# LilyPond — Usage

 This file explains how to execute the programs distributed with LilyPond version 2.23.0. In addition, it suggests some “best practices” for efficient usage.
 For more information about how this manual fits with the other documentation, or to read this manual in other formats, see Manuals. If you are missing any manuals, the complete documentation can be found at http://lilypond.org/.

# 1. Running lilypond

This chapter details the technicalities of running LilyPond.

## 1.1 Normal usage

Most users run LilyPond through a GUI; if you have not done so already, please read the Tutorial. If you use an alternate editor to write LilyPond files, see the documentation for that program.

## 1.2 Command-line usage

This section contains extra information about using LilyPond on the command-line. This may be desirable to pass extra options to the program. In addition, there are certain extra ‘helper’ programs (such as midi2ly) which are only available on the command-line.

By ‘command-line’, we mean the command line in the operating system. Windows users might be more familiar with the terms ‘DOS shell’ or ‘command shell’. MacOS X users might be more familiar with the terms ‘terminal’ or ‘console’. Some additional setup is required for MacOS X users; please see MacOS X.

Describing how to use this part of an operating system is outside the scope of this manual; please consult other documentation on this topic if you are unfamiliar with the command-line.

### Invoking lilypond

The lilypond executable may be called as follows from the command line.

lilypond [option]… file…


When invoked with a filename that has no extension, the ‘.ly’ extension is tried first. To read input from stdin, use a dash (-) for file.

When ‘filename.ly’ is processed it produces ‘filename.pdf’ as output by default. Several files can be specified; they are each processed independently.1

If ‘filename.ly’ contains more than one \book block, the rest of the scores is output in numbered files, starting with ‘filename-1.pdf’. In addition, the value of output-suffix is inserted between the basename and the number. For example, if ‘filename.ly’ contains

#(define output-suffix "violin")
\score { … }
#(define output-suffix "cello")
\score { … }


LilyPond outputs ‘filename-violin.pdf’ and ‘filename-cello-1.pdf’.

#### Using LilyPond with standard shell features

Since LilyPond is a command line application, features of the ‘shell’ used for calling LilyPond can also be put to good use.

For example,

lilypond *.ly


processes all LilyPond files in the current directory.

Redirecting the console output (e.g., to a file) may also be useful:

lilypond file.ly 1> stdout.txt
lilypond file.ly 2> stderr.txt
lilypond file.ly &> all.txt


The above commands divert ‘normal’ output, ‘errors’ only, or ‘everything’, respectively, to text files. Consult the documentation for your particular shell, Command (Windows), Terminal or Console applications (MacOS X) to check whether output redirection is supported or if the syntax is different.

The following example searches and processes all input files in the current directory and all directories below it recursively. The output files are located in the same directory that the command was run in, rather than in the same directories as the original input files.

find . -name '*.ly' -exec lilypond '{}' \;


This should also work for MacOS X users.

A Windows user would run

forfiles /s /M *.ly /c "cmd /c lilypond @file"


entering these commands in a command prompt usually found under Start > Accessories > Command Prompt, or by typing in the search window ‘command prompt’.

Alternatively, an explicit path to the top-level of your folder containing all the sub-folders that have input files in them can be stated using the /p option;

forfiles /s /p C:\Documents\MyScores /M *.ly /c "cmd /c lilypond @file"


If there are spaces in the path to the top-level folder, then the whole path needs to be inside double quotes;

forfiles /s /p "C:\Documents\My Scores" /M *.ly /c "cmd /c lilypond @file"


### Basic command line options for LilyPond

The following options are supported.

-d, --define-default=var[=val]
-e, --evaluate=expr

Evaluate the Scheme expr before parsing any ‘.ly’ files. Multiple ‘-e’ options may be given, they are evaluated sequentially.

The expression is evaluated in the guile-user module, so if you want to use a definition like (define-public a 42) as expr, use

lilypond -e '(define-public a 42)'


on the command-line, and include

#(use-modules (guile-user))


at the top of the ‘.ly’ file.

Note: Windows users must use double quotes instead of single quotes.

-E, --eps

Generate EPS files.

This option is equivalent to setting LilyPond’s command line options --ps, -dbackend=eps, and -daux-files='#f'.

-f, --format=format

The format of the (main) output file or files. Possible values for format are ps, pdf, png or svg.

Example: lilypond -fpng foo.ly

SVG internally uses a specific backend, and therefore cannot be obtained in the same run as other formats; using -fsvg or --svg is actually equivalent to using the -dbackend=svg option. See Advanced command line options for LilyPond.

-h, --help

Show a summary of usage.

-H, --header=field

Dump a header field to file ‘BASENAME.field’.

As an example, let’s assume that you have an input file ‘foo.ly’ containing

\header { title = "bar" }
\score { c1 }


The command

lilypond -H title foo.ly


then creates a plain text file ‘foo.title’ containing the string bar.

-i, --init=file

Set init file to file (default: ‘init.ly’).

-I, --include=directory

Append directory to the search path for input files with relative paths. By default, only the current working directory gets searched.

Multiple ‘-I’ options may be given. The search starts in the current working directory, and if the file to be included is not found the search continues in the directory given by the first ‘-I’ option, then the directory in the second ‘-I’ option, and so on.

Note: Using the tilde character (~) with the ‘-I’ switch may produce unexpected results in some shells.

Windows users need to include a trailing slash for the directory’s path.

-j, --jail=user,group,jail,dir

[This option is only available if your operating system supports the chroot functionality. In particular, Windows doesn’t support it.]

Run lilypond in a chroot jail.

The ‘--jail’ option provides a more flexible alternative to ‘-dsafe’, when LilyPond formatting is being provided via a web server, or whenever LilyPond executes commands sent by external sources (see Advanced command line options for LilyPond).

It works by changing the root of lilypond to jail just before starting the actual compilation process. The user and group are then changed to match those provided, and the current directory is changed to dir. This setup guarantees that it is not possible (at least in theory) to escape from the jail. Note that for ‘--jail’ to work, lilypond must be run as root, which is usually accomplished in a safe way using sudo.

Setting up a jail can be a relatively complex matter, as we must be sure that LilyPond is able to find whatever it needs to compile the source inside the jail itself. A typical chroot jail comprises the following steps:

Setting up a separate filesystem

A separate filesystem should be created for LilyPond, so that it can be mounted with safe options such as noexec, nodev, and nosuid. In this way, it is impossible to run executables or to write directly to a device from LilyPond. If you do not want to create a separate partition, just create a file of reasonable size and use it to mount a loop device. A separate filesystem also guarantees that LilyPond cannot write more space than it is allowed.

Setting up a separate user

A separate user and group (say, lily/lily) with low privileges should be used to run LilyPond inside the jail. There should be a single directory writable by this user, which should be passed in dir.

Preparing the jail

LilyPond needs to read a number of files while running. All these files are to be copied into the jail, under the same path they appear in the real root filesystem. The entire content of the LilyPond installation (e.g., ‘/usr/share/lilypond’) should be copied.

If problems arise, the simplest way to trace them down is to run LilyPond using strace, which allows you to determine which files are missing.

Running LilyPond

In a jail mounted with noexec it is impossible to execute any external program. Therefore LilyPond must be run with a backend that does not require any such program. As we have already mentioned, it must be run with superuser privileges (which, of course, it loses immediately), possibly using sudo. It is also good practice to limit the number of seconds of CPU time LilyPond can use (e.g., using ulimit -t), and, if your operating system supports it, the amount of memory that can be allocated. Also see LilyPond in chroot jail.

-l, --loglevel=level

Set the verbosity of the console output to level. Possible values are:

NONE

No output at all, not even error messages.

ERROR

Only error messages, no warnings or progress messages.

WARN

Warnings and error messages, no progress.

BASIC_PROGRESS

Basic progress messages (success), warnings and errors.

PROGRESS

All progress messages, warnings and errors.

INFO

Progress messages, warnings, errors and further execution information. This is the default.

DEBUG

All possible messages, including verbose debug output.

-o, --output=file
-o, --output=folder

Set the default output file to file or, if a folder with that name exists, direct the output to folder, taking the file name from the input file. The appropriate suffix is added (e.g., ‘.pdf’ for PDF) in both cases.

-O, --pspdfopt=key

Set the PS/PDF output optimization to key. Possible values are:

size

Generate a very small PS/EPS/PDF document. This is the default.

Using this value is equivalent to setting LilyPond’s Scheme command line options -dmusic-font-encodings='#f' and -dgs-never-embed-fonts='#f'.

TeX

Produce files that are optimized for inclusion in pdfTeX, luatex, or XeTeX documents.

Using this value is equivalent to setting LilyPond’s Scheme command line options -dmusic-font-encodings='#t' and -dgs-never-embed-fonts='#f'.

TeX-GS

If you want to include more than one PDF generated by LilyPond in a TeX document, use this option and postprocess the PDF generated by TeX with Ghostscript.

Using this value is equivalent to setting LilyPond’s Scheme command line options -dmusic-font-encodings='#t' and -dgs-never-embed-fonts='#t'.

--ps

Generate PostScript. This option is equivalent to -fps.

--png

Generate pictures of each page, in PNG format. This option is equivalent to -fpng.

The resolution of the image may be set to N DPI with

-dresolution=N

--pdf

Generate PDF. This is the default, being equivalent to -fpdf.

-s, --silent

Show no progress, only error messages. This is equivalent to -lERROR.

--svg

Generate SVG files for each page. This option is equivalent to -fsvg.

-v, --version

Show version information.

-V, --verbose

Be verbose: show full paths of all files read, give timing information, etc. It is equivalent to -lDEBUG.

-w, --warranty

Show the warranty with which GNU LilyPond comes. (It comes with NO WARRANTY!)

### Advanced command line options for LilyPond

Option ‘-d’ is the command-line interface to LilyPond’s Scheme function ly:set-option. This means that all options listed here can also be set within ‘.ly’ files.

-d, --define-default=option-name[=value]
-d, --define-default=no-option-name

Set the equivalent internal Scheme symbol option-name to value. For example, the command-line option

-dbackend=svg


is equivalent to

#(ly:set-option 'backend 'svg)


in a LilyPond input file.

If value is not supplied, use #t as the value (which might produce strange results if the expected value type is not boolean). The prefix no- may be added to option-name to switch ‘off’ an option, providing #f as the value. For example,

-dpoint-and-click='#f'


is the same as

-dno-point-and-click


[Note that the ‘#’ character introduces a comment in many shells. For this reason it is recommended to always quote expressions that contain it.]

The following table lists all supported option names together with its values. Within Scheme code, option values can be read using function ly:get-option.

anti-alias-factor num

Render at a higher resolution (using factor num, which must be a positive integer ≤8) and scale down the result to prevent ‘jaggies’ in PNG images. Default: 1.

aux-files bool

If bool is #t, create ‘.tex’, ‘.texi’, and ‘.count’ files when used with the eps backend option. Default: #t.

backend symbol

Use symbol as the backend for LilyPond output. Possible values are:

ps

This is the default setting. PostScript files include TTF, Type1, and OTF fonts. No ‘subsetting’ of these fonts is done. Be aware that using ‘oriental’ character sets like Japanese can lead to very large file sizes.

For PDF output, the ps backend is used, too; the resulting PS data is post-processed by Ghostscript’s ps2pdf script, which also does font subsetting by default.

eps

Used as the default by the lilypond-book command. This dumps every page as both a single file with all pages and fonts included and as separate encapsulated PostScript files for each page but without fonts included.

null

Do not output a printed score. This has the same effect as -dno-print-pages.

scm

This dumps out the raw, internal Scheme-based drawing commands.

svg

Scalable Vector Graphics. A single SVG file is created for every page of output. Music glyphs are encoded as vector graphics, but text fonts are not embedded in the SVG files. Any SVG viewer will therefore need the relevant text fonts to be available to it for proper rendering of both text and lyrics. It is recommended to not use font ‘lists’ or ‘aliases’ in case an SVG viewer is unable to handle them. When using Web Open Font Format (WOFF) files the additional -dsvg-woff switch is required.

check-internal-types bool

If bool is #t, check every property assignment for types. Default: #f.

clip-systems bool

If bool is #t, extract music fragments out of a score. This requires that the clip-regions function has been defined within the \layout block. See music Extracting fragments of music. No fragments are extracted though if used with the ‘-dno-print-pages’ option. Default: #f.

crop bool

If bool is #t, a second PDF file gets created (with extension ‘.cropped.pdf’), together with a rendered image of it (with extension ‘.cropped.png’). This output file fits all the music and headers, without margins, into a single, possibly tall page. If option ‘--svg’ is set, an additional SVG file (with extension ‘.cropped.svg’) is produced instead. If option ‘--eps’ or ‘--ps’ is set, a cropped EPS file (with extension ‘.cropped.eps’) is produced instead of a cropped PDF. Default: #f.

Note that currently this option is not well suited for multi-system output since vertical space between systems gets removed.

datadir

Prefix for data files. This is a read-only option; setting it has no effect.

debug-eval bool

If bool is #t, use the debugging Scheme evaluator, which prints backtraces with line numbers on errors. Default: #f, or #t when using --verbose.

debug-gc bool

If bool is #t, dump memory debugging statistics. Default: #f.

debug-gc-assert-parsed-dead bool

For memory debugging: If bool is #t, ensure that all references to parsed objects are dead. This is an internal option, and is switched on automatically for -ddebug-gc. Default: #f.

debug-lexer bool

If bool is #t, debug the flex lexer. Default: #f.

debug-page-breaking-scoring bool

If bool is #t, dump scores for many different page breaking configurations. Default: #f.

debug-parser bool

If bool is #t, debug the bison parser. Default: #f.

debug-property-callbacks bool

If bool is #t, debug cyclic callback chains. Default: #f.

debug-skylines bool

If bool is #t, debug skylines. Default: #f.

delete-intermediate-files bool

If bool is #t, delete the unusable, intermediate ‘.ps’ files created during compilation. Default: #t.

dump-signatures bool

If bool is #t, dump output signatures of each system. Used for regression testing. Default: #f.

embed-source-code bool

If bool is #t, embed the LilyPond source files inside the generated PDF document. Default: #f.

eps-box-padding num

Pad left edge of the output EPS bounding box by num millimeters. Default: #f (meaning no bounding box padding).

font-export-dir string

Set directory for exporting fonts as PostScript files to string. This is useful when you want to create a PDF without embedded fonts first and later embed the fonts with Ghostscript as shown below.

$lilypond -dfont-export-dir=fontdir -dgs-never-embed-fonts foo.ly$ gs -q -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite \
-sOutputFile=foo.embedded.pdf foo.pdf fontdir/*.font.ps


Note: Unlike font-ps-resdir, this method cannot embed CID fonts with Ghostscript 9.26 and later.

Note: Same as font-ps-resdir, this option skips TrueType fonts because embedding TrueType fonts later causes garbled characters. To avoid garbling characters, use gs-never-embed-fonts, as this embeds TrueType fonts despite its name.

Default: #f (meaning not to export).

font-ps-resdir string

Set directory (as string) to build a subset of the PostScript resource directory to be used for embedding fonts later. This is useful when you want to create a PDF without embedded fonts first and later embed the fonts with Ghostscript as shown below.

$lilypond -dfont-ps-resdir=resdir -dgs-never-embed-fonts foo.ly$ gs -q -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite \
-I resdir -I resdir/Font \
-sOutputFile=foo.embedded.pdf foo.pdf


Note: It is better not to specify the directory that contains the name ‘Resource’ because it has a special meaning when specified with the -I option for Ghostscript.

Note: Unlike font-export-dir, this method can embed CID fonts with Ghostscript 9.26 and later.

Note: Same as font-export-dir, this option skips TrueType fonts because embedding TrueType fonts later causes garbled characters. To avoid garbling characters, use gs-never-embed-fonts, as this embeds TrueType fonts despite its name.

Default: #f (meaning not to build).

gs-load-fonts bool

If bool is #t, load fonts via Ghostscript. This option makes LilyPond’s output files contain only references to all fonts, which must be resolved to real fonts in a post-processing step by Ghostscript. Default: #f.

gs-load-lily-fonts bool

If bool is #t, load LilyPond fonts via Ghostscript. This option makes LilyPond’s output files contain only references to its music fonts, which must be resolved to real fonts in a post-processing step by Ghostscript. All other fonts are still output as usual. Default: #f.

gs-never-embed-fonts bool

If bool is #t, make Ghostscript embed only TrueType fonts and no other font format. Default: #f.

gui bool

If bool is #t, make LilyPond run silently and redirect all output to a log file. Default: #f.

Note to Windows users: By default, ‘lilypond.exe’ outputs all progress information to the command window, while ‘lilypond-windows.exe’ does not and returns a prompt, with no progress information, immediately at the command line. The ‘-dgui’ option can be used in this case to redirect output to a log file.

help bool

If bool is #t, show this help. Default: #f.

include-book-title-preview bool

If bool is #t, include book titles in preview images. Default: #t.

include-eps-fonts bool

If bool is #t, include fonts in separate-system EPS files. Default: #t.

include-settings string

Include file string for global settings, which is included before the score is processed. Default: #f (meaning no global settings file).

job-count num

Process in parallel, using num jobs. Default: #f (meaning no parallel processing).

log-file string

Redirect output to the log file ‘string.log’. Default: #f (meaning no log file).

max-markup-depth num

Set maximum depth for the markup tree to value num. If a markup has more levels, assume it will not terminate on its own, print a warning, and return a null markup instead. Default: 1024.

midi-extension string

Set the default file extension for MIDI output files to ‘.string’. Default: "midi".

music-strings-to-paths bool

If bool is #t, convert text strings to paths when glyphs belong to a music font. Default: #f.

paper-size extra-quoted-string

Set default paper size to extra-quoted-string. Note that the string must be enclosed in escaped double quotes. Default: "\"a4\"".

pixmap-format symbol

Set Ghostscript’s output format for pixel images to symbol. Default: png16m.

png-width width
png-height height

For PNG output, set the width and height (in pixels) of the created image file. If one of the options is missing, the other dimension is computed according to the EPS bounding box, retaining the aspect ratio.

In addition to ‘--png’, either ‘--eps’, ‘-dcrop’, or ‘-dpreview’ should be used to get proper image scaling without clipping.

Option ‘-dresolution’ is ignored.

Note that there is a bug in ghostscript versions up to 9.52 for these two options: It produces empty PNG images if the height is larger than the width.

point-and-click bool

If bool is #t, add ‘point & click’ links to PDF and SVG output. See Point and click. Default: #t.

preview bool

If bool is #t, create preview images in addition to normal output. Default: #f.

This option is supported by all backends (pdf, png, ps, eps, and svg) except scm. For input file name file and backend format, it generates an output file having the name ‘file.preview.format’, containing the titles and the first system of music. If \book or \bookpart blocks are used, the titles of \book, \bookpart or \score will appear in the output, including the first system of every \score block if the \paper variable print-all-headers is set to #t.

To suppress the usual output, use the ‘-dprint-pages’ or ‘-dno-print-pages’ options according to your requirements.

print-pages bool

If bool is #t, generate full pages. Default: #t.

Option ‘-dno-print-pages’ is useful in combination with ‘-dpreview’ or ‘-dcrop’.

profile-property-accesses bool

If bool is #t, keep statistics of get_property() function calls. Default: #f.

protected-scheme-parsing bool

If bool is #t, continue when errors in inline Scheme code are caught in the parser. If set to #f, halt on errors and print a stack trace. Default: #t.

read-file-list string

Use file ‘string’ that contains a list of input files to be processed. Default: #f (meaning no input list file).

relative-includes bool

When processing an \include command, look for the included file relative to the current file if bool is #t. If set to #f, look for the file relative to the root file. Default: #t.

resolution num

Set resolution for generating PNG pixmaps to num dpi. Default: 101.

safe bool

If bool is #t, do not trust the ‘.ly’ input. Default: #f.

When LilyPond formatting is available through a web server, either the -dsafe or the ‘--jail’ option MUST be passed. The -dsafe option prevents inline Scheme code from wreaking havoc, e.g.,

% too dangerous to write correctly
#(s ystem "rm -rf /")
% malicious but not destructive
cp -L \/\1\2 \1\2/' | sed 's/\t\/$$.*\/$$$$.*$$ (.*)$/mkdir -p \ \1 \&\& cp -L \/\1\2 \1\2/' | sed '/.*=>.*/d'; done  ### Example script for 32-bit Ubuntu 8.04 #!/bin/sh ## defaults set here username=lily home=/home loopdevice=/dev/loop0 jaildir=/mnt/lilyloop # the prefix (without the leading slash!) lilyprefix=usr/local # the directory where lilypond is installed on the system lilydir=/$lilyprefix/lilypond/

userhome=$home/$username
loopfile=$userhome/loopfile adduser$username
dd if=/dev/zero of=$loopfile bs=1k count=200000 mkdir$jaildir
losetup $loopdevice$loopfile
mkfs -t ext3 $loopdevice 200000 mount -t ext3$loopdevice $jaildir mkdir$jaildir/lilyhome
chown $username$jaildir/lilyhome
cd $jaildir mkdir -p bin usr/bin usr/share usr/lib usr/share/fonts$lilyprefix tmp
chmod a+w tmp

cp -r -L $lilydir$lilyprefix
cp -L /bin/sh /bin/rm bin
cp -L /usr/bin/convert /usr/bin/gs usr/bin
cp -L /usr/share/fonts/truetype usr/share/fonts

# Now the library copying magic
for i in "$lilydir/usr/bin/lilypond" "$lilydir/usr/bin/guile" "/bin/sh"  \
"/bin/rm" "/usr/bin/gs" "/usr/bin/convert"; do ldd $i | sed 's/.*=> \ \/$$.*\/$$$$[^(]*$$.*/mkdir -p \1 \&\& cp -L \/\1\2 \1\2/' | sed \ 's/\t\/$$.*\/$$$$.*$$ (.*)$/mkdir -p \1 \&\& cp -L \/\1\2 \1\2/'  \
| sed '/.*=>.*/d'; done | sh -s

# The shared files for Ghostscript...
cp -L -r /usr/share/ghostscript usr/share
# The shared files for ImageMagick
cp -L -r /usr/lib/ImageMagick* usr/lib

### Now, assuming that you have test.ly in /mnt/lilyloop/lilyhome,
### you should be able to run:
### Note that /$lilyprefix/bin/lilypond is a script, which sets the ### LD_LIBRARY_PATH - this is crucial /$lilyprefix/bin/lilypond -jlily,lily,/mnt/lilyloop,/lilyhome test.ly


## 1.3 Error messages

Different error messages can appear while compiling a file:

Warning

Something looks suspect. If you are requesting something out of the ordinary then you will understand the message, and can ignore it. However, warnings usually indicate that something is wrong with the input file.

Error

Something is definitely wrong. The current processing step (parsing, interpreting, or formatting) will be finished, but the next step will be skipped.

Fatal error

Something is definitely wrong, and LilyPond cannot continue. This happens rarely. The most usual cause is misinstalled fonts.

Scheme error

Errors that occur while executing Scheme code are caught by the Scheme interpreter. If running with the verbose option (‘-V’ or ‘--verbose’) then a call trace of the offending function call is printed.

Programming error

There was some internal inconsistency. These error messages are intended to help the programmers and debuggers. Usually, they can be ignored. Sometimes, they come in such big quantities that they obscure other output.

Aborted (core dumped)

This signals a serious programming error that caused the program to crash. Such errors are considered critical. If you stumble on one, send a bug-report.

If warnings and errors can be linked to some part of the input file, then error messages have the following form

filename:lineno:columnno: message
offending input line


A line-break is inserted in the offending line to indicate the column where the error was found. For example,

test.ly:2:19: error: not a duration: 5
{ c'4 e'
5 g' }


These locations are LilyPond’s best guess about where the warning or error occurred, but (by their very nature) warnings and errors occur when something unexpected happens. If you can’t see an error in the indicated line of your input file, try checking one or two lines above the indicated position.

Please note that diagnostics can be triggered at any point during the many stages of processing. For example if there are parts of the input that are processed multiple times (i.e. in midi and layout output), or if the same music variable is used in multiple contexts the same message may appear several times. Diagnostics produced at a ‘late’ stage (i.e bar checks) might also be issued multiple times.

## 1.4 Common errors

The error conditions described below occur often, yet the cause is not obvious or easily found. Once seen and understood, they are easily handled.

### Music runs off the page

Music running off the page over the right margin or appearing unduly compressed is almost always due to entering an incorrect duration on a note, causing the final note in a measure to extend over the bar line. It is not invalid if the final note in a measure does not end on the automatically entered bar line, as the note is simply assumed to carry over into the next measure. But if a long sequence of such carry-over measures occurs the music can appear compressed or may flow off the page because automatic line breaks can be inserted only at the end of complete measures, i.e., where all notes end before or at the end of the measure.

Note: An incorrect duration can cause line breaks to be inhibited, leading to a line of highly compressed music or music which flows off the page.

The incorrect duration can be found easily if bar checks are used, see Bar and bar number checks.

If you actually intend to have a series of such carry-over measures you will need to insert an invisible bar line where you want the line to break. For details, see Bar lines.

### An extra staff appears

If contexts are not created explicitly with \new or \context, they will be silently created as soon as a command is encountered which cannot be applied to an existing context. In simple scores the automatic creation of contexts is useful, and most of the examples in the LilyPond manuals take advantage of this simplification. But occasionally the silent creation of contexts can give rise to unexpected new staves or scores. For example, it might be expected that the following code would cause all note heads within the following staff to be colored red, but in fact it results in two staves with the note heads remaining the default black in the lower staff.

\override Staff.NoteHead.color = #red
\new Staff { a' }


This is because a Staff context does not exist when the override is processed, so one is implicitly created and the override is applied to it, but then the \new Staff command creates another, separate, staff into which the notes are placed. The correct code to color all note heads red is

\new Staff {
a'
}


### Error message Unbound variable %

This error message will appear at the bottom of the console output or log file together with a “GUILE signalled an error …” message every time a Scheme routine is called which (invalidly) contains a LilyPond rather than a Scheme comment.

LilyPond comments begin with a percent sign, (%), and must not be used within Scheme routines. Scheme comments begin with a semi-colon, (;).

### Error message FT_Get_Glyph_Name

This error messages appears in the console output or log file if an input file contains a non-ASCII character and was not saved in UTF-8 encoding. For details, see Text encoding.

### Warning staff affinities should only decrease

This warning can appear if there are no staves in the printed output, for example if there are just a ChordName context and a Lyrics context as in a lead sheet. The warning messages can be avoided by making one of the contexts behave as a staff by inserting

\override VerticalAxisGroup.staff-affinity = ##f


at its start. For details, see “Spacing of non-staff lines” in Flexible vertical spacing within systems.

### Error message unexpected \new

A \score block must contain a single music expression. If instead it contains several \new Staff, \new StaffGroup or similar contexts introduced with \new without them being enclosed in either curly brackets, { … }, or double angle brackets, << … >>, like this:

\score {
% Invalid! Generates error: syntax error, unexpected \new
\new Staff { … }
\new Staff { … }
}


the error message will be produced.

To avoid the error, enclose all the \new statements in curly or double angle brackets.

Using curly brackets will introduce the \new statements sequentially:

\score {
{
\new Staff { a' a' a' a' }
\new Staff { g' g' g' g' }
}
}


but more likely you should be using double angle brackets so the new staves are introduced in parallel, i.e. simultaneously:

\score {
<<
\new Staff { a' a' a' a' }
\new Staff { g' g' g' g' }
>>
}


### Warning this voice needs a \voiceXx or \shiftXx setting

If notes from two different voices with stems in the same direction occur at the same musical moment, but the voices have no voice-specific shifts specified, the warning message ‘warning: this voice needs a \voiceXx or \shiftXx setting’ will appear when compiling the LilyPond file. This warning will appear even when the notes have no visible stems, e.g. whole notes, if the stems for shorter notes at the same pitch would be in the same direction.

Remember that the stem direction depends on the position of the note on the staff unless the stem direction is specified, for example by using \voiceOne, etc. In this case the warning will appear only when the stems happen to be in the same direction, i.e. when the notes are in the same half of the staff.

By placing the notes in voices with stem directions and shifts specified, for example by using \voiceOne, etc., these warnings may be avoided.

Notes in higher numbered voices, \voiceThree etc., are automatically shifted to avoid clashing note columns. This causes a visible shift for notes with stems, but whole notes are not visibly shifted unless an actual clash of the note heads occurs, or when the voices cross over from their natural order (when \voiceThree is higher than \voiceOne, etc.)

# 2. Updating files with convert-ly

As LilyPond is improved, the syntax (input language) of some commands and functions can change. This can result in unexpected errors, warnings or even wrong output when input files, previously created for older versions of LilyPond are then used with later versions.

To help with this the convert-ly command can be used to upgrade these older input files to use the newer syntax.

## 2.1 Why does the syntax change?

Often, syntax changes are made to make the input simpler to both read and write, but occasionally the changes are made to accommodate new features or enhancements to existing functions.

To illustrate this here is a real example:

All \paper and \layout property names were supposed to be written in the form first-second-third. However, in LilyPond version 2.11.60, it was noticed that the printallheaders property did not follow this convention. Should this property be left alone (confusing new users with an inconsistent format)? Or should it be changed (annoying old users with existing LilyPond input files)?

The decision was made to change the name of the property to print-all-headers, and by using the convert-ly command the old users had a way to automatically update their existing input files.

However, the convert-ly command cannot always be used to manage all syntax changes. In versions of LilyPond before 2.4.2, accents and non-English characters were entered using standard LaTeX notation. For example the French word for ‘Christmas’ was entered as No\"el. But in LilyPond 2.6 onwards, the special ë must be entered directly as a UTF-8 character. The convert-ly command cannot change LaTeX special characters into UTF-8 characters, so older LilyPond input files have to edited manually.

The conversion rules of the convert-ly command work using text pattern-matching and replacement (rather than ‘understanding’ the context of what it is changing within a given input file). This has several consequences:

• The reliability of the conversion depends on the quality of each applied rule set and on the complexity of the respective change. Sometimes conversions may require additional, manual fixes, so the original input files should be kept for comparison just in case.
• Only conversions to newer syntax changes are possible: there are no rule sets to go back to older versions of LilyPond. So the input file should only be upgraded when older versions of LilyPond are no longer being maintained. Again, the original input files should be kept just in case; perhaps using version control systems (i.e. Git) to help with maintaining multiple versions of your input files.
• LilyPond is quite robust when processing ‘creatively’ placed or omitted whitespace, but the rules used by convert-ly often make some stylistic assumptions. Therefore following the input style as used in the LilyPond manuals is advised for painless upgrades, particularly as the examples in the manuals themselves are all upgraded using the convert-ly command.

## 2.2 Invoking convert-ly

The convert-ly command uses the \version number in the input file to detect older versions. In most cases, to upgrade your input file it is sufficient just to run;

convert-ly -e myfile.ly


in the directory containing the input file. This will upgrade ‘myfile.ly’ in-place and preserve the original file by renaming it ‘myfile.ly~’. The \version number in the upgraded input file, along with any required syntax updates, is also changed.

When run, the convert-ly command will output the version numbers of which conversions have been made to. If no version numbers are listed in the output for the file, it is already up to date and using the latest LilyPond syntax.

Note: For each new version of LilyPond, a new convert-ly command is created, however not every version of LilyPond will need syntax changes for its input files from the version before. This means that the convert-ly command will only convert input files up to the latest syntax change it has and this, in turn, may mean that the version number left in the upgraded input file is sometimes earlier than the version of convert-ly command itself.

To convert all input files in a single directory use;

convert-ly -e *.ly


Linux and MacOS X users can both use the appropriate terminal application, but MacOS X users can also execute this command directly under the menu entry Compile > Update syntax.

A Windows user would run the command;

convert-ly.py -e *.ly


entering these commands in a command prompt usually found under Start > Accessories > Command Prompt or for version 8 users, by typing in the search window ‘command prompt’.

To convert all input files that reside in different sets of subdirectories;

find . -name '*.ly' -exec convert-ly -e '{}' \;


This example searches and converts all input files in the current directory and all directories below it recursively. The converted files will be located in the same directory along with their renamed originals. This should also work for MacOS X users, although only via the terminal app.

Windows user would use;

forfiles /s /M *.ly /c "cmd /c convert-ly.py -e @file"


Alternatively, an explicit path to the top-level of your folder containing all the sub-folders that have input files in them can be stated using the /p option;

forfiles /s /p C:\Documents\MyScores /M *.ly /c "cmd /c convert-ly.py -e @file"


If there are spaces in the path to the top-level folder, then the whole path needs to be inside double quotes;

forfiles /s /p "C:\Documents\My Scores" /M *.ly /c "cmd /c convert-ly.py -e @file"


## 2.3 Command line options for convert-ly

The program is invoked as follows:

convert-ly [option]… filename…


The following options can be given:

-d, --diff-version-update

increase the \version string only if the file has actually been changed. In that case, the version header will correspond to the version after the last actual change. An unstable version number will be rounded up to the next stable version number unless that would exceed the target version number. Without this option, the version will instead reflect the last attempted conversion.

-e, --edit

Apply the conversions direct to the input file, modifying it in-place. The original file is renamed as ‘myfile.ly~’. This backup file may be a hidden file on some operating systems. Alternatively, if you want to specify a different name for the upgraded file without using the -e options default ~ appended to the old input file, the output can be redirected instead;

convert-ly myfile.ly > mynewfile.ly


Windows user would use;

convert-ly.py myfile.ly > mynewfile.ly

-b, --backup-numbered

When used with the ‘-e’ option, number the backup files so that no previous version is overwritten. The backup files may be hidden on some operating systems.

-f, --from=from-patchlevel

Set the version to convert from. If this is not set, convert-ly will guess this, on the basis of \version strings in the file. E.g. ‘--from=2.10.25

-h, --help

Print usage help.

-l loglevel, --loglevel=loglevel

Set the output verbosity to loglevel. Possible values, in upper case, are PROGRESS (the default), NONE, WARNING, ERROR and DEBUG.

-n, --no-version

Normally, convert-ly adds a \version indicator to the output. Specifying this option suppresses this.

-s, --show-rules

Show all known conversions and exit.

-t, --to=to-patchlevel

Explicitly set which \version to convert to, otherwise the default is the most current value. It must be higher than the starting version.

convert-ly --to=2.14.1 myfile.ly


To upgrade LilyPond fragments in texinfo files, use

convert-ly --from=… --to=… --no-version *.itely


To see the changes in the LilyPond syntax between two versions, use

convert-ly --from=… --to=… -s


## 2.4 Problems running convert-ly

When running convert-ly in a Command Prompt window under Windows on a file which has spaces in the filename or in the path to it, it is necessary to surround the entire input file name with three (!) sets of double quotes:

convert-ly """D:/My Scores/Ode.ly""" > "D:/My Scores/new Ode.ly"


If the simple convert-ly -e *.ly command fails because the expanded command line becomes too long, the convert-ly command may be placed in a loop instead. This example for UNIX will upgrade all ‘.ly’ files in the current directory


urlCommand     "lilypond-invoke-editor %s"


If you are using Ubuntu, it is likely that the version of Xpdf installed with your system crashes on every PDF file: this state has been persisting for several years and is due to library mismatches. Your best bet is to install a current ‘xpdf’ package and the corresponding ‘libpoppler’ package from Debian instead. Once you have tested that this works, you might want to use

sudo apt-mark hold xpdf


in order to keep Ubuntu from overwriting it with the next ‘update’ of its crashing package.

#### Using GNOME 2

For using GNOME 2 (and PDF viewers integrated with it), the magic invocation for telling the system about the ‘textedit:’ URI is;

 gconftool-2 -t string -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/textedit/command "lilypond-invoke-editor %s" gconftool-2 -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/textedit/needs_terminal false -t bool gconftool-2 -t bool -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/textedit/enabled true 

After that invocation;

gnome-open textedit:///etc/issue:1:0:0


should call ‘lilypond-invoke-editor’ for opening files.

#### Using GNOME 3

In GNOME 3, URIs are handled by the ‘gvfs’ layer rather than by ‘gconf’. Create a file in a local directory such as ‘/tmp’ that is called ‘lilypond-invoke-editor.desktop’ and has the contents;

[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Name=lilypond-invoke-editor
GenericName=Textedit URI handler
Comment=URI handler for textedit:
Exec=lilypond-invoke-editor %u
Terminal=false
Type=Application
MimeType=x-scheme-handler/textedit;
Categories=Editor
NoDisplay=true


and then execute the commands

xdg-desktop-menu install ./lilypond-invoke-editor.desktop
xdg-mime default lilypond-invoke-editor.desktop x-scheme-handler/textedit


After that invocation;

gnome-open textedit:///etc/issue:1:0:0


should call ‘lilypond-invoke-editor’ for opening files.

#### Extra configuration for Evince

If gnome-open works, but Evince still refuses to open point and click links due to denied permissions, you might need to change the Apparmor profile of Evince which controls the kind of actions Evince is allowed to perform.

For Ubuntu, the process is to edit the file ‘/etc/apparmor.d/local/usr.bin.evince’ and append the following lines:

# For Textedit links
/usr/local/bin/lilypond-invoke-editor Cx -> sanitized_helper,


sudo apparmor_parser -r -T -W /etc/apparmor.d/usr.bin.evince


Now Evince should be able to open point and click links. It is likely that similar configurations will work for other viewers.

### Enabling point and click

Point and click functionality is enabled by default when creating PDF or SVG files.

The point and click links enlarge the output files significantly. For reducing the size of these (and PS) files, point and click may be switched off by issuing

\pointAndClickOff


in a ‘.ly’ file. Point and click may be explicitly enabled with

\pointAndClickOn


Alternately, you may disable point and click with a command-line option:

lilypond -dno-point-and-click file.ly


Note: You should always turn off point and click in any LilyPond files to be distributed to avoid including path information about your computer in the PDF file, which can pose a security risk.

### Selective point-and-click

For some interactive applications, it may be desirable to only include certain point-and-click items. For example, if somebody wanted to create an application which played audio or video starting from a particular note, it would be awkward if clicking on the note produced the point-and-click location for an accidental or slur which occurred over that note.

This may be controlled by indicating which events to include:

• Hard-coded in the ‘.ly’ file:
\pointAndClickTypes #'note-event
\relative {
c'2\f( f)
}


or

#(ly:set-option 'point-and-click 'note-event)
\relative {
c'2\f( f)
}

• Command-line:
lilypond -dpoint-and-click=note-event   example.ly


Multiple events can be included:

• Hard-coded in the ‘.ly’ file:
\pointAndClickTypes #'(note-event dynamic-event)
\relative {
c'2\f( f)
}


or

#(ly:set-option 'point-and-click '(note-event dynamic-event))
\relative {
c'2\f( f)
}

• Command-line:  lilypond \ -e"(ly:set-option 'point-and-click '(note-event dynamic-event))" \ example.ly 

## 4.2 Text editor support

There is support for different text editors for LilyPond.

### Emacs mode

Emacs has a ‘lilypond-mode’, which provides keyword autocompletion, indentation, LilyPond specific parenthesis matching and syntax coloring, handy compile short-cuts and reading LilyPond manuals using Info. If ‘lilypond-mode’ is not installed on your platform, see below.

An Emacs mode for entering music and running LilyPond is contained in the source archive in the ‘elisp’ directory. Do make install to install it to elispdir. The file ‘lilypond-init.el’ should be placed to load-path/site-start.d/’ or appended to your ‘~/.emacs’ or ‘~/.emacs.el’.

(setq load-path (append (list (expand-file-name "~/site-lisp")) load-path))


### Vim mode

For Vim, a filetype plugin, indent mode, and syntax-highlighting mode are available to use with LilyPond. To enable all of these features, create (or modify) your ‘HOME/.vimrc’ to contain these three lines, in order: filetype off set runtimepath+=/usr/local/share/lilypond/current/vim/ filetype on syntax on  If LilyPond is not installed in the ‘/usr/local/’ directory, change the path appropriately. This topic is discussed in Other sources of information. ### Other editors Other editors (both text and graphical) support LilyPond, but their special configuration files are not distributed with LilyPond. Consult their documentation for more information. Such editors are listed in Easier editing. ## 4.3 Converting from other formats Music can be entered also by importing it from other formats. This chapter documents the tools included in the distribution to do so. There are other tools that produce LilyPond input, for example GUI sequencers and XML converters. Refer to the website for more details. These are separate programs from lilypond itself, and are run on the command line; see Command-line usage for more information. If you have MacOS 10.3 or 10.4 and you have trouble running some of these scripts, e.g. convert-ly, see MacOS X. #### Known issues and warnings We unfortunately do not have the resources to maintain these programs; please consider them “as-is”. Patches are appreciated, but bug reports will almost certainly not be resolved. ### 4.3.1 Invoking midi2ly midi2ly translates a Type 1 MIDI file to a LilyPond source file. MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface) is a standard for digital instruments: it specifies cabling, a serial protocol and a file format. The MIDI file format is a de facto standard format for exporting music from other programs, so this capability may come in useful when importing files from a program that has a converter for a direct format. midi2ly converts tracks into Staff and channels into Voice contexts. Relative mode is used for pitches, durations are only written when necessary. It is possible to record a MIDI file using a digital keyboard, and then convert it to ‘.ly’. However, human players are not rhythmically exact enough to make a MIDI to LY conversion trivial. When invoked with quantizing (‘-s’ and ‘-d’ options) midi2ly tries to compensate for these timing errors, but is not very good at this. It is therefore not recommended to use midi2ly for human-generated midi files. It is invoked from the command-line as follows, midi2ly [option]… midi-file  Note that by ‘command-line’, we mean the command line of the operating system. See Converting from other formats, for more information about this. The following options are supported by midi2ly. -a, --absolute-pitches Print absolute pitches. -d, --duration-quant=DUR Quantize note durations on DUR. -e, --explicit-durations Print explicit durations. -h, --help Show summary of usage. -k, --key=acc[:minor] Set default key. acc > 0 sets number of sharps; acc < 0 sets number of flats. A minor key is indicated by :1. -o, --output=file Write output to file. -s, --start-quant=DUR Quantize note starts on DUR. -t, --allow-tuplet=DUR*NUM/DEN Allow tuplet durations DUR*NUM/DEN. -v, --verbose Be verbose. -V, --version Print version number. -w, --warranty Show warranty and copyright. -x, --text-lyrics Treat every text as a lyric. #### Known issues and warnings Overlapping notes in an arpeggio will not be correctly rendered. The first note will be read and the others will be ignored. Set them all to a single duration and add phrase markings or pedal indicators. ### 4.3.2 Invoking musicxml2ly MusicXML is an XML dialect for representing music notation. musicxml2ly extracts notes, articulations, score structure and lyrics from ‘part-wise’ MusicXML files then writes them to a ‘.ly’ file. It is run from the command-line as follows; musicxml2ly [option]… file.xml  Note that by ‘command-line’, we mean the command line of the operating system. See Converting from other formats, for more information about this. If ‘-’ is used instead of file.xml, musicxml2ly reads all input directly from the command line. The following options are supported by musicxml2ly: -a, --absolute convert pitches in absolute mode. --fb --fretboards converts <frame> events to a separate FretBoard voice instead of markups. -h, --help print usage and a summary of all the available command line options. -l, --language=LANG use LANG for pitch names, e.g. deutsch for note names in German. --loglevel=LOGLEVEL Sets the output verbosity to LOGLEVEL. Possible values are NONE, ERROR, WARNING, PROGRESS (default) and DEBUG. --lxml use the lxml.etree Python package for XML-parsing; uses less memory and cpu time. -m, --midi activate the midi block in the .ly file. --nb, --no-beaming do not convert beaming information, use LilyPond’s automatic beaming instead. --nd, --no-articulation-directions do not convert directions (^, _ or -) for articulations, dynamics, etc. --nrp, --no-rest-positions do not convert exact vertical position of rests. --nsb, --no-system-breaks ignore system breaks. --npl, --no-page-layout do not convert the exact page layout and breaks (shortcut for --nsb --npb --npm options). --npb, --no-page-breaks ignore page breaks. --npm, --no-page-margins ignore page margins. --nsd, --no-stem-directions ignore stem directions from MusicXML, use lilypond’s automatic stemming instead. -o, --output=FILE set the output filename to FILE. If file is ‘-’, the output will be printed to stdout. If not given, xmlfile.ly will be used instead. -r, --relative convert pitches in relative mode (default). --transpose=TOPITCH the interval between pitch c and TOPITCH to transpose by. --sm, --shift-meter=BEATS/BEATTYPE change the length|duration of notes as a function of a given time signature to make the score look faster or slower, (e.g. 4/4 or 2/2). --tc, --tab-clef=TABCLEFNAME switch between two versions of tab clefs (tab and moderntab). --sn --string-numbers=t[rue]/f[alse] deactivate string number stencil with --string-numbers false. Default is true. -v, --verbose be verbose. --version show version number and exit. -z, --compressed input file is a zip-compressed MusicXML file. ### 4.3.3 Invoking abc2ly Note: This is not currently supported and may eventually be removed from future versions of LilyPond. ABC is a fairly simple ASCII based format. It is described at the ABC site: abc2ly translates from ABC to LilyPond. It is invoked as follows: abc2ly [option]… abc-file  The following options are supported by abc2ly: -b, --beams=None preserve ABC’s notion of beams -h, --help this help -o, --output=file set output filename to file. -s, --strict be strict about success --version print version information. There is a rudimentary facility for adding LilyPond code to the ABC source file. For example; %%LY voices \set autoBeaming = ##f  This will cause the text following the keyword ‘voices’ to be inserted into the current voice of the LilyPond output file. Similarly, %%LY slyrics more words  will cause the text following the ‘slyrics’ keyword to be inserted into the current line of lyrics. #### Known issues and warnings The ABC standard is not very ‘standard’. For extended features (e.g., polyphonic music) different conventions exist. Multiple tunes in one file cannot be converted. ABC synchronizes words and notes at the beginning of a line; abc2ly does not. abc2ly ignores the ABC beaming. ### 4.3.4 Invoking etf2ly Note: This is not currently supported and may eventually be removed from future versions of LilyPond. ETF (Enigma Transport Format) is a format used by Coda Music Technology’s Finale product. etf2ly will convert part of an ETF file to a ready-to-use LilyPond file. It is invoked from the command-line as follows; etf2ly [option]… etf-file  Note that by ‘command-line’, we mean the command line of the operating system. See Converting from other formats, for more information about this. The following options are supported by etf2ly: -h, --help this help -o, --output=FILE set output filename to FILE --version version information #### Known issues and warnings The list of articulation scripts is incomplete. Empty measures confuse etf2ly. Sequences of grace notes are ended improperly. ### 4.3.5 Other formats LilyPond itself does not come with support for any other formats, but some external tools can also generate LilyPond files. These are listed in Easier editing. ## 4.4 LilyPond output in other programs This section shows methods to integrate text and music, different than the automated method with lilypond-book. ### 4.4.1 LuaTex As well as lilypond-book to integrate LilyPond output, there is an alternative program that can be used when using LuaTex called lyluatex. ### 4.4.2 OpenOffice and LibreOffice LilyPond notation can be added to OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice with OOoLilyPond, an OpenOffice.org extension that converts LilyPond files into images within OpenOffice.org documents. OoLilyPond (OLy) works with recent versions of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. Older versions should work as well. It has even been tested with OpenOffice 2.4 without issues. ### 4.4.3 Other programs Other programs that can handle ‘PNG’, ‘EPS’, or ‘PDF’ formats should use lilypond instead of lilypond-book. Each LilyPond output file must be created and inserted separately. Consult the program’s own documentation on how to insert files from other sources. To help reduce the white space around your LilyPond score, use the following options; \paper{ indent=0\mm line-width=120\mm oddFooterMarkup=##f oddHeaderMarkup=##f bookTitleMarkup = ##f scoreTitleMarkup = ##f } … music …  To produce ‘EPS’ images; lilypond -dbackend=eps -dno-gs-load-fonts -dinclude-eps-fonts myfile.ly  To produce ‘PNG’ images; lilypond -dbackend=eps -dno-gs-load-fonts -dinclude-eps-fonts --png myfile.ly  For transparent ‘PNG’ images  lilypond -dbackend=eps -dno-gs-load-fonts -dinclude-eps-fonts -dpixmap-format=pngalpha --png myfile.ly  If you need to quote many fragments from a large score, you can also use the clip systems feature, see Extracting fragments of music. ## 4.5 Independent includes Some users have produced files that can be \included with LilyPond to produce certain effects and those listed below are part of the LilyPond distribution. Also see Working with input files. ### 4.5.1 MIDI articulation The Articulate project is an attempt to enhance LilyPond’s MIDI output and works by adjusting note lengths (that are not under slurs) according to the articulation markings attached to them. For example, a ‘staccato’ halves the note value, ‘tenuto’ gives a note its full duration and so on. See Enhancing MIDI output. # 5. Suggestions for writing files Now you’re ready to begin writing larger LilyPond input files – not just the little examples in the tutorial, but whole pieces. But how should you go about doing it? As long as LilyPond can understand your input files and produce the output that you want, it doesn’t matter what your input files look like. However, there are a few other things to consider when writing LilyPond input files. • What if you make a mistake? The structure of a LilyPond file can make certain errors easier (or harder) to find. • What if you want to share your input files with somebody else? In fact, what if you want to alter your own input files in a few years? Some LilyPond input files are understandable at first glance; others may leave you scratching your head for an hour. • What if you want to upgrade your LilyPond file for use with a later version of LilyPond? The input syntax changes occasionally as LilyPond improves. Most changes can be done automatically with convert-ly, but some changes might require manual assistance. LilyPond input files can be structured in order to be easier (or harder) to update. ## 5.1 General suggestions Here are a few suggestions that can help to avoid (and fix) the most common problems when typesetting: • Always include a \version number in your input files no matter how small they are. This prevents having to remember which version of LilyPond the file was created with and is especially relevant when Updating files with convert-ly command (which requires the \version statement to be present); or if sending your input files to other users (e.g. when asking for help on the mail lists). Note that all of the LilyPond templates contain \version numbers. • For each line in your input file, write one bar of music. This will make debugging any problems in your input files much simpler. • Include Bar and bar number checks as well as Octave checks. Including ‘checks’ of this type in your input files will help pinpoint mistakes more quickly. How often checks are added will depend on the complexity of the music being typeset. For simple compositions, checks added at a few at strategic points within the music can be enough but for more complex music, with many voices and/or staves, checks may be better placed after every bar. • Add comments within input files. References to musical themes (i.e. ‘second theme in violins’, ‘fourth variation,’ etc.), or simply including bar numbers as comments, will make navigating the input file much simpler especically if something needs to be altered later on or if passing on LilyPond input files to another person. • Add explicit note durations at the start of ‘sections’. For example, c4 d e f instead of just c d e f can make rearranging the music later on simpler. • Learn to indent and align braces and parallel music. Many problems are often caused by either ‘missing’ braces. Clearly indenting ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ braces (or << and >> indicators) will help avoid such problems. For example; \new Staff { \relative { r4 g'8 g c8 c4 d | e4 r8 | % Ossia section << { f8 c c | } \new Staff { f8 f c | } >> r4 | } }  is much easier to follow than; \new Staff { \relative { r4 g'8 g c4 c8 d | e4 r8 % Ossia section << { f8 c c } \new Staff { f8 f c } >> r4 | } }  • Keep music and style separate by putting overrides in the \layout block; \score { …music… \layout { \override TabStaff.Stemstencil = ##f } }  This will not create a new context but it will apply when one is created. Also see Saving typing with variables and functions, and Style sheets. ## 5.2 Typesetting existing music If you are entering music from an existing score (i.e., typesetting a piece of existing sheet music), • Enter the manuscript (the physical copy of the music) into LilyPond one system at a time (but still only one bar per line of text), and check each system when you finish it. You may use the showLastLength or showFirstLength properties to speed up processing – see Skipping corrected music. • Define mBreak = { \break } and insert \mBreak in the input file whenever the manuscript has a line break. This makes it much easier to compare the LilyPond music to the original music. When you are finished proofreading your score, you may define mBreak = { } to remove all those line breaks. This will allow LilyPond to place line breaks wherever it feels are best. • When entering a part for a transposing instrument into a variable, it is recommended that the notes are wrapped in \transpose c natural-pitch {…}  (where natural-pitch is the open pitch of the instrument) so that the music in the variable is effectively in C. You can transpose it back again when the variable is used, if required, but you might not want to (e.g., when printing a score in concert pitch, converting a trombone part from treble to bass clef, etc.) Mistakes in transpositions are less likely if all the music in variables is at a consistent pitch. Also, only ever transpose to/from C. That means that the only other keys you will use are the natural pitches of the instruments - bes for a B-flat trumpet, aes for an A-flat clarinet, etc. ## 5.3 Large projects When working on a large project, having a clear structure to your lilypond input files becomes vital. • Use a variable for each voice, with a minimum of structure inside the definition. The structure of the \score section is the most likely thing to change; the violin definition is extremely unlikely to change in a new version of LilyPond. violin = \relative { g'4 c'8. e16 } … \score { \new GrandStaff { \new Staff { \violin } } }  • Separate tweaks from music definitions. This point was made previously, but for large projects it is absolutely vital. We might need to change the definition of fthenp, but then we only need to do this once, and we can still avoid touching anything inside violin. fthenp = _\markup{ \dynamic f \italic \small { 2nd } \hspace #0.1 \dynamic p } violin = \relative { g'4\fthenp c'8. e16 }  ## 5.4 Troubleshooting Sooner or later, you will write a file that LilyPond cannot compile. The messages that LilyPond gives may help you find the error, but in many cases you need to do some investigation to determine the source of the problem. The most powerful tools for this purpose are the single line comment (indicated by %) and the block comment (indicated by %{…%}). If you don’t know where a problem is, start commenting out huge portions of your input file. After you comment out a section, try compiling the file again. If it works, then the problem must exist in the portion you just commented. If it doesn’t work, then keep on commenting out material until you have something that works. In an extreme case, you might end up with only \score { << % \melody % \harmony % \bass >> \layout{} }  (in other words, a file without any music) If that happens, don’t give up. Uncomment a bit – say, the bass part – and see if it works. If it doesn’t work, then comment out all of the bass music (but leave \bass in the \score uncommented. bass = \relative { %{ c'4 c c c d d d d %} }  Now start slowly uncommenting more and more of the bass part until you find the problem line. Another very useful debugging technique is constructing Tiny examples. ## 5.5 Make and Makefiles Pretty well all the platforms LilyPond can run on support a software facility called make. This software reads a special file called a Makefile that defines what files depend on what others and what commands you need to give the operating system to produce one file from another. For example the makefile would spell out how to produce ‘ballad.pdf’ and ‘ballad.midi’ from ‘ballad.ly’ by running LilyPond. There are times when it is a good idea to create a Makefile for your project, either for your own convenience or as a courtesy to others who might have access to your source files. This is true for very large projects with many included files and different output options (e.g. full score, parts, conductor’s score, piano reduction, etc.), or for projects that require difficult commands to build them (such as lilypond-book projects). Makefiles vary greatly in complexity and flexibility, according to the needs and skills of the authors. The program GNU Make comes installed on GNU/Linux distributions and on MacOS X, and it is also available for Windows. See the GNU Make Manual for full details on using make, as what follows here gives only a glimpse of what it can do. The commands to define rules in a makefile differ according to platform; for instance the various forms of GNU/Linux and MacOS use bash, while Windows uses cmd. Note that on MacOS X, you need to configure the system to use the command-line interpreter. Here are some example makefiles, with versions for both GNU/Linux/MacOS and Windows. The first example is for an orchestral work in four movements with a directory structure as follows: Symphony/ |-- MIDI/ |-- Makefile |-- Notes/ | |-- cello.ily | |-- figures.ily | |-- horn.ily | |-- oboe.ily | |-- trioString.ily | |-- viola.ily | |-- violinOne.ily | -- violinTwo.ily |-- PDF/ |-- Parts/ | |-- symphony-cello.ly | |-- symphony-horn.ly | |-- symphony-oboe.ly | |-- symphony-viola.ly | |-- symphony-violinOne.ly | -- symphony-violinTwo.ly |-- Scores/ | |-- symphony.ly | |-- symphonyI.ly | |-- symphonyII.ly | |-- symphonyIII.ly | -- symphonyIV.ly -- symphonyDefs.ily  The ‘.ly’ files in the ‘Scores’ and ‘Parts’ directories get their notes from ‘.ily’ files in the ‘Notes’ directory: %%% top of file "symphony-cello.ly" \include "../symphonyDefs.ily" \include "../Notes/cello.ily"  The makefile will have targets of score (entire piece in full score), movements (individual movements in full score), and parts (individual parts for performers). There is also a target archive that will create a tarball of the source files, suitable for sharing via web or email. Here is the makefile for GNU/Linux or MacOS X. It should be saved with the name Makefile in the top directory of the project: Note: When a target or pattern rule is defined, the subsequent lines must begin with tabs, not spaces. # the name stem of the output files piece := symphony # The command to run lilypond LILY_CMD := lilypond -ddelete-intermediate-files \ -dno-point-and-click # The suffixes used in this Makefile. .SUFFIXES: .ly .ily .pdf .midi .DEFAULT_GOAL := score PDFDIR := PDF MIDIDIR := MIDI # Input and output files are searched in the directories listed in # the VPATH variable. All of them are subdirectories of the current # directory (given by the GNU make variable CURDIR'). VPATH := \(CURDIR)/Scores \
$(CURDIR)/Parts \$(CURDIR)/Notes \
$(CURDIR)/$(PDFDIR) \
$(CURDIR)/$(MIDIDIR)

# The pattern rule to create PDF and MIDI files from a LY input file.
# The .pdf output files are put into the PDF' subdirectory, and the
# .midi files go into the MIDI' subdirectory.
%.pdf %.midi: %.ly | $(PDFDIR)$(MIDIDIR)
$(LILY_CMD)$<          	# this line begins with a tab
mv "$*.pdf"$(PDFDIR)/		# this line begins with a tab
mv "$*.midi"$(MIDIDIR)/	# this line begins with a tab

$(PDFDIR): mkdir$(PDFDIR)

$(MIDIDIR): mkdir$(MIDIDIR)

common := symphonyDefs.ily

notes := \
cello.ily \
horn.ily \
oboe.ily \
viola.ily \
violinOne.ily \
violinTwo.ily

# The dependencies of the movements.
$(piece)I.pdf:$(piece)I.ly $(notes)$(common)
$(piece)II.pdf:$(piece)II.ly $(notes)$(common)
$(piece)III.pdf:$(piece)III.ly $(notes)$(common)
$(piece)IV.pdf:$(piece)IV.ly $(notes)$(common)

# The dependencies of the full score.
$(piece).pdf:$(piece).ly $(notes)$(common)

# The dependencies of the parts.
$(piece)-cello.pdf:$(piece)-cello.ly cello.ily $(common)$(piece)-horn.pdf: $(piece)-horn.ly horn.ily$(common)
$(piece)-oboe.pdf:$(piece)-oboe.ly oboe.ily $(common)$(piece)-viola.pdf: $(piece)-viola.ly viola.ily$(common)
$(piece)-violinOne.pdf:$(piece)-violinOne.ly violinOne.ily $(common)$(piece)-violinTwo.pdf: $(piece)-violinTwo.ly violinTwo.ily$(common)

# Type make score' to generate the full score of all four
# movements as one file.
.PHONY: score
score: $(piece).pdf # Type make parts' to generate all parts. # Type make symphony-foo.pdf' to generate the part for instrument foo'. # Example: make symphony-cello.pdf'. .PHONY: parts parts:$(piece)-cello.pdf \
$(piece)-violinOne.pdf \$(piece)-violinTwo.pdf \
$(piece)-viola.pdf \$(piece)-oboe.pdf \
$(piece)-horn.pdf # Type make movements' to generate files for the # four movements separately. .PHONY: movements movements:$(piece)I.pdf \
$(piece)II.pdf \$(piece)III.pdf \
$(piece)IV.pdf all: score parts movements  There are special complications on the Windows platform. After downloading and installing GNU Make for Windows, you must set the correct path in the system’s environment variables so that the DOS shell can find the Make program. To do this, right-click on "My Computer," then choose Properties and Advanced. Click Environment Variables, and then in the System Variables pane, highlight Path, click edit, and add the path to the GNU Make executable file, which will look something like this: C:\Program Files\GnuWin32\bin  The makefile itself has to be altered to handle different shell commands and to deal with spaces that are present in some default system directories. Windows also has a different default extension for midi files. ## WINDOWS VERSION ## piece := symphony LILY_CMD := lilypond -ddelete-intermediate-files \ -dno-point-and-click #get the 8.3 name of CURDIR (workaround for spaces in PATH) workdir :=$(shell for /f "tokens=*" %%b in ("$(CURDIR)") \ do @echo %%~sb) .SUFFIXES: .ly .ily .pdf .mid .DEFAULT_GOAL := score PDFDIR := PDF MIDIDIR := MIDI VPATH := \$(workdir)/Scores \
$(workdir)/Parts \$(workdir)/Notes \
$(workdir)/$(PDFDIR) \
$(workdir)/$(MIDIDIR)

%.pdf %.mid: %.ly | $(PDFDIR)$(MIDIDIR)
$(LILY_CMD)$<			# this line begins with a tab
move /Y "$*.pdf"$(PDFDIR)/	# begin with tab
move /Y "$*.mid"$(MIDIDIR)/	# begin with tab

$(PDFDIR): mkdir$(PDFDIR)/

$(MIDIDIR): mkdir$(MIDIDIR)/

notes := \
cello.ily \
figures.ily \
horn.ily \
oboe.ily \
trioString.ily \
viola.ily \
violinOne.ily \
violinTwo.ily

common := symphonyDefs.ily

$(piece)I.pdf:$(piece)I.ly $(notes)$(common)
$(piece)II.pdf:$(piece)II.ly $(notes)$(common)
$(piece)III.pdf:$(piece)III.ly $(notes)$(common)
$(piece)IV.pdf:$(piece)IV.ly $(notes)$(common)

$(piece).pdf:$(piece).ly $(notes)$(common)

$(piece)-cello.pdf:$(piece)-cello.ly cello.ily $(common)$(piece)-horn.pdf: $(piece)-horn.ly horn.ily$(common)
$(piece)-oboe.pdf:$(piece)-oboe.ly oboe.ily $(common)$(piece)-viola.pdf: $(piece)-viola.ly viola.ily$(common)
$(piece)-violinOne.pdf:$(piece)-violinOne.ly violinOne.ily $(common)$(piece)-violinTwo.pdf: $(piece)-violinTwo.ly violinTwo.ily$(common)

.PHONY: score
score: $(piece).pdf .PHONY: parts parts:$(piece)-cello.pdf \
$(piece)-violinOne.pdf \$(piece)-violinTwo.pdf \
$(piece)-viola.pdf \$(piece)-oboe.pdf \
$(piece)-horn.pdf .PHONY: movements movements:$(piece)I.pdf \
$(piece)II.pdf \$(piece)III.pdf \
$(piece)IV.pdf all: score parts movements  The next Makefile is for a lilypond-book document done in LaTeX. This project has an index, which requires that the latex command be run twice to update links. Output files are all stored in the out directory for .pdf output and in the htmlout directory for the html output. SHELL=/bin/sh FILE=myproject OUTDIR=out WEBDIR=htmlout VIEWER=acroread BROWSER=firefox LILYBOOK_PDF=lilypond-book --output=$(OUTDIR) --pdf $(FILE).lytex LILYBOOK_HTML=lilypond-book --output=$(WEBDIR) $(FILE).lytex PDF=cd$(OUTDIR) && pdflatex $(FILE) HTML=cd$(WEBDIR) && latex2html $(FILE) INDEX=cd$(OUTDIR) && makeindex $(FILE) PREVIEW=$(VIEWER) $(OUTDIR)/$(FILE).pdf &

all: pdf web keep

pdf:
$(LILYBOOK_PDF) # begin with tab$(PDF)           # begin with tab
$(INDEX) # begin with tab$(PDF)           # begin with tab
$(PREVIEW) # begin with tab web:$(LILYBOOK_HTML) # begin with tab
$(HTML) # begin with tab cp -R$(WEBDIR)/$(FILE)/ ./ # begin with tab$(BROWSER) $(FILE)/$(FILE).html &  # begin with tab

keep: pdf
cp $(OUTDIR)/$(FILE).pdf $(FILE).pdf # begin with tab clean: rm -rf$(OUTDIR) # begin with tab

web-clean:
rm -rf \$(WEBDIR) # begin with tab

archive:
tar -cvvf myproject.tar \ # begin this line with tab
--exclude=out/* \
--exclude=htmlout/* \
--exclude=myproject/* \
--exclude=*midi \
--exclude=*pdf \
--exclude=*~ \
../MyProject/*


TODO: make this thing work on Windows

The previous makefile does not work on Windows. An alternative for Windows users would be to create a simple batch file containing the build commands. This will not keep track of dependencies the way a makefile does, but it at least reduces the build process to a single command. Save the following code as build.bat or build.cmd. The batch file can be run at the DOS prompt or by simply double-clicking its icon.

lilypond-book --output=out --pdf myproject.lytex
cd out
pdflatex myproject
makeindex myproject
pdflatex myproject
cd ..
copy out\myproject.pdf MyProject.pdf


This manual: Command-line usage, Running lilypond-book

# A. GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.3, 3 November 2008

 Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc. https://fsf.org/ Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. 
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11. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE

The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See https://www.gnu.org/copyleft/.

Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License “or any later version” applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions of this License can be used, that proxy’s public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Document.

12. RELICENSING

“Massive Multiauthor Collaboration Site” (or “MMC Site”) means any World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works. A public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server. A “Massive Multiauthor Collaboration” (or “MMC”) contained in the site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site.

“Incorporate” means to publish or republish a Document, in whole or in part, as part of another Document.

An MMC is “eligible for relicensing” if it is licensed under this License, and if all works that were first published under this License somewhere other than this MMC, and subsequently incorporated in whole or in part into the MMC, (1) had no cover texts or invariant sections, and (2) were thus incorporated prior to November 1, 2008.

The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page:

  Copyright (C) year your name. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License''. 

If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the “with…Texts.” line with this:

  with the Invariant Sections being list their titles, with the Front-Cover Texts being list, and with the Back-Cover Texts being list. 

If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation.

If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free software.

# B. LilyPond index

Jump to: \   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   L   M   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X
Jump to: \   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   L   M   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X

# Footnotes

[1] The status of GUILE is not reset after processing a ‘.ly’ file, so be careful not to change any system defaults from within Scheme.

[2] At least, this is possible in any LilyPond file which does not contain scheme. If there is scheme in the file, then the LilyPond file contains a Turing-complete language, and we run into problems with the famous “Halting Problem” in computer science.

[3] This tutorial is processed with Texinfo, so the example gives slightly different results in layout.

[4] Note that PDFLaTeX and LaTeX may not be both usable to compile any LaTeX document, that is why we explain the two ways.