Tacet parts in Finale and Sibelius



Tacet parts in Sibelius bear little relation to their Finale counterparts. Sibelius offers built-in support for both tacet parts and tacet movements.

If a passage of music between the start of a score and the final barline is empty, Sibelius will display a “TACET” multirest. Likewise, Sibelius will add a “TACET” multirest between any final barlines in the piece if there is no music. Sibelius will automatically hide all time and key signature changes and tempo text, except (curiously) the first of these.

In Layout > Breaks > Auto Breaks, be sure that Use multirests in checked. Here, you can also type something different besides “TACET” if you so choose.


The text style for tacet rests is taken from the text style Multirests (tacet), which can be adjusted in Text > Edit Text Styles.

You might wish to hide some other items like the first tempo indication or multirest ranges. To do this, select the item you wish to hide and select Home > Hide or Show. If you wish, you can hide the time signature in the same way.

You can also hide the clef by adding a Blank clef; type Q to bring up the clef dialog and select Blank clef.

Should you wish to hide the key signature, type K for key signature. Then, at the bottom of the gallery, choose More Options. Select No key and check One staff only to prevent the key signature from affecting the other parts.


It goes without saying (or maybe not) that in order to have a tacet part, the instrument must be present in the score. You’ll probably want to hide it in the score, so select the instrument for the entire piece or movement and hide it by going to Layout > Hiding Staves > Hide Empty Staves.

Finally, if you export PDFs of your parts and you want the file name to indicate a tacet part, or even if you just want to be able to identify your tacet parts separately from your playing parts, use the tilde character to append “TACET” to the end of the part name. While viewing the part, go to the File > Info and rename it, e.g., “Flute 3 ~TACET”. The tilde hides any text to the right of it.



Silence may be golden, but knowing how to make tacets is priceless!


  1. Robert Puff

    Excellent topic and details, Philip. Thank you for posting.

    One type of Tacet you did not mention used by commercial music prep houses for recording sessions, is where the tacet sheet is essentially blank manuscript paper.

    Essentially, this involves creating a blank staff for the instrument and hiding the rests. If you are keeping the barlines and so forth, it looks clean to format to 4 bars per system.

    Alternatively, hide all the bar lines and bar numbers, meter and key changes etc so the tacet is a page of blank manuscript paper with the normal title and headers.

    The idea for the recording session is that if the composer has a brainstorm during the session to add a few notes for the horns or other whomever, it can be dictated to the musicians from the podium.

    For orchestral recording sessions, more complex edits are usually done by an on site music copyist, but for simple edits, the blank manuscript tacet can be useful for a quick orchestration reinforcement or edit during a recording session.

    In terms of the type of multi-rest looking Tacets that consolidate the music, as you allude to in your article, Sibelius supports this regardless of whether or not the entire movement, cue, song or whatever you want to call it is in one or multiple meters or keys. E ‘silenzioso.

    On the Finale side, you can similarly create what amounts to one long multirest to display as a Tacet if the entire block of music is in one meter and key. However, note that if there are meter changes or modulations, Finale will always break the multirests at these locations, so there is no way in Finale to create this type of tacet for music with modulations or meter changes.

    And, to drill down further, Finale’s Measure Attributes settings are global – usually the desired thing, but in this case, if you were to uncheck “Break A Multimeasure Rest” at double barlines, this would not only allow the creation of a single block rest for the Tacet, but would also consolidate multirests spanning the double barline in all the other parts! Not exactly helpful.

    Conversely, in Sibelius, there is no obvious way to create the “Blank Page” type of tacet as you show in Finale, because Sibelius does not allow an instrument to be created without a staff associated with it.

    In Sibelius, to get the Finale “look” described in the article, go into the part, then create an instrument change in that part to “No Instrument, Hidden”. You may also have to hide the starting tempo or metronome mark.

    You can show the word “TACET” below the instrument name at the top left edge by navigating to INFO in the FILE tab of Sibelius 8, 7 (Score Info… in Sib 6 or earlier). In the “Part Name” field, create a couple of line returns by appending the following to the existing part name : \n\\n\TACET

    Robert Puff

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Robert – terrific! Many thanks for posting this useful addendum. Much appreciated.

      1. Philip Rothman

        And, to take Robert’s last idea one step further, you can change the part name to, e.g.:
        Violin I\n\\n\\n\\n\\s200\TACET
        The “s” wildcard changes the font size. See Bob Zawalich’s post for an explanation why this works.

  2. Chalon Ragsdale

    What about displaying “Tacet” for a 300 measure part where the last 100 measures contain no music?

  3. Barnaby Priest

    How do you create a tacet In 18th c. orchestral music where instead of a final bar there is a repeat of the first and second half?

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