Has anyone here installed lilypond on Big Sur (Mac)? The .dmg file and brew install --cask lilypond both informed me that the distributed version of lilypond only work with macOS versions up to Mojave...

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    That would imply parts of it are still 32-bit. Mojave was the last OS to support any 32-bit at all. Did you look at the lilypond page? lilypond.org/macos-x.html
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 14:03
  • Yes, though I didn't see anything regarding Mac 11.x, which is what I'm on. But I also didn't see anything about brew and there was a cask, so I thought perhaps there was a distribution not specified on the lilypond page that would be compatible with Big Sur...
    – duhaime
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


I have found that for Lilypond, MacPorts is the only reliable way to get a new version on newer macOS builds.

I have my MacPorts install working happily alongside my homebrew install, with default settings for both.

Once you get MacPorts installed, lilypond is as simple as

sudo port install lilypond

If you have any trouble installing it, i.e. a conflict with a brew package, you can use trace mode to install it using only MacPorts files:

sudo port -t install lilypond
  • One thing to note: if you have a TeX install already, i.e. from homebrew or MacTeX, you can use the mactex variant, via sudo port install lilypond +mactex. You may have to configure some things, see the lilypond notes via port notes lilypond This will usually speed up the install a bit, because Lily needs tex for installation, but not runtime.
    – paradox460
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 17:49
  • Does anyone know why Lilypond is so badly supported on macOS?? (Since I already use Homebrew for lots of stuff, I've been using a Lilypond cask — but that only works up to 10.14 Mojave. And I quail at the idea of installing another entire package manager, and 23 support packages — probably with shedloads of further dependencies — simply for this one application.)
    – gidds
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 18:57
  • I believe its because there is some (perceived) licensing issue between an Apple provided library and a GNU one, which lilypond is licensed under. MacPorts "works" because it compiles it. It would, of course, be possible to get a Homebrew tap working that compiled Lilypond, and use it, but I haven't found one that does it yet. As for the leaf dependencies with MacPorts, its pretty easy to reclaim most of them, my Ly install isn't too space hungry
    – paradox460
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 1:06
  • Dunno if this is a coincidence, but I've just updated Homebrew, and find there's now a straight Lilypond formula, with a 64-bit executable! \o/ No GUI; just the command-line version — but that's all I use anyway. A web search finds this 22-hour-old announcement. Apparently it uses Guile 2 (not 1.8 like other versions of Lilypond) so may have teething problems — but it just rendered 3 pages of mine just about identically, so first impressions are great!
    – gidds
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 23:07

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