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Notation Reference doc addition: Techniques Specific to Lyrics

From: Guy Stalnaker
Subject: Notation Reference doc addition: Techniques Specific to Lyrics
Date: Sat, 09 Mar 2013 10:31:31 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:17.0) Gecko/20130106 Thunderbird/17.0.2

Add to this page after the section for Divisi lyrics at the bottom:


The following is based on this page for Temporary polyphonic passages.



It is common in choral music to have a voice part split for a cadence, or a measure or two. The << {...} \\ {...} >> construct, where the two (or more) musical expressions are separated by double backslashes, might seem the proper way to set the split voices. This construct, however, will assign *all* the expressions within it to *NEW Voice contexts* which will result in *no lyrcis* being set for them since the lyrics will be set to the original voice context--not, typically, what one wants. The temporary polyphonic passage is the proper construct to use.

The temporary polyphonic passage construct format is:


<< { \voiceOne ... }
  \new Voice { \voiceTwo ... }


Note the absence of \\ after \voiceOne! The first expression within a temporary polyphonic passage is placed into the Voice context which was in use immediately before the polyphonic passage, and that same Voice context continues after the temporary section. Other expressions within the angle brackets are assigned to distinct temporary voices. This allows lyrics to be assigned to one continuing voice before, during and after a polyphonic section, but not the temporary voices.

The following example shows how to create a temporary polyphonic (multi-voice) passage that will also set lyrics. If you normally create voice and lyrics variables then construct the score using those variables, the lyrics for a voice using this temporary polyphonic passage construct will be set following \voiceOne.


verse = \lyricmode {

  %Verse one snippet
  Est et in -- ef --

  fa -- bi -- lis

  In di -- vi -- ni --

  ta -- te.

  %Verse two ending

  An -- ti -- que de --

  e --



bass = {

  \key f \major

  \time 4/4

  \repeat volta 2 {

    g,4 g, bf, bf, |

    a, bf, c2 |


  \alternative {

    { %First ending

      c4 c bf, bf, |

      c2 c


    { %Second ending


{ \voiceOne c4 c f f | ef2( df) | c1 }

{ \new Voice { \voiceTwo c4 c bf, g, | f,1 | f,1 \fermata } }

>> | \voiceOne


}\bar "|."


bassPart = \new Staff

{ \clef bass \bass }

\addlyrics { \verse }

\score {




  \layout { }

  \midi { }



Best regards,


"There is only love, and then oblivion. Love is all we have
to set against hatred." (paraphrased) Ian McEwan

Guy Stalnaker

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