What do people say about LilyPond?

Published articles

  • April 2011

    Linux Magazine publishes an article titled Projects on the Move. It is an introductory article on MuseScore, LilyPond and Chordii. Author Carla Schroder states “LilyPond is driven from the command line, but don’t let the lack of a GUI scare you away; LilyPond is user-friendly and easy to learn”, and provides a hands-on example.

  • May 2010

    Peter Kirn, on the Create Digital Music website, publishes a LilyPond review. He takes a balanced view on usage, praises LilyPond’s high-quality notation and suggests to try it out.

  • September 2009

    The German LinuxUser magazine wrote an article about LilyPond.

  • August 2009

    Ann Drinan, on the website, presents comments by two orchestra librarians who talk about using software to maintain their libraries.

  • June 2009

    In an article published in the French National Conservatory Parent Association’s yearly magazine, French composer and LilyPond contributor Valentin Villenave explains how Free licenses, and specifically LilyPond-engraved scores, are instrumental in making written music accessible to all.

  • February 2008

    In articles on his personal site, Andrew Hawryluk compares Finale and LilyPond in general terms, and evaluates engraving capabilities of both pieces of software in detail. The second article is an instructive analysis of engraving issues in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Prelude No. 6, including comparisons with a hand-engraved reference edition.

  • June 2006

    DistroWatch awards LilyPond and writes “Ladies and Gentleman, we are pleased to announce that, based on readers’ requests, the DistroWatch May 2006 donation has been awarded to LilyPond (€190.00) and Lua (US$250.00).”

  • December 2005

    Linux Journal publishes an article titled Make Stunning Schenker Graphs with GNU LilyPond. It is an in-depth but hands-on feature article with crisp LilyPond graphics. Author Kris Shaffer remarks “GNU LilyPond generates beautiful graphics that make commercial alternatives seem second-rate.”

  • August 20, 2005

    The Belgian newspaper De Standaard investigates what drives Free Software authors in an article titled Delen van KENNIS zonder WINSTBEJAG (Non-profit sharing of knowledge) in its ‘DS2 bijlage’. LilyPond is used as an example and the article is interspersed with quotes from an email interview with Jan Nieuwenhuizen. This marks LilyPond’s first appearance in mainstream printed press.

  • June 2005

    A French article on the LilyPond 2.6 release appeared on

  • October 2004

    The editors of Computer!Totaal, a Dutch computer magazine, describe LilyPond in the October 2004 issue as: “Wonderful free (open source) software […] The sheet music produced by LilyPond is exceptionally pretty […] a very powerful system that can do almost anything.”

  • July, August 2004

    Dave Phillips wrote an introductory article for Linux Journal: At the sounding edge: LilyPond, parts one and two.

  • March 2004

    Chris Cannam interviewed Han-Wen Nienhuys and Jan Nieuwenhuizen on (original site defunct). This interview was also reviewed in a slashdot story.

  • February 2004

    Jazz singer Gail Selkirk writes about Diving into LilyPond. “… you can make lead sheets or full orchestral parts, and the results can be stunning.” Computer Music Special, issue CMS06.

User testimonials


Carter Brey, Principal Cellist, New York Philharmonic

“… I’ve written a couple of encore pieces for solo cello which I’ve printed with LilyPond and which I’m going to submit to Schirmer for publication. I’ll bet their engraved version wouldn’t look half as sharp as mine!”


Orm Finnendahl, professor of Composition, Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main

“Although I don’t know [LilyPond] very well yet, I’m *very impressed. I used the program to input a motet of Josquin Desprez in mensural notation and there’s no doubt that lilypond outscores all other notation programs easily concerning speed, ease of use and look!”


Darius Blasband, composer (Brussels, Belgium)

“[..after the first orchestra rehearsal] I got numerous compliments about the quality of the scores. Even more importantly, while LilyPond provides numerous hacks to improve the way its scores look, what the orchestra got from me is basically the raw, untouched output.”

Kieren MacMillan, composer (Toronto, Canada)

“thanks and kudos to the development team for their incredible work. I’ve never seen anything approaching the output that I get from LilyPond – I’m totally confident that my music publishing needs will be fulfilled beyond my expectations using this great application. […] basically untweaked LilyPond output […] looks better than most recent ‘professional’ publications I’ve compared it to (q.v., just about any Warner Bros. score, and even many of the most recent by ‘the old houses’). […]” “Beat that, Finale/Sibelius/Igor/whatever!!!”

Chris Cannam, lead programmer of the RoseGarden project

“LilyPond is obviously the zillion-ton gorilla [of great music typesetting].”

Chris Snyder, Adoro Music Publishing

“The way that music is entered for LilyPond causes me to think in a more musical way – there have been times when I’ve been stumped as to how to tell Lily to engrave something, only to realize that even if I did get it exactly as the composer wanted, the music would be confusing to read. LilyPond makes it much easier for me to work in my dual editor+engraver role.”

“I’ve been using LilyPond exclusively for my fledgling music publishing business. Virtually without exception, every composer has been blown away by the quality of the engraving when presented with the proofs of their music about to be published. I deserve some of the credit for this – I spend a lot of time tweaking output, especially ties (mainly in chords) – but LilyPond gives me an excellent starting point, a very intuitive interface, and the ability to modify absolutely anything if I want to take the time. I’m convinced that no commercial product can come close.”

David Bobroff, Bass Trombone, Iceland Symphony Orchestra

“I think LilyPond is great […] The more I learn about LilyPond the more I like it!”

Vaylor Trucks, Electric guitar player (Yes, related to)

“I am super impressed with LilyPond […]”


“Thank you all SO MUCH for your hard work and dedication!”

Nicolas Sceaux, Mutopia contributor

“I had a kind of hate-passion relationship with it. Passion because the first score I saw was so amazing! The description of LilyPond lies about its beautifulness, it is too modest! […] as LilyPond is getting always better, and as I look closer how things are done in scheme, I have less and less frustrations. Anyway, what I mean is: thank you for providing LilyPond, it is really good.”

Werner Lemberg, Conductor at the Theater in Koblenz, Germany and distinguished GNU Hacker

“Anyway, LilyPond does an amazingly good job!”

Paul Davis, developer of JACK and Ardour

“I think [LilyPond is] an incredible program, and it produces wonderful, wonderful output. when i read an interview about it last year, i was raving to several friends of mine about its potential.”

Dr. Mika Kuuskankare, researcher at the Sibelius Academy Finland, composer and author of Expressive Notation Package (ENP)

“I have the deepest respect towards LilyPond and towards its creators and maintainers as I know from personal experience how difficult this kind of software can be.”

David Cameron, Musician, professional typesetter and long time SCORE user

“My heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributes to this project. I was a power SCORE user for big typesetting houses way back in the ’90s, but I feel LilyPond finally makes it possible for me to get exactly what I want on the page, especially when it isn’t "standard" practice.”

If you are aware of any other news articles or testimonals which could be listed here, please let us know by writing a message to the bug-lilypond mailing list. If you’re not subscribed yet you can do so on the list’s info page.

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