Help:List of musical symbols

List of musical symbols

A list of musical symbols with the codes and techniques necessary to create them on Wikisource.


Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Whole note (semibreve), Half note (minim),
Quarter note (crotchet), Eighth note (quaver),
Sixteenth note (semiquaver)
b1 b2 b4 b8 b16 B8 B4 B2 B1 (or B) B1/2 (or B/) ABC works with default note length, varying depending on meter. You can set the default note length:


for a default note length of an eighth note (quaver) The examples below assumes a default note length of 1/4 unless otherwise specified.

Dotted note b4. b2. b4.. b2.. B3/2 B3 B7/4 B7/2 In LilyPond, dotted notes must always have a specified, numeric duration.

In ABC there is a shortcut for a dotted note followed by a note half the value of the undotted one. For example a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth:


This works the with an eighth followed by a quarter as well:


Beam b8[ d c b] B/d/c/B/
Chord <a d> <a c e> [Ad] [Ace]
Phrase b\( b b b\) (B B B B)
Rest r2 r4 r8 r16 z z/2 z/4
Slur g( b d) (G B d)
Tie b~ b B-B


Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Flat bes
(note + es)
_B A-flat and E-flat can also be entered as "as" and "es" (respectively) in Lilypond.
Double flat beses
(note + eses)
Sharp bis
(note + is)
Double sharp bisis
(note + isis)


Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Treble clef \clef treble
\clef G
[K: clef=treble]
[K: clef=G]
[K: clef=G2]
For voice [V:1 clef=G] or key [K:C clef=G]

The numbers for the clefs are the lines where the clef is centered, counted from the lowest.

The square brackets are used for change inside the tune. At the start, use K:Dm clef=F for in d minor noted with bass clef.

French clef \clef french [K: clef=G1]
Bass clef \clef bass
\clef F
[K: clef=bass]
[K: clef=F]
[K: clef=F4]
Varbaritone clef \clef varbaritone [K: clef=F3]
Subbass clef \clef subbass [K: clef=F5]
Alto clef \clef alto
\clef C
[K: clef=alto]
[K: clef=C]
[K: clef=C3]
Tenor clef \clef tenor [K: clef=tenor]
[K: clef=C4]
Soprano clef \clef soprano [K: clef=alto1]
[K: clef=C1]
Mezzosoprano clef \clef mezzosoprano [K: clef=alto2]
[K: clef=C2]
Baritone clef \clef baritone [K: clef=alto5]
[K: clef=C5]
Percussion clef \clef percussion

Rhythm and keyEdit

Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Time signature \time 2/4 M:2/4
Key signature \key b \minor K:Bm
Metronome marks \tempo 4 = 120 Q:1/4=120
Textual tempo indication \tempo "Allegro" Q: "Allegro"
Tempo & metronome marks \tempo "Allegro" 4 = 120 Q: "Allegro" 1/4=120


Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Crescendo b\< b b\! !<(!B B B!<)!
or Decrescendo
b\> b b\! !>(!B B B!>)!
Pianississimo b\ppp !ppp!B
Pianissimo b\pp !pp!B
Piano b\p !p!B
Mezzo piano b\mp !mp!B
Mezzo forte b\mf !mf!B
Forte b\f !f!B
Fortissimo b\ff !ff!B
Fortississimo b\fff !fff!B
Sforzando b\sfz !sfz!B
Forte-piano b\fp


Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Staccato b-. or b\staccato
or Spiccato
b-! or b\staccatissimo
Accent b-> or b\accent
Tenuto b-- or b\tenuto
Marcato b-^ or b\marcato
Stopped note
or Pizzicato
b-+ or b\stopped
Portato b-_ or b\portato
Espressivo b\espressivo
Fermata b\fermata
Short fermata b\shortfermata
Long fermata b\longfermata
Very long fermata b\verylongfermata
Open note b\open
or Natural harmonic
Half open note b\halfopen
Snap pizzicato b\snappizzicato
Up bow
or Sull'arco
Down bow
or Giù arco
Thumb b\thumb
Left-foot heel pedal mark b\lheel
Right-foot heel pedal mark b\rheel
Left-foot toe pedal mark b\ltoe
Right-foot toe pedal mark b\rtoe


Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Trill b\trill
Upper mordent
or Pralltriller
Lower mordent b\mordent
Turn b\turn
Reverse turn b\reverseturn
Grace note \grace b8 b4
Appoggiatura \appoggiatura b8 b4
Acciaccatura \acciaccatura b8 b4

NB: The following variations on the mordent also exist: prallmordent, upprall, downprall, upmordent, downmordent, lineprall, prallprall, pralldown and prallup.


Bar linesEdit

Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Standard bar
Standard bar-line
\bar "|" | Standard divider between bars (or measures) of music of set length
\bar "."
Double bar
Double bar-line
\bar "||" || Separates two sections of music
\bar ".|"
Bold double bar
Bold double-line
Heavy double
\bar ".."
\bar "|.|"
End \bar "|." |] Indicates the end of a piece of music
Dotted bar
Dotted bar-line
\bar ";" :
Dashed bar
Dashed bar-line
\bar "!"
Begin repeat \bar ".|:" |: Indicates the beginning of a section to be repeated
\bar ":..:"
Begin and end repeat \bar ":|.|:" :: Indicates the end of one repeated section and the beginning of another
\bar ":|.:"
Repeat bar-line
Repeat sign
\bar ":|." :| Indicates the end of a section to be repeated
\bar ":.|.:"
\bar "[|:"
\bar ":|]"
\bar ":|][|:"
\bar "'" !shortphrase!
In-line segno \bar "S" Alternative repeat sign


Symbol Name LilyPond syntax ABC syntax Notes
Text b4 b^Foo b b B "^ Foo" B B B

See alsoEdit