I'd like to score a congas part in lilypond, but I can't figure out how.

I've found the lilypond documentation on it here, but I can't understand it, especially this bit:

There are also other layout possibilities. To use these, set the property drumStyleTable in context DrumVoice.

I just need to know how to set up a staff for the congas.

Currently I achieved this:

But it is with improper technique (I just used a normal staff and changed the number of staff lines,) so I can't show open/slap/etc. tones and the staff lines appear too close together.

Just realised my question might be a bit unclear, so here I will describe what I would like to see in an answer:

The perfect answer really just needs to be a code snippet which contains lilypond code which compiles into a congas staff and a congas part. If you could also show how to display the different tones that would be great, e.g.:

\new DrumStaff {
    \style = congas
    \cgho \cgl

with a picture of what is produced.

What I'm aiming for:

but on two lines like this:

  • What do you want the conga notation to look like when you're done with it? I've seen more than one kind of conga notation. Can you include a picture of conga notation (done by someone else) that looks right to you? Mar 25, 2016 at 12:33
  • @Todd done, although it doesn't really matter, I just want someone's example/implementation of lilyponds documentation. I just can't understand what the docs are trying to tell me to do.
    – minseong
    Mar 25, 2016 at 12:59
  • 1
    Partway down this page lilypond.org/doc/v2.18/Documentation/notation/… is a "congas-style" section. Note that if you click on the notation you will be provided with the lilypond source that produced that notation.
    – Dave
    Mar 25, 2016 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


I figured out how to create the effect I wanted:

The secret was in using the Staff.StaffSymbol.line-positions property, so the code I have now looks like this:

#(define mycongas '(                     ; I need this table because
         (losidestick cross #f -2)       ; the notes need to be
         (loconga () #f -2)              ; re-positioned onto the
         (openloconga () "open" -2)      ; new staff lines, hence the
         (muteloconga () "stopped" -2)   ; final number of each
         (hisidestick cross #f 2)        ; line (2 or -2).
         (hiconga () #f 2.2) 
         (openhiconga () "open" 2) 
         (mutehiconga () "stopped" 2) 
         (conga () #f 2.2) 
         (openconga () "open" 2) 
         (muteconga () "stopped" 2) 

\new DrumStaff \with {
  instrumentName = #"Congas "
  shortInstrumentName = #"Cng. "
  drumStyleTable = #(alist->hash-table mycongas)
\drummode {
  % sets the number of staff lines and where they are positioned
  \override Staff.StaffSymbol.line-positions = #'(-2 2)
  cgho8. ssh16 cgho8 ssh8 cgho8. ssh16 cgho8 cglo8 |

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