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How do you show hidden rest in finale?

Showing hidden rests in finale music notation software is an important technique for creating clean and easy to read sheet music. As a notation program, Finale has powerful features for displaying rests of various durations in the score. However, there may be situations where you want rests to be present in the music but not displayed visually on the page. This is known as hiding rests. There are a few different methods for showing and hiding rests in Finale depending on your specific needs.

Why Hide Rests?

There are several reasons why composers and arrangers may want to hide rests in Finale:

  • Clean up the visual appearance of the score by removing unnecessary rests
  • Improve readability by decluttering measures
  • CreatePick-up orupbeat entrances where a note hangs over from a previous bar
  • Shape phrases more naturally by adjusting the duration of sounds and silences
  • Maintain the correct time signature and rhythm when adjusting note durations
  • Sync parts during playback by aligning track regions

While some hidden rests are meant to be truly invisible, there are options for showing their locations with symbols. Let’s look at some specific methods for displaying and concealing rests in Finale music notation.

Display Actual Rests

The most straightforward approach is to simply add the required rests into your score normally. To enter a rest, click the rest icon in the Keypad then click in the staff or drag to draw rests of a particular duration. The rests will be visible and take up space in the measure.

Some key points about displaying actual rests:

  • Good for passages where the specific rhythm needs to be clearly seen
  • Makes the meter and time signature obvious
  • Can result in excessive amounts of rests cluttering up the score
  • Rests may conflict with other notation elements in dense textures

In general, use regular displayed rests when an accurate representation of the rhythm is most important. This approach is common in pieces like marches where the rests are integral to the feel of the line. Simply add each rest in the measure normally.

Hidden Rests

To completely hide rests, use the Hidden Rest tool which conceals them from view:

  1. Select the rests you want to hide
  2. Go to Tools > Hide/Show > Hide Rests

This will make the selected rests invisible. They will still take up rhythmic space but will not be displayed.

Some key points about hidden rests:

  • Creates clean looking measures without displayed rests
  • Rest durations remain intact and affect time signature
  • Improves readability in dense textures
  • Can make complex rhythms harder to interpret

Use hidden rests sparingly when reducing visual clutter is the priority. Keep in mind that hidden rests may make complex rhythms more difficult to read and understand.

Rest-Held Notes

Another approach is to use rest-held notes. This ties a note across a rest to maintain the rhythmic duration:

  1. Select the note before the rest
  2. Go to Utilities > Split/Join > Rest-Held Note

Now the note will be tied over the rest location which remains hidden. Here are some key points about rest-held notes:

  • Preserves correct rhythms but hides rests
  • Creates syncopation and ties across barlines
  • Can be difficult to read with complex tied patterns
  • Affects note spacing compared to displayed rests

Use rest-held notes to clean up the look of syncopated passages. But be careful not to obscure the rhythm too much with complex tied notes.

Display Rest Locations

If you want to hide the actual rest symbols but still indicate their locations, you can add symbols at rest positions:

  1. Hide the rests using the Hide Rests tool
  2. Add a rest location symbol such as fermata or breath mark

Some ways to denote hidden rest locations:

  • Short fermata symbol over the barline
  • Caesura symbol within the measure
  • Breath mark at the rest position
  • Brief text instruction such as “Tacit”

This approach preserves the clean look by hiding rests while still providing some indication of missing rhythmic elements. Use it judiciously so as not to clutter up the score.

Rest Rearrangement

For more extensive rest adjustments, you can manipulate and move them with the Rests tool:

  1. Select a note or rest
  2. Go to Utilities > Split/Join > Rests
  3. Drag rests to new positions

With the Rests tool you can:

  • Consolidate multiple rests into fewer symbols
  • Distribute rests throughout the measure
  • Optimize rest locations around other notation
  • Create custom arrangements of rests

This approach takes more work but allows extensive customization of rest visuals independent of the actual rhythmic durations.

Playback Considerations

It’s important to understand how displaying versus hiding rests affects MIDI playback:

  • Displayed rests trigger programmed MIDI silence
  • Hidden rests alone will not trigger MIDI silence
  • Rest-held notes and other ties can help align note lengths
  • Adjusting playback requires adding MIDI silence events

To get precise playback timing with hidden rests, you’ll need to add MIDI silence regions in playback tools like the HyperScribe. The goal is to align the audible timing with the sheet music rhythms.


Here are some examples that demonstrate practical uses of hidden rests in Finale:

Cleaning Up Dense Textures

Hiding unnecessary rests can greatly clean up the look of dense contrapuntal passages. The rhythms remain intact but are less cluttered visually:

After hiding rests:

Syncopation and Upbeats

Rest-held notes work well for syncopations and upbeats. The ties show the sustained rhythm across barlines or into new measures:

Aligning Playback in Multi-Staff Scores

When aligning playback across staves, hidden rests allow notes to be sustained independently while aligning the MIDI silence between staves:

This coordination is essential for proper multipart alignment in playback.

Reducing Visual Clutter

Hiding long rests can greatly reduce visual clutter, as seen in this brass choir excerpt. The rests remain rhythmically but are hidden from view:

This significantly cleans up the score’s appearance.

Other Notation Tools

In addition to rest manipulation, there are some other Finale tools that can help optimize and clean up your score:

Measure Rests

To compress empty measures into a multi-measure rest symbol, use the Measure Rests tool located in the Measure tool palette.

Rest Adjustments

The Rests tool allows free adjustment of vertical rest position for alignment and collision avoidance.

Staff Heading Rests

Add extra displayed rests within a staff heading to space out instrument names.

Section Markings

Use section text, rehearsal marks, and repeat endings to divide up long rests.


Rests are a vital part of music notation but can sometimes clutter up the page. Finale offers powerful techniques for hiding and displaying rests to create clean scores that still maintain the correct rhythmic durations.

Try using hidden rests, rest-held notes, location symbols, and rearrangement to get just the right amount of visual information. And take playback into account when working with hidden rests. With some strategic use of Finale’s rest tools, you can produce beautifully clear and readable sheet music.

For complex professional scores, optimizing rests is an important task. Mastering the various options for showing and hiding rests will add to your Finale expertise.