I want to put text in a \repeat unfold in LilyPond without repeating the text, so that it only shows up on the first instance of the phrase.

I can't put it on the previous note because the repeat phrase is the start of the piece.
When I put it on a note in the repeat expression, the text appears above both instances of the note.
I've also tried using a spacing rest, but the duration of the invisible rest is added to the already full measure and causes other problems.

Is there a way to make the text not repeat with the note?

2 Answers 2


You can make the text into a parallel music passage that doesn't use \repeat, for example

{ \new Staff {
  << { \repeat unfold 3 { c''4 d'' } }
     { s4^"foo" s4^"bar" }
  e'' f''
} }

It doesn't matter that the parallel passages are different lengths, as the example demonstrates.

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Since LilyPond version 2.23, there are a new some new commands for repeats. The \volta command goes inside of a \repeat (unfold, volta, or segno) and specifies a musical expression that is applied to a particular iteration of the repeat loop.

To have only-markup as the musical expression, the trick is to attach the markup to a spacer with zero duration:

\repeat unfold 3 {
    \volta 1 { s1*0^\markup "text" }
    c'4 d' e' f'

See: 1.4.1 Long repeats - Other variation in repeated sections for more detail.

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