Note: LilyPond is a text-based music engraver; it is more similar to a programming language than a graphical score editing program. Before downloading LilyPond, please read about our Text input.
- MacOS X x86: LilyPond 2.16.1-1 For MacOS X 10.4 or higher, running on Intel CPUs (if in doubt, use this).
- MacOS X PPC: LilyPond 2.16.1-1 For MacOS X 10.4 or higher, running on G3 and G4 CPUs (old Apple computers).
Double-click the downloaded file, then drag it to wherever you want.
Delete the LilyPond.app folder.
Compiling a file
Note: These instructions assume that you are using the LilyPond application. If you are using any of the programs described in Easier editing, please consult the documentation for those programs if you have any problems.
Step 1. Create your ‘.ly’ file
Double click the
LilyPond.app, an example file will open.
From the menus along the top left of your screen, select
File > Save.
Choose a name for your file, for example ‘test.ly’.
Step 2. Compile (with LilyPad)
From the same menus, select
Compile > Typeset.
A new window will open showing a progress log of the compilation of the file you have just saved.
Step 3. View output
Once the compilation has finished, a PDF file will be created with the same name as the original file and will be automatically opened in the default PDF viewer and displayed on your screen.
To create new files for LilyPond, begin by selecting
File > New
File > Open to open and edit existing files you have
You must save any new edits you make to your file before you
Compile > Typeset and if the PDF file is not displayed
check the window with the progress log for any errors.
If you are not using the default Preview PDF viewer that comes with the Mac Operating system and you have the PDF file generated from a previous compilation open, then any further compilations may fail to generate an update PDF until you close the original.
Running on the command-line
Note: If you are happy with the GUI, then please ignore these instructions.
MacOS X on the command line
The most convenient way to run lilypond scripts is by setting up “helper” scripts of your own.
Create a directory to store these scripts,
mkdir -p ~/bin cd ~/bin
Create a file called
#!/bin/bash exec DIR/LilyPond.app/Contents/Resources/bin/lilypond "$@"
Note: DIR will generally be
Create similar files
convert-ly, and any other scripts you wish to use, by replacing the
bin/convert-ly(or other program name).
Make the file executable,
chmod u+x lilypond
Now, add this directory to your path. Modify (or create) a file
.profilein your home directory such that it contains
This file should end with a blank line.
Invoking individual scripts
The scripts — such as
abc2ly, and even
lilypond itself — are included
.app file for MacOS X.
Scripts can also be run from the command line by invoking them directly:
The same is true for all other scripts in that directory, such as