1.3 Error messages

Different error messages can appear while compiling a file:


Something looks suspect. If you are requesting something out of the ordinary then you will understand the message, and can ignore it. However, warnings usually indicate that something is wrong with the input file.


Something is definitely wrong. The current processing step (parsing, interpreting, or formatting) will be finished, but the next step will be skipped.

Fatal error

Something is definitely wrong, and LilyPond cannot continue. This happens rarely. The most usual cause is misinstalled fonts.

Scheme error

Errors that occur while executing Scheme code are caught by the Scheme interpreter. If running with the verbose option (-V or --verbose) then a call trace of the offending function call is printed.

Programming error

There was some internal inconsistency. These error messages are intended to help the programmers and debuggers. Usually, they can be ignored. Sometimes, they come in such big quantities that they obscure other output.

Aborted (core dumped)

This signals a serious programming error that caused the program to crash. Such errors are considered critical. If you stumble on one, send a bug-report.

If warnings and errors can be linked to some part of the input file, then error messages have the following form

filename:lineno:columnno: message
offending input line

A line-break is inserted in the offending line to indicate the column where the error was found. For example,

test.ly:2:19: error: not a duration: 5
  { c'4 e'
           5 g' }

These locations are LilyPond’s best guess about where the warning or error occurred, but (by their very nature) warnings and errors occur when something unexpected happens. If you can’t see an error in the indicated line of your input file, try checking one or two lines above the indicated position.

Please note that diagnostics can be triggered at any point during the many stages of processing. For example if there are parts of the input that are processed multiple times (i.e., in midi and layout output), or if the same music variable is used in multiple contexts the same message may appear several times. Diagnostics produced at a ‘late’ stage (i.e., bar checks) might also be issued multiple times.

See Common errors for more information about errors.

LilyPond Application Usage v2.25.17 (development-branch).