Automatic bar lines

Various commands other than \bar can also create bar lines as part of their effect. The bar lines created in these cases can be changed by setting context properties. If a property is set to '() or is unset, it is ignored; otherwise, the value must be a predefined bar type or one previously defined with the \defineBarLine command (see Bar lines).

Multiple reasons for creating different automatic bar lines may apply at the same time. Conflicts are resolved in part by providing properties for predetermined combinations and in part by a priority scheme. The table below presents the available properties in order of increasing priority.


Used at points of repetition or departure where no bar line would otherwise appear. This is expected when repeated sections are not aligned to measures. Several commands employ this bar type: \codaMark, \inStaffSegno, \repeat segno, \repeat volta, and \segnoMark.

caesuraType underlying-bar-line

Used at \caesura; see Phrase bar lines in hymn tunes.


Used at a measure boundary.

caesuraType bar-line

Used at \caesura; see Phrase bar lines in hymn tunes.


Used at a section break created by \section.


Used at \fine.


Only one of these bar types is used at a time; which one is used depends on the structure of the piece.

Properties with startRepeat or endRepeat in the name are used at the start or end of a repeated section created by \repeat volta, and properties with doubleRepeat in the name are used where the end of one repeated section and the start of another coincide.

Properties with segno in the name are used at an in-staff segno, which can be created by \repeat segno or \segnoMark when the segnoStyle property is set to bar-line, or created by \inStaffSegno.

Properties with fine in the name are used at \fine.

Priority applies independently to beginning-, middle-, and end-of-line bar lines, allowing a lower-priority bar line to appear where higher-priority bar types have no glyphs defined (see Bar lines).

\fixed c' {
  c1 \section \break
  \repeat volta 2 d1

[image of music]

Selected Snippets

Setting the double repeat default for volte

There are three different styles of double repeats for volte, that can be set using doubleRepeatBarType.

\relative c'' {
  \repeat volta 2 { c1 }
  \set Score.doubleRepeatBarType = ":..:"
  \repeat volta 2 { c1 }
  \set Score.doubleRepeatBarType = ":|.|:"
  \repeat volta 2 { c1 }
  \set Score.doubleRepeatBarType = ":|.:"
  \repeat volta 2 { c1 }

[image of music]

See also

Notation Reference: Bar lines, Repeats.

Snippets: Rhythms.

Internals Reference: Repeat_acknowledge_engraver.

LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.16 (development-branch).