I was directed by America Luke to this forum site. I hope this is the correct place.

I have a score with a lot of triplets. It's awkward to write always \times 2/3 {c16 d e} \times 2/3 {d e f}.

Since the \times causes not only the duration scaling but also the bracket length you can't use

\times 2/3 {c16 d e   d e f}.

How can this done more efficiently.

5 Answers 5


It's worth pointing out that as of LilyPond 2.17.11, you can write

\tuplet 3/2 8 {c16 d e d e f}

and get 3:2 tuplets in groups of duration 8 (in this case, two groups of three tuplets each). This is basically the same as temporarily overriding tupletSpannerDuration.


You have to specify the property tupletSpannerDuration to get several tuplets using only one \times command:

\set tupletSpannerDuration = #(ly:make-moment 1 8)
\times 2/3 {c16 d e d e f }

See LilyPond Documentation for more on this.


I think that your problem isn't intrinsically with the triplets, but rather with controlling beams; one approach is to manually set the beams:

Running lilypond 2.16 on

\times 2/3 {c16^"Two 3-note phrases"  d e } \times 2/3 { d e f } r4 r2

\times 2/3 { c16^"Manual Beaming" [d e] d [e f] } r4 r2

\set tupletSpannerDuration = #(ly:make-moment 1 8)
\times 2/3 { c16^"Moment & Manual Beaming" [d e] d [e f] } r4 r2


yields this lilypond output

The square brackets in the lilypond file indicate the beams in the same manner as parentheses indicate slurs.

  • Cool! Question: shouldn't the "one six note phrase" really have a "6" over it to indicate the number of notes in one beat? Nov 6, 2013 at 15:36
  • Yeah, the "six note prhase" looks odd, and possibly ambiguous; c.f. (music.stackexchange.com/questions/12655/…)
    – Dave
    Nov 6, 2013 at 15:55
  • Well, all your examples show some inadequate pictures. First (as my example) has correct brackets but wrong beaming. Second and third has a bracket over multiple triplets. I write a piece with triplet over several staves. (as at page 4 of javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/5/50/…) It's not a pleasure to find somewhere the bracket number instead about the triplet itself. Isn't there an effective way to write triplets.
    – harper
    Nov 7, 2013 at 7:59
  • 2
    @CarlWitthoft use \times 4/6 instead, and lilypond will even try to infer the best beaming as available.
    – SeuMenezes
    Nov 8, 2013 at 5:03
  • Yes I know that I can start and stop the beams with []. But that isn't what I am looking for. Can't I tell Lilypond to write 100 triplets with automatic beaming?
    – harper
    Nov 29, 2013 at 10:11

I think, there is no need to restrict the contents of one brace to 3 notes only, so for consecutive triplets, as in your example, a minor compression can be:

\times 2/3 {c16 d e d e f}
  • Ok, since the OP claimed this fouls up the bracket length, can someone post the actual pdfs this code generates? Nov 6, 2013 at 13:26

A better looking grouping:

\relative c' {
  \override TupletBracket.bracket-visibility = #'if-no-beam
  \times 2/3 { c16 c \set stemRightBeamCount = #1 c }
  \times 2/3 { \set stemLeftBeamCount = #1 c c c }  

yields this:

enter image description here

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