1.2.7 Internal music representation

Internally, music is represented as a Scheme list. The list contains various elements that affect the printed output. Parsing is the process of converting music from the LilyPond input representation to the internal Scheme representation.

When a music expression is parsed, it is converted into a set of Scheme music objects. The defining property of a music object is that it takes up time. The time it takes up is called its duration. Durations are expressed as a rational number that measures the length of the music object in whole notes.

A music object has three kinds of types:

The actual information of a music expression is stored in properties. For example, a NoteEvent has pitch and duration properties that store the pitch and duration of that note. A list of all properties available can be found in the Internals Reference, under Music properties.

A compound music expression is a music object that contains other music objects in its properties. A list of objects can be stored in the elements property of a music object, or a single ‘child’ music object in the element property. For example, SequentialMusic has its children in elements, and GraceMusic has its single argument in element. The body of a repeat is stored in the element property of RepeatedMusic, and the alternatives in elements.

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