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LilyPond 2.0 - make beautiful music prints

From: Han-Wen Nienhuys
Subject: LilyPond 2.0 - make beautiful music prints
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 16:46:14 +0200

Dear music enthousiasts,

LilyPond version 2.0 was released today. LilyPond is an automated
music notation system: it is used to make gorgeous sheet music.  It is
libre software ("open source"), and available for most Unix flavors,
including Linux and MacOS X, and MS Windows.

Use it for your music too!

This release is focused on simplification of the syntax: note
attributes, like articulation, dynamics and fingerings are now
post-fix exclusively. This makes entering scores easier: you never
have to think about the order of the attributes.  With version 2.0, we
have a solid platform for working on notation and typography features
for coming versions,

Downloads, examples and documentation are available from the website,

A big thank-you goes out to our hackers and bughunters: Mats
Bengtsson, Heikki Junes, Juergen Reuter, Antonio Palama, Benjamin
Milde, Daniel Berjon Diez, David Bobroff, David Rayleigh Arnold, Erik
Ronstroem, Fabio dos Santos, Fodor Bertalan, Frederic Bron, Graham
Parcival, Ian Bailey-Mortimer, John Williams, Josza Marton, Marco
Caliari, Matthieu Amiguet, Michael Welsh Duggan, Patrick Atamaniuk,
Paul Scott, Pedro Kroeger, Peter Lutek, Richard Schoeller, Thorkil
Wolvendans, and Werner Trobin

Happy music printing,

Han-Wen Nienhuys & Jan Nieuwenhuizen
(core development team)

New features in 2.0 since 1.8

   * Crescendos can now be drawn dotted or dashed.

   * Quarter tones are now supported. They are entered by suffixing
     `ih' for a half-sharp and `eh' for a half-flat. Hence, the
     following is an ascending list of pitches:

            ceses ceseh ces ceh c cih cis cisih cisis

   * The following constructs have been removed from the syntax:

            \duration #SCHEME-DURATION
            \pitch #SCHEME-PITCH
            \outputproperty FUNC SYMBOL = VALUE

     For `\outputproperty', the following may be substituted:

             \applyoutput #(outputproperty-compatibility FUNC
                            SYMBOL VALUE)

   * Clefs may now be transposed arbitrarily, for example

            \clef "G_8"
            \clef "G_15"
            \clef "G_9"

   * The syntax for chords and simultaneous music have changed.  Chords
     are entered as


     while simultaneous music is entered as

             <<..MUSIC LIST..>>

     In effect, the meanings of both have been swapped relative to
     their 1.8 definition.  The syntax for lists in `\markup' has
     changed alongside, but figured bass mode was not  changed, i.e.:

            \markup { \center <..LIST OF MARKUPS..> }
            \figure { <FIGURES> }

     As chords the more often used than simultaneous music, this change
     will save keystrokes.

   * Each music expression can now be tagged, to make different printed
     versions from the same music expression.  In the following example,
     we see two versions of a piece of music, one for the full score,
     and one with cue notes for the instrumental part:

          << \tag #'part <<
            { c4 f2 g4 }      % in the part, we have cue-notes
            \\ R1 >>
            \tag #'score R1  % in the score: only a rest

     The same can be applied to articulations, texts, etc.: they are
     made by prepending

                  -\tag #YOUR-TAGS

     to an articulation, for example,

                  c4-\tag #'with-fingerings -4 -\tag #'with-strings \6

     This defines a note, which has a conditional fingering and a
     string-number indication.

   * The settings for chord-fingering are more flexible. You can
     specify a list where fingerings may be placed, eg.

                \property Voice.fingeringOrientations = #'(left down)

     This will put the fingering for the lowest note below the chord,
     and the rest to the left.

   * The script previously known as `ly2dvi' has been renamed to
     `lilypond'. The binary itself is now installed as `lilypond-bin'.

   * Markup text (ie. general text formatting) may now be used for
     lyrics too.

   * Two new commands for grace notes have been added, `\acciaccatura'
     and `\appoggiatura',

            \appoggiatura f8 e4
            \acciaccatura g8 f4

     Both reflect the traditional meanings of acciaccatura and
     appogiatura, and both insert insert a slur from the first grace
     note to the main note.

   * Layout options for grace notes are now stored in a context
     property, and may now be set separately from musical content.

   * The `\new' command will create a context with a unique name
     automatically. Hence, for multi-staff scores, it is no longer
     necessary to invent arbitrary context names. For example, a
     two-staff score may be created by

            \simultaneous {
              \new Staff { NOTES FOR 1ST STAFF }
              \new Staff { NOTES FOR 2ND STAFF }

   * Octave checks make octave errors easier to correct.  The syntax is

            \octave PITCH

     This checks that PITCH (without octave) yields PITCH (with octave)
     in \relative mode. If not, a warning is printed, and the octave is

   * All articulations must now be entered postfix. For example,

                c8[( d8])

     is a pair of beamed slurred eighth notes.

   * The definition of `\relative' has been simplified.  Octaves are
     now always propagated in the order that music is entered. In the
     following example,

            \repeat "unfold" 3  BODY \alternative { ALT1 ALT2 }

     the octave of BODY is based on PRE, the starting octave of ALT1 on
     BODY, the starting octave of ALT2 on ALT1, and the starting octave
     of POST on ALT2.

     The same mechanism is used for all other music expressions, except
     the chord. Backwards compatibility is retained through a special
     program option, which is set through

            #(ly:set-option 'old-relative)

   * Windows users can double click a `.ly' file to process and view it
     automagically through the new `lily-wins' frontend.

New features in 1.8 since 1.6

   * The chord entry code has been completely rewritten. It is now
     cleaner and more flexible.

   * A new syntax has been added for text entry.  This syntax is more
     friendly than the old mechanism, and it is implemented in a more
     robust and modular way. For more information, refer to the section
     on "Text markup" in the notation manual.

   * The integration of the input language and Scheme has been made
     deeper: you can now use LilyPond identifiers in Scheme, and use
     Scheme expressions instead of LilyPond identifiers.

   * The internal representation of music has been cleaned up completely
     and converted to Scheme data structures.  The representation may be
     exported as XML.

   * A new uniform postfix syntax for articulation has been introduced.
     A beamed slurred pair of eighth notes can be entered as

                c8-[-( d8-]-)

     In version 2.0, postfix syntax will be the only syntax available,
     and the dashes will become optional.

     This will simplify the language: all articulations can be entered
     as postfix, in any order.

   * A new syntax has been added for chords:

                << PITCHES >>

     It is not necessary to update files to this syntax, but it will be
     for using LilyPond version 2.0.  In version 2.0, this syntax will
     be changed to

                < PITCHES >

     for chords, and

                \simultaneous { .. }

     for simultaneous music.

     To convert your files from <PITCHES> to <<PITCHES>>, use the script
     included in buildscripts/

     This change was introduced for the following reasons

        * It solves the "start score with chord" problem, where you
          have to   state \context Voice explicitly when a chord was
          the start of a   Staff or Score.

        * With the new syntax, it is possible to distinguish between
          articulations (or fingerings) which are for a single chord
          note,   and which are for the entire chord. This allows for
          per-note   fingerings, and is more logical on the whole.

   * User code may now be executed during interpreting.  The syntax for
     this code is

                \applycontext #SCHEME-FUNCTION

   * User code may now be executed on arbitrary grobs during
     interpreting.  The syntax for this feature is

                \applyoutput #SCHEME-FUNCTION

     SCHEME-FUNCTION takes a single argument, and is called for every
     grob that is created in the current context.

   * New algorithms for chord-name formatting have been installed. They
     can be tuned and have ergonomic syntax for entering exceptions.

   * Texts may now be put on multimeasure rests, e.g.

                R1*20^\markup { "GP" }

   * Ancient notation now prints ligatures in Gregorian square neumes
     notation, roughly following the typographical style of the Liber
     hymnarius of Solesmes, published in 1983.  Ligatures are still
     printed without the proper line breaking and horizontal spacing.

   * Glissandi can now be printed using the zigzag style.

   * LilyPond can now print clusters. The syntax is

                \apply #notes-to-clusters { NOTE NOTE .. }

   * For irregular meters, beat grouping marks can be printed. The
     syntax for this is

                #(set-time-signature 7 8 '(3 2 2))

   * Nested horizontal brackets for music analysis can now be printed:


   * Ottava brackets are now fully supported as a feature.  The syntax

                #(set-octavation 1)

   * Metronome markings are printed when a \tempo command is processed.

   * Fingerings can be put on chords horizontally.

   * The appearance of various glyphs has been fine-tuned.

   * Different types of percent style repeats may now be nested.

   * The emacs support has been extended.

   * The manual has been completely revised and extended.

New features in 1.6 since 1.4

   * Support for figured bass and tablature.

   * Completely rewritten beam formatting: provides much better output

   * Completely revised and improved music font.

   * Completely rewritten MIDI import support.

   * Completely rewritten grace note support. Practically speaking this
     means that grace notes can be slurred to normal normal notes.

   * Improved accidental handling and formatting: styles for producing
     cautionaries may vary, and complex collisions between accidentals
     of a chord are handled much better.

   * Better spacing: both globally and locally. This includes subtle
     details like optical stem spacing.

   * More support for ancient notation: mensural ligatures, ambitus
     (pitch range) of voices, more shapes, etc.

   * More support for piano notation: bracket pedals, directed
     arpeggios, arpeggio brackets.

   * Easier music polyphonic music entry.

   * More extensibility, many speedups and bugfixes

   * The manual has been thoroughly revised.

   * Development is now hosted at, and sources
     can be downloaded through anonymous CVS.

   * Support for windows: LilyPond is part of the cygwin distribution,
     which comes with a user-friendly installer.


Han-Wen Nienhuys   |   address@hidden   | 

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