1.4.1 Long repeats

This section discusses how to input long (usually multi-measure) repeats. The repeats can take two forms: repeats enclosed between repeat signs; or written out repeats, used to input repetitious music. Repeat signs can also be controlled manually.


Normal repeats

The syntax for a normal repeat is

\repeat volta repeatcount musicexpr

where musicexpr is a music expression. Alternate endings can be produced using \alternative. In order to delimit the alternate endings, the group of alternatives must be enclosed in a set of braces. If there are more repeats than there are alternate endings, the earliest repeats are given the first alternative.

Normal repeats without alternate endings:

\repeat volta 2 { c4 d e f }
c2 d
\repeat volta 2 { d4 e f g }

[image of music]

Normal repeats with alternate endings:

\repeat volta 4 { c4 d e f }
\alternative {
  { d2 e }
  { f2 g }
}
c1

[image of music]

Repeats with upbeats can be entered in two ways:

\partial 4
e |
\repeat volta 4 { c2 d | e2 f | }
\alternative {
  { g4 g g e }
  { a4 a a a | b2. }
}

[image of music]

or

\partial 4
\repeat volta 4 { e4 | c2 d | e2 f | }
\alternative {
  { \partial 4*3 g4 g g }
  { a4 a a a | b2. }
}

[image of music]

Ties may be added to a second ending:

c1
\repeat volta 2 { c4 d e f ~ }
\alternative {
  { f2 d }
  { f2\repeatTie f, }
}

[image of music]

Selected Snippets

Shortening volta brackets

By default, the volta brackets will be drawn over all of the alternative music, but it is possible to shorten them by setting voltaSpannerDuration. In the next example, the bracket only lasts one measure, which is a duration of 3/4.

\relative c'' {
  \time 3/4
  c4 c c
  \set Score.voltaSpannerDuration = #(ly:make-moment 3 4)
  \repeat volta 5 { d4 d d }
  \alternative {
    {
      e4 e e
      f4 f f
    }
    { g4 g g }
  }
}

[image of music]

Adding volta brackets to additional staves

The Volta_engraver by default resides in the Score context, and brackets for the repeat are thus normally only printed over the topmost staff. This can be adjusted by adding the Volta_engraver to the Staff context where the brackets should appear; see also the "Volta multi staff" snippet.

<<
  \new Staff { \repeat volta 2 { c'1 } \alternative { c' } }
  \new Staff { \repeat volta 2 { c'1 } \alternative { c' } }
  \new Staff \with { \consists "Volta_engraver" } { c'2 g' e' a' }
  \new Staff { \repeat volta 2 { c'1 } \alternative { c' } }
>>

[image of music]

See also

Music Glossary: repeat, volta.

Notation Reference: Bar lines, Modifying context plug-ins.

Snippets: Repeats.

Internals Reference: VoltaBracket, RepeatedMusic, VoltaRepeatedMusic, UnfoldedRepeatedMusic.

Known issues and warnings

A nested repeat like

\repeat …
\repeat …
\alternative

is ambiguous, since it is is not clear to which \repeat the \alternative belongs. This ambiguity is resolved by always having the \alternative belong to the inner \repeat. For clarity, it is advisable to use braces in such situations.

Timing information is not remembered at the start of an alternative, so after a repeat timing information must be reset by hand; for example, by setting Score.measurePosition or entering \partial. Similarly, slurs are also not repeated.


Manual repeat marks

Note: These methods are only used for displaying unusual repeat constructs, and may produce unexpected behavior. In most cases, repeats should be created using the standard \repeat command or by printing the relevant bar lines. For more information, see Bar lines.

The property repeatCommands can be used to control the layout of repeats. Its value is a Scheme list of repeat commands.

start-repeat

Print a |: bar line.

c1
\set Score.repeatCommands = #'(start-repeat)
d4 e f g
c1

[image of music]

As per standard engraving practice, repeat signs are not printed at the beginning of a piece.

end-repeat

Print a :| bar line:

c1
d4 e f g
\set Score.repeatCommands = #'(end-repeat)
c1

[image of music]

(volta number) ... (volta #f)

Create a new volta with the specified number. The volta bracket must be explicitly terminated, or it will not be printed.

f4 g a b
\set Score.repeatCommands = #'((volta "2"))
g4 a g a
\set Score.repeatCommands = #'((volta #f))
c1

[image of music]

Multiple repeat commands may occur at the same point:

f4 g a b
\set Score.repeatCommands = #'((volta "2, 5") end-repeat)
g4 a g a
c1
\set Score.repeatCommands = #'((volta #f) (volta "95") end-repeat)
b1
\set Score.repeatCommands = #'((volta #f))

[image of music]

Text can be included with the volta bracket. The text can be a number or numbers or markup text, see Formatting text. The simplest way to use markup text is to define the markup first, then include the markup in a Scheme list.

voltaAdLib = \markup { 1. 2. 3... \text \italic { ad lib. } }
\relative c'' {
  c1
  \set Score.repeatCommands = #(list(list 'volta voltaAdLib) 'start-repeat)
  c4 b d e
  \set Score.repeatCommands = #'((volta #f) (volta "4.") end-repeat)
  f1
  \set Score.repeatCommands = #'((volta #f))
}

[image of music]

Selected Snippets

Printing a repeat sign at the beginning of a piece

A |: bar line can be printed at the beginning of a piece, by overriding the relevant property:

\relative c'' {
  \once \override Score.BreakAlignment #'break-align-orders =
        #(make-vector 3 '(instrument-name
                          left-edge
                          ambitus
                          span-bar
                          breathing-sign
                          clef
                          key-signature
                          time-signature
                          staff-bar
                          custos
                          span-bar))
  \bar "|:"
  c1
  d1
  d4 e f g
}

[image of music]

See also

Notation Reference: Bar lines, Formatting text.

Snippets: Repeats.

Internals Reference: VoltaBracket, RepeatedMusic, VoltaRepeatedMusic.


Written-out repeats

By using the unfold command, repeats can be used to simplify the writing out of repetitious music. The syntax is

\repeat unfold repeatcount musicexpr

where musicexpr is a music expression and repeatcount is the number of times musicexpr is repeated.

c1
\repeat unfold 2 { c4 d e f }
c1

[image of music]

Unfold repeats can be made with alternate endings. If there are more repeats than there are alternate endings, the first alternative ending is applied to the earliest endings.

c1
\repeat unfold 2 { g4 f e d }
  \alternative {
    { cis2 g' }
    { cis,2 b }
  }
c1

[image of music]

See also

Snippets: Repeats.

Internals Reference: RepeatedMusic, UnfoldedRepeatedMusic.


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