Simultaneous music expressions: multiple staves

Music Glossary: polyphony.

This technique is useful for polyphonic music. To enter music with more voices or more staves, we combine expressions in parallel. To indicate that two voices should play at the same time, simply enter a simultaneous combination of music expressions. A ‘simultaneous’ music expression is formed by enclosing expressions inside << and >>. In the following example, three sequences (all containing two separate notes) are combined simultaneously:

  \relative { a'2 g }
  \relative { f'2 e }
  \relative { d'2 b }

[image of music]

Note that we have indented each level of the input with a different amount of space. LilyPond does not care how much (or little) space there is at the beginning of a line, but indenting LilyPond code like this makes it much easier for humans to read.

Note: Each note is relative to the previous note in the input; the first one in a \relative block is relative to ‘c’ (one octave below the middle C).

LilyPond Learning Manual v2.25.17 (development-branch).