Rests are entered like notes with the note name r. Durations longer than a whole rest use the following predefined commands:

\new Staff {
  % These two lines are just to prettify this example
  \time 16/1
  \omit Staff.TimeSignature
  % Print a maxima rest, equal to four breves
  % Print a longa rest, equal to two breves
  % Print a breve rest
  r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 r32 r64 r128

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Whole measure rests, centered in the middle of the measure, must be entered as multi-measure rests. They can be used for a single measure as well as many measures and are discussed in Full measure rests.

To explicitly specify a rest’s vertical position, write a note followed by \rest. A rest of the duration of the note will be placed at the staff position where the note would appear. This allows for precise manual formatting of polyphonic music, since the automatic rest collision formatter will not move these rests.

\relative { a'4\rest d4\rest }

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Selected Snippets

Rest styles

Rests may be used in various styles.

restsA = {
  r\maxima r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 s32
  s64 s128 s256 s512 s1024 s1024
restsB = {
  r\maxima r\longa r\breve r1 r2 r4 r8 r16 r32
  r64 r128 r256 r512 r1024 s1024

\new Staff \relative c {
  \omit Score.TimeSignature

  \override = #'mensural
  <>^\markup \typewriter { mensural } \restsA \bar "" \break

  \override = #'neomensural
  <>^\markup \typewriter { neomensural } \restsA \bar "" \break

  \override = #'classical
  <>^\markup \typewriter { classical } \restsB \bar "" \break

  \override = #'z
  <>^\markup \typewriter { z-style } \restsB \bar "" \break

  \override = #'default
  <>^\markup \typewriter { default } \restsB \bar "" \break

\paper {
  indent = 0
  tagline = ##f

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See also

Music Glossary: breve, longa, maxima.

Notation Reference: Full measure rests.

Snippets: Rhythms.

Internals Reference: Rest.

Known issues and warnings

There is no fundamental limit to rest durations (both in terms of longest and shortest), but the number of glyphs is limited: there are rests from 1024th to maxima (8× whole).

LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.18 (development-branch).