Notes Without Staff


Continuing the discussion on worksheet creation, (how) can I input notes and then hide the staff, so that I can leave the notes on the page by themselves.

I want to ask the students to re-write the notes in ascending order of value, as per ABRSM Theory Paper.


Perhaps set the staff line thickness to 0, or some ridiculously small value? There’s no “proper” way to hide staff lines. You might also try something like Illustrator.

I had to export the selection as an SVG, then in an SVG editor I selected and deleted all of the staff lines.


Thanx for the responses and ideas! I’ve made some progress.

I set the line thickness to 1/100.

Now to work out the spacing and to get rid of the clef.

Keep those ideas coming. :wink:

Hi, go to Engrave Options and set a staff line thickness manually lets say to 1/10000. I was not able to see staff lines any more even starting at 1/5000.

Or take an instrument you aren’t actually using (or likely ever to use) and edit the instruments.xml file to specify 0 as the number of staff lines:

It works like any other staff, just no staff lines.

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There is indeed a lot that can be done tweaking the instruments.xml file as you often point to!
Thank you for this specific solution.


  1. When it is so easy to set this in the instruments.xml file (and many other things like transposition for example) I wonder why this (or other) setting is not available for the user in the GUI itself.

  2. I find it is a pity that we are still not able to create our own instruments.

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LOL, I guess I do mention hacking the instruments.xml file a lot. There are a lot of powerful features there that are essentially hidden away from the vast majority of users that don’t know anything about it.

I may be wrong, but I assume part of the design decision to use the instruments.xml file was that it was a simple way to create consistency across systems/users. If I hack my instruments.xml file and someone else opens my file, they won’t necessarily get the same results I get, but if everyone uses the same file then there is no discrepancy. The downside of this is both #1 and #2 as you point out, so we can’t edit these directly in Dorico nor can we create our own instruments directly in Dorico. Obviously these are both high on my wish list. In the meantime most users are limited to the instruments and situations that the developers chose to include.

This is especially frustrating for those of us coming to Dorico from Finale, as Finale puts all this info that Dorico hides away right in the Instruments List tab of the Score Manager, so it’s easy to define any staff however I want right from within the program.

I can’t imagine a situation where I would need a 1-line Percussion staff with an alto clef that transposes up a 4th, but all of these attributes are just a click away in Finale. Putting this flexibility in the user’s control, allows the user to customize the program to suit their needs as situations arise, especially with situations that were not foreseen by the developers.

In the meantime, I’ve just gotten comfortable hacking it as needed. Three hacked “instruments” I use often are a single staff Piano (for lead sheets, sketches, etc), and non-percussion Drum staff (visual only, easy to mix actual drum notation with slash/cue notation, etc), and a 0-line staff to notate certain rhythms in class handouts. Obviously I’d prefer to just be able to do this within Dorico, but for now I just use a hacked instruments.xml file.

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I need to do this for a 4 line chant staff…

Sure, only takes a couple of seconds …

I think the clef should sit on a line, though :wink:

Dorico can do this. Select the bass staff -> Edit -> Remove staff.

… but for now I just use a hacked instruments.xml file.

I need to learn to do that. Are there any (legal) :wink: tutorials on-line?

It’s reassuring to know, that there are seasoned pros out there, who need the same things I do. Thanx, folks! :smiley:

Dorico can’t do this with chord symbols if they are set to show between staves as I usually do by default with grand staff instruments: “You cannot hide one staff of multi-staff instruments if you have chosen to show chord symbols between the staves, which you can do in the Position section of the Chord Symbols page in Engrave > Engraving Options.”

Can you choose to “Show chords above staff”, for individual staves?

I don’t think so, it’s an all or nothing project wide setting in Engraving Options. It’s honestly not a big deal. My default file has a single staff piano in it so the chords appear above it as normal. If I add a grand staff piano to the project then they appear between the staves, unless it’s for a project where I change that setting so they appear above. I don’t really even think about it anymore, it just seems odd that something so simple and practical needs to involve hacking the instruments.xml file.