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In traditional metal plate music engraving, some of the notation elements were punched, some were cut using a graver. Ink was then flowed into the punched/cut markings and the top surface wiped clean. The paper for the score was pressed on top and the ink transferred to the page. This process gave each page the appearance of human interaction, for better or worse. Cadence was designed to mimic some of the subtleties in the appearance of traditionally engraved scores associated with this process (though there are certain things that a font can't replicate).

For example, the glyphs show how difficult it was to make a perfectly sharp internal corner and, thus, in addition to the ink's capillary action, all interior corners are rounded to approximately 0.005" radius at the default 20pt print scale. In the acute corners it may look "overdone", but that is simply an artifact of the physics/mechanics of the process.

This font is designed very closely around Emmentaler, so many glyphs will look almost identical (indeed, some are). Other glyphs show more noticeable changes like the natural sign, half and whole-note heads and the treble clef. Even on a laser printer, scores with this font look like they were printed with real ink.

Font Details

NOTE: No custom brace font was created for Cadence.

Font Usage

To use the font globally, put the following (minimal) code at the top of your .ly file:

\paper { #(define fonts (set-global-fonts #:music "cadence" #:factor (/ staff-height pt 20) )) }

NOTE: The #:factor (/ staff-height pt 20) argument is only needed if you are working at staff-height other than 20pt.


Like what you see? Is at least one of these fonts useful to you? Would you like a custom "house-style" font of your own? Want to make a font work for/from another music notation program? Support for, and creation of, these fonts takes considerable time and effort (and I'm pretty much the only one who knows how to do this for LilyPond), so please consider making a donation to Leigh Verlag (Abraham Lee). Please contact for more information and help.

Make a $5 Donation to Leigh Verlag

Happy Engraving!


All fonts here can be downloaded, used commercially, given to your friends, etc. as much as you want, (but not re-sold) in accordance with the respective font licenses. They are distributed WITHOUT WARRANTY of any kind. They have been prepared, packaged, and provided by Abraham Lee. All fonts were designed to be compatible with LilyPond 2.18.2, which means they may not work in earlier versions of LilyPond. Each font supports every glyph in version 2.18.2 (including the shape-note and ancient notation styles). If a font isn't working, or you'd like to create/suggest a new one, please contact Abraham with details, particularly the LilyPond version you are using and the context of what you are trying to do.

This page was last updated on: February 7, 2015