Printing chord names

Chord names are printed in the ChordNames context:

\new ChordNames {
  \chordmode {
    c2 f4. g8
  }
}

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Chords can be entered as simultaneous notes or through the use of chord mode. The displayed chord name will be the same, regardless of the mode of entry, unless there are inversions or added bass notes:

chordmusic = \relative {
  <c' e g>2 <f bes c>
  <f c' e g>1
  \chordmode {
    c2 f:sus4 c1:/f
  }
}
<<
  \new ChordNames {
    \chordmusic
  }
  {
    \chordmusic
  }
>>

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When passed to a ChordNames context, rests (including multi-measure rests) cause the text “N.C.” (No Chord) to be displayed.

myChords = \chordmode {
  c1
  r1
  g1
  R1
  c1
}

<<
  \new ChordNames \myChords
  \new Staff \myChords
>>

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\chords { … } is a shortcut notation for \new ChordNames \chordmode { … }.

\chords {
  c2 f4.:m g8:maj7
}

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\new ChordNames {
  \chordmode {
    c2 f4.:m g8:maj7
  }
}

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Selected Snippets

Showing chords at changes

By default, every chord entered is printed; this behavior can be modified so that chord names are printed only at the start of lines and when the chord changes.

harmonies = \chordmode {
  c1:m c:m \break c:m c:m d
}

<<
  \new ChordNames {
    \set chordChanges = ##t
    \harmonies
  }
  \new Staff {
    \relative c' { \harmonies }
  }
>>

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Simple lead sheet

When put together, chord names, a melody, and lyrics form a lead sheet:

<<
  \chords { c2 g:sus4 f e }
  \new Staff \relative c'' {
    a4 e c8 e r4
    b2 c4( d)
  }
  \addlyrics { One day this shall be free __ }
>>

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Customizing the no-chord symbol

By default, rests in a ChordNames context cause the “N.C.” symbol to be printed. This markup can be customized.

<<
  \chords {
    R1
    \set noChordSymbol = "—"
    R1
    \set noChordSymbol = \markup \italic "Ssh!"
    R1
  }
  {
    R1*3
  }
>>

[image of music]

See also

Music Glossary: chord.

Notation Reference: Writing music in parallel.

Snippets: Chords.

Internals Reference: ChordNames, ChordName, Chord_name_engraver, Volta_engraver, Bar_engraver.

Known issues and warnings

Chords containing inversions or altered bass notes are not named properly if entered using simultaneous music.


LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.17 (development-branch).