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Automatic narrowing in Emacs?

From: David Sumbler
Subject: Automatic narrowing in Emacs?
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2019 12:12:57 +0000

This may be slightly off-topic, but it concerns a problem I have
encountered in Emacs when editing Lilypond files and at no other time.

I always use Emacs for creating and editing my Lilypond files.  Some of
these get quite large.  When editing a very long file (typically over
2,000 lines) I have discovered occasionally that I have apparently
inadvertently deleted a chunk at the beginning of the file.

I got in a terrible mess a couple of times trying to restore this
missing chunk from earlier versions of the file, only to find
afterwards that the relevant portion was never missing at all: it was
simply not shown in the window.

I now realise that in these cases the buffer has been "narrowed".  This
is a useful feature of Emacs that I wasn't even aware of previously,
and no doubt I shall start to use it intentionally in future.

But I find that a large buffer gets narrowed automatically when I am
editing, even though I have not given a command for this.  Even if I
then issue a 'widen' command (Ctrl-x n w) the buffer gets narrowed
again after short while.

I can find no reference in the Emacs Manual to this automatic
behaviour, so I thought perhaps it was a feature of the Lilypond Emacs 
mode.  But having looked at the files in my
directory, I cannot find anything relevant there either.

Can anyone explain why this odd behaviour is occurring?


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