a font of musical symbols, compatible with GNU Lilypond


Gonville is a font of symbols for typesetting music: clefs, note heads, quaver tails, and so on. It is compatible with GNU Lilypond.

I designed it because Lilypond's standard font (Feta) was not to my taste: I found it to be (variously) over-ornate, strangely proportioned, and subtly not like the music I was used to reading. Music set in Feta looks to me like strangely stylised music; music set in Gonville just looks to me like music, so I can read it without being distracted so much.


Here are a few sample bars of music set in Gonville:

[784x341 image, 29K]

For comparison, here is the output of standard Lilypond given the same input file:

[790x347 image, 30K]

If (like me) you prefer the one at the top, try downloading Gonville!

What is not supported

Gonville has been tested against Lilypond version 2.18 and 2.20. It is possible that it will not work properly with future versions, if the Lilypond developers choose to add new glyphs, or change the names under which they expect to find the existing ones. I intend to try to keep Gonville up to date; if you find a problem with a later version of Lilypond, let me know the details and I'll see what I can do.

There are a few parts of the standard Lilypond font which I have not attempted to reproduce, so music using those features cannot be typeset in Gonville. The missing elements are:


The Gonville font files themselves may be used without restriction. You don't even have to preserve a copyright notice or anything. Use freely and enjoy.

In particular, this means that you may embed the Gonville font or portions of it in PostScript, PDF, SVG or other document file formats without incurring any constraint whatsoever on your subsequent use or licensing of those files.

(On the other hand, if you're using the Gonville outlines in a context where they might be mistaken for your own work, e.g. incorporating them into a music typesetting program, it would be polite to give me credit for the design.)

The source code that generates the font files (if you download the source archive below, or look in the git repository) is distributed under the MIT licence.

For more details, see the file called LICENCE in the distribution archive.


The Gonville fonts, in immediately usable form, can be downloaded here. You need a different distribution archive depending on your version of Lilypond, because Lilypond 2.20 introduced a convenient font-switching mechanism, which 2.18 and before did not have.

For Lilypond 2.20 and above:

For Lilypond 2.18 or before:

The font files in that archive are not the original form in which I created the glyphs. The original form – the source code, in fact – can be downloaded here. It's written in Python, and somewhat hacky at present.

The source files are also stored in a public git repository. If you want to see the latest state of development, you can check that out:

git clone https://git.tartarus.org/simon/gonville.git

Alternatively, you can browse the repository on the web, here.


Please report problems to anakin@pobox.com.

You might find it helpful to read this article before reporting a bug.

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(last modified on Sat Oct 28 12:40:24 2023)