\paper variables for page breaking

Default values not listed here are defined in ‘ly/paper-defaults-init.ly


The page breaking algorithm to use. Choices are ly:minimal-breaking, ly:page-turn-breaking, ly:one-page-breaking, ly:one-line-breaking, ly:one-line-auto-height-breaking, and ly:optimal-breaking. Default: ly:optimal-breaking.


Tricks the page breaker into thinking that system-system-spacing is set to something different than it really is. For example, if page-breaking-system-system-spacing.padding is set to something substantially larger than system-system-spacing.padding, then the page breaker will put fewer systems on each page. Default: unset.


The number of pages to be used for a score. Default: unset.


When using the ly:optimal-breaking algorithm for page breaking, LilyPond has to make trade-offs between horizontal and vertical stretching so that the overall spacing is more acceptable. This parameter controls the relative importance of page (vertical) spacing and line (horizontal) spacing. High values will make page spacing more important. Default: 10.

The following variables are effective only when page-breaking is set to ly:page-turn-breaking. Page breaks are then chosen to minimize the number of page turns. Since page turns are required on moving from an odd-numbered page to an even-numbered one, a layout in which the last page is odd-numbered will usually be favored. Places where page turns are preferred can be indicated manually by inserting \allowPageTurn or automatically by including the Page_turn_engraver (see Optimal page turning).

If there are insufficient choices available for making suitable page turns, LilyPond may insert a blank page either within a score, between scores (if there are two or more scores), or by ending a score on an even-numbered page. The values of the following three variables may be increased to make these actions less likely.

The values are penalties, i.e., the higher the value the less likely will be the associated action relative to other choices.


The penalty for having a blank page in the middle of a score. If blank-page-penalty is large and ly:page-turn-breaking is selected, then LilyPond will be less likely to insert a page in the middle of a score. Instead, it will space out the music further to fill the blank page and the following one. Default: 5.


The penalty for ending the score on an even-numbered page. If blank-last-page-penalty is large and ly:page-turn-breaking is selected, then LilyPond will be less likely to produce a score in which the last page is even-numbered. Instead, it will adjust the spacing in order to use one page more or one page less. Default: 0.


The penalty for having a blank page after the end of one score and before the next. By default, this is smaller than blank-page-penalty, so that blank pages after scores are inserted in preference to blank pages within a score. Default: 2.

See also

Notation Reference: Page breaking, Optimal page breaking, Optimal page turning, Minimal page breaking, One-page page breaking, One-line page breaking, One-line-auto-height page breaking.

Installed Files: ‘ly/paper-defaults-init.ly’.

LilyPond — Notation Reference v2.25.8 (development-branch).