How does one add a dash to the text in Lilypond? I would like what corresponds to --- in LaTex and — in HTML. With \addlyrics I have tried -, -- and ---, but these attempts are not interpreted as punctuation that should not be associated with a note.

2 Answers 2


Well, you can just add literally if your editor and/or input system has some way to generate it (mine works with Compose - - - for an emdash or Compose - - . for an endash) or copy and paste from some text with the right Unicode in it.

You can also write

\include "text-replacements.ly"

and then literally use — in your lyrics.

  • generates a dash all right, but the dash is associated with a note. I do not want it to be associated with a note (my language in the question is convoluted). Jul 17, 2022 at 13:47
  • 1
    Well, then don't separate it with a space from notes. Or if you do, enclose the whole in spaces or \markup { ... }. Or if you don't actually mean that you want an emdash, try "__" or "--" after the syllable in question separated with a space. Or maybe show an image of what you actually want.
    – user87796
    Jul 17, 2022 at 14:01

If you can't type it directly on your keyboard, lookup the unicode value, and enter it as a special character:

  • in decimal: \markup{ \char #8212 }, or
  • in hexadecimal: \markup{ \char ##x2014 }

As seen in this page of the documentation:
3.4.4 Special Characters - Unicode


After reading you comment to the other answer, and then reading your question again more carefully, I see you are trying to get the symbol into lyrics.

Two dashes i.e. -- is supposed to be used for syllable separation in lyrics, but I guess it's not as long as you want it.


If you want to make theses inter-syllable hyphens to appear longer, still type them as --, but add the following override to the \addlyrics block:

\override LyricHyphen.length = #2.0

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