Grand Pause ( G.P. ) Text in Sibelius – Symbols Method

Q: I’m trying to figure out a better mousetrap for dealing with Grand Pauses (GP) in Sibelius. When I use tempo text to create a grand pause in the score, it doesn’t center over bar rests in the score or the parts, so it requires a whole lot of tweaking in both places. I’m hoping there is a smarter, less laborious way to deal with this?

A: Good question. There is actually more than one approach we can take to address this question, in the absence of a true Sibelius feature to center text within a bar. In this tutorial, let’s take a look at the Symbols method:


Note that the symbols method will have an effect on playback tempi.

Before we start, go into your Sibelius Preferences and select Ideas in the left panel. Make sure that you are adding captured Ideas to your Library so they will be available in any score. Now:

  1. Download and open “rpm_GP_symbols_method.sib” (Sibelius 6 or 7).
  2. Highlight the G.P. Symbol in that document.
  3. Type “Shift I” to copy the G.P. Symbol into your Ideas library.
  4. Also copy the G.P. Text Symbol to your Clipboard (CMND-C or CNTRL-C).
  5. Close the source file.

Open a new document, highlight a bar and paste in the G.P. symbol from the Clipboard. Note that it is not centered over the middle of the bar, but rather, over the left barline (if you highlighted a full bar):

Before immediately defining a different placement, let’s take a look at what you actually copied over from the source document and added to your Ideas Library and Clipboard:

  • In Sibelius 7, click Edit Symbols in the Symbols Group of the Notations Tab.
  • In Sibelius 6, choose Edit Symbols from the House Style menu.

Scroll down to the bottom of the Symbol Editor, and you will see the G.P. in the User-defined area. You will also see the “period” and the “P” characters individually:

This is because each symbol can either be a single symbol, or it can be an assembled group of single symbols. The G.P. Symbol is a combination of three individual symbols.

It’s worth noting that in this file, the imported symbol also brought with it a new Text Style called “Tempo (for Symbols)” which matches the text style of the default Times New Roman Manuscript Papers. You can change this text style to match any Sibelius or custom House Style Font. In Sibelius 7, you can set the “Based On” option to Tempo Text (or any other font) so that it will update whenever the parent text style is updated.


Next, scroll up to the “Articulations” section and locate the three differently shaped fermata symbols. By far the most common fermata is the rounded one. In the top row, select one of the other two “pause above” symbols (I’ll use the “Short pause above” for this example):

. . . Click the Edit Button.

Once in the dialog, you’ll see where it says “Character” in the left side of the dialog, and below the font popup there, you will see a “Number” field. Change the number to zero and tab or click outside of the field:

The existing fermata character will disappear:

Click the “Add…” button in the lower right section of the dialog, scroll to the bottom of the Symbols list, and choose the G.P. symbol you imported. (You can then optionally rename the new symbol). OK the Editor and Close the Symbols dialog.

Now, go to the 4th keypad and try out your new G.P. Symbol. The Keypad still displays the Long / Short Fermata above symbol(s), but now when you apply it, it will give you the G.P. symbol.

You’ll find that you can apply it exactly as you would a fermata – entered in an empty bar of score, it will display in every staff at that point; apply it to half, quarter, eighth rests etc, and it centers itself over the individual rest as an articulation.

You’re probably wondering why we also copied the unassigned G.P. symbol into our Ideas at the beginning? The reason is that Pasting User Defined Symbols from Ideas or from the Clipboard into a new document is relatively non-destructive. That is, it doesn’t change a bunch of settings in the current score, (which is what potentially happens when you load in a House Style), it just adds the symbol(s) at the end of the list in the current document, and you can then do the Symbols substitution independently.

If you always use the same House Style (or plan to use one house style for a particular project or series), and never use the Long or Short Fermatas, then of course, you can follow the steps above, then save as a House Style. This way, the grand pause will be available from the 4th Keypad immediately, as soon as you import the House Style.

If you want the flexibility of adding / assigning a G.P. in any score without worrying about changing the look and feel of the current document:

  1. Open the score you are working in
  2. Select Ideas from
    1. the Windows menu or the Toolbar (Sibelius 6)
    2. the Panels group of the View Tab (Sibelius 7)
    3. by typing CMND-OPT-I (Mac) or CNTRL-ALT-I (Windows)

Use the Paste Icon in Ideas to get the symbol into the current score. (It’s the one that looks like a lightbulb with a clipboard behind it.) Now, follow the steps above from the section on “Substituting One Symbol for Another”. . .


I’ve also posted the above steps as a tutorial video:

See also : “Center Grand Pause (G.P. & Other Text) in Sibelius – Lines Method


thanks to Jeremy Hughes for outlining the basics of the Symbols Method on the Sibelius Forum awhile back.

One Reply to “Grand Pause ( G.P. ) Text in Sibelius – Symbols Method”

  1. Hi Robert,

    You do a great job here mate!

    I wonder if you can help me solving something that’s very annoying that is the way 1st and 2nd ending lines overlap and always need some manual correction to display correctly.


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