I can not find a way to have both a natural and a flat accidental in front of a single note.

image of natural and flat before a note

How can I get this in LilyPond?

  • 4
    Why do you want it at all? Such a notation is not used very much these days (I think). However, Lilypond by default uses this if there has been a double accidental before. So if you just write beses4 bes4, the first note will have a double flat and the next one a natural + flat. Outside of these cases, such a notation would be extremely rare or nonexistent in actual use.
    – Ramillies
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 11:19
  • 1
    In American notation?
    – Mahanidhi
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 12:14
  • 2
    @Ramillies In fact this notation is quite common when the previous time that pitch was in the music it was either sharped or double-flatted. this natural + {flat, sharp} notation is useful Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


This might be what you are looking for:

\tweak Accidental.restore-first ##t


  • Great! I needed this too. I found a part in Bruckner's 7th symphony (Adagio) that used this to specify a cis! after a cisis in the previous measure.
    – Stewart
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 13:04

As Ramillies says in the comments, this is a pretty rare occurrence; I'd be curious to see the context of your example. But the main reason I can think of these accidentals happening is to cancel out a prior double accidental (with the natural) while still giving a single accidental to the new pitch.

But LilyPond has various accidental styles that automates how accidentals appear in your scores. Depending on your specific example, you may find that one of these styles fits your needs the best.

  • here it is the song. It is a transcriptions of an Indian Mantra of the 70's
    – Mahanidhi
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 12:14
  • 1
    – Mahanidhi
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 12:15
  • 2
    As I understand it, a prior double accidental is a valid reason for cancellation, but the other accidental type (sharp in this case) might be the much more frequently encountered one.
    – guidot
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 16:13
  • 2
    I don't think one would use it to cancel a double accidental while giving a new single accidental to the same pitch, but rather in cases where a key signature has a single flat and it's necessary to cancel a double-flat and play a note with the single flat that's in the key signature. Some editors would regard the use of a single flat mark as adequate for the purpose, but performers may not consistently recognize that a note with a single-flat accidental should sometimes represent a higher pitch than a note which isn't marked with any accidental. The natural makes things IMHO clearer.
    – supercat
    Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 6:57

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