The original instrument for the music below is violin, I'm engraving this piece for another instrument using LilyPond v2.20.

How can I make the rest symbols that look like the first line below?

And, what does that measure in between the one with the "3" and the one with the "6" mean? It has curved ends.

Five measures of music in treble clef and starting in 4/4.  The first measure has a multi-measure rest with a "3" above it.  The second has what looks like a multi-measure rest with curved serifs and no number above.  The third has a multi-measure rest with a "6" above it.  The fourth changes to 2/4 and has a full measure rest.  The fifth measure contains notes and other notation (but no rests).


2 Answers 2


What you appear to be looking for is \compressFullBarRests. This one uses a combination of rest symbols up to a limit and then this long bar with number on top. This limit is specified by MultiMeasureRest.expand-limit(default is 10), so set this to 1 to have every multi measure rest in that style, and to 0 to even use this style of single rests.

As for the the second rest: I’m not quite sure what this is supposed to mean.

Here is some code:

\version "2.20"

  \override MultiMeasureRest.expand-limit = #1
  \time 2/4
  • Thank you very much @lazy, your answer helps a log! Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 22:38
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    @NicoleNaumann Talking about logs, I know a joke about logs. It basically goes something like that: After the big flood Noah told each pair of animals to be fertile and to multiply. But the adders said they were adders and thus couln’t multiply. Later Noah went around to check if everything was right. Suddenly he sees the two adders at a big tree, busy with reproducing. He asks the adders: "I thought you were adders and couln’t multiply?", to which they respond: "Ah, but by logs we can!"
    – Lazy
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 22:48
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    @NicoleNaumann Do not fret, for helping logs matters. Without logs – how would we have fretboards? And without fretboards, how would there be anything to fret about?
    – Lazy
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 23:07
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    @NicoleNaumann Yes, that is true. The assumption was that \compressFullBarRestswould be too easily confused with \compressMMRests.
    – Lazy
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 11:35
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    If you want a multi-bar rest symbol with no number above it (as in the screenshot), insert \once \override MultiMeasureRestNumber #'stencil = ##f immediately before the rest in question. You will also need to change the rest to R1*2 (rather than R1) to get the multimeasure rest symbol rather than a whole rest. Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 14:39

If the special form of the second rest is to convey any meaning, it likely depends on what is happening in the other parts. My guess would be that there is some variable amount of time spent here, due to a cadenza or spoken passage or stage instructions getting executed.

  • Yes, I think this is the case. This note is for the violin solo part of a violin concerto. You can see this on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=u0atl2wikzE The part I posted is the very beginning of this converto. Do you happen to know how to engrave this "freely empty" notation using LilyPond? Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 10:40
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    @NicoleNaumann: See my comment on the other answer. Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 14:55

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