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As I am doing an arranging project, I was wondering how to set the number of measures per line and therefore page as it is a score with a rhythm section and five horns. I have seen these pages (line breaking and using an extra voice for breaks), but I am confused on how to make the techniques work for multiple instruments in a score, each defined as their own variable. I currently am using a tune with a 31 bar form (7 measures, 8 measures, 8 measures, &, 8 measures) and would like to have a separate page or line for each section, if I could.

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  • 2
    The example in Section 4.3.8 can be extended to multiple voices (instruments) just by adding more \staffs. What did you do and how does it fail? Can you post a sample that demonstrates the problem? – Kilian Foth May 5 at 6:11
  • What do you want to achieve by doing this? Musicians are used to line-breaks happening at any bar-line, not necessarily those at ends of phrases. Let Lilypond put breaks where it wants. Forced breaks every 7 or 8 bars are too frequent. If you want to refer to a point in the middle of the piece, use its bar number. Or insert rehearsal \marks. – Rosie F May 5 at 7:00
  • It seems to me, that you are considering a task, which lilypond performs on its own: you provide to notes in \staff granularity, lilypond does the layout. This is unrelated to any line break functionality. – guidot May 5 at 8:10
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A \break or \noBreak in any voice affects the whole system. I just have a special variable in all of my Lilypond files that contains only spacer rests with those breaks set up, and I put it as a voice into one of my staves (it doesn't matter which one it is). Here's a lilybin example: http://lilybin.com/walvlh/1 .

By the way, I'd say it's a good idea to first write down the whole score and only then work on the linebreaking (as well as on any other tweaks that would make the score nicer).

If you want to take complete control over the line breaks, just put a \noBreak after every bar in the line-breaking voice. So instead of s1*4 | \break, you would write \repeat unfold 3 { s1 | \noBreak } s | \break.

If you want to take it to the extreme, then you can put this into your \layout block:

\context
{
    \Score
    \override NonMusicalPaperColumn.line-break-permission = ##f
    \override NonMusicalPaperColumn.page-break-permission = ##f
}

This will disable line breaking (the first override) and page breaking (the second override) completely (in the sense that Lilypond will never insert a break, except when you specifically tell it to do so by using \break or \pageBreak).

2

In addition to Ramillies's great answer, a similar tool that may be helpful is specifying how many systems you want on your page. In your paper block, include systems-per-page = #4, for example, to have exactly four systems on each page. But this can be problematic depending on the nature of your score: if the instrumentation changes often from dense to sparse, having the same number of systems on each page may not make much typographical sense.

And if you want to keep this line in your score while you test it, you can turn it off by either commenting it out or setting the value to ##f.

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  • The systems-per-page is extremely handy, and I'd go as far as to say a necessity when dealing with page layout, even if you take it out later. – user70304 May 6 at 12:55
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I want to thank everyone for their answers and help and I am sorry about being late with getting back with you. What I actually ending up doing was adding a variable above all of the rest that had the "silent voice" with all of the break information in it, like this:

systeminfo = { \new Voice {

      s1*8 \break
      
      s1*7 \break
      s1*8 \break
      s1*8 \break 
      s1*8 \break 
      
       
       
       s1*7 \break
      s1*8 \break
      s1*8 \break 
      s1*8 \break 
      
       s1*7 \break
      s1*8 \break
      s1*8 \break 
      s1*8 \break 
      
      
      
      s1*7 \break
      s1*8 \break
      s1*8 \break 
      s1*8 \break } }  

I then added the variable to all of my instruments in the score block like on this one:

<< \new ChordNames = "chords" \gtrHarmony \new Staff \with { instrumentName = "Trumpet" shortInstrumentName = #"Trp. " midiInstrument = "trumpet" } { << \Trumpet \systeminfo >> } >>

Next time I will have to use the "systems-per-page" and see how well that works.

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