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How can I add extra vertical space between the top matter, i.e. the stuff in the header like title, composer..., and the first staff of the music? I'd like to leave enough room for additional, hand-written annotations, but the music is packed right up to the top.

The best thing I've found so far is to add a bunch of \markup{ . } lines before the first staff, but then I have an unattractive column of dots.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would use \vspace inside a markup block, like so:

        title = "My Song"
    \markup {
        \vspace #10
    \score {
        \relative c'' { a b c }
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    \version "2.18.2"

    \header {
        title = "Title"
        composer = "Composer"

    \paper {
        markup-system-spacing #'basic-distance = #50

    \relative c' {

See here for more information.

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