Small options request: combine "hide empty staves" with condensing

Got another thought about Dorico as I plow through my wonderful first few days with it. Had an idea that seems so logical, I feel like you probably CAN do this somehow, I just haven’t found it yet :slight_smile:. In fact I just double-checked because I don’t want to embarrass myself asking for a feature that already exists. Still could have missed it, but I tried. And to any Dorico employees reading, this is low rush low priority, just wanting to document a feature that may be easy, and makes a lot of sense to me.

Here’s the idea: doesn’t it make the most sense that the “hide empty staves” option, which has the effect of condensing/simplifying a score, be wrapped into the condensing feature in Dorico? Put another way, it’s really a binary situation – I either want the full palette in front of me in the form of all empty staves while writing, or I want things as condensed and simplified as possible once the editing process is complete, to analyze, or create a print-ready score. My opinion is that the “hide empty staves” and “condensing” states of a project would toggle in tandem easily more than 50% of the time. That makes the most sense for my workflow, but I’m curious if there are objectors. Currently it’s a tiny pain point on both sides – condensing and changing that option to condense, or the opposite, in order to blow things up and make edits or revisions. It’s a two-step process in both cases that feel like it could (should) be one.

If there were holdouts who wanted the flexibility to have all combinations of these two options, perhaps a box to check within condensing options that reads “follow hide empty staves preferences when condensing” would work.


This sounds like what layouts are for. I always have one Working Full Score and one Conductor Full Score (along with goodness knows how many others, some to print instrument parts and some just to use for workflow). The Conductor score might be a transposed score with condensing, the Working score in concert pitch with all instruments on separate lines and with a piano reduction to send to a piano/vocal score.

I would suspect you can create layouts to fill any needs you have both during preparation and to produce final scores and parts.

If I have misunderstood, please let me know what I have missed.

You can enable both condensing and hiding empty staves via Layout Options and the score condense, and then hide any condensed staves that are empty for a system.

I would not agree that the two options are always used together. I never hide empty staves in orchestral music, even when using condensing. This is to ensure the instruments are in a consistent place on every page, making it easier for the conductor to see that score at a glance.

Thank you both for your thoughts! Chuck, now that I hear you say it, you’re right that keeping empty staves is a common practice to keep vertical placement consistent. Not universal, I personally prefer french scoring and the “caesuras” between systems in the score. But I’ve heard enough people say they prefer consistent vertical placement to know it’s a common preference.

And Derrek, I don’t think you’ve missed anything: I think yours is a solution that I simply hadn’t thought of yet. I’ve got tons of Finale and Sibelius experience but am still learning Dorico and rethinking how I approach everything. I think your solution is totally workable for my needs, having layouts for a full score to work on and a full score for printing. Good thing it’s so easy to make that happen in Dorico – I honestly shudder thinking about the hours I’ve spent tinkering/maintaining/checking for discrepancies with my separate “master score” files and “master parts” files in the old software.