Combine 8th and 16th rests into a dotted 8th rest in Finale


Elaine Gould’s music notation reference Behind Bars has the following to say about dotted rests:

“Beats are more compact and thus easier to read when rests within a beat are combined.”

She recommends that dotted rests are used at the beginning but not at the end of the beat in simple time, but “it is acceptable to use dotted rests at both the beginning and the end of a beat,” though she says that the “visual difference between the types of rest is lost.”

“The longest permitted dotted rest,” Gould says, “is one value smaller than the beat. In crotchet [quarter note] metres, the longest dotted rest is a dotted quaver [eighth].”

Recently I had a passage in Finale in 3/4 time with a great many eighths and sixteenth rests (and vice versa) which I wanted to automatically combine into a dotted eighth rest. Of course, I only wished to combine those rest pairs which didn’t cross a beat, as indicated here:

The solution is far from obvious, but it can be done.

One key to the solution is buried within the MIDI/Audio menu. Select Quantization Settings… from the menu and click More Settings… to open another dialog box. Then check Allow Dotted Rests in Simple Meters. (If you have a passage in compound meter such as 6/8 or 9/8 that you want to fix, check Allow Dotted Rests in Compound Meters.)

Click OK twice to exit the dialogs. The other key to this riddle is to select your passage and head over to Utilities > Rebar > Rebar Music.

Like magic, the passage is transformed, just as intended:

It’s one of those great magical mysteries of Finale, where using MIDI and rebarring music tools had nothing to do with, uh, MIDI or rebarring music. But, I’m very glad it’s possible to accomplish this task, all the same!

Thanks to John Blane for the tip!


  1. Laurence Payne

    Yes, it’s time we loosened up a bit over dotted rests. And there doesn’t have to be a reflex shriek of horrow EVERY time we see a double-dotted note.

  2. Bob Zawalich

    In Sibelius you can accomplish this with the Combine Tied Notes and Rests plugin. In the options for combining Rests, be sure the option to use dotted rests in simple meter is selected, which it is by default.

  3. Ben

    Ooh. I’d completely missed Rebar. Presumably, that does what Retranscribe does, but without getting rid of everything?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Ben, I don’t think so. I think they work somewhat differently.


      1. Tom Rudolph


        I get the same results following your steps in this post by making the settings in the Quantization settings and then choosing MIDI/Audio > Retranscribe. Perhaps it does the same thing as the Rebar command.


        1. Philip Rothman

          Hi Tom: Sometimes in certain circumstances the results are the same with Rebar and Retranscribe, but sometimes they’re different.

  4. Greg Milewski

    When I do this, my half rests are affected too. I only want to do this to my 8ths. Also, this fix seems to become a program preference, and not a document preference. So If you want to change this in another document (because of the dotted half rests) you then have to go back and un-do this.

  5. Alex Timofeev

    Greg mentioned it correctly – it affects also the half rest, making them dotted half rests in 4/4 measures which looks a bit strange. Because of this, it is not a viable solution to the dotted eights rests issue.

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