LilyPond is an open source project that provides users with a set of command-line utilities for manipulating and creating high-quality music sheets. It is compatible with the GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Features at a glance
It accepts music language input in textual form using any standard text editor application, it supports multiple languages, and the ASCII input language integrates support for HTML, Texinfo and TeX formats, allowing users to write musicological treatises from a single source.
The application allows users to Import MIDI, ABC and ETF formats. On the other hand, the output can be generated in various file formats, including PostScript, MIDI, PDF, SVG, and PNG.
The formatting functionality of the program supports several notation constructs, automatic spacing, page and line breaking, automatic placement of beams, accidentals and slurs, as well as manipulation of polyphonic collisions for notes, rests and dots.
Comprises of several command-line tools
As mentioned, the project is comprised of several command-line tools, including lilysong, lilymidi, lilypond-book, and lilypond-invoke-editor. Each one features its own options and arguments, but they’re all integrated with the main lilypond command.
Special notations include chord names, grace notes, ambituses, harmonics, arpeggio signs, basic tablature notation, metronome markings, ottava brackets, drum notation, automatic cue-notes, and EasyNotation note heads.
In addition, the application includes the figured bass, measure repeats, tuplets in arbitrary ratios, fret diagrams, polymetric notation, nested analysis brackets, piano pedals, system separators, quarter tone accidentals, mensural notation, tremolos, cluster notation, and blanking arbitrary notation elements.
Another interesting feature is the ability to extend its functionality using the built-in LISP interpreter. Furthermore, it can separate the music and its layout, allowing parts and scores to be generated from a single source.
Summing up, GNU LilyPond is an excellent command-line application that integrates amazing functionality, an active user community, extensive documentation, and it is supported by several other music-oriented programs, such as RoseGarden, NoteEdit, Denemo and PowerTab.