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Using Lillypond to show the ‘sim’ notation in a score

How can you include ‘sim’ in your score ?


How to define the ‘sim’ notation when using Lilypond to engrave a score. This is a little off topic for my blog but I found it difficult to find this information myself so I’m hoping others will find it here.

Lilypond and Frescobaldi

Lilypond is a file format allowing you to define a musical score using simple text notation; Lilypond is also the program which takes that text notation and outputs a score in, for instance, Acrobat PDF format. It’s a pretty amazing technology.

In using Lilypond I’ve found it very useful to use the Frescobaldi sheet music text editor which provides support for writing files in the Lilypond format.

What I’ve done

My music theory knowledge isn’t great but I’ve really enjoyed using Lilypond and Frescobaldi to engrave a score for a relative of mine. It’s just an amazing technology and the output is beautiful.

It took a little time to get to grips with some of the ideas although the Lilypond manuals are very good. I did however find one little thing I couldn’t work out how to do and that is the subject of this, rather top heavy post.

‘sim’ notation on a score

Sometimes in scores you want the text ‘sim.’ to appear as shown below in the screen dump.

I looked all over the documentation and there just didn’t seem to be a way of including that. However I visited the Lilypond IRC channel ( which you can visit directly by going to the support page and paging down a little.

The good folk on there were able to point me in the right direction. By appending

_\markup{\large \italic "sim."}

to the note I wished ‘sim’ to appear under the right thing was done.

Just to make that a little clearer here are a few bars which include the annotation to create the ‘sim’

As you might imagine the


only controls how large the ‘sim’ appear on the score and I fiddled around with this a little until I found an adjective which produced text that matched the rest of the score. There are a number of options for altering the size of text displayed as can be seen in the Selecting font and font size part of the Lilypond manual.

Hello world from MainlyData

Welcome to my new blog. My name Richard Shea, I live in New ZealandWellington to be specific and I work in IT (general enough for you ?). My working time is split between managing developers and doing development work myself.

So why the blog ? For more years than I care to remember strangers from all over the world have provided me with help and I’ve really got to thinking that I should give back more than I do, this blog is my attempt at that.

I intend to write some articles about stuff that passes under my nose which I feel others might benefit from – my main areas of work are :

  • relational database;
  • C# both for ASP.Net and otherwise and;
  • ta-da ! – Python.

In fact the nature of my job is that I often get involved in stuff way outside of those areas as well but that’s the bread and butter and so will be the bulk of the material

Here’s to someone going home early on the back of my efforts !