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LilyPond is a free score writing application. Its input is a plain text file in the LilyPond music writing format, and its output is in either PostScript or PDF.


Install the lilypond package.


  • Denemo — Supports keyboard, MIDI and acoustic input, written in C. || denemoAUR
  • Frescobaldi — Provides music view with two-way point & click, MIDI capturing and playback, written in Python with PyQt. || frescobaldiAUR


Create a test file like:
 c' e' g' e'

To compile it, use:

$ lilypond

It will create test.pdf and files that contain your score.

LilyPond provides musicxml2ly(1) to convert MusicXML to the LilyPond format.

For more information, see info lilypond, lilypond(1) and the documentation.

Text editor support

LilyPond comes with modes for Emacs and Vim, see the documentation.

For Vim see the filetype plugin /usr/share/vim/vimfiles/ftplugin/lilypond.vim for the available key mappings.

See also