I'm currently transcribing a work into Lilypond, and I have a situation where an F already sharpened by the key signature is itself sharpened (i.e. F♯ → Fx). The subsequent note within the same measure has the key signature F♯ restored, thus undoing the double-sharp.

Lilypond appears to add a "courtesy" natural immediately to the left of the single-sharp in front of the note - refer to the markings circled in red in the below image.


But, this seems to add unnecessary clutter to an already crowded score.

Is there anyway to have Lilypond not put the natural sign in front of the sharp symbol?

I've already reviewed these questions regarding double-accidentals:

At least one score I found at the IMSLP for this piece has just the sharps (no naturals), although two others I saw there did have the "♮♯"

Finally, I am aware of precedent behind having both symbols; e.g. the vocal part of Mahler's 4th Symphony (final movement), Reh. 14 + 7 and 8 measures (p. 352 of this IMSLP score) (although Mahler's 4th was written eight years after Rachmaninoff's famous prelude).


2 Answers 2


Have a look at LilyPond's automatic accidentals section. They've defined a number of accidental styles for you to use to see what works best.

I've found the modern style takes care of it by adding \accidentalStyle modern to the left hand:

enter image description here

Of course, depending on how your score is set up, you could invoke it other ways (as shown in the link above) to apply to both hands.


You can set a global option, and overwrite it locally for individual notes if you want.

Like many features of Lilypond, finding it in the documentation is only easy when you know what it's called!

\version "2.18.2"
\language "english"

    { << \set Score.extraNatural = ##f
         \new Staff \relative c'' { gx gs gx gs gx gs }
         \new Staff { \clef "bass" \relative c' { gx gs gx 
            \once \set Staff.extraNatural = ##t gs gx gs } }

enter image description here

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