I have fermatas on the final notes on both staffs at the end of a piano piece. I only want the fermatas held on the final refrain. Do I need to include staff text to that effect above both staffs, or can I just include the text over the bass clef as it is kind of centered between the two staffs?

2 Answers 2


According to the Schirmer Manual of Style ([bracketed] addition mine):

Any text relating to tempo or its alteration goes above the staff (Allegro, ritard., freely, etc.). Bowing and mute indications are placed above the staff as well: con sord., pizz., harmon mute, sul pont., sul tasto, etc.

Expressive indications as to how a performer plays a passage should always go below the staff [or between the staves of a grand staff], in italics: espr., dolce, cantabile, with great passion, dryly, etc.

A fermata is a tempo alteration, so text modifying its execution belongs above the staff.


Use staff text above the upper staff. That's the standard placement for this type of instruction.

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