2.3 Tunable context properties

accidentalGrouping (symbol)

If set to 'voice, accidentals on the same note in different octaves may be horizontally staggered if in different voices.

additionalBassStrings (list)

The additional tablature bass-strings, which will not get a seprate line in TabStaff. It is a list of the pitches of each string (starting with the lowest numbered one).

additionalPitchPrefix (string)

Text with which to prefix additional pitches within a chord name.

aDueText (markup)

Text to print at a unisono passage.

alignAboveContext (string)

Where to insert newly created context in vertical alignment.

alignBelowContext (string)

Where to insert newly created context in vertical alignment.

alternativeNumberingStyle (symbol)

The style of an alternative’s bar numbers. Can be numbers for going back to the same number or numbers-with-letters for going back to the same number with letter suffixes. No setting will not go back in measure-number time.

alternativeRestores (symbol list)

Timing variables that are restored to their value at the start of the first alternative in subsequent alternatives.

associatedVoice (string)

Name of the context (see associatedVoiceType for its type, usually Voice) that has the melody for this Lyrics line.

associatedVoiceType (symbol)

Type of the context that has the melody for this Lyrics line.

autoAccidentals (list)

List of different ways to typeset an accidental.

For determining when to print an accidental, several different rules are tried. The rule that gives the highest number of accidentals is used.

Each entry in the list is either a symbol or a procedure.


The symbol is the name of the context in which the following rules are to be applied. For example, if context is Score then all staves share accidentals, and if context is Staff then all voices in the same staff share accidentals, but staves do not.


The procedure represents an accidental rule to be applied to the previously specified context.

The procedure takes the following arguments:


The current context to which the rule should be applied.


The pitch of the note to be evaluated.


The current bar number.


The current measure position.

The procedure returns a pair of booleans. The first states whether an extra natural should be added. The second states whether an accidental should be printed. (#t . #f) does not make sense.

autoBeamCheck (procedure)

A procedure taking three arguments, context, dir [start/stop (-1 or 1)], and test [shortest note in the beam]. A non-#f return value starts or stops the auto beam.

autoBeaming (boolean)

If set to true then beams are generated automatically.

autoCautionaries (list)

List similar to autoAccidentals, but it controls cautionary accidentals rather than normal ones. Both lists are tried, and the one giving the most accidentals wins. In case of draw, a normal accidental is typeset.

automaticBars (boolean)

If set to false then bar lines will not be printed automatically; they must be explicitly created with a \bar command. Unlike the \cadenzaOn keyword, measures are still counted. Bar line generation will resume according to that count if this property is unset.

barAlways (boolean)

If set to true a bar line is drawn after each note.

barCheckSynchronize (boolean)

If true then reset measurePosition when finding a bar check.

barNumberFormatter (procedure)

A procedure that takes a bar number, measure position, and alternative number and returns a markup of the bar number to print.

barNumberVisibility (procedure)

A procedure that takes a bar number and a measure position and returns whether the corresponding bar number should be printed. Note that the actual print-out of bar numbers is controlled with the break-visibility property.

The following procedures are predefined:


Enable bar numbers for all bars, including the first one and broken bars (which get bar numbers in parentheses).


Enable bar numbers for all bars (including broken bars) except the first one. If the first bar is broken, it doesn’t get a bar number either.


Enable bar numbers for all bars (including broken bars) except the first one. A broken first bar gets a bar number.


Enable bar numbers for all bars except the first bar and broken bars. This is the default.

(every-nth-bar-number-visible n)

Assuming n is value 2, for example, this enables bar numbers for bars 2, 4, 6, etc.

(modulo-bar-number-visible n m)

If bar numbers 1, 4, 7, etc., should be enabled, n (the modulo) must be set to 3 and m (the division remainder) to 1.

baseMoment (moment)

Smallest unit of time that will stand on its own as a subdivided section.

beamExceptions (list)

An alist of exceptions to autobeam rules that normally end on beats.

beamHalfMeasure (boolean)

Whether to allow a beam to begin halfway through the measure in triple time, which could look like 6/8.

beatStructure (list)

List of baseMoments that are combined to make beats.

chordChanges (boolean)

Only show changes in chords scheme?

chordNameExceptions (list)

An alist of chord exceptions. Contains (chord . markup) entries.

chordNameFunction (procedure)

The function that converts lists of pitches to chord names.

chordNameLowercaseMinor (boolean)

Downcase roots of minor chords?

chordNameSeparator (markup)

The markup object used to separate parts of a chord name.

chordNoteNamer (procedure)

A function that converts from a pitch object to a text markup. Used for single pitches.

chordPrefixSpacer (number)

The space added between the root symbol and the prefix of a chord name.

chordRootNamer (procedure)

A function that converts from a pitch object to a text markup. Used for chords.

clefGlyph (string)

Name of the symbol within the music font.

clefPosition (number)

Where should the center of the clef symbol go, measured in half staff spaces from the center of the staff.

clefTransposition (integer)

Add this much extra transposition. Values of 7 and -7 are common.

clefTranspositionFormatter (procedure)

A procedure that takes the Transposition number as a string and the style as a symbol and returns a markup.

clefTranspositionStyle (symbol)

Determines the way the ClefModifier grob is displayed. Possible values are ‘default’, ‘parenthesized’ and ‘bracketed’.

completionBusy (boolean)

Whether a completion-note head is playing.

completionFactor (an exact rational or procedure)

When Completion_heads_engraver and Completion_rest_engraver need to split a note or rest with a scaled duration, such as c2*3, this specifies the scale factor to use for the newly-split notes and rests created by the engraver.

If #f, the completion engraver uses the scale-factor of each duration being split.

If set to a callback procedure, that procedure is called with the context of the completion engraver, and the duration to be split.

completionUnit (moment)

Sub-bar unit of completion.

connectArpeggios (boolean)

If set, connect arpeggios across piano staff.

countPercentRepeats (boolean)

If set, produce counters for percent repeats.

createKeyOnClefChange (boolean)

Print a key signature whenever the clef is changed.

createSpacing (boolean)

Create StaffSpacing objects? Should be set for staves.

crescendoSpanner (symbol)

The type of spanner to be used for crescendi. Available values are ‘hairpin’ and ‘text’. If unset, a hairpin crescendo is used.

crescendoText (markup)

The text to print at start of non-hairpin crescendo, i.e., ‘cresc.’.

cueClefGlyph (string)

Name of the symbol within the music font.

cueClefPosition (number)

Where should the center of the clef symbol go, measured in half staff spaces from the center of the staff.

cueClefTransposition (integer)

Add this much extra transposition. Values of 7 and -7 are common.

cueClefTranspositionFormatter (procedure)

A procedure that takes the Transposition number as a string and the style as a symbol and returns a markup.

cueClefTranspositionStyle (symbol)

Determines the way the ClefModifier grob is displayed. Possible values are ‘default’, ‘parenthesized’ and ‘bracketed’.

currentBarNumber (integer)

Contains the current barnumber. This property is incremented at every bar line.

decrescendoSpanner (symbol)

The type of spanner to be used for decrescendi. Available values are ‘hairpin’ and ‘text’. If unset, a hairpin decrescendo is used.

decrescendoText (markup)

The text to print at start of non-hairpin decrescendo, i.e., ‘dim.’.

defaultBarType (string)

Set the default type of bar line. See whichBar for information on available bar types.

This variable is read by Timing_translator at Score level.

defaultStrings (list)

A list of strings to use in calculating frets for tablatures and fretboards if no strings are provided in the notes for the current moment.

doubleRepeatSegnoType (string)

Set the default bar line for the combinations double repeat with segno. Default is ‘:|.S.|:’.

doubleRepeatType (string)

Set the default bar line for double repeats.

doubleSlurs (boolean)

If set, two slurs are created for every slurred note, one above and one below the chord.

drumPitchTable (hash table)

A table mapping percussion instruments (symbols) to pitches.

drumStyleTable (hash table)

A hash table which maps drums to layout settings. Predefined values: ‘drums-style’, ‘agostini-drums-style’, ‘timbales-style’, ‘congas-style’, ‘bongos-style’, and ‘percussion-style’.

The layout style is a hash table, containing the drum-pitches (e.g., the symbol ‘hihat’) as keys, and a list (notehead-style script vertical-position) as values.

endAtSkip (boolean)

End DurationLine grob on skip-event

endRepeatSegnoType (string)

Set the default bar line for the combinations ending of repeat with segno. Default is ‘:|.S’.

endRepeatType (string)

Set the default bar line for the ending of repeats.

explicitClefVisibility (vector)

break-visibility’ function for clef changes.

explicitCueClefVisibility (vector)

break-visibility’ function for cue clef changes.

explicitKeySignatureVisibility (vector)

break-visibility’ function for explicit key changes. ‘\override’ of the break-visibility property will set the visibility for normal (i.e., at the start of the line) key signatures.

extendersOverRests (boolean)

Whether to continue extenders as they cross a rest.

extraNatural (boolean)

Whether to typeset an extra natural sign before accidentals that reduce the effect of a previous alteration.

figuredBassAlterationDirection (direction)

Where to put alterations relative to the main figure.

figuredBassCenterContinuations (boolean)

Whether to vertically center pairs of extender lines. This does not work with three or more lines.

figuredBassFormatter (procedure)

A routine generating a markup for a bass figure.

figuredBassPlusDirection (direction)

Where to put plus signs relative to the main figure.

fingeringOrientations (list)

A list of symbols, containing ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘up’ and/or ‘down’. This list determines where fingerings are put relative to the chord being fingered.

firstClef (boolean)

If true, create a new clef when starting a staff.

followVoice (boolean)

If set, note heads are tracked across staff switches by a thin line.

fontSize (number)

The relative size of all grobs in a context.

forbidBreak (boolean)

If set to #t, prevent a line break at this point.

forceClef (boolean)

Show clef symbol, even if it has not changed. Only active for the first clef after the property is set, not for the full staff.

fretLabels (list)

A list of strings or Scheme-formatted markups containing, in the correct order, the labels to be used for lettered frets in tablature.

glissandoMap (list)

A map in the form of ’((source1 . target1) (source2 . target2) (sourcen . targetn)) showing the glissandi to be drawn for note columns. The value ’() will default to ’((0 . 0) (1 . 1) (n . n)), where n is the minimal number of note-heads in the two note columns between which the glissandi occur.

gridInterval (moment)

Interval for which to generate GridPoints.

handleNegativeFrets (symbol)

How the automatic fret calculator should handle calculated negative frets. Values include 'ignore, to leave them out of the diagram completely, 'include, to include them as calculated, and 'recalculate, to ignore the specified string and find a string where they will fit with a positive fret number.

harmonicAccidentals (boolean)

If set, harmonic notes in chords get accidentals.

harmonicDots (boolean)

If set, harmonic notes in dotted chords get dots.

highStringOne (boolean)

Whether the first string is the string with highest pitch on the instrument. This used by the automatic string selector for tablature notation.

ignoreBarChecks (boolean)

Ignore bar checks.

ignoreBarNumberChecks (boolean)

Ignore bar number checks.

ignoreFiguredBassRest (boolean)

Don’t swallow rest events.

ignoreMelismata (boolean)

Ignore melismata for this Lyrics line.

implicitBassFigures (list)

A list of bass figures that are not printed as numbers, but only as extender lines.

includeGraceNotes (boolean)

Do not ignore grace notes for Lyrics.

initialTimeSignatureVisibility (vector)

break visibility for the initial time signature.

instrumentCueName (markup)

The name to print if another instrument is to be taken.

instrumentEqualizer (procedure)

A function taking a string (instrument name), and returning a (min . max) pair of numbers for the loudness range of the instrument.

instrumentName (markup)

The name to print left of a staff. The instrumentName property labels the staff in the first system, and the shortInstrumentName property labels following lines.

instrumentTransposition (pitch)

Define the transposition of the instrument. Its value is the pitch that sounds when the instrument plays written middle C. This is used to transpose the MIDI output, and \quotes.

internalBarNumber (integer)

Contains the current barnumber. This property is used for internal timekeeping, among others by the Accidental_engraver.

keepAliveInterfaces (list)

A list of symbols, signifying grob interfaces that are worth keeping a staff with remove-empty set around for.

keyAlterationOrder (list)

An alist that defines in what order alterations should be printed. The format is (step . alter), where step is a number from 0 to 6 and alter from -2 (sharp) to 2 (flat).

keyAlterations (list)

The current key signature. This is an alist containing (step . alter) or ((octave . step) . alter), where step is a number in the range 0 to 6 and alter a fraction, denoting alteration. For alterations, use symbols, e.g. keyAlterations = #`((6 . ,FLAT)).

lyricMelismaAlignment (number)

Alignment to use for a melisma syllable.

magnifyStaffValue (positive number)

The most recent value set with \magnifyStaff.

majorSevenSymbol (markup)

How should the major 7th be formatted in a chord name?

markFormatter (procedure)

A procedure taking as arguments the context and the rehearsal mark. It should return the formatted mark as a markup object.

maximumFretStretch (number)

Don’t allocate frets further than this from specified frets.

measureLength (moment)

Length of one measure in the current time signature.

measurePosition (moment)

How much of the current measure have we had. This can be set manually to create incomplete measures.

melismaBusyProperties (list)

A list of properties (symbols) to determine whether a melisma is playing. Setting this property will influence how lyrics are aligned to notes. For example, if set to '(melismaBusy beamMelismaBusy), only manual melismata and manual beams are considered. Possible values include melismaBusy, slurMelismaBusy, tieMelismaBusy, and beamMelismaBusy.

metronomeMarkFormatter (procedure)

How to produce a metronome markup. Called with two arguments: a TempoChangeEvent and context.

middleCClefPosition (number)

The position of the middle C, as determined only by the clef. This can be calculated by looking at clefPosition and clefGlyph.

middleCCuePosition (number)

The position of the middle C, as determined only by the clef of the cue notes. This can be calculated by looking at cueClefPosition and cueClefGlyph.

middleCOffset (number)

The offset of middle C from the position given by middleCClefPosition This is used for ottava brackets.

middleCPosition (number)

The place of the middle C, measured in half staff-spaces. Usually determined by looking at middleCClefPosition and middleCOffset.

midiBalance (number)

Stereo balance for the MIDI channel associated with the current context. Ranges from -1 to 1, where the values -1 (#LEFT), 0 (#CENTER) and 1 (#RIGHT) correspond to leftmost emphasis, center balance, and rightmost emphasis, respectively.

midiChannelMapping (symbol)

How to map MIDI channels: per staff (default), instrument or voice.

midiChorusLevel (number)

Chorus effect level for the MIDI channel associated with the current context. Ranges from 0 to 1 (0=off, 1=full effect).

midiExpression (number)

Expression control for the MIDI channel associated with the current context. Ranges from 0 to 1 (0=off, 1=full effect).

midiInstrument (string)

Name of the MIDI instrument to use.

midiMaximumVolume (number)

Analogous to midiMinimumVolume.

midiMergeUnisons (boolean)

If true, output only one MIDI note-on event when notes with the same pitch, in the same MIDI-file track, overlap.

midiMinimumVolume (number)

Set the minimum loudness for MIDI. Ranges from 0 to 1.

midiPanPosition (number)

Pan position for the MIDI channel associated with the current context. Ranges from -1 to 1, where the values -1 (#LEFT), 0 (#CENTER) and 1 (#RIGHT) correspond to hard left, center, and hard right, respectively.

midiReverbLevel (number)

Reverb effect level for the MIDI channel associated with the current context. Ranges from 0 to 1 (0=off, 1=full effect).

minimumFret (number)

The tablature auto string-selecting mechanism selects the highest string with a fret at least minimumFret.

minimumPageTurnLength (moment)

Minimum length of a rest for a page turn to be allowed.

minimumRepeatLengthForPageTurn (moment)

Minimum length of a repeated section for a page turn to be allowed within that section.

minorChordModifier (markup)

Markup displayed following the root for a minor chord

noChordSymbol (markup)

Markup to be displayed for rests in a ChordNames context.

noteNameFunction (procedure)

Function used to convert pitches into strings and markups.

noteNameSeparator (string)

String used to separate simultaneous NoteName objects.

noteToFretFunction (procedure)

Convert list of notes and list of defined strings to full list of strings and fret numbers. Parameters: The context, a list of note events, a list of tabstring events, and the fretboard grob if a fretboard is desired.

nullAccidentals (boolean)

The Accidental_engraver generates no accidentals for notes in contexts were this is set. In addition to supressing the printed accidental, this option removes any effect the note would have had on accidentals in other voices.

ottavation (markup)

If set, the text for an ottava spanner. Changing this creates a new text spanner.

ottavationMarkups (list)

An alist defining the markups used for ottava brackets. It contains entries of the form (number of octaves . markup).

output (music output)

The output produced by a score-level translator during music interpretation.

partCombineForced (symbol)

Override for the partCombine decision. Can be apart, chords, unisono, solo1, or solo2.

partCombineTextsOnNote (boolean)

Print part-combine texts only on the next note rather than immediately on rests or skips.

pedalSostenutoStrings (list)

See pedalSustainStrings.

pedalSostenutoStyle (symbol)

See pedalSustainStyle.

pedalSustainStrings (list)

A list of strings to print for sustain-pedal. Format is (up updown down), where each of the three is the string to print when this is done with the pedal.

pedalSustainStyle (symbol)

A symbol that indicates how to print sustain pedals: text, bracket or mixed (both).

pedalUnaCordaStrings (list)

See pedalSustainStrings.

pedalUnaCordaStyle (symbol)

See pedalSustainStyle.

predefinedDiagramTable (hash table)

The hash table of predefined fret diagrams to use in FretBoards.

printAccidentalNames (boolean or symbol)

Print accidentals in the NoteNames context.

printKeyCancellation (boolean)

Print restoration alterations before a key signature change.

printNotesLanguage (string)

Use a specific language in the NoteNames context.

printOctaveNames (boolean or symbol)

Print octave marks in the NoteNames context.

printPartCombineTexts (boolean)

Set ‘Solo’ and ‘A due’ texts in the part combiner?

proportionalNotationDuration (moment)

Global override for shortest-playing duration. This is used for switching on proportional notation.

rehearsalMark (integer)

The last rehearsal mark printed.

repeatCommands (list)

This property is a list of commands of the form (list 'volta x), where x is a string or #f. 'end-repeat is also accepted as a command.

repeatCountVisibility (procedure)

A procedure taking as arguments an integer and context, returning whether the corresponding percent repeat number should be printed when countPercentRepeats is set.

restCompletionBusy (boolean)

Signal whether a completion-rest is active.

restNumberThreshold (number)

If a multimeasure rest has more measures than this, a number is printed.

restrainOpenStrings (boolean)

Exclude open strings from the automatic fret calculator.

searchForVoice (boolean)

Signal whether a search should be made of all contexts in the context hierarchy for a voice to provide rhythms for the lyrics.

segnoType (string)

Set the default bar line for a requested segno. Default is ‘S’.

shapeNoteStyles (vector)

Vector of symbols, listing style for each note head relative to the tonic (qv.) of the scale.

shortInstrumentName (markup)

See instrumentName.

shortVocalName (markup)

Name of a vocal line, short version.

skipBars (boolean)

If set to true, then skip the empty bars that are produced by multimeasure notes and rests. These bars will not appear on the printed output. If not set (the default), multimeasure notes and rests expand into their full length, printing the appropriate number of empty bars so that synchronization with other voices is preserved.

  r1 r1*3 R1*3
  \set Score.skipBars= ##t
  r1*3 R1*3
skipTypesetting (boolean)

If true, no typesetting is done, speeding up the interpretation phase. Useful for debugging large scores.

slashChordSeparator (markup)

The markup object used to separate a chord name from its root note in case of inversions or slash chords.

soloIIText (markup)

The text for the start of a solo for voice ‘two’ when part-combining.

soloText (markup)

The text for the start of a solo when part-combining.

squashedPosition (integer)

Vertical position of squashing for Pitch_squash_engraver.

staffLineLayoutFunction (procedure)

Layout of staff lines, traditional, or semitone.

stanza (markup)

Stanza ‘number’ to print before the start of a verse. Use in Lyrics context.

startAtNoteColumn (boolean)

Start DurationLine grob at entire NoteColumn.

startAtSkip (boolean)

Start DurationLine grob at skip-event.

startRepeatSegnoType (string)

Set the default bar line for the combinations beginning of repeat with segno. Default is ‘S.|:’.

startRepeatType (string)

Set the default bar line for the beginning of repeats.

stemLeftBeamCount (integer)

Specify the number of beams to draw on the left side of the next note. Overrides automatic beaming. The value is only used once, and then it is erased.

stemRightBeamCount (integer)

See stemLeftBeamCount.

strictBeatBeaming (boolean)

Should partial beams reflect the beat structure even if it causes flags to hang out?

stringNumberOrientations (list)

See fingeringOrientations.

stringOneTopmost (boolean)

Whether the first string is printed on the top line of the tablature.

stringTunings (list)

The tablature strings tuning. It is a list of the pitches of each string (starting with the lowest numbered one).

strokeFingerOrientations (list)

See fingeringOrientations.

subdivideBeams (boolean)

If set, multiple beams will be subdivided at baseMoment positions by only drawing one beam over the beat.

suggestAccidentals (boolean or symbol)

If set to #t, accidentals are typeset as suggestions above the note. Setting it to 'cautionary only applies that to cautionary accidentals.

supportNonIntegerFret (boolean)

If set in Score the TabStaff will print micro-tones as ‘

suspendRestMerging (boolean)

When using the Merge_rest_engraver do not merge rests when this is set to true.

systemStartDelimiter (symbol)

Which grob to make for the start of the system/staff? Set to SystemStartBrace, SystemStartBracket or SystemStartBar.

systemStartDelimiterHierarchy (pair)

A nested list, indicating the nesting of a start delimiters.

tablatureFormat (procedure)

A function formatting a tablature note head. Called with three arguments: context, string number and, fret number. It returns the text as a markup.

tabStaffLineLayoutFunction (procedure)

A function determining the staff position of a tablature note head. Called with two arguments: the context and the string.

tempoHideNote (boolean)

Hide the note = count in tempo marks.

tempoWholesPerMinute (moment)

The tempo in whole notes per minute.

tieWaitForNote (boolean)

If true, tied notes do not have to follow each other directly. This can be used for writing out arpeggios.

timeSignatureFraction (fraction, as pair)

A pair of numbers, signifying the time signature. For example, '(4 . 4) is a 4/4 time signature.

timeSignatureSettings (list)

A nested alist of settings for time signatures. Contains elements for various time signatures. The element for each time signature contains entries for baseMoment, beatStructure, and beamExceptions.

timing (boolean)

Keep administration of measure length, position, bar number, etc.? Switch off for cadenzas.

tonic (pitch)

The tonic of the current scale.

topLevelAlignment (boolean)

If true, the Vertical_align_engraver will create a VerticalAlignment; otherwise, it will create a StaffGrouper

tupletFullLength (boolean)

If set, the tuplet is printed up to the start of the next note.

tupletFullLengthNote (boolean)

If set, end at the next note, otherwise end on the matter (time signatures, etc.) before the note.

tupletSpannerDuration (moment)

Normally, a tuplet bracket is as wide as the \times expression that gave rise to it. By setting this property, you can make brackets last shorter.

  \set tupletSpannerDuration = #(ly:make-moment 1 4)
  \times 2/3 { c8 c c c c c }
useBassFigureExtenders (boolean)

Whether to use extender lines for repeated bass figures.

vocalName (markup)

Name of a vocal line.

voltaSpannerDuration (moment)

This specifies the maximum duration to use for the brackets printed for \alternative. This can be used to shrink the length of brackets in the situation where one alternative is very large.

whichBar (string)

This property is read to determine what type of bar line to create.


\set Staff.whichBar = ".|:"

This will create a start-repeat bar in this staff only. Valid values are described in ‘scm/bar-line.scm’.

Internals Reference v2.22.2 (stable-branch).