I am writing a JS Bach manuscript in lilypond. I want to just write what he wrote without adding any editorial stuff... and I am kind of struggling with accidentals. In (at least) this manuscript (BWV 1001) he writes down all accidentals. So, the key of his manuscript is F major (or D minor, anyway) though it's actually G minor. So most of the times he is writing an E, it's actually an E flat... and so he writes down all E flats in a single bar. So suppose he writes this:

ees ees ees ees

If I rendered that, we would get only the first E to have the flat, and then lilypond would skip it on the following ones.... So, in order for it to include the flats in the other Es, I write this:

ees ees! ees! ees!

Which works like a charm. However, in one of the bars, he has a natural D (and it's a natural because in the manuscript it has no accidental written down) that is following a few D flats in the same bar:

Suppose, it's like this:

des des des d

I could use the same trick for the second and 3rd Ds

des des! des! d

But lilypond will still write the natural on the final note, which I want to avoid, because Bach didn't write it.

As a workaround, I could write this:

des des! des! des

Which would skip the accidental on the final note, but I would rather have a D.

Is there a simple trick to pull it off?

2 Answers 2


\accidentalStyle forget at the start of your music should do the trick. The notation reference has an extensive list of accidental styles. It usually is best to just write the notes and let LilyPond figure out what to print, and there are various different means available for that.


If you want to get rid of anything, there is a simple way. Just use \hide or \omit. (The difference between them is that if \hide is used, there will still be some empty space where the thing would normally be. If \omit is used, the space will not be there.)

So doing des des! des! \once\omit Accidental des does the trick. You can experiment with it in a lilybin (a web app that can show and edit Lilypond snippets and compile them into scores which is displayed side-by-side with the snippet).

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