Divisi lyrics

When just the words and rhythms of the two parts differ with the pitches remaining the same, temporarily turning off the automatic detection of melismata and indicating the melisma in the lyrics may be the appropriate method to use:

\score {
  <<
    \new Voice = "melody" {
      \relative c' {
        \set melismaBusyProperties = #'()
        \slurDown
        \slurDashed
        e4 e8 ( e ) c4 c |
        \unset melismaBusyProperties
        c
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics \lyricsto "melody" {
      They shall not o -- ver -- come
    }
    \new Lyrics \lyricsto "melody" {
      We will _
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

When both music and words differ it may be better to display the differing music and lyrics by naming voice contexts and attaching lyrics to those specific contexts:

\score {
  <<
    \new Voice = "melody" {
      \relative {
        <<
          {
            \voiceOne
            e'4 e8 e
          }
          \new Voice = "splitpart" {
            \voiceTwo
            c4 c
          }
        >>
        \oneVoice
        c4 c |
        c
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics \lyricsto "melody" {
      They shall not o -- ver -- come
    }
    \new Lyrics \lyricsto "splitpart" {
      We will
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

It is common in choral music to have a voice part split for several measures. The << {…} \\ {…} >> construct, where the two (or more) musical expressions are separated by double backslashes, might seem the proper way to set the split voices. This construct, however, will assign all the expressions within it to NEW Voice contexts which will result in no lyrics being set for them since the lyrics will be set to the original voice context – not, typically, what one wants. The temporary polyphonic passage is the proper construct to use, see section Temporary polyphonic passages in Single-staff polyphony.


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