The Daily T

TLilypond Template: Chords and Lyrics

The music notation program Lilypond is not only excellent for traditional music notation; lately I’ve been rewriting multi-page music sheets to single page chord/lyric sheets using Lilypond. The resulting PDF can be printed, or displayed on an iPad using music PDF readers such as unrealBook.

I couldn’t find a template for Lilypond that suited my purpose, and since I find this such a handy format I figured I’d put it on the web in case it’s useful for anyone else. You’ll find the Lilypond source file: chord-sheet-template.ly in a GitHub repository, so if you have comments or improvements, feel free to fork it there or send me an email.

The template is a simple example song, and looks like this (click for PDF):

Chord Sheet Template

If you’re not familiar with Lilypond you ought to check it out. Writing chord sheets like this with it is simple even if you’re not a programmer, and the benefits are many. You don’t have to worry too much about formatting your page, aside from setting some line breaks if you want, and the source is a simple text file in a format that’s been around for a long time so you won’t lose your work changing music programs.

Perhaps best of all though, is the little snippet I put around the whole block of chords:

\transpose c c {

Change the second note name there to e, and presto - instant transposing of chord sheets. Brilliant.