A.1 Built-in templates

A template, suitable for a range of choral music, is built into LilyPond. This may be used to create simple choral music, with or without piano accompaniment, in two or four staves. Unlike other templates, this template is ‘built-in’, which means it does not need to be copied and edited: instead it is simply \include’d in the input file.

Note: Unlike most included files, this built-in template must be include’d at the end of the input file.

The required music expressions are entered by defining values for specific variables. These definition must come before the \include’d file.

The music may be set out with one or two voices per staff by setting TwoVoicesPerStaff to ##f or ##t respectively.

Here’s the complete input file for producing a full four-part SATB arrangement with individual lyrics and piano accompaniment:

  SopranoMusic = \relative { a'4\f a8 a a4 a }
  SopranoLyrics = \lyricmode { Sop -- ra -- no ly -- rics }
  AltoMusic = \relative { d'4\f d d d }
  AltoLyrics = \lyricmode { Al -- to ly -- rics }
  TenorMusic = \relative { a4\p a a a }
  TenorLyrics = \lyricmode { Te -- nor ly -- rics }
  BassMusic = \relative { c2\p c4 c }
  BassLyrics = \lyricmode { Bass ly -- rics }
  PianoRHMusic = \relative { c' e g c }
  PianoDynamics = { s2\mp s4 s4 }
  PianoLHMusic = \relative { c e g c }
  \include "satb.ly"

[image of music]

The same input can be used to produce a score with two voices per staff just by setting TwoVoicesPerStaff to ##t. Again, each voice has individual lyrics.

  SopranoMusic = \relative { a'4\f a8 a a4 a }
  SopranoLyrics = \lyricmode { Sop -- ra -- no ly -- rics }
  AltoMusic = \relative { d'4\f d d d }
  AltoLyrics = \lyricmode { Al -- to ly -- rics }
  TenorMusic = \relative { a4\p a a a }
  TenorLyrics = \lyricmode { Te -- nor ly -- rics }
  BassMusic = \relative { c2\p c4 c }
  BassLyrics = \lyricmode { Bass ly -- rics }
  PianoRHMusic = \relative { c' e g c }
  PianoDynamics = { s2\mp s4 s4 }
  PianoLHMusic = \relative { c e g c }
  TwoVoicesPerStaff = ##t
  \include "satb.ly"

[image of music]

When TwoVoicesPerStaff is set to false or allowed to default, any of the music variables may be omitted to produce arrangements with fewer voices. Here, for example, is how the input file for a Soprano/Bass duet might be written:

  SopranoMusic = \relative { c'' c c c }
  SopranoLyrics = \lyricmode { High voice ly -- rics }
  BassMusic = \relative { a a a a }
  BassLyrics = \lyricmode { Low voice ly -- rics }
  \include "satb.ly"

[image of music]

A second verse or alternative lyrics may be added to each of the parts:

  SopranoMusic = \relative { a'4 a a a }
  SopranoLyricsOne = \lyricsto "Soprano" {
    \set stanza = "1."
    Words to verse one
  }
  SopranoLyricsTwo = \lyricsto "Soprano" {
    \set stanza = "2."
    Words to verse two
  }
  \include "satb.ly"

[image of music]

When the lyrics and rhythms are the same for every part, the vocal music is best arranged on two staves with two voices in each. Up to nine verses may be provided. Here’s an unaccompanied example with just three verses.

  SopranoMusic = \relative { a' a a a }
  AltoMusic = \relative { f' f f f }
  VerseOne = \lyricmode {
    \set stanza = "1."
    Words to verse one
  }
  VerseTwo = \lyricmode {
    \set stanza = "2."
    Words to verse two
  }
  VerseThree = \lyricmode {
    \set stanza = "3."
    Words to verse three
  }
  TenorMusic = \relative { a a a a }
  BassMusic = \relative { f f f f }
  TwoVoicesPerStaff = ##t
  \include "satb.ly"

[image of music]

Other variables may be given values. The key signature and the time signature may be changed from the default:

  Key = \key a \major
  Time = {
    \time 5/4
    \tempo "Allegro" 4 = 144
  }
  SopranoMusic = \relative { gis' gis gis gis gis }
  AltoMusic = \relative { cis' cis cis cis cis }
  VerseOne = \lyricmode { Words to this du -- et }
  TwoVoicesPerStaff = ##t
  \include "satb.ly"

[image of music]

The instrument names and/or the short instrument names may be changed:

  SopranoMusic = \relative { c'' c c c }
  SopranoLyrics = \lyricmode { High voice ly -- rics }
  SopranoInstrumentName = "Soprano 1"
  SopranoShortInstrumentName = "S1"
  AltoMusic = \relative { a' a a a }
  AltoLyrics = \lyricmode { Low voice ly -- rics }
  AltoInstrumentName = "Soprano 2"
  AltoShortInstrumentName = "S2"
  \include "satb.ly"

[image of music]

A descant may be added by defining values for the variable DescantMusic and descant lyrics may be provided by defining values for DescantLyrics.

\header and \paper blocks may be added as normal. A \layout block may be provided as the value of the Layout variable:

Layout = \layout { ... }

The complete set of variables which may be changed can be seen by examining the file ‘ly/satb.ly’.

See also

Learning Manual: Organizing pieces with variables, Vocal ensembles templates, Extending the templates.

Known issues and warnings

More complex arrangements of SATB choral music are not possible with these simple built-in templates.


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LilyPond — Learning Manual v2.19.14 (development-branch).