Compressing empty measures

By default, all measures are printed even if they are empty – which can happen if a rhythmic event (such as notes, rests or invisible rests) is so long as to span several measures. This behavior can be changed by contracting all empty measures into a single one, as illustrated here (the second part of this example, with expanded measures, actually reverts back to the default behavior):

\override Score.BarNumber.break-visibility = ##(#f #t #t)
\time 2/4
\compressEmptyMeasures
c'1 d'1. e'\breve
\bar "||"
\expandEmptyMeasures
c'1 d'1. e'\breve

[image of music]

Although that notation is syntactically correct, it may be confusing from a musical point of view, as illustrated in the previous example; hence the need for measure numbers to be explicitly printed, using the syntax described in Using break-visibility.

Where such a notation may become more useful is when applied to Full measure rests. A multi-measure rest will then be shown as a single measure containing a multi-measure rest symbol, with the number of measures of rest printed above the measure:

% Default behavior
\time 3/4 r2. | R2.*2 |
\time 2/4 R2 |
\time 4/4
% Rest measures contracted to single measure
\compressEmptyMeasures
r1 | R1*17 | R1*4 |
\expandEmptyMeasures
% Rest measures expanded again
\time 3/4
R2.*2 |

[image of music]

Unlike \compressEmptyMeasures, the music function \compressMMRests will only apply to rests, leaving any other events uncompressed. As a function rather than a property setting, its syntax differs slightly in that it must be followed by a music expression:

\compressMMRests {
  % Rests are compressed...
  R1*7
  % ... but notes can still span multiple measures.
  g'1 a'1*2 d'1
  R1*2
}

[image of music]

All of the commands described in this section actually rely on the skipBars internal property, which is set in the Score context, see section \set and \unset.

Predefined commands

\compressEmptyMeasures, \expandEmptyMeasures, \compressMMRests.

Selected Snippets

Numbering single measure rests

Multi measure rests show their length by a number except for single measures. This can be changed by setting restNumberThreshold.

{
  \compressEmptyMeasures
  R1 R1*10 R1*11 \bar "||"
  \set restNumberThreshold = 0
  R1 R1*10 R1*11 \bar "||"
  \set restNumberThreshold = 10
  R1 R1*10 R1*11
}

[image of music]

Changing form of multi-measure rests

If there are ten or fewer measures of rests, a series of longa and breve rests (called in German “Kirchenpausen” - church rests) is printed within the staff; otherwise a simple line is shown. This default number of ten may be changed by overriding the expand-limit property.

\relative c'' {
  \compressMMRests {
    R1*2 | R1*5 | R1*9
    \override MultiMeasureRest.expand-limit = #3
    R1*2 | R1*5 | R1*9
  }
}

[image of music]

See also

Notation Reference: Using break-visibility, Full measure rests, \set and \unset.

Internals Reference: MultiMeasureRest, MultiMeasureRestNumber, MultiMeasureRestScript, MultiMeasureRestText.


LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.11 (development-branch).