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Re: Repeat volta: how many times to repeat?

From: Daniel Hulme
Subject: Re: Repeat volta: how many times to repeat?
Date: Sat, 1 Nov 2008 00:11:30 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 04:38:43PM -0700, Roberto Leibman wrote:
> \repeat volta 5 {hh8 hh hh hh hh hh hh hh}
> I could use repeat percent, or repeat unfold, but then each bar is  
> "spelled out" and the song takes 4 pages instead of 2.

As a drummer, normally I'd expect to see percent repeats for something
like this. There are several reasons to prefer percent repeats in this

1) It's usual (but not universal) to only use volta repeats in ensemble
music if everyone has a volta. Doing otherwise just causes confusion
when you want to name a position in the piece to the other players,
whose bar numbering would be different.

2) It means you have two ways to keep track of where you are: the bar
count in your head, and the position on the page. As they use different
parts of the brain, it's much harder for both of them to lose count or
get lost in other ways.

3) Believe it or not, there isn't really a standard notation for
repeating phrases more than twice. Other than in modern pop and rock
music, it's not something that happens very often IME, and every time
I've seen it, it's done in a different way.

I agree that for some repetitive pieces, a kind of multibar percent
repeat, which would work like multibar rests, would be nice to squash
the part up, but as there's no notation for that, I think percents is
the best solution available. If you want to reduce page count, I
recommend trying out \newSpacingSection. When Lilypond sees this (in a
passage of music), it recalculates its idea of how much width each beat
should get. It's particularly effective when changing from groups of
semiquavers (where each beat is quite wide) to crotchets or even
semibreves (where you want each beat narrow), or similar or vice-versa.
Changes like this are, as I'm sure you realise, quite common in some
kinds of percussion parts, so I've managed to make huge space savings
and readability improvements by scattering them about at double barlines
and at segues in medleys.

But if you're set on voltas, I suggest you use \mark \markup to put
whatever text you prefer over either the start or the end barline.

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