

\score {
  \keepWithTag #'mod {
    \new ChoirStaff <<
      \new Staff
      {
        \new Voice = Sop \with {
          \remove "Note_heads_engraver"
          \consists "Completion_heads_engraver"
          \remove "Rest_engraver"
          \consists "Completion_rest_engraver" }
        {
          \shiftDurations #1 #0 { \autoBeamOff \Music }
        }
      }
      \new Lyrics \lyricsto Sop \ModLyr
    >>
  }
}

[image of music]


Vertical line as a baroque articulation mark

This short vertical line placed above the note is commonly used in baroque music. Its meaning can vary, but generally indicates notes that should be played with more “weight”. The following example demonstrates how to achieve such a notation.

upline =
#(let ((m (make-articulation "stopped")))
   (set! (ly:music-property m 'tweaks)
         (acons 'font-size 3
                (acons 'stencil (lambda (grob)
                                  (grob-interpret-markup
                                   grob
                                   (make-draw-line-markup '(0 . 1))))
                       (ly:music-property m 'tweaks))))
   m)


\relative c' {
  a'4^\upline a( c d')_\upline
}

[image of music]


LilyPond — Snippets v2.19.26 (development-branch).