Chorded notes

A chord is formed by enclosing a set of pitches between < and >. A chord may be followed by a duration just like simple notes.

\relative {
  <a' c e>1 <a c e>2 <f a c e>4 <a c>8. <g c e>16
}

[image of music]

Chords may also be followed by articulations, again just like simple notes.

\relative {
  <a' c e>1\fermata <a c e>2-> <f a c e>4\prall <a c>8.^! <g c e>16-.
}

[image of music]

The notes within the chord themselves can also be followed by articulation and ornamentation.

\relative {
  <a' c\prall e>1 <a-> c-^ e>2 <f-. a c-. e-.>4
  <a-+ c-->8. <g\fermata c e\turn>16
}

[image of music]

However some notation, such as dynamics and hairpins must be attached to the chord rather than to notes within the chord, otherwise they will not print. Other notation like fingerings and slurs will get placed markedly different when attached to notes within a chord rather than to whole chords or single notes.

\relative {
  <a'\f c( e>1 <a c) e>\f <a\< c e>( <a\! c e>)
  <a c e>\< <a c e> <a c e>\!
}

[image of music]

A chord acts merely as a container for its notes, its articulations and other attached elements. Consequently, a chord without notes inside does not actually have a duration. Any attached articulations will happen at the same musical time as the next following note or chord and be combined with them (for more complex possibilities of combining such elements, see Simultaneous expressions):

\relative {
  \grace { g'8( a b }
  <> ) \p \< -. -\markup \italic "sempre staccato"
  \repeat unfold 4 { c4 e }  c1\f
}

[image of music]

Relative mode can be used for pitches in chords. The first note of each chord is always relative to the first note of the chord that came before it, or in the case where no preceding chord exists, the pitch of the last note that came before the chord. All remaining notes in the chord are relative to the note that came before it within the same chord.

\relative {
  <a' c e>1 <f a c> <a c e> <f' a c> <b, e b,>
}

[image of music]

For more information about chords, see Chord notation.

See also

Music Glossary: chord.

Learning Manual: Combining notes into chords.

Notation Reference: Chord notation, Articulations and ornamentations, Relative octave entry, Multiple voices.

Snippets: Simultaneous notes.

Known issues and warnings

Chords containing more than two pitches within a staff space, such as ‘<e f! fis!>’, create overlapping note heads. Depending on the situation, better representations might involve


LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.13 (development-branch).