To align lyrics to music properly, instead of using \melisma and \melismaEnd, I found this method:

\version "2.20.0"


\addlyrics {
  Che -- _ _ _ ta -- na __ _ _ _

Is this ok? or is better to use the melisma code?


1 Answer 1


It depends on the situation. You have three paradigms: One is using either slurs or beams or using \melisma (which basically just sets melismaBusy to true). The other one is manually skipping notes using _ in the lyrics. The last paradigm is to not actually have the lyrics follow a voice, but to manually specify the duration of each syllable like

Che1*2 -- ta2. -- na(whatever duration that has)

The third way is usually only preferable if lyrics and notes are somewhat separate things, so usually you do not need it. Then usually the first method is less chaotic, as the music defines where a melisma is, so you do not need to specify this information in the lyrics. This also means that when the notes change you do not need to change the lyrics.

The second way can save some time, so when you’ve got a lot of rather uncomplicated melismas (like 2-note melismas) this is quite viable. In your case I think this is not the case though.

The second case can also be very important if you have music with multiple lyrics where melismas do not align. Like when you have multiple stanzas, and some stanzas have two notes syllabic, some melismatic. In this case you want to handle this yourself using _.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.