Hide Notes to Create Multi-rests in Voiced Linked Parts Using a Staff Style

In orchestral scores, it is common to combine two similar instruments onto a single staff:


Text indicators like “1”, or “2” are used to show when a specific player plays a particular portion of the line. Following a passage where one player rests while another plays, a directive like “a2” or “tutti” shows that both / all players play the same line in unison from that point. By default, these text indications appear in both the score and parts, making it easy to identify who plays where.

Note the hidden text expression “both”. This technique serves a useful purpose, which I’ll explain in a moment.

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Display Instrument Names Differently Between Score & Parts in Finale

There is a visual style preferred by many composers and orchestrators in which instrument group names are shown bracketing two or more staves, with numbers (1., 2. or I., II.) rather than individual instrument names showing for the specific instrument staves:


This is a nice presentation, which clearly shows how the orchestration is organized with a minimum of clutter. The method to create Multi-Stave Groups like the above in Finale, as well as a cool variation for group name display are covered in this post by my colleague Jon Senge.

However, while this works great for the score, it’s quite another thing if you are also creating the parts, because there are no longer unique identifiers for each instrument. When you get to the parts phase, you first have to figure out which staff goes with which instrument, and once you do, you have to manually type in each instrument name in the Linked Parts! Ideally, the instrument names should remain in the template for parts. So, how can we do this?

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Finale Page Layout Advancements & Plugins | JW Copy Part Layout…

Back before there was such a thing as computer notation software, commercial music copyists working with pen and ink used a technique called “Advancing the Layout”.

To illustrate, I’ll use French Horn parts in an orchestral score. In this hypothetical score, there are a lot of commonalities between the four horn parts:

  1. The four horns always enter together.
  2. Horns are in unison for a good portion of the score.
  3. Rhythms are generally homophonic when they are playing chords.
  4. They share a common transposition.

To advance the layout, common elements such as Page Text, Key and Time Signatures, Rehearsal Marks and other System Text, Barlines, Repeats, Endings are laid out in ink on the page. Next, any common unison passages are copied into the chart, as well as any common rests for homophonic chord passages.

The copyist then takes this “master page”, which functions as a partially filled-out template to the photocopier and runs copies so that the notes for each part can be filled in. As you can imagine, this technique of capitalizing on the commonalities within the parts saved hours of work, back in the day.

Before photocopiers, the ozalid process was used to reproduce music for commercial recording sessions and concerts.

These days, because of the way Finale automatically applies music spacing as you go, the page layout can change dynamically as music is entered into your score. A byproduct of this is that user attention to page layout is typically at the end of the workflow rather than the beginning. This reorganization of workflow is not a bad thing as long as you are, in fact, paying attention to the page layouts at some point!

In more recent versions of Finale, the business of having to ink different notes into a copy of a parts template, or copy and paste notes from the score into a separate part staff or file during the part creation stage has largely been replaced with Linked Parts; specifically the “Voicing” feature in the Manage Parts… dialog. You can enter diads or triads in a line of score, and then for any given part, choose rules for Finale to select which specific notes from that staff will display for that part.

However, even though we can control which notes go where using this dialog, the page layout for the parts themselves is not addressed in the Manage Parts dialog.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to create the layout for Horn 1 and then copy that layout to the other Horn parts so we don’t have to recreate this page layout manually 4 different times? Turns out, there is a plugin for this very task.

Enter the very useful “JW Copy Part Layout…” plugin by Jari Williamsson. Once you have manually created your layout for the first part, with the second (or subsequent) part frontmost, run the plugin. The dialog looks like this:


The plugin displays the name of the Current (open) Part which will inherit the new layout. You select the part  you want to copy the page layout from in the instrument list.

Note there are a couple of useful options in this dialog besides the Copy Layout button. If you have sections where the Multi-measure rests are not identical you can uncheck the “Multi-measure Rests” option so that the majority of the layout will still be copied. You can then manually adjust the layout of the region with the differences manually.

You can switch to a specific part while the plugin dialog is forward by selecting a part, and then clicking the “View Selected” button. This will bring the selected part forward. Note that the “Current part:” name will then change in the dialog, allowing you to Copy the Layout from any other selected part in the dialog.

JW Copy Part Layout is free (donate to the developer if you would like), and works with Finale 2012 or newer. While there is no direct link to individual plugins provided by the developer, you can download the JW Copy Part Layout plugin here:

For Finale 2011 and earlier, a good solution is the Transfer function of the full (paid) version of the TGTools plugin suite to copy locked measure groups (measure layout) as well as system margins and attributes between parts..


Finale’s Managed Parts & Grace Note Spacing

Q: I’m composing a piece for full orchestra plus large percussion ensemble / steel band). In order to save space, I’m using shared staves for most of the winds (two of each, and usually tutti).

Ordinarily I really like this feature in Finale that allows each player to see their own part, but it isn’t properly spacing the music within each part…specifically the grace notes (of which there are MANY).

Furthermore,  because Note Entry tools are disabled when looking at the part from a shared staff, I can’t simply manually drag the notes left to make the proper space. Have you run into this?


A: The Specify Voicing feature in Finale’s Managed Parts is a huge productivity tool in Finale which I use all of the time. Unfortunately, Specify Voicing can’t be used for parts that contain Grace Notes. The issue is that Note Spacing is completely broken for grace notes with Specify Voicing turned on for that staff, rendering an otherwise elegant feature useless for these Linked Parts.

And, as you point out, there is no way to manually edit an individual note’s horizontal location (note spacing) in the part once Specify Voicing is active for the part. Fortunately, for these cases there is an excellent workaround.

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On Location : Instrument Changes in Sibelius

Robert: My question is about Instrument Change placement in Sibelius. In a percussion part, at the end of a system, I want to show a five-line staff for the new instrument, along with the preview clef, but Sibelius moves the five line staff to the start of the subsequent system, rather than allowing it to start just before the new clef:

correct / preferred
correct / preferred


I know that I can manually (or with the inspector) move the instrument change to the left a bit. However, when I respace the part, the Instrument change will revert to the end of the system.

I’ve tried several approaches. One is invisible rests in another layer, to which the changes are attached…then the rests are hidden. With creativity, the rests can be arranged visually OK. I also know about the Inspector x-axis.

The question really only comes up at the end of systems. I’m wondering if there is something simple that I’m missing.


Steve Rouse

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Sibelius Paste As Cue & Staff Visibility in the Score

I wanted to share this exchange I had today with a colleague on the Sibelius “Paste As Cue” feature as it affects staff visibility in the score. He writes:

“I am adding cues using Paste As Cue, but its messing up my Sibelius score. In other words, parts that were originally hidden in the score are now showing up again after the cue is created.

For instance, when I add cues to my my Bassoon 1 part, it shows up in the score–but only for a few pages. I am doing “show in parts” which sometimes helps but other times, it doesn’t. I am adding the cues from the score to the part.

Since these staves are hidden in Page View of the score, I need to create the cues from Panorama rather than on the score page…  ???”




It sounds like you you may have split out separate staves for parts only (e.g. separate Bassoon 1 and 2 part staves from a combined score staff containing diads). These “parts only” staves are not supposed to be visible in the score.

Since there is already music in the staves, and these were previously hidden, after you apply ALL of your cues, you will need to go in and triple click these problematic parts staves, right-click and invoke “Show In Parts” again.

The reason the staves become visible in the score for these staves is that Paste As Cue creates visible rests in destination staff (along with the cue notes which are visible only in the parts). If the staff is supposed to remain visible in the score, this isn’t an issue, but for “parts only” staves, if your score is “optimized” (e.g. “French Style” formatting), staves which are not supposed to have a visible counterpart in the score will become visible when you add cues via Paste As Cue.

For future reference, the proper workflow is to create all of the cues while in the score, then triple click the staves which are parts only staves and select Show In Parts and hide them in the score at that later stage.

If you create the cues after setting the staves to Show In Part, you make the cue sections visible in the score because of the visible rests.


Sibelius Tip: Reason #4 Multi Measure Rests Break Incorrectly in Parts

Q: I know you’ve seen this one before! Multi Rests are breaking incorrectly in the parts. Normally, the solution to this problem is to delete the bar line to restore proper multi rest break points, but it is not working in this case…

Measure 4 will not join the multi rests in the parts. Attached is the SIB file. Thanks for your time!

A: In this case, the rests in the parts break incorrectly at bar 4 because you (perhaps inadvertently) manually changed the bar number for that bar. It’s a hard one to spot in this case because bar 4 is still bar 4.

Note that in a standard case, where the starting bar number of a section was changed to be different than sequential, this break in multirests is desirable; allowing you to clearly identify a cut or insert. Normally, a double or thick bar line might also be used to accentuate this transition, which coincidentally, also breaks the multirest.

Note that when I do a system selection, Sibelius highlights the bars that have been manually changed in purple, allowing me to see the point where the manual bar number was added:



In the score, select the offending bar number, then press delete to clear the manual renumbering. That will clear the manual bar number and allow the multirests to display correctly.

That’s all there is to it.

see also: Controlling Layout with Auto & Manual Breaks in Sibelius


for Bobby Brader