Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In Lilypond one can make long full-measure rests with:


which outputs:

enter image description here

Is there an engraver I can turn off, or some other way to remove the number from above the rest (for a multi-measure rest of arbitrary length)?

Also, is this the preferred way to engrave this or is there some other better way to specify arbitrary length rests?

To clarify, this is for a section in which another instrument has an improvised solo of arbitrary length.

share|improve this question
@Dave I tried, but it said the tag doesn't exist and I don't have enough rep to create it yet. Also, thanks for the edit. I was sitting here trying to figure out why the pre wasn't working. – Sam Whited Mar 19 '13 at 19:31
Prematurely deleted comment: this needs a [lilypond] tag. – Dave Mar 19 '13 at 19:34
jTab (for producing guitar tab diagrams) processes indented code blocks on this site. – Dave Mar 19 '13 at 19:37
lilypond tag added. – luser droog Mar 19 '13 at 19:38
If there is an improvisation going on, maybe consider using a fermata over a single R1 rest. – Reina Abolofia Mar 20 '13 at 5:02
up vote 6 down vote accepted

In newer versions of LilyPond

\override MultiMeasureRestNumber #'stencil = ##f

can be expressed as

\override MultiMeasureRestNumber.stencil = ##f

or even shorter as

\omit MultiMeasureRestNumber

All of that does exactly the same. It's just syntactic sugar.

share|improve this answer

I've stumbled up on the answer to my own question. Either of the following should work:

    \set restNumberThreshold = #1000 % Some large number
    \override MultiMeasureRestNumber #'stencil = ##f

The first is a bit hackish and not very robust (it sets the number of rests required to display the number extremely high), but the second may have unintended consequences in some older versions of Lilypond.

Here is the final result:

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Of course, \compressFullBarRests should be used as well. – John Peyton Aug 27 '13 at 17:35

Leaving out the number is an approach I have never seen in classical orchestral scores. Typically the last tutti note has a fermata, followed by a one-bar rest also having a fermata above the text "Cadenza". Of course, this leaves open, when to start again, which is the reason, why classical cadenzas end with a trill to be easily recognized. In smaller ensembles a glimpse or nod will also do.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, I may do that instead. I'll leave the question open though because I'd still like to know how to hide the text over full-measure rests. – Sam Whited Mar 20 '13 at 13:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.