Ossia staves

Ossia staves can be set by creating a new simultaneous staff in the appropriate location:

\new Staff \relative {
  c''4 b d c
  <<
    { c4 b d c }
    \new Staff { e4 d f e }
  >>
  c4 b c2
}

[image of music]

However, the above example is not what is usually desired. To create ossia staves that are above the original staff, have no time signature or clef, and have a smaller font size, tweaks must be used. The Learning Manual describes a specific technique to achieve this goal, beginning with Nesting music expressions.

The following example uses the alignAboveContext property to align the ossia staff. This method is most appropriate when only a few ossia staves are needed.

\new Staff = "main" \relative {
  c''4 b d c
  <<
    { c4 b d c }

    \new Staff \with {
      \remove Time_signature_engraver
      alignAboveContext = "main"
      \magnifyStaff #2/3
      firstClef = ##f
    }
    { e4 d f e }
  >>
  c4 b c2
}

[image of music]

If many isolated ossia staves are needed, creating an empty Staff context with a specific context id may be more appropriate; the ossia staves may then be created by calling this context and using \startStaff and \stopStaff at the desired locations. The benefits of this method are more apparent if the piece is longer than the following example.

<<
  \new Staff = "ossia" \with {
    \remove Time_signature_engraver
    \hide Clef
    \magnifyStaff #2/3
  }
  { \stopStaff s1*6 }

  \new Staff \relative {
    c'4 b c2
    <<
      { e4 f e2 }
      \context Staff = "ossia" {
        \startStaff e4 g8 f e2 \stopStaff
      }
    >>
    g4 a g2 \break
    c4 b c2
    <<
      { g4 a g2 }
      \context Staff = "ossia" {
        \startStaff g4 e8 f g2 \stopStaff
      }
    >>
    e4 d c2
  }
>>

[image of music]

Using the \RemoveAllEmptyStaves command to create ossia staves may be used as an alternative. This method is most convenient when ossia staves occur immediately following a line break. For more information about \RemoveAllEmptyStaves, see Hiding staves.

<<
  \new Staff = "ossia" \with {
    \remove Time_signature_engraver
    \hide Clef
    \magnifyStaff #2/3
    \RemoveAllEmptyStaves
  } \relative {
    R1*3
    c''4 e8 d c2
  }
  \new Staff \relative {
    c'4 b c2
    e4 f e2
    g4 a g2 \break
    c4 b c2
    g4 a g2
    e4 d c2
  }
>>

[image of music]

Selected Snippets

Vertically aligning ossias and lyrics

This snippet demonstrates the use of the context properties alignBelowContext and alignAboveContext to control the positioning of lyrics and ossias.

\relative c' <<
  \new Staff = "1" { c4 c s2 }
  \new Staff = "2" { c4 c s2 }
  \new Staff = "3" { c4 c s2 }
  { \skip 2
    <<
      \lyrics {
        \set alignBelowContext = "1"
        lyrics4 below
      }
      \new Staff \with {
        alignAboveContext = "3"
        fontSize = -2
        \override StaffSymbol.staff-space = #(magstep -2)
        \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
      } {
        \tuplet 6/4 {
          \override TextScript.padding = 3
          c8[^"ossia above" d e d e f]
        }
      }
    >>
  }
>>

\paper {
  ragged-right = ##t
}

[image of music]

See also

Music Glossary: ossia, staff, Frenched staff.

Learning Manual: Nesting music expressions, Size of objects, Length and thickness of objects.

Notation Reference: Hiding staves.

Snippets: Staff notation.

Internals Reference: StaffSymbol.


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