Ambitus

The term ambitus (pl. ambitus) denotes a range of pitches for a given voice in a part of music. It may also denote the pitch range that a musical instrument is capable of playing. Ambitus are printed on vocal parts so that performers can easily determine if it matches their capabilities.

Ambitus are denoted at the beginning of a piece near the initial clef. The range is graphically specified by two note heads that represent the lowest and highest pitches. Accidentals are only printed if they are not part of the key signature.

\layout {
  \context {
    \Voice
    \consists Ambitus_engraver
  }
}

\relative {
  aes' c e2
  cis,1
}

[image of music]

Selected Snippets

Adding ambitus per voice

Ambitus can be added per voice. In this case, the ambitus must be moved manually to prevent collisions.

\new Staff <<
  \new Voice \with {
    \consists "Ambitus_engraver"
  } \relative c'' {
    \override Ambitus.X-offset = 2.0
    \voiceOne
    c4 a d e
    f1
  }
  \new Voice \with {
    \consists "Ambitus_engraver"
  } \relative c' {
    \voiceTwo
    es4 f g as
    b1
  }
>>

[image of music]

Ambitus with multiple voices

Adding the Ambitus_engraver to the Staff context creates a single ambitus per staff, even in the case of staves with multiple voices.

\new Staff \with {
  \consists "Ambitus_engraver"
  }
<<
  \new Voice \relative c'' {
    \voiceOne
    c4 a d e
    f1
  }
  \new Voice \relative c' {
    \voiceTwo
    es4 f g as
    b1
  }
>>

[image of music]

Changing the ambitus gap

It is possible to change the default gap between the ambitus noteheads and the line joining them.

\layout {
  \context {
    \Voice
    \consists "Ambitus_engraver"
  }
}

\new Staff {
  \time 2/4
  % Default setting
  c'4 g''
}

\new Staff {
  \time 2/4
  \override AmbitusLine.gap = 0
  c'4 g''
}

\new Staff {
  \time 2/4
  \override AmbitusLine.gap = 1
  c'4 g''
}

\new Staff {
  \time 2/4
  \override AmbitusLine.gap = 1.5
  c'4 g''
}

\paper { tagline = ##f }

[image of music]

Ambitus after key signature

By default, ambitus are positioned at the left of the clef. The \ambitusAfter function allows for changing this placement. Syntax is \ambitusAfter grob-interface (see Graphical Object Interfaces for a list of possible values for grob-interface.)

A common use case is printing the ambitus between key signature and time signature.

\new Staff \with {
  \consists Ambitus_engraver
} \relative {
  \ambitusAfter key-signature
  \key d \major
  es'8 g bes cis d2
}

[image of music]

See also

Music Glossary: ambitus.

Snippets: Pitches.

Internals Reference: Ambitus_engraver, Voice, Staff, Ambitus, AmbitusAccidental, AmbitusLine, AmbitusNoteHead, ambitus-interface.

Known issues and warnings

There is no collision handling in the case of multiple per-voice ambitus.


LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.14 (development-branch).