I just came across a liturgical peace using horizontal bars as notation for parts where a continuous reciting tone is used. I'd like to know whether there's a specific name for this bar notation (and ultimately, how to reproduce it in LilyPond). Can anybody help me out here?

Horizontal bar notation

  • This is one way of notating a "reciting tone" for liturgical congregational chant. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 14:11
  • Another common notation is just to use a breve. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


I couldn't find other examples, but based on the content I'll take a guess.

I think that the long note means to chant the lyrics on that tone. The page looks a bit like Gregorian Chant notation with modifications to a 5-line staff. The last system has two notes over a single syllable which has a special symbol in Chant notation. There is no rhythm indicated so I'd guess that the rhythm is the normal speech rhythm of the text. I'm basing my guess on this: http://media.musicasacra.com/pdf/neumes.pdf.


Actually, with the help of this post, I already got a little farther. Now I only need to find out how to align the text correctly with the beginning of the line, instead of centering the line start over the text. Any ideas? Here's the code:

\version "2.16.2"
\include "deutsch.ly"

ohr = \markup {
  \with-dimensions #'(0 . 0) #'(0 . 0)
  \translate #'( 0 . -0.3)
  \combine \filled-box #'(-0.3 . +0.3) #'(0 . 0.3) #0 % Naht
  \filled-box #'(-0.8 . +0.8) #'(0 . 0.15) #0         % Strich

balken = {
   \once \override Glissando #'after-line-breaking =
    #(lambda (grob)
      (let* ((left-bound (ly:spanner-bound grob LEFT))
             (left-Y (assoc-get 'Y (ly:grob-property grob 'left-bound-        info))))
       (ly:grob-set-property! left-bound 'stencil #f)
       (ly:grob-set-nested-property! grob '(right-bound-info Y) left-Y)))

   \once \override Glissando #'thickness = #6
   \once \override Glissando #'(bound-details left  padding) = #-0.5
   \once \override Glissando #'(bound-details right padding) = #1.3
   \once \override Glissando #'(bound-details left text) = \markup \rotate     #-90 \ohr
   \once \override Glissando #'(bound-details right text) = \markup \rotate     #90 \ohr
   \once \override Glissando #'springs-and-rods = #ly:spanner::set-            spacing-rods
   \once \override Glissando #'minimum-length = 10

 \score {
   \new Staff <<    
    \new Voice = "Alt"
      \relative c'' {
        \key g \major
        \clef treble
        \time 1/4
            \override Score.SpacingSpanner #'packed-spacing = ##t
            \set Score.timing = ##f     
            \balken g
        a g g
        \balken g
        fis g g
        \balken g
        a g
        \balken g
        fis g
        \balken g
        a g
        \balken g
        fis g
        g a g(fis) fis
      \addlyrics {
        "Herr tue meine" Lip- pen auf.
        "dass mein Mund deinen Ruhm ver-" kün- di- ge.
        "Gott, gedenke mein nach deiner" Gna- de.
        "Herr, erhöhre mich mit deiner treuen" Hil- fe.
        "Ehre sei dem Vater und dem Sohne und dem Heiligen" Geis- te
        "wie im Anfang, so auch jetzt und alle Zeit und in Ewigkeit."     A- men.
        [Hal- le- lu-_ ja]
  \midi {
  \layout {
   \context {
    \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
    \remove "Bar_engraver"
    \override Stem #'transparent = ##t
    \override Flag #'transparent = ##t
    \override Beam #'transparent = ##t
   } % context
  } % layout
} % score

The result looks like this: Result

  • 1
    This looks like a separate question to me, you can post as many questions as you want. More critically, this is not an answer to your original question. The idea here is to have specific questions and (ranked) answers, not a flowing discussion thread (music.stackexchange.com/tour)
    – Dave
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 12:57
  • 1
    @Dave His question includes the parenthetical, "(and ultimately, how to reproduce it in LilyPond)", so it does seem like he is answering part of his own question here. potofcoffee, could you possibly add an image or link showing what this Lilypond code looks like? Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 13:46
  • @ToddWilcox My bad...
    – Dave
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 13:54
  • @Dave, I'm sorry, I thought this was covered under my original question. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 17:10
  • 1
    @ToddWilcox, I edited the answer and provided an image. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 17:11

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