Figured Bass on desired instrument


I am working on a Handel Organ Concerto in Dorico 4, and I desire to have the full organ part and an additional single keyboard line for the continuo player. I did this by putting the Harpsichord in the full score and renaming it Cembalo, then hiding the first staff so just the lower staff was showing.

Even before doing any of the hiding of empty staves in the score, the figured bass (which I entered on the Cembalo instrument) was only showing on the the organ part, with only occasional figures showing on the Cembalo line. Once I removed the upper staff of the Cembalo (Harpsichord), all of the figures went away from the Cembalo staff. I have gone into the Layout Options–>Players–>Figured Bass and ensured that the Cembalo player was selected to show figured bass. It is only when the organ and the Cembalo are selected that figured bass shows in the few spots on the Cembalo player, but when I uncheck organ, all of the figures go away.

I have attempted to search to see if this has been addressed, but have not found anything, so I do apologize if this has been addressed.


Image with the figures only on some of the Cembalo

(Edit) Well, it appears that the figures that were in the Cembalo line in this example aren’t…

Image with the figures only on the organ after removing the upper staff of the Cembalo (Harpsichord)

Instead of using “Remove Staff” to hide the RH of the Cembalo, I would instead suggest you use “Allow individual staves of multi-staff instruments to be hidden” and then Hide empty staves, on the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options.

I did that, but it left a couple of the upper staff remaining, so I removed those manually…

I am afraid that at the moment if you use “Remove Staff” on the RH of a grand staff instrument it will indeed cause figured bass (and also Pedal lines) to stop drawing. This is currently a known limitation which we intend to fix in a future version.

If you want to share the version of your project without removed staves, with empty staves hidden, showing where some apparently empty staves are still appearing, I’m sure someone would be happy to investigate what’s stopping them from being hidden and resolve things that way.

Thank you both for such quick replies!

So in going back and resetting the staff visibility and retrying to hide staves through the Layout Option dialog in Vertical spacing, I was unable to recreate the staff not hiding in the Cembalo part…

So if I understand Richard correctly, hiding staves in multi-staff instruments will result in the figured bass will not appear. I think this answers my question…

So if I put all of that material on a single-staff instrument, and rename, I should be good to go?

Thanks again for your prompt help!

Adding a Violoncello line and putting the continuo line there after renaming has solved allowed the score to look how I desire. Thank you for your help in providing a solution!

One additional question: The Cembalo tacets in the third movement. Is it possible to only show the figures on the Organ line in the third movement (third flow) or is it an all-or-nothing proposition project-wide.

Thanks again!

It depends exactly how you hide it. Hiding a staff with “Hide Empty Staves” will work - the figured bass should still be visible - but hiding using “Remove Staff” will not. EDIT: Sorry, I was wrong about this, you’re quite right, hiding the upper staff will hide the figures in both cases.

I am afraid it is all-or-nothing. However, there are workarounds. For example, you could use “local” figured bass, which only shows up on one instrument. Or you could create two separate Organ players, and include them both in the same Organ part.

Before I changed my score to have it work, I did hide the upper line of the Cembalo staff with Hide Empty Staves, checking the box to allow individual staves of multi-staff instruments to be hidden, and the figures disappeared in that application as well. So perhaps I did something incorrect? I was having issues before I made manual staff visibility changes…

Anyway, I think I have a good solution for what I want the score to look like, so I do very much appreciate your help!

IIRC Figured Bass is associated with the upper staff of a grand staff. Hiding the upper staff thus hides the figures.

As a continuo player I am not used to seeing a “harpsichord” part (with or without an upper staff), either in score or part (except for some the highly complicated JS Bach continuo parts, I prefer not to play from a “realised” part). Usually the continuo figures are attached to the string bass part, though whether bass players object to this, I do not know. Doing this also allows for the continuo to be played by other than harpsichord.


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The presence or absence of bass figures is a Layout Option, so it’s possible to use the same Continuo instrument (a cello, say) in multiple parts both with and without figures, if the bassists object to them.

That is good news! I wouldnt like the figures to get in the way of their bowings and other aides mémoire!


Yes, I find that hiding one staff of a two-staff instrument causes too many issues. So I usually write my baselines on a staff belonging to a “cello” instrument which I’ve renamed. This seems much more reliable.

If so I am very interested to know something about how this works under the hood and how it can be changed, because I suspect it will be difficult. No hurry, but some time, thanks.

When playing a continuo cello part, I have no problem seeing the figured bass. In some cases, e.g. recitatives, it’s even quite useful so see the harmonies.

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Why, Mark, are you planning to come and implement the changes for us?! Please leave the technical stuff to us. We can handle it!


Will do, but I have been wondering for some months now whether that particular change was even possible, so I will take your response to mean it’s in the works, however difficult it may be!

A cellist who can read and hear figured bass is definitely unusual, and to be welcomed! :smile: