Blank staves (without lines)

Hi! I want to have the instrument indicated in the beginning, but if they are not playing, instead of having empty bars, I would like it to be completely blank (without lines) - like in orchestral scores by Boulez or Berio.

is this possible?


I believe the quick answer is no. Not without substantial graphical workarounds. Cut away scores are not yet natively supported, but I’m sure it’s on the teams radar.

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This is definitely not possible natively (yet). The request has been made many times up to this point, however, so the team is definitely aware there is desire for it. If I had to guess, this is probably not a trivial thing to implement from a coding perspective. The development team has been fairly tight-lipped about the contents of the forthcoming version, so we can’t really speculate whether it will be included or not.

It is certainly possible, though not natively. You will need to modify an instrument to show a zero-line staff, which you can do by searching the forum for “xml hack.” (Or something like that… Perhaps someone else can link to the post.)

Then each of these players will hold multiple instruments: their primary instrument, and whatever instruments you have sets to be zero lines. So then you’ll just do an instrument change at those places by adding a note and then making it transparent.

It’s more complicated to write out than it is to do, at least once you have it set up. I can’t think of any problems that it would create.

If I have a chance later today, I’ll make a short video walking through the process.

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Once you factor in that the example involves switching from a five line stave to a one line stave back to a five line stave then to effectively a zero line stave (see the Oboes, Cor anglais and whatever the next thing is), and condensing and hidden rests, with some of the instrument names indented, it really is not possible in a practical way.

Ah, I wasn’t thinking about the condensing bit. I’m still going to give this a go and see how fiddly it is.

It’s doable to this point just using a 0line staff and a 1line (custom, pitched) staff on the Oboe player. (The 1line staff has to be pitched because you need to be able to hide notes in an additional voice at the start of each bar, and single-line percussion staves can’t hold multiple voices).

Behind the scenes it looks like this:

I can’t bring myself to recommend this number of workarounds to anyone…

Hi Thanks for all these suggestions. I agree with you pianoleo, that this amount of changing is a bit too much., But having the option of of the 0 line staff can be really helpful and neat - especially in contemporary music scores.

I am trying ot figure out the 0 line staff, without success. can anyone explain how to access the instrument xml hack , to change the nbr of lines?

Thanks for the help so far

I’ve never bothered to actually modify the instruments.xml file within the application bundle, though if you search the forum you’ll find instructions from other people on how to do just that.

If you unzip and open this MusicXML file in Dorico you’ll find a single line pitched staff and a zero line pitched staff. Just bear in mind that you can’t import it into an existing Dorico project. (2.2 KB)

Thanks. The 0 line staff works ok, but changing between an instrument and 0line is very tricky… especially since the automatic instrument change isn’t triggered by rests, and there doesn’t seem to be a way of making the rests disappear (in order to have an actual blank staff) without it disappearing in all of the other measured sections too.

Am I missing the way to use this?


PS: In addition to the example given above by Berio, for scores using spacial notation, the option of having a blank space—to indicate the spacial equivalent of rest—would be really helpful and needed! The only thing I’m having trouble with in Dorico, which has been amazing otherwise… :sweat_smile:

That was the point of the notes in bars 2, 3 and 5 in the “1” and “2” staves.

Each of the notes on the “1” and “2” staves is in a secondary voice (downstem voice 1 rather than upstem voice 1), with both its “Starts Voice” and “Ends Voice” properties set. Those notes are also custom scaled to 1% and colored White (both from the left end of the properties panel). The rests in those bars have their “Rest pos” property set (I think to 0).

The rest in stave “2”, bar 5 is also coloured white and scaled to 1%, and set to End Voice.

I can see why! Darn… (Still, you’re amazing, Leo!)

Many thanks, everyone, for the helpful comments! I ended up using a white graphic frame to cover up some sections. Worked for the moment… couldn’t get the hang of the other solution yet.

Thanks :slight_smile: