How do I add a new blank staff over or under another instrument player?

I’ve been going through the user manual and trying to find a way to add a blank staff under or over one of the other instruments in my score. There doesn’t seem to be a reference to that topic in the manual. I would like to add a blank staff so that I can copy and paste notes from other staves into it. For example, I would like to add a string bass. I would like to take the cello staff and bring the notes down into the blank staff and then transpose them one octave lower to make a string bass part. Or if I just wanted to add any other instrument to an already existing score. I need to have a full blank staff from beginning to end. How can I do this?

Thank you so much for your help!


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Hi Rich, If I’m understanding right, you want to add a whole new instrument? i.e. an independent staff that might need a part layout all on its own? If so, just add a new player, move it into position if needed, select the right instrument (although you can always change it later if you change your mind) and then write or copy in whatever music that player needs.

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Hi, in set up mode I created a new instrument, let’s call it double bass, and I see it in the players panel but I see no new staff in my already created layout which is piano, strings, lower strings, and drums. I see where it says double bass on the left but there is no staff. I want to insert a blank staff in the current layout. I do not know how to insert notes into a staff that I cannot see. I don’t know how to proceed.

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There are two main reasons why your empty player wouldn’t show:

  1. It’s a MusicXML import. With MusicXML imports, new players aren’t automatically assigned to imported flows. In Setup mode select the flow in the bottom panel, then tick the new player in the left panel (or vice-versa).
  2. Empty staves are set to be hidden. Go to Layout Options (Cmd/Ctrl-Shift-L) > Vertical Spacing > Staff Visibility and set Hide Empty Staves to Never.

If the player is correctly assigned to the flow, then regardless of staff visibility settings you should be able to see the empty staff in Galley View.

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In Setup Mode, select the layout in the right column, and then, in the left column, tick the checkbox in the new contrabass player. Alternatively (because it works both ways): select the new player on the left, then tick the checkbox on the layout in the right column.
Setup Mode is an environment you have to get used to.
(And even on Christmas Eve, Pianoleo is tirelessly available to explain it even better :wink:

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I’m so sorry that I’m still not able to see the blank staff. I did everything that you both said. Perhaps I’m not choosing the correct layout? There are three that I can see add full score layout, add instrumental part layout, and add custom score layout. In the layouts column I see where it says double bass which is supposed to be staff Number five. Under staff visibility it says hide empty staffs “never.” It says players excluded from “Hide empty staves:””double bass” and there is a little box that you can check off. No matter if it’s checked off or not I still do not see the blank staff. There must be something that I am not understanding or something that I am not doing I’m so sorry. I do not see a double bass staff.

It was an XML import. But I am still not able to add any blank staffs even after following your directions. I did everything that you said but still no success. I appreciate your trying to help me.

Perhaps I selected the wrong layout? Maybe if someone could be just a little more detailed and specific I might be able to get it? Could it be that because it was an XML import that that has some kind of bearing on the reason I cannot view the blank staff?

I restarted Dorico and then the layout options window changed. What does this mean?

Try this:
In Setup mode, right-click on the Full Score layout in the right-hand panel (Layouts). A drop-down menu should appear. Choose Players and make sure that the Double Bass has a tick next to it.

“I restarted Dorico and then the layout options window changed. What does this mean?”
this is because you have a different layout selected in the righthand list.

If you could upload the file, others can have a close look at the setup and be better placed to work out a solution for you.

You have the bottom panel hidden in Setup mode, so it’s anybody’s guess as to whether you’ve correctly assigned the flow to the player or the player to the flow (as in my Step 1). Restore the bottom panel either by clicking the little arrow centred at the bottom of the screen, or by typing Cmd/Ctrl-8. Then have another go at my step 1.

OK, I will try your method and if it doesn’t work I will upload my file. Thank you so much!

Just a thought - in your original picture the Double Bass appears to have an empty instrument name. Try putting something in there (Edit Names) and see if that makes any difference.

Thank you.

Please read my previous post again.

Eureka pianoLeo! I should have followed your step one to the letter because I did not click in the bottom panel first before I checked the box! That was the problem! thank you so much I really appreciate your help! It’s tough being a rookie lol!


For an overview of the relationships between players, layouts, and flows, see here.

OK, thank you so much Lillie!