Create tacet al fine in Sibelius


Elaine Gould, writing in her book Behind Bars, says:

“When a player has finished playing for the remainder of a piece, this is indicated tacet al fine. For orientation in rehearsal, place the instruction after a subsequent rehearsal mark:”

Example of a tacet al fine from Behind Bars

With a bit of ingenuity, you can achieve this in Sibelius.

First, let’s have a look at a trombone part. The trombone has finished playing after the sixth bar of rehearsal K, as in the Gould example.

Sibelius automatically breaks multirests at all system objects, such as rehearsal marks, tempo and metronome marks, double barlines, time signatures, and key signatures. Of course, you want this behavior nearly all of the time — except when indicating tacet al fine.

Hide the system objects

The trick to consolidating all of the rests into one multirest is to hide all of these system objects. By hiding them in only the part that contains tacet al fine, you won’t affect their appearance in other parts (or in the score) and thus multirests elsewhere will be unaffected.

Watch what happens as I select each of these objects and hide them by using the shortcut Command-Shift-H on Mac, or Ctrl+Shift+H on Windows, to invoke Home > Edit > Hide or Show > Hide or Show:

(Actually in the above video I was pressing the Hide or Show button using Notation Express; shameless plug!)

Within minutes of first publishing this post, Scoring Notes reader Vladimir Tubić advised that this could be done more easily by simply making a passage selection by Command-clicking (Mac) or Ctrl+clicking (Windows) to make a passage selection, and hiding everything. That is indeed quicker! You just need to remember to unhide the final barline (and, if there is no intervening rehearsal mark or other item such as letter L in this example, you’ll need to unhide the multirest itself).

The first example is still useful if you wish to understand the underlying process by which Sibelius consolidates the rests.

Create the text

Next we must add the tacet al fine text. For this, create some staff text such as Technique text and adjust the font style and size to your liking in the Ribbon in Text > Format, or create a new text style specifically for tacet al fine by going to Text > Styles > Edit Text Style. You’ll want the font size to be large enough to obscure the numeral; more on that momentarily.

Place the text on the multirest, and type tacet al fine.

Make the necessary adjustments

A few business items:

  • In order to prevent the multirest numeral from repelling the text, turn of Magnetic Layout for the text by going to Layout > Magnetic Layout > Object and select Off from the dropdown (or just press the Magnetic Layout Off button in Notation Express).
  • Go to the Home > Inspector and in Text > Background select Erase. (Or, if you’ve set up a text style specifically for this purpose, you can go to the Border tab of Edit Text Styles > Edit… and select Shape > Erase background.)
  • Next, bring the text to the front of the drawing order (did you know there was such a thing in Sibelius?) so that it obscures the multirest numeral by going to Appearance > Order and click Bring to Front.
  • Finally, ensure that this text doesn’t appear in the score by going to Home > Edit > Hide or Show and select Show in Parts. This will hide the text in the score.

Make any final positioning adjustments, and… è la fine!

Dorico users may be aware of an option in that program to automatically display tacet al fine. When this post was first published, I mistakenly implied that it would consolidate all of the rests, but that is not the case — it will only show “tacet al fine” on the final multirest. It won’t consolidate all of the rests into one multirest unless you delete the other items such as the rehearsal marks, time signatures, etc., which would have the undesirable effect of deleting them from all the scores and layouts in the project.

Well, there’s no need for Sibelius or Dorico users to be smug about the advantages each of the programs has; we are all friends here on Scoring Notes!

Special thanks to Natheniel Siu, who suggested this method in a discussion on social media, and to Vladimir Tubić for the extra tip. Do you have a music notation software tip you’d like to share? Let us know about it and maybe we’ll feature it in a future blog post!

This post has been updated to add an additional method of hiding items, and to clarify the behavior in Dorico.


  1. Ronald M Krentzman

    It’s true that Dorico has a “Tacet al Fine” option, although that only works if there are no ensuing meter or tempo changes. Also, you cannot indicate where the tacet sections start (as per Gould,: after a rehearsal mark).

    This can also be accomplished in Finale using a plug-in by Robert Patterson that consolidates all measures into a muti-rest irrespective of meter or tempo changes.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Ron! As you made this comment I had updated the post regarding Dorico to clarify this. Regarding the Finale plug-in, do you know if that will affect other parts and the score in the same file? In other words can you run it using Linked Parts or does the part have to be extracted for it do work? And is it reversible? (In Sibelius you could easily reverse the change by unhiding everything.)

  2. Ronald M Krentzman

    Hi Phil,

    Yes, this does work with linked parts. You can reverse it by using the “break multimeasure rest” command. The plug-in does not erase any data.

    1. Philip Rothman

      That is great to know! Perhaps a future post will cover it :-)

  3. Greg Sims

    Excellent! Thanks for this tip. (Which I will hopefully remember when you are not engraving the parts for my arrangements…)

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Greg! Indeed :-)

  4. Tiago

    A plugin for that in Sibelius would be very welcome.

  5. Galvagno Michele

    Hello Philip,
    I have been trying this in dynamic parts but making a simple “passage selection” in a part just changes it to “show in score” and it gets only greyed out.
    Changing that to a “system selection” also doesn’t seem to work for me.
    Is there something I may be missing? Should I extract the part to make this work?

    Thank you

    1. Galvagno Michele

      Actually … system breaks were ruining the party BUT, if there is a split multi rest in the score this will not work as it forces us to extract parts. Unfortunately you cannot have a “split multi rest” break in the score only.

      1. Philip Rothman

        Interesting… good to know, thanks, Michele.

        1. Galvagno Michele

          Done some more testing.
          Removing a “split multirest” from a dynamic part does not affect the score or other parts (which is just HUGE! A wonderful feature!) so this is solved.
          What remains definitely a issue is the fermata that often ends a piece and that, consequently, is applied to all staves automatically (for good).
          In the example I’m currently working on only two instruments need that fermata so I removed it but if there are many of them this trick could be hard to pull.
          Any idea on how to circumvent it without tooth … ehm … part extraction?

          1. Philip Rothman

            Without seeing the particular file, it’s a little hard to envision.

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