Fingering

The placement of fingering on single notes can also be controlled by the direction property, but changing direction has no effect on chords. As we shall see, there are special commands which allow the fingering of individual notes of chords to be controlled, with the fingering being placed above, below, to the left, or to the right of each note.

First, here’s the effect of direction on the fingering attached to single notes. The first bar shows the default behavior, and the following two bars shows the effect of specifying DOWN and UP:

\relative {
  c''4-5 a-3 f-1 c'-5 |
  \override Fingering.direction = #DOWN
  c4-5 a-3 f-1 c'-5 |
  \override Fingering.direction = #UP
  c4-5 a-3 f-1 c'-5 |
}

[image of music]

However, overriding the direction property is not the easiest way of manually setting the fingering above or below the notes; using ‘_’ or ‘^’ instead of ‘-’ before the fingering number is usually preferable. Here is the previous example using this method:

\relative {
  c''4-5 a-3 f-1 c'-5 |
  c4_5 a_3 f_1 c'_5 |
  c4^5 a^3 f^1 c'^5 |
}

[image of music]

The direction property is ignored for chords, but the directional prefixes, ‘_’ and ‘^’, do work. By default, the fingering is automatically placed both above and below the notes of a chord, as shown:

\relative {
  <c''-5 g-3>4
  <c-5 g-3 e-2>4
  <c-5 g-3 e-2 c-1>4
}

[image of music]

but this may be overridden to manually force all or any of the individual fingering numbers above or below:

\relative {
  <c''-5 g-3 e-2 c-1>4
  <c^5 g_3 e_2 c_1>4
  <c^5 g^3 e^2 c_1>4
}

[image of music]

Even greater control over the placement of fingering of the individual notes in a chord is possible by using the \set fingeringOrientations command. The format of this command is:

\set fingeringOrientations = #'([up] [left/right] [down])

\set is used because fingeringOrientations is a property of the Voice context, created and used by the New_fingering_engraver.

The property may be set to a list of one to three values. It controls whether fingerings may be placed above (if up appears in the list), below (if down appears), to the left (if left appears, or to the right (if right appears). Conversely, if a location is not listed, no fingering is placed there. LilyPond takes these constraints and works out the best placement for the fingering of the notes of the following chords. Note that left and right are mutually exclusive – fingerings may be placed only on one side or the other, not both.

Note: To control the placement of the fingering of a single note using this command it is necessary to write it as a single-note chord by placing angle brackets round it.

Here are a few examples:

\relative {
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)
  <f'-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)
  <f-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4 |
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(up left down)
  <f-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(up left)
  <f-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4 |
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(right)
  <f-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4
}

[image of music]

If the fingering seems a little crowded the font-size could be reduced. The default value can be seen from the Fingering object in the IR to be -5, so let’s try -7:

\relative {
  \override Fingering.font-size = -7
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)
  <f'-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(left)
  <f-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4 |
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(up left down)
  <f-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(up left)
  <f-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4 |
  \set fingeringOrientations = #'(right)
  <f-2>4
  <c-1 e-2 g-3 b-5>4
}

[image of music]


LilyPond Learning Manual v2.25.17 (development-branch).