There are often times when you may want to indicate a “ghost” note in a part. These occur in jazz and rock and can occur in a vocal or horn part or rhythm section instrument. Ghost notes are suggested or implied and are much softer than normal notes. They are typically notated by placing parentheses around the note.

Check out the transcription of the beginning of Lee Morgan’s solo on Blue Train on the Jazz Trumpet Solos site.  Notice the ghost note in bar three of the transcription.

Finale:  Notating Ghost Notes

To add a parentheses around a note, enter a left and right parentheses via the Articulation Tool.

  1. Enter the notation.
  2. Choose the Articulation tool.
  3. Click on the desired notehead.
  4. Choose the left parentheses, #38 in the Articulation Selection Window.
  5. After entering the left parentheses, click the notehead again and choose the right parentheses, #39 in the Articulation Selection Window.
  6. Drag each parentheses to the desired location.


Sibelius: Notating Ghost Notes

  1. Enter the notation
  2. Select the notehead(s)
  3. From the second Keypad Layout choose “Bracket notehead”

(Thanks to John Hinchey’s comment for suggesting the above Sibelius method)

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    Hello !

    here is how to do this with Notion 3 and 4 .

    1-Enter Notation
    2-Click on the desired notehead you want to be ghost notes. You can select multiple notes at the same time , just hold CTRL and click(left click) on the notes you want.
    3- you should now see them highlight in a yellow dark color.
    4-on your keyboard computer , press ZERO .

    you should now have the same result that Tom gets with finale and Sibelius.

    Note: on my computer it works only if I use the ZERO located on the top on my computer keyboard , not on the NUM keyboard on the right side…this may be different on different computer.

    hope that can helps .


    Thanks, Alex!


    There is a much simpler way in Sibelius 6 & 7 that you describe here. Just click the note, go to the 2nd keypad layout and press the 1 key. That’s all there is to it.

    Thanks for pointing this out! I did not know this option existed and you are correct – it is WAY easier and can be applied to multiple noteheads. I’ll make an update to the post. Cheers :)

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