I'm trying to have a slurred triplet inside of some lilypond notation, but I get the following error:

music.ly:32:52: error: syntax error, unexpected EVENT_IDENTIFIER
    a(b cis a e'-.) e e8(d \tuplet 3/2 {b16 gis e} 
                                                   ) |

This is the code that I'm compiling.

\version "2.18.2"
\relative c'{
    a(b cis a e'-.) e e8(d \tuplet 3/2 {b16 gis e} ) |

I've spent a long time looking and I haven't been able to find a satisfactory explanation for why this is happening. this page on the official lilypond website suggests that there isn't any special treatment for embedding triplets inside slurs, but when I remove the slur braces like so:

    a(b cis a e'-.) e e8 d \tuplet 3/2 {b16 gis e}  |

It compiles just fine.

I have version 2.18.2 installed on my ubuntu machine.

Googling "unexpected EVENT_IDENTIFIER" hasn't helped me too much.

2 Answers 2


The closing parenthesis has to be attached to some note, not an expression, and the tuplet is an expression. This works by writing it right after the last note of the tuplet:

e8( d \tuplet 3/2 { b16 gis e) } |

enter image description here


It's interesting to note that in 2.21 (namely the current unpublished development) your original code compiles fine:

lilypond /tmp/a.ly
GNU LilyPond 2.21.0
Processing `/tmp/a.ly'
Interpreting music...
/tmp/a.ly:3:54: warning: barcheck failed at: 7/8
    a(b cis a e'-.) e e8(d \tuplet 3/2 {b16 gis e} ) 
Preprocessing graphical objects...
Finding the ideal number of pages...
Fitting music on 1 page...
Drawing systems...
Layout output to `/tmp/lilypond-D9rjnO'...
Converting to `a.pdf'...
Deleting `/tmp/lilypond-D9rjnO'...
Success: compilation successfully completed

Well, LilyPond is right about that bar check I am afraid... You probably wanted eighths triplets.

This does not mean that it will become a good idea to write stuff like this, just that LilyPond will do an additional sweepup on such expressions that might stitch stuff together after the fact.

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