Hiding staff lines, but keeping notes

Is there a way to hide the lines of the staff, while keeping the notes visible?

I need an example, where note are drawn on the staff, then the staff lines are removed to show the physical placement of the notes.


No, I’m afraid there’s no way to hide staff lines but keep the notes at the moment. That’s something I think you’ll need to do in a graphics program (you can always export the result from your graphics program as e.g. SVG and then reimport it back into Dorico via a graphics frame).

That’s what I am trying to do, at the moment. But between the way the graphics program handles what I am trying, it looks different than the rest of music out put by Dorico.

I’ve been using PNG for the transparency. Not sure what makes SVG different/better, but I’ll give it a try.

I’d request, that while there is probably a VERY small need for this, that this be considered for future versions.


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SVG is vector graphics, so they scale nicely at any resolution.

Inkscape is a freeware SVG app you can try if you need one.

I did this a long time ago (in Igor…) by zooming in and using a ton of white boxes. Thankfully I didn’t have much to do.

I’ve been doing something similar (removing parts of a score) on iPad using an eraser on the pdf whilst zoomed in.

OK, I’ll give this a try.


Do you need notes’ stems as well, or just note heads?
If the latter, than the quickest way could to apply a color to the note heads, export it as graphics, and then in another app - e.g. Adobe PS - using blending options remove black color.
If your design requires note heads to be black, after removing all originally black graphics, you can re-color the note heads to your liking.

I need notes with stems.

I am trying a few apps I already have, but they are a little more bothersome at the moment. Mostly because I am not a graphics guy and have done very little stuff in graphics programs.

I wondering, would it be possible to use the Bravura Text font to somewhat create a mock-up of 6 notes with no bar lines: 1 with staff lines, and 1 without? If so, how does one go about using Bravura Text to its potential.


I need some help here… I cannot seem to make the graphic look in Dorico, the way it does in my graphics program.

And here is the graphic example…
Staff with notes no line copy.svg.svg
(just added the .zip extension only)

Can someone tell me what I might be doing wrong. The original file was 4 in x 1.5 in. The graphic box in Dorico is 4 in x 1 in.


I may have solved this… I set the graphic frame to “fill”, and that filled up the entire frame with good aspect ratio.


I tried exporting an XML file and adding a staff lines = 0 section. It may you achieve what you want.
Staff 0 Lines.zip (811 Bytes)

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I also would like to have possibility to display notes without barlines at all.
It’s usefull to make more complex music examples for score explanation. I could make additional flow just for this and use music frames. The barlines in explanation sometimes only disturb.
The second case is graphic/aleatoric music. And this is example by John Cage:

Try to do it in graphic program.
And there are much more possibilities to use the notes without barlines in the score (Edit. e.g. to notate and visualize electronic part in the score. Sometimes I am puting waveform visualization and – above – notate some of music structures, which appear in electronic, just as a clue for performers) .

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What is the point of no staff lines in the Cage example? The hint at the start with a clef and cutoff staff lines and then accidentals! Are you supposed the just add a sharp to whatever note you “think” it might be due to the general let’s guess position? Or is it not supposed to matter?

I have to make correction. I found this graphic in the book „Notations 21” by Theresa Sauer and now I see it’s inspired by John Cage’s „Notations”. So, I suppose this graphic is made by one of 100 composers, which are presented in this book, not by John Cage himself. Sorry for this mistake.

According to Your question. I don’t know the piece, but it could be just to suggest the register at the beginning of the system and then give the performer freedom and sometimes inspire him by puting accidentals.

But my point was just to find in Internet the example, because I don’t have any on my disc. To present how it looks like. This kind of notation is very usefull in electroacoustic music and graphic/aleatoric music. It’s good to have possibility to do it in easy way, not by using additional graphic software.

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I have found a solution for this, though it is quite complex. Despite that, it has the advantage that you don’t need to use another program and once the work is done, you can edit/change things quite easily. Probably it won’t be useful for any case, but I post it anyway.

  1. Create a gap in the 5-line staff using remove/add staff above/below.
  2. “Hide” the remaining staff out of the page using the Staff Spacing editor.
  3. Create a percussion instrument with the desired number of staff lines (in my example, only one). You will force this staff alone to show in the following system (just one bar with a hidden whole note to hide the rest). you will also have to hide the time signature and clef.
  4. Adjust the position of this staff to overlap with de 5-line staff.
  5. Enter the notes you want at the previous bar or bars.
  6. Adjust their horizontal position using Note Spacing editor, and move them to the gap where now there is a single line.
    These steps are only a clue. Please check the attached file and explore it if you are interested in the details.
    I hope it helps!
    Change Number of Staff Lines.zip (1.08 MB)

Is it still impossible to hide staff lines?? I have a task to recreate this body percussion example.

Craig’s solution (a MusicXML file with a 0 line staff) higher up the thread continues to work.

This might be old news, but I just found out that in Engraving Options, setting the value of “Staff line thickness” to 1/10000 makes the staff lines disappear. Affects all layouts though, so not the best way if you want staff lines for other players…!

Edit: Not a great idea, see below…!

IIRC this is no good when exporting to PDF…

Thank you, that’s absolutely right, of course it couldn’t be that easy! Exporting to pdf, staff lines are still visible. Printing direct from Dorico seems to work though, so scanning the Dorico-printed sheet would be the way to get a staff line-less pdf out of this method… ! :see_no_evil: