Feature request: Staff with one line for pitched instruments without XML hack

It would be great to have the option to define a staff with one line and even no line for pitched instruments.
The XML hack doesn’t work when you want to add it to an already large and complex score because the xml ex- and import is loosing to much information, especially microtones.

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We anticipate allowing you to define your own instruments, including changing the number of staff lines, in a future version.


This is great news for those of us who want to do “transitional” transcriptions of plainchant too. (Ie-modern notheads but 4 staff lines)

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Is the number staff lines changeable in Dorico 4?

No. Not yet.

Will this feature come anytime soon? I really use to work with that a lot …

Is there any development about this?

None has been announced.

Is there any development in changing the number of staff lined for pitched instruments?

See the replies above.

The Version History PDF document that comes with every new release (including updates) lists every new feature, capability, alteration and fix. It’s well worth reading.

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let’s precise my question: Will it come anytime soon?

If it does, I doubt Dorico will keep it a secret; the Team seldom announces specific features or their release schedule in advance.

I’ve added 0-line and 1-line non-percussion instruments to my Sketch category as below. (There are a bunch of other custom instruments added to the files as well.)

Here are the files if you want them. All the usual caveats about edited factory files apply and they will be overwritten with any updates.
instruments.xml (3.0 MB)
instrumentFamiliesDefinitions.xml (29.0 KB)
instrumentnames_en.xml (353.4 KB)


thanks a lot!

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Based on Fred’s XML files above, I’ve actually managed to create a .doricolib file with the same (or similar) information. I’ve actually created a new category of instruments, called “Custom”, rather than appending them to Sketch.

To import the file into Dorico, place it in the following location and then quit/relaunch Dorico.

Mac: /Library/Application Support/Steinberg/Dorico 4/DefaultLibraryAdditions
Win: C:\ProgramData\Steinberg\Dorico 4\DefaultLibraryAdditions\

I’m not entirely sure about the Windows location, but note this is NOT the User library. It’s the place where NotePerformer installs stuff, if that helps.

For some reason, dropping it on the hub flags an error and doesn’t work for me. I’ve validated the XML, but…

I figure that keeping this file as a separate lib file, instead of modifying the application data itself, is probably slightly better; though I haven’t thoroughly tested it, and if things do go wrong, don’t forget to remove it.

0 and 1 line staves.zip (2.9 KB)

As ever, please use at your own risk, make sure you can revert everything, etc. I await reasons from Daniel about why this might be a more terrible idea than modifying the app’s files directly.


Thanks, I’m on mac. This solution seems to be better though I still hope to find a solution which doesn’t get deleted with updates like the custom key commands in the user directory …

That’s a great idea! It definitely seems “safer” than modifying the default files and I assume won’t get overwritten with updates. At least for me, it seems to work copying it to the User location at:
C:\Users\YourNameHere\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Dorico 4\DefaultLibraryAdditions

Just to clarify - you have to create the folder named “Default Library Additions”, correct? I’m not seeing it otherwise in that directory… Thanks!

I think that’s the user data folder, rather than the Program data folder; but if it works, it works!

Can confirm that on a Mac, it will work in the user data folder, if you create a DefaultLibraryAdditions subfolder.

/Users/[yourUserName]/Library/Application Support/Steinberg/Dorico 4/DefaultLibraryAdditions

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This is brilliant! So we don’t have to mess with the application package.
And thanks for the XML file.

(@ebrooks Note there are no spaces in DefaultLibraryAdditions)

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