I am writing a big band score and struggle with the drum part.

As the rhythm is always the same except for some kicks or fills, I'd like to have four slashes per bar like here: \repeat percent 4 { c4 }

In the LilyPond documentation there is plenty of information on how to repeat the actual music and show it as slashes or percents.

In contrast I just want to render 4 slashes, rather like the snippet "isolated percent repeats" here So underlying music, e.g. for midi is not relevant!

Any ideas or hints how to do that?

  • 1
    'Percent repeats' seems to be a term invented by the LilyPond authors. Almost everybody else calls them one/two/multi-measure repeats.
    – PiedPiper
    Dec 31, 2023 at 11:56
  • 1
    @PiedPiper Or "simile marks". But these ones in particular are just "beat repeats". Dec 31, 2023 at 14:28
  • For personal reference I bought the 800 pages bible "Behind Bars" from Elaine Gould. Sadly, modern (jazz-, pop-, rock-) music (last 100yrs or so) is not that standardized in regards to typesetting as "classical" music.
    – Bastl
    Jan 3 at 23:05
  • That’s an excellent tome, and highly recommended! (even if it doesn't have much to say jazz, pop, or rock.) Jan 4 at 4:50

1 Answer 1


You can do pretty much the same, you just need to create a RepeatSlashEvent and set the slash-count property:

makeSlash =
#(define-music-function (n note) ((number? 1) ly:music?)
   "Make a slash repeat with N slashes the same length as NOTE."
   (make-music 'RepeatSlashEvent
               'length (ly:music-length note)
               'slash-count n))

\relative c'' {
  \makeSlash s4 \makeSlash 2 s4 \makeSlash 4 s4
  • thanks that works and should go to the official lilypond repositories!
    – Bastl
    Jan 3 at 19:48

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