Saturday, September 14, 2013

LilyPond vs. MuseScore in polyphony

I had a hard time when wanted to typeset the polyphonic parts of BWV 572 with MuseScore 1.2.

So I gave LilyPond (version 2.16.2) a try:

\score {
 \new Staff <<
 \new Voice = "one" \relative c' {  
 \clef treble
 \key g \major
 \time 2/2 
 r2 g'' ~ g4 g fis e d1
 \new Voice = "two" \relative c' {  \voiceTwo  r2 b'2 ~ b4 b a2 ~ a4 a g fis}
 \new Voice = "three" \relative c' {  \voiceThree r2 d'2 c1 ~ c4 c b2 }

Much better default output, mainly due to the default offset of the middle voice (which is a disadvantage in the 8th bar), but still needs tweaks from the first measure - which is much easier in MuseScore. So this use case again proves my experience: automated engraving is unfortunately more of a myth. It is better to tweak every measure visually than to tweak every second measure via a text interface. With MuseScore in 2 minutes I could arrive at the tweaked version:


  1. Good point. But, how will this passage look like if you added a line-break in the middle? Will your tweaks be retained?

    1. Yes, but offsets put in via tweaks are simply staff space based, so the won't stretch or so.

  2. BTW, could you share the full LilyPond code? You pasted only they first 3 measures, and i'd like to add the whole example to my "lilypond should handle these better" list of examples.