Instrument with zero lines

In the blog article:

It is also the case that you cannot create zero-line staves with the instrument editor at the moment. We know there are several use cases for instruments without staff lines, but in general we believe that these use cases would be better served by dedicated features rather than using zero-line staves as a workaround.

I was hoping to use this as a workaround. You’re right that a dedicated feature would be better! But in the absence of that…

Anyway, I thought I’d explain what I’m trying to do. I’ve mentioned it before, but let’s say it again in this context.

I want to be able to create pages with libretto on. For example, the spoken scenes in between songs in an opera or musical theatre work. Importantly, they need to be flows, so that if I change the music earlier in the work, the libretto pages remain in the correct place. (If I were to make these pages by just inserting a text page, with Dorico such pages do not re-flow with the music, and are therefore useless to me.)

Since one cannot make a text flow in Dorico, I was hoping to use a zero-line stave music flow and attach the text to that.


This is a fascinating concept that I’ve never considered before.

It’s a concept we’ve been discussing a lot in Dorico’s early days — did I mention I’m really fond of XeLaTex? (I think I did by then) :wink:
I have to admit I use page templates to carry the text, and have to deal with this once all the music is entered and has been properly formatted. Only then is it really possible to change page templates to insert the text (although it’s perfectly possible to move those pages in Engrave mode).

yeah, my current system involves LaTeX, a custom script for converting from Fountain format to LaTeX, and embedding PDFs of each musical number within the LaTeX pages. But since it’s all scripted, they always go in the right place :slight_smile:

My ultimate solution would be for Dorico to have a semantic concept of libretto, with spoken lines assigned to dramatis personae, plus stage directions etc. But whenever I suggest that I get pushback from people who only want to do music. So I think having a “Text Flow” would be a reasonable compromise – I could put whatever I want in there, format it myself, and it would always stay in the right place.


I can immediately think of LOTS of uses for a text flow beyond libretto. Stage directions. Pointed psalm texts, hymn texts, performance instructions, poetry… it’s a really neat idea.


Here’s a doricolib file that will add a 0-line and a 1-line non-percussion instrument to Dorico. In Setup you’ll find these in a new Custom category. Just unzip the file and add it your DefaultLibraryAddtions folder. In Windows, this will be found at Users\yournamehere\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Dorico 5\DefaultLibraryAdditions. If you don’t already have that folder, you can create it. (1.0 KB)


I notice I had to drag/copy my DefaultLibraryAdditions from the Dorico 4 folder to the Dorico 5 folder in my User area (and restart my computer?) to bring up my custom Page Templates as defaults.

This is not a surprise: Dorico is not responsible for forwarding my user additions; but those who established a customized DefaultLibraryAdditions folder may want to check this to avoid surprises.


Thank you for this! Is there a way I can alter this to have full bar lines (4 spaces high)?