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12.2. The LilyPond Approach

For an extensive explanation of the following section, please see the LilyPond Website at, from where this was sourced.
LilyPond works by separating the tasks of what to put, and where to put it. Each aspect of an object's position is controlled by a specific plug-in. You can think of the plug-ins as tools. LilyPond knows how and when to use each tool; if it doesn't know enough about a tool, then it isn't used.
Before LilyPond places an object, it first considers many different possibilities for the specific alignment and layout of that object. Then it evaluates the possibilities according to aesthetic criteria set out to reflect those used in hand-engraved notation. After assigning each possibility a score representing how closely it resembles to the aesthetic ideal, LilyPond then chooses the better possibility.