Bar numbers

Bar numbers are typeset by default at the start of every line except the first line. The number itself is stored in the currentBarNumber property, which is normally updated automatically for every measure. It may also be set manually:

\relative c' {
  c1 c c c
  \break
  \set Score.currentBarNumber = 50
  c1 c c c
}

[image of music]

The default behavior of only printing bar numbers at the start of every line can be changed through the break-visibility property of BarNumber. This takes three values which may be set to #t or #f to specify whether the corresponding bar number is visible or not. The order of the three values is end of line visible, middle of line visible, beginning of line visible. In the following example bar numbers are printed at all possible places:

\relative c' {
  \override Score.BarNumber.break-visibility = ##(#t #t #t)
  \set Score.currentBarNumber = 11
  c1 | c | c | c |
  \break
  c1 | c | c | c |
}

[image of music]

Selected Snippets

Printing the bar number for the first measure

By default, the first bar number in a score is suppressed if it is less than or equal to 1. By setting barNumberVisibility to all-bar-numbers-visible, any bar number can be printed for the first measure and all subsequent measures.

\layout {
  indent = 0
  ragged-right = ##t
}

\relative c' {
  \set Score.barNumberVisibility = #all-bar-numbers-visible
  c1 | d | e | f \break
  g1 | e | d | c
}

[image of music]

Printing bar numbers at regular intervals

By setting the barNumberVisibility property, bar numbers can be printed at regular intervals. Here the bar numbers are printed every two measures except at the end of the line.

\relative c' {
  \override Score.BarNumber.break-visibility = #end-of-line-invisible
  \set Score.currentBarNumber = 11
  % Print a bar number every second measure
  \set Score.barNumberVisibility = #(every-nth-bar-number-visible 2)
  c1 | c | c | c | c
  \break
  c1 | c | c | c | c
}

\paper { tagline = ##f }

[image of music]

Printing bar numbers with changing regular intervals

Using the set-bar-number-visibility context function, bar number intervals can be changed.

\relative c' {
  \override Score.BarNumber.break-visibility = #end-of-line-invisible
  \context Score \applyContext #(set-bar-number-visibility 4)
  \repeat unfold 10 c'1
  \context Score \applyContext #(set-bar-number-visibility 2)
  \repeat unfold 10 c
}

\paper { tagline = ##f }

[image of music]

Printing bar numbers for broken measures

By default a BarNumber of a broken measure is not repeated at the beginning of the new line. Use first-bar-number-invisible-save-broken-bars for barNumberVisibility to get a parenthesized BarNumber there.

\layout {
  \context {
    \Score
    barNumberVisibility = #first-bar-number-invisible-save-broken-bars
    \override BarNumber.break-visibility = ##(#f #t #t)
  }
}

\relative c' {
  c1 | d | e | f2 \bar "" \break
  fis | g1 | e2 \bar "" \break
  <>^"reenabled default"
  % back to default -
  % \unset Score.barNumberVisibility would do so as well
  \set Score.barNumberVisibility =
    #first-bar-number-invisible-and-no-parenthesized-bar-numbers
  es | d1 | c
}

\paper { tagline = ##f }

[image of music]

Printing bar numbers using modulo-bar-number-visible

If the remainder of the division of the current BarNumber by the first argument of modulo-bar-number-visible equals its second argument print the BarNumber.

Useful to print the BarNumber at certain distances, p.e.:

\layout {
  \context {
    \Score
    \override BarNumber.break-visibility = ##(#f #t #t)
    barNumberVisibility = #(modulo-bar-number-visible 3 2)
  }
}

\relative c' {
  c1 | d | e | f \break
  g1 | e | d | c
}

\paper { tagline = ##f }

[image of music]

Printing bar numbers inside boxes or circles

Bar numbers can also be printed inside boxes or circles.

\relative c' {
  % Prevent bar numbers at the end of a line and permit them elsewhere
  \override Score.BarNumber.break-visibility = #end-of-line-invisible
  \set Score.barNumberVisibility = #(every-nth-bar-number-visible 4)

  % Increase the size of the bar number by 2
  \override Score.BarNumber.font-size = 2

  % Draw a box round the following bar number(s)
  \override Score.BarNumber.stencil
    = #(make-stencil-boxer 0.1 0.25 ly:text-interface::print)
  \repeat unfold 5 { c1 }

  % Draw a circle round the following bar number(s)
  \override Score.BarNumber.stencil
    = #(make-stencil-circler 0.1 0.25 ly:text-interface::print)
  \repeat unfold 4 { c1 } \bar "|."
}

[image of music]

Alternative bar numbering

Two alternative methods for bar numbering can be set, especially for when using repeated music.

music = \relative c' {
  \repeat volta 3 {
    c4 d e f |
    \alternative {
      \volta 1 { c4 d e f | c2 d \break }
      \volta 2 { f4 g a b | f4 g a b | f2 a | \break }
      \volta 3 { c4 d e f | c2 d } } }
  c1 \bar "|."
}

\markup "default"
{
  \music
}

\markup \typewriter "'numbers"
{
  \set Score.alternativeNumberingStyle = #'numbers
  \music
}

\markup \typewriter "'numbers-with-letters"
{
  \set Score.alternativeNumberingStyle = #'numbers-with-letters
  \music
}

\paper { tagline = ##f }

[image of music]

Aligning bar numbers

Bar numbers by default are right-aligned to their parent object. This is usually the left edge of a line or, if numbers are printed within a line, the left hand side of a bar line. The numbers may also be positioned directly over the bar line or left-aligned to the bar line.

\relative c' {
  \set Score.currentBarNumber = 111
  \override Score.BarNumber.break-visibility = #all-visible
  % Increase the size of the bar number by 2
  \override Score.BarNumber.font-size = 2
  % Print a bar number every second measure
  \set Score.barNumberVisibility = #(every-nth-bar-number-visible 2)
  c1 | c1
  % Center-align bar numbers
  \override Score.BarNumber.self-alignment-X = #CENTER
  c1 | c1
  % Left-align bar numbers
  \override Score.BarNumber.self-alignment-X = #LEFT
  c1 | c1
}

[image of music]

Removing bar numbers from a score

Bar numbers can be removed entirely by removing the Bar_number_engraver from the Score context.

\layout {
  \context {
    \Score
    \omit BarNumber
    % or:
    %\remove "Bar_number_engraver"
  }
}

\relative c'' {
  c4 c c c \break
  c4 c c c
}

\paper { tagline = ##f }

[image of music]

Measure-centered bar numbers

For film scores, a common convention is to center bar numbers within their measure. This is achieved through setting the centerBarNumbers context property to true. When this is used, the type of the bar number grobs is CenteredBarNumber rather than BarNumber.

This example demonstrates a number of settings: the centered bar numbers are boxed and placed below the staves.

\layout {
  \context {
    \Score
    centerBarNumbers = ##t
    barNumberVisibility = #all-bar-numbers-visible
    \override CenteredBarNumber.stencil
      = #(make-stencil-boxer 0.1 0.25 ly:text-interface::print)
    \override CenteredBarNumberLineSpanner.direction = #DOWN
  }
}

\new StaffGroup <<
  \new Staff \relative c' {
    d4-. f8( e d4) bes'-> |
    d,-. f8( e d4) cis'-> |
    g-. f8( d e4) g-> |
    a,1-> |
  }
  \new Staff \relative c {
    \clef bass
    d4 f8 e d2~ |
    4 f8 e d2~ |
    4 4 2 |
    a1 |
  }
>>

[image of music]

See also

Snippets: Rhythms.

Internals Reference: BarNumber, CenteredBarNumber, CenteredBarNumberLineSpanner, Bar_number_engraver, Centered_bar_number_align_engraver.

Known issues and warnings

Bar numbers may collide with the top of the StaffGroup bracket, if there is one. To solve this, the padding property of BarNumber can be used to position the number correctly. See StaffGroup and BarNumber for more.


LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.17 (development-branch).