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I am beginning to experiment with Lilypond, trying to see the possibilities for writing drum scores / lead sheets. So far I have found the \drums notation, as well as \midi { } command. However, when trying to add the MIDI block inside the drums block, it is reported as invalid.

I am using VSLilyPond extension on Windows.

2 Answers 2

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\drums is just a shorthand for \context DrumStaff \drummode which is almost like \new DrumStaff \drummode except that it won't start an unnamed DrumStuff if another already exists at the same point of time. If you are doing drum rolls, you'll at least want the Beat_performer available since version 2.23.5 (which stresses the beats and thus subdivides the rolls), you'll want to wrap the music typeset in a separate score with \midi block into \unfoldRepeats, and you probably want to make use of the \articulate command from the include file articulate.ly.

That should probably cater for most keywords to look up in the documentation.

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  • Thank you! That's a bunch of new terminology to check out! Dec 21, 2021 at 14:42
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It seems that using the full syntax is better in this case:

\score {
    \new DrumStaff {
        \drummode {
            bd4 sn bd sn
        }
    }
    \layout { }
    \midi { }
}

This generates the MIDI file. I wonder if the same is possible with the \drums shorthand syntax.

Edit: Thanks to the tip, this would be the short-hand syntax. Needing the \score envelope around, with the \midi instructions inside.

\score {
    \drums {
        bd sn bd sn
    }
    \midi { }
}

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