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


which outputs:

Multi-measure rest with a "12" above it

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 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.

  • jTab (for producing guitar tab diagrams) processes indented code blocks on this site.
    – Dave
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 19:37
  • 1
    If there is an improvisation going on, maybe consider using a fermata over a single R1 rest. Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 5:02

3 Answers 3


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.


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

  • Of course, \compressFullBarRests should be used as well. Commented Aug 27, 2013 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.

  • 1
    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.
    – user5952
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 13:36

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