hide individual staves OR single staff marimba

I have a score in which I want to show all six instruments at all times. The percussion is vibraphone and marimba. Is there any way to have the marimba be a single staff instrument? I know I could hide empty staves to take out the bass clef of the marimba part, but that would wipe out all other empty staves (I guess I could put in real whole rests, but that would mess up multi-inst rests in the parts.

Any ideas?

David Froom

As I mentioned in my reply to your other thread (please resist the temptation to post the same question multiple times, since I do read all of them), you can’t currently hide only one staff of a grand staff instrument, but we are thinking about how best to allow this.

Sorry Daniel! I won’t do this again. Glad to hear you read it all. And respond to so many! And (I hear from Judah Adashi) respond to tweets. Either you are the hardest working man in showbiz, or you are the fastest reader/responder on earth. I admire especially your unfailing graciousness and immense patience with all of us.

We have today implemented the option to hide one staff of a grand staff instrument if it’s empty, so this will be possible by way of a new option in Layout Options in the 1.0.20 update, unless our testers find some insurmountable problem with the implementation we’ve come up with.

And yes, I do work very hard, and I don’t sleep much, which is why I’m going grey ahead of my time…

Daniel, I think you mean looking more distinguished ahead of your time!

Thank you Daniel! This is excellent to hear (the part about grand staff empty staff hiding. This will be an amazing program.

Sorry to hear about your going grey. On this side of the pond, we go gray. Yours sounds more distinguished.


Normally, you would achieve that using the Layout option, vertical spacing category, all down the page, Hide empty staves — All systems.
Strangely enough, it does not work all the time, especially with imported XML files. But if your score has been edited in Dorico from scratch, it should work.

Hope it helps !

Thanks, Marc.
Your suggestion works if you want to hide ALL empty systems, and it would hide the lower unused staff in my marimba line. However, it would also hide empty staves that I want to show. This kind of problem comes up in a piece for a consistent set of instruments (in my case, “Pierrot” ensemble), where all instrument staves should show all the time – except the lower staff of the marimba (which I never wanted in the first place). The other situation that comes up is in an orchestra score, where you might wish to have the same instrument staves showing on facing pages, even if some aren’t playing.

One workaround is to put real whole rests in lines that aren’t to be removed, though that messes up creation of multi-instrument rests in the parts. The real solution, though, is to allow empty staves to be removed on a case-by-case basis – perhaps all removed by default, but some reinstated by copyist’s choice.

In my particular case, the solution would be to allow typical grand-staff instruments (marimba) to be optionally a single staff. Every once in a while, this happens even for the piano.

David Froom

Just on the subject of hiding empty staves (and sorry if this is somewhere else - I can’t see anything about it…)

I’m writing a choral piece at the moment where for part of the piece, only the soprano sings. So it looks great with all the staves hidden. However - the alto then starts singing, and the soprano stops. Currently (I guess I could rejig this, but the layout looks great otherwise) the soprano stops at the end of one system and the alto starts at the beginning of the next. So, although the part name is different, for all intensive purposes it looks like the same single line continues. What I’d like to be able to do is this: the line BEFORE the alto comes in, I’d like to have an empty alto stave visible, and the line WHEN the alto comes in I’d like to have an empty Soprano stave - so, for two systems there are two vocal staves (making it visually very clear that the music goes from sop to alto). Might something like this be possible in future?

Thank you!


+1 for needing to hide staffs on an as needed basis. I often need some empty lines for clarity.


This fonction do not work with Organ 3 staff …
I have a work (theme and variation) where the 4 first variation have nothing on Pedal staff, followed by 2 other variation with line of Pedal.

So I try the Layout option but the empty pedal staff is stil visible.

Looks that the 3 staff organ instrument is treated as one big staff.

Can you strategically force a rest in the Alto staff to make it appear one system earlier?

You can move measures to different systems and systems to different pages in Engrave mode. The idea of having the alto enter at the end of (or middle of) the previous system, is a good workaround for now. I know (see above) that they have fixed the grand staff issue for the next update (promised later this month). They know that we need to have show/hide system control on a page-by-page basis, as it is an aspect of professional engraving. So, that workaround should work.

If it doesn’t work for obvious spacing reasons, you could force a note in the staff that Dorico wants to remove, and then mute/hide the note, using the properties (make it 0% opaque). Unfortunately, you’d have a blank measure without a whole rest.

I assumed that forcing a rest would also work – but Dorico seems to regard forced, entered rests as still meaning the measure is empty when it comes to removing empty systems.

If you use the hidden note trick, and try to force a whole rest in voice 2 (would have to be 4/4), Dorico spaces it to the far left of the measure and up into the space above the staff. As of this moment, the move position property doesn’t seem to do anything.

Dorico will be great when all of this is sorted out. Given the care and thought they’ve shown so far, I have every confidence this will be a king of engraving programs – once the final details are worked out. For me, based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m guessing Dorico will be useable in most situations within 6-12 months. It is already very close in some limited situations.