Frequently asked questions are answered here as well as known bugs and issues.

How do I set up a MIDI keyboard?

Plug the keyboard into a usb port.
Start Denemo.
It will already respond to the keyboard, but you should still do as follows:
From the Edit Menu choose Change Preferences
In the MIDI tab look under Input Device for your device and select that.
Now it will not only respond to the keyboard but also allow you to play in a complete rhythm (brownish notes) and immediately play the notes on top.

How can I change fonts for lyrics?

I added these lines to the
start of a lyric verse (all on separate lines)

\override LyricText.font-shape = #’italic
\override LyricText.font-size = #4
\override LyricText.font-name = #”Arial”

and the lyrics changed from normal to italic, from the default size to a
larger one, and from the default font to the Arial font.

You can use any or all of these, but you have to be very careful to
paste exactly the correct text in there – that’s why having buttons to
remember the exact text is so handy. In particular watch out for the #
the ‘ and the ” characters which have to be right.
The size is 0 for default -1,-2… for smaller, 1,2 ..for larger.
You need to look up the fonts you have on your own machine – I tried
Dingbats and Gentium from the list given by the Character Map tool on my

How do you get new commands?

New commands are to be found in the menu system at in our source repository, where you navigate down the Main Menu or the Object Menu as appropriate until you come to the menu containing the new command you seek.
Each command requires two files command.scm and command.xml
Download these and move them to the same place in your installed version of Denemo. (This will be something like C:\Program Files\Denemo\usr\share\denemo\actions\menus\ObjectMenu\… or /usr/local/share/denemo/menus/ObjectMenu/…). Then use the More->More Commands to load them. That is: navigate to the location you downloaded the files to and select the command.xml file.
You will be asked if you only want to load shortcuts, the reply should be no, you want the command itself.
Then the command will then appear in the menu system. When you quit you will be asked if you want to keep the new command with your standard ones.
If you don’t want to tamper with the installed version you can download the .scm and .xml files to the equivalent place in your home directory under the folder .denemo-x.x.x (where x.x.x is your version of denemo). For example, .denemo-1.2.2\actions\menus\ObjectMenu\Score for a new command in the Score menu – you will need to create the folders that don’t yet exist. Then you can use the More->My Commands command to load from that directory.

How do you insert a diamond-shaped note above a regular note for artificial harmonics?

In versions 1.2.1 and higher this is a command in Notes/Rests, Notehead Types. For earlier versions:
1) create the main note
2) move the cursor up a fourth and press Ins to insert a note in the chord
3) Click Notes/Rests->Directives->Attach LilyPond to Note
4) Press for the first text (no LilyPond syntax to be placed before the note)
5) Type in \harmonic for the second text (LilyPond after the note)
6) Type whatever you like (e.g. o or h, or you could even paste a diamond character from your character map tool in accessories) for the display, to remind you that the note is altered

How can I start a new line of music?

If you just want to force a staff line-break in the printed output insert the Directives → Page Break command. Remember Denemo does not do the final typesetting of the music in the display, it just lets you input it quickly. However – there is a “page view” which shows the music on multiple lines – see the View menu (but this is so you can see more of your music, not to show the printed page).

Triplets and friends

Start and End triplet (tuplet) markers are objects in Denemo having a position (i.e. you can place the cursor on them, and delete them using backspace or del etc, just like notes, time signature changes or directives etc). There are commands to insert the start tuplet marker object and it has the meaning that the notes following have the scaled timing. Denemo expects tuplets to be ended within the Denemo measure, and although not strictly necessary it is probably best to do this. This is because the typesetting can be controlled regardless of how you tell Denemo about the timing of the notes.
If you right-click on a tuplet marker it explains about itself.

Unable to load/import LilyPond

Denemo’s LilyPond parser does not work on many third-party LilyPond files. It should work on its own output. Sometimes if there are a lot of notes you want to capture from a LilyPond file, it can be worth cutting the notes from the file and pasting them in to a file Denemo can read or using Paste LilyPond. Or you can try cutting out things in the original file that Denemo barfs on until Denemo can read it.

The lyric line is too long for the input field

You can use line breaks (Enter/Return) in this field. They don’t affect the placement of one syllable per note. You can make the lyrics pane larger by dragging, and scroll bars appear if the text is too much.

Tempo Changes

You should generally place tempo changes in all the staffs (and voices) – these will only be typeset once, but unless you do this the MIDI will be out of sync. Another reason for doing it is you want to print a single part, the tempo marking needs to be in that part. You are offered the chance to make such markings apply only to the part – this can be used if you need to place the marks at slightly different places in the various parts (e.g. because a tempo change occurs during a note). If you have two tempo marks (or other marks such as rehearsal marks) at different times in a piece they will all print unless you make them conditional in this way. The Directives menu has commands for (un)making them conditional if you want to alter this.

Empty Measures

Denemo allows you to leave empty measures, which it will typeset as blank bars. Denemo paints incomplete bars in red and over-full ones blue, unless you are currently working on them, in which case they are only slightly shaded.

Time Signature changes

These should be placed in every staff/voice otherwise the typesetting will be strange.

Occasional Polyphony

The way to do this in Denemo is to use Staff → Voices → Add Voice, or Structured Staff. You can leave all the measures empty except for time-signature changes and the one(s) with the extra notes. Those extra notes can be controlled with regard to stem up/down using the voice commands (Directives → Voices) or with individual stem up/down. slur up/down etc commands. Also you will probably want to create non-printing rests for that voice in any bar where it has notes.

The exception to being able to leave measures blank comes with any change of time signature – the change of time signature must be added in the voice as well and you can then put a (non-printing) rest(s) to fill out the bar. Importantly, if you have an Anacrusis (upbeat, pickup) then one will be created in the voice and you must insert non-printing rests of the duration of the upbeat (unless the voice is to be used for the upbeat too). That is, you cannot leave the upbeat empty. The measure will display in blue to warn you if you have not done this. LilyPond will typeset notes at the durations given ignoring the Denemo barlines, which only serve to break the music up for display purposes. Normally, of course, they do correspond with barlines, but they do not have to.

Refusing to Typeset

Some mistakes entering music can cause LilyPond to generate garbled output or no output at all.
If the Check Score command does not reveal the error, the first thing to do is look at where the typesetter has left the cursor. This is usually where the problem lies. You can get an error message from the bottom pane of the LilyPond window (typeset the score with this window open).

If the error is in the layout (that is, all the stuff besides the music), then the cursor can’t be placed on the error. Try saving a copy of your score under a new temporary file name and delete all the music to if it will typeset the score with just one empty measure. If this is ok, return to the original and make fresh copy, and use the following method to track down the problem.

The general way of finding a mistake in a score which prevents LilyPond from typesetting is as follows:

  • You make a copy of the score.
  • You go to half way through and delete from there to the end (you can do this with the Staffs -> Delete Measures After Cursor command)
  • If the score still misbehaves the problem is in the first half, so repeat.
  • If the score is now printing ok the problem is in the bit you deleted, so reload and delete the first half (you can do this with the Staffs ->Delete Measures Before Cursor).
  • Continuing in this way will reduce to a single bar where the error should lie.

There is a Denemo Page, what is it?

The only official Denemo pages are and the GNU Savannah project page, where our files are hosted. The sourceforge page is out of date and we have now put redirections to this site from it for those who are following old links.

Where does the name Denemo come from?

The name Denemo is thought to be a corruption of the French word dénouement. From Wikipedia: In literature, a dénouement (IPA:/deˈnuːmɑ̃/) consists of a series of events that follow the climax of a drama or narrative, and thus serves as the conclusion of the story. This would mean the pronounciation has to be French, but all other ways have been heard, too. To (double-)quote Denemo’s developer Jeremiah Benham: But it in the spirit of Linus Torvalds, “I don’t care what you call it, just as long as you use it.

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