Metronome marks

A basic metronome mark is simple to write:

\relative {
  \tempo 4 = 120
  c'2 d
  e4. d8 c2
}

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Metronome marks may also be printed as a range of two numbers:

\relative {
  \tempo 4 = 40 - 46
  c'4. e8 a4 g
  b,2 d4 r
}

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Tempo indications with text can be used instead:

\relative {
  \tempo "Allegretto"
    c''4 e d c
    b4. a16 b c4 r4
}

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Combining a metronome mark and text will automatically place the metronome mark within parentheses:

\relative {
  \tempo "Allegro" 4 = 160
  g'4 c d e
  d4 b g2
}

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In general, the text can be any markup object:

\relative {
  \tempo \markup { \italic Faster } 4 = 132
  a'8-. r8 b-. r gis-. r a-. r
}

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A particularly useful markup command is \rhythm, which prints a rhythmic pattern. See section Markup for music and musical symbols.

\relative {
  \tempo \markup {
    Swing
    \hspace #0.4
    \rhythm { 8[ 8] } = \rhythm { \tuplet 3/2 { 4 8 } }
  }
  b8 g' c, d ees d16 ees d c r8
}

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A parenthesized metronome mark with no textual indication may be written by including an empty string in the input:

\relative {
  \tempo "" 8 = 96
  d''4 g e c
}

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In a part for an instrument with long periods of rests (see Full measure rests), tempo indications sometimes follow each other closely. The command \markLengthOn provides extra horizontal space to prevent tempo indications from overlapping, and \markLengthOff restores the default behavior of ignoring tempo marks for horizontal spacing.

\compressMMRests {
  \markLengthOn
  \tempo "Molto vivace"
  R1*12
  \tempo "Meno mosso"
  R1*16
  \markLengthOff
  \tempo "Tranquillo"
  R1*20
}

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Selected Snippets

Printing metronome and rehearsal marks below the staff

By default, metronome and rehearsal marks are printed above the staff. To place them below the staff simply set the direction property of MetronomeMark or RehearsalMark appropriately.

\layout {
  indent = 0
  ragged-right = ##f
}

{
  % Metronome marks below the staff
  \override Score.MetronomeMark.direction = #DOWN
  \tempo 8. = 120
  c''1

  % Rehearsal marks below the staff
  \override Score.RehearsalMark.direction = #DOWN
  \mark \default
  c''1
}

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Changing the tempo without a metronome mark

To change the tempo in MIDI output without printing anything, make the metronome mark invisible.

\score {
  \new Staff \relative c' {
    \tempo 4 = 160
    c4 e g b
    c4 b d c
    \set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t
    \tempo 4 = 96
    d,4 fis a cis
    d4 cis e d
  }
  \layout { }
  \midi { }
}

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Creating metronome marks in markup mode

New metronome marks can be created in markup mode, but they will not change the tempo in MIDI output.

\relative c' {
  \tempo \markup {
    \concat {
      (
      \smaller \general-align #Y #DOWN \note {16.} #1
      " = "
      \smaller \general-align #Y #DOWN \note {8} #1
      )
    }
  }
  c1
  c4 c' c,2
}

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For more details, see Formatting text.

See also

Music Glossary: metronome, metronomic indication, tempo indication, metronome mark.

Notation Reference: Formatting text, Creating MIDI output, Full measure rests.

Snippets: Staff notation.

Internals Reference: MetronomeMark.


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