I'm working on a simple chords + lyrics (with bar lines) sheet. I'm getting a lot of extra space between a bar line and the following chord+lyric, seemingly depending on the length of the lyric in the previous measure.

Here's a simple example: enter image description here

And here's the code:

\version "2.18.2"

\paper {
  indent = #0
  ragged-right = ##t
  ragged-bottom = ##t

chordNames = \chordmode {
  c1 f g c \break
  c g d a d g:7 c

words = \lyricmode {
  This_is_a_line1 with both_short_and_very_very_very_long lyrics
  On_this line_the lyrics_are all_more or_less the_same length

\score {
    \new ChordNames \chordNames
    \new Lyrics \words
  \layout {
    \context {
        \consists "Bar_engraver"
        \override BarLine.bar-extent = #'(-0.25 . 2)
    \context {
        \consists "Bar_engraver"
        \hide BarLine
        \override LyricText.self-alignment-X = #LEFT

If I eliminate the Bar_engraver for the lyrics, i.e.:

%\context {
%  \Lyrics
%    \consists "Bar_engraver"
%    \hide BarLine
%    \override LyricText.self-alignment-X = #LEFT

then the extra space in the lyrics goes away, but not the extra space in the chords, and the lyrics no longer align correctly with the bar lines for the chords, although they do align correctly with the chords themselves: enter image description here

Does anyone know what's going on here and how to fix it? I've tried tweaking dozens of different variables with no luck. I also tried using Lilypond 2.19.62, which had somewhat different spacing, but still had the same problem.

1 Answer 1


Your example seems too hard for Lilypond's automatic spacing of notes and lyrics to deal with - possibly because there are no notes at all so it doesn't have much information to work with!

The fix is to switch automatic spacing off. Add this to the layout block:

\context {
  \override SpacingSpanner packed-spacing = ##t

enter image description here

  • Awesome! This is the magic setting I needed! Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 12:02

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