@Knut: `__` should (and will) be removed by convert-ly, so this situation 
should not occur unless the user did not follow the convert-ly recommendation. 
I agree with Dan that this should not be a concern for us.

@Dan: As said above, backward compatibility of the Lilypond engine (use old 
input file with new Lily) can and will be asserted by convert-ly, of course; I 
was refering to backward compatibility of the *input* (use [parts of] new input 
file with old/stable Lily). I'm not sure if average Jane is happy when all her 
manual extenders are deleted by convert-ly, and at some point she wants or 
needs to use, say, 2.18, because why not. I know that's what backups are for; 
but we had *very* few syntax changes in a long while that make code without 
*any* tweaks incompatible, and lyrics are among the most innocent part of a 
Lily file that I can imagine.

OTOH, I totally agree that there is no good reason why a now meaningless token 
should receive special handling indefinitely. The existence of extender event 
is now merely an implementation detail and hardly of any concern to the user.

Other projects typically use a deprecation period in such cases. Is that a good 
E.g., on encountering `__`, the parser could spit out a warning like "Ignoring 
`__`... (deprecated; extenders are automatically generated since Lilypond 
v2.x.y)" and only throw an error in some future version (e.g., starting from 
2.21.1 or 3.1.1, whatever comes first...).


** [issues:#4509] Enhancement: automatically engrave lyric extenders**

**Status:** Started
**Created:** Sat Jul 18, 2015 03:23 AM UTC by Anonymous
**Last Updated:** Thu Jan 12, 2017 06:02 PM UTC
**Owner:** Alexander Kobel

*Originally created by:* *anonymous

*Originally created by:* 

Actually, this is a content vs. presentation issue. The current approach has 
lyric extenders ‘hardcoded’ within the lyricmode input, whereas often it 
depends on layout whether I want an extender printed or not:
– In tight horizontal spacing, we might not need an extender, but when spacing 
is stretched, it might become necessary. This can come through different 
\(page/line\) breaking, parallel contexts present only in some editions \(part 
vs. score\), Completion\_heads\_engraver \(mensural without 
barlines/transcription with barlines\).
– Long syllables might not need an extender, where short syllables do.
– Often, all voices share the same text, but have extenders in different 
places. If extenders need not be given explicitly, the lyricmode input code can 
be reused much easier.

After all, the extenders don’t add any additional meaning, but only serve to 
improve legibility in such cases where they do.

This would require: 
– Recognising the end of a word by absence of a hyphen.
– Comparing printed length of the melisma notes vs. the syllable, likely after 
line breaking. After all, extenders will never influence horizontal spacing. 
They might, however, affect vertical spacing. \(unless we chose to omit \(or 
shift\) the extender in that case?\)
– Personally, I think very short extenders shouldn’t be printed. There should 
be some kind of threshold.
It’s also one of the usecases where a proper representation of a ‘lyric word’ 
would be helpful, along with [issue 2458](#2458).

Possibly related:
[issue 4098](#4098)

 had this listed as a Known issue.


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