I am working with a collection of Lilypond files generated from the Weimer Jazz Database, and I've been trying to understand the rules for chord symbol notation. I've found a useful resource explaining the general rules, but still have a couple of questions about specific details.

First, I haven't found a definitive explanation about the difference between s and r for chord notation. My understanding is that r represents the No Chord symbol, NC. I thought that s meant repeat the previous chord, but as can be seen here, the sequence s2. r4 results in:

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Another point of confusion I have is with c1:775+, which I would be tempted to interpret as C7#5 (or C7b13) with an extraneous 7 in the notation, but as the engraved output here shows, is interpreted by Lilypond as C(9)13.

enter image description here

Finally, my understanding is that es indicates a flat symbol, but as can be seen in the engraved output, this sequence produces es2:min7 aes2:7 Eb-7 Ab7. I would have written the sequence ees2:min7 aes2:7.

enter image description here

I'd appreciate it if someone could help explain these examples, or point me to a definitive guide on Lilypond chord symbol notation.

  • Just a quick note: thought that s meant repeat the previous chord... s means to skip whatever duration it has, as previously explained, but there is a symbol for "repeat the last chord": q.
    – ksnortum
    Aug 18, 2023 at 12:45
  • "I am working with a collection of Lilypond files generated from the Weimer Jazz Database..." I'd be very interested in knowing where you found these (the LilyPond source files).
    – ksnortum
    Aug 18, 2023 at 13:19
  • I'm curious why there needs to be both a no chord symbol r and a skip symbol s. Aren't they fundamentally the same?
    – C. Bunks
    Aug 18, 2023 at 17:25
  • I wrote to one of the Weimar Jazz Database researchers, Dr. Klaus Frieler (see link) and he was kind enough to share them with me.
    – C. Bunks
    Aug 19, 2023 at 13:05
  • An r will produce a N.C. chord but an s will produce no chord. In the engraving of staff notation, the r produces a rest while an s leaves a space where the rest or note would be.
    – ksnortum
    Aug 20, 2023 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


s is simply a skip, so no information at all. r is a rest, and in Chord Names a rest is taken as N.C. (so essentially N.C. is the conceptual equivalent of a rest). By default Lilypond will only print Chord symbols if the chord changes.

For the second point: 775+ essentially means ’a chord with a raised 775th on top‘. Now, this notation seems to cap at 13th, which is what you are getting. I suppose you actually want the notation 7.5+.

Finally es is a shorter alias for ees, similar to as for aes. It should not affect the output. Most likely your file changes the default minor chord modifier, as explained here:


  • It can get confusing though, since es is e-sharp with \language "english" set.
    – ksnortum
    Aug 18, 2023 at 20:24

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