I am currently doing an arranging project (due in a couple of days) using a jazz horn section and rhythm section and I need the score to be in landscape form. In LilyPond / Frescobaldi, I cannot get it to display this way. I am also having trouble with using "kicks over time" notation for the rhythm section, but that is a whole other question. This is what I have before my instrument variables and score block:

\version "2.19.55"
\header {
  title = "Sonor AKA Sonar" 
  subtitle = "Concert Score"
  composer = "Kenny Clarke & Gerald Wiggins"
  arranger = "Arr. Guest Poster"
\paper { 

#(set-default-paper-size "letter" 'landscape)


\language "english"

global = { \key ef \major }

\score { c' }

2 Answers 2


Try moving the definition

#(set-default-paper-size "letter" 'landscape)

to before the \paper block.

That made the difference for me; I'm not familiar with the details of how the Lilypond parser works, but perhaps these things only work on the highest level of the file?

  • Yes, exactly. set-default-paper-size works only in the toplevel scope while set-paper-size must be put in the \paper block. Makes sense if you think about it (though it only makes a difference if you make multiple scores from one lilypond file).
    – Ramillies
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 11:36
  • 1
    Thanks for the quick responses. Moving the definition to immediately before the paper blocked worked, but when I view the engraved PDF in Mac's Preview program it is still not working (the pages are still much taller than they are wide and will print that way as well). Though, when I go to print it through Frescobaldi and not through the PDF file being opened in Preview, it works for some reason. As for my bonus questions about writing for a rhythm section (slash notation, rhythmic notation, and "kicks over time"), I'll have to ask those separately, I guess. Thanks again. Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 17:08


#(set-default-paper-size "letter" 'landscape)

to :

#(set-paper-size "letterlandscape")

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