LilyPond: Free Music Engraving Software

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LilyPond is a free music engraving software that allows the user to produce high- quality sheet music. Music engraving is the process of drawing musical notes on a sheet of paper, and this is converted mechanically into the music that we hear. This is usually a manual process, which is laborious and tiring to do. LilyPond is one software with which music engraving becomes simple. Lilypond being a compiled system , the user has to write the musical notes on a text file and compile it using the freeware. The whole process of producing the music sheet is similar to writing a computer program and compiling it to get the desired output.


Using this free music engraving software, the user can produce engraved music on paper by taking printouts or on the computer screen as such. The user does not drag and drop notes. Instead the musical notes are written as text in a file by a professional composer and then it is compiled using the text-based music engraving software. The output is a compiled and translated version of the text that was entered and it contains the traditional, visual representation of the musical notes. This seems to work only for professionals, but the training manual makes it possible for even beginners to learn and use this free music engraving tool.

If you love music, you can try Vye Music or Psonar for streaming music online or try Jaangle or Helium for organizing and playing music

Some of the Interesting Features of LilyPond are:

  • Notes are encoded as letters and numbers.
  • Options to include time delays, effects  etc., are also available.
  • Flat and sharp tones  can be added by using special characters in the text file.
  • Chords can be combined together using special commands.
  • Lyrics can be added in between.
  • Popular editing environments are available for creating the Lilypond Text file, just like programming editors.

With all these interesting features Lilypond is a great software to produce musical engravings both on computer screen as well as paper. LilyPond is also a good free alternative to Sibelius.

Download LilyPond and start producing high quality music sheet. LilyPond freeware is capable of being run on various Operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. Installers for each operating systems with specific instructions for installation and use , are available for download at LilyPond’s official website.

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Works With: Windows, Mac, Linux
Free/Paid: Free