Feature request: hide slash region or create blank notation region

Dorico team: I would love to be able to hide slash regions while keeping chord symbols above the bars and any hidden music underneath that plays back.

EDIT: Another possibility is a “blank notation” or “empty bar” region, as mentioned by @FredGUnn below. Ideally, this region could contain underlying music that would play back, like a slash region.


For improvised solo sections of jazz charts, chord slashes are of course the convention, and IMO Dorico’s slash regions are brilliantly implemented.

That said, empty bars would provide space for musicians to pencil in spontaneous ideas during rehearsals and recording sessions.

As I prepared charts for a recording session a few years ago, one of the musicians - a world-renowned performer and producer - asked me to do this. I’d been penciling in ideas in charts many times over the years and always found it annoying to have to work around the slashes. So this immediately made sense. It was a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment.

In Sibelius, where I originally made the charts, it was easy to create empty bars by hiding bar rests, which can be done freely.

Dorico’s restrictions on hiding bar rests have, in some cases, required work-arounds like scaling bar rests or bar repeat regions down to 1 percent to create empty bars. This got the job done - and left me wanting to be able to hide these objects more easily.

But it occurred to me that hiding slash regions would be much more logical because these regions are functionally the same as if the slashes were visible.

While empty bars in solo sections is certainly not common practice in my jazz world, I’ve seen them in a few places, like Chick Corea’s “The Vigil” song book.


If I’ve understood correctly - you want to write in music in Dorico to hear in playback, but don’t want the printed music to include this; you want to show chord symbols; you don’t want to show slashes.

You can add an extra staff to the player (provided they’re a solo, not section, player), write the music you want to hear on that staff, then remove it. The music still exists, it still plays back, but doesn’t appear in the music.

You can also use chord symbol regions for showing chord symbols above empty bars, but I believe you’re aware of this from other threads.

Do you ever use Small Slashes in your project? If not, go to Engrave/Notehead Sets/Slashes/Small Slash Noteheads, click the Edit Notehead pencil then delete the small slash noteheads so the entire set is just blank. Apply Slash notation to the bars containing the music you want to hide, then click the Small Slashes checkbox in Properties.


I’ll add that this is very common practice in jazz/pop vocal arrangements, where the pianist needs blank measures to pencil in any cues for themselves, or to write out cues that need to be given to the vocalist. As a feature request, it would be nice if Dorico could have a “Blank notation” style that could be applied to hide any music for playback and yet still display as an empty bar.


@Lillie_Harris I didn’t realize you could remove staves and still have the music play back, so thanks for that!


Good to know it’s common in pop vocal arrangements; I’ve rarely seen it in my world (instrumental jazz and, for many years previously, salsa/Cuban dance music).

A "blank notation"region was my first thought. Then it occurred to me that since these would be functionally similar to slash regions, it would make sense to give slash regions a “hidden” Property.

Either one would be fine!

@FredGUnn Thanks for the Small Slashes work-around - it’s the closest solution so far to what I’m requesting. Very clever! (EDIT: On second thought, I do use small slash noteheads, as described in another post below, so I might not be able to do this.)

Still, these, along with the methods in my first post, are all work-arounds. Hide-able slash regions or a “blank measure region” would be much better.

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BRILLIANT. This is an easy solution for displaying selected empty bars without bar rests, if user doesn’t want that as a global setting.

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On second thought, I do use small slashes - not in slash regions, but as noteheads with stems for rhythms in piano, bass, and other (non-percussion) parts.

Does your solution would make them unavailable for this scenario?

If so, then I can’t use it, unfortunately.

I could potentially use another type of notehead, like Xs, for the rhythms, but that’s yet another work-around.

You can always duplicate (New from selection) the small slashes set before modifying it, give it a different name, then modify the small slashes set. For the rhythm cues, just apply the notehead set you created.

I don’t know how experienced you are with working with notehead sets, but there’s a convoluted step of adding the notehead to the set in the new set, then removing the previous notehead, otherwise when you edit the original small slashes set it will also modify the new one.

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No experience, so thanks for this, Fred!

Is your solution project-specific, or will it stick with Dorico for use in other files?

Really appreciate the help, and still I hope Dorico will eventually make these multiple work-arounds unnecessary.

It depends. You can hit the Save as Default star to make it available in other projects, or it can just be for that individual project.

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