Staff Names / 3-Stave Organ Instrument

In the 3-stave organ instrument, the instrument name is “Organ” / “Org.”, centered between the braced (top two) staves. I prefer “Manuals” / “Man.” centered between the top two, and “Pedal” / “Ped.” next to the lowest staff. I can change the instrument name for the top two, but haven’t found a way to add a name for the lowest staff. What am I missing? (Dorico 4.2)


No, I don’t think so:

PS you should upgrade to Dorico 4.3! It’s cool!

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If you really wanted to, you could do it by renaming the 2-staff Organ to “Man”, and then using a separate “Player” instrument on a single staff for the Pedals.

Though, without the labels, would an organist be in any doubt which was which? :grinning:


It seems the organ is a complex instrument to implement. The same team, in Sibelius, made it “Manuals” and “Pedals”, not “Organ” which gave separate parts for manuals and pedals.

I’m a little surprised that Dorico does not have good labelling of this, but I hope for it in v5.0. There are ways to go around it, like adding a text manually, which I think is better than adding another player. It’s the same player that plays the pedal (under normal circumstances), hence there should be only one player.

@benwiggy, tradition has it that “Pedals” is noted, even if it is, in most cases, obvious. Take a look at some theatre organ scores (e.g. J. Eddington scores) or old Lemare scores from Schott, and you will find “inventive” use of staffs and what they represent. It is not always clear, but in 99.99999% of the cases it is.

All generalisations are false.
But if you really need the labels, as @benwiggy said, use a 2-stave organ and add a single stave instrument for the pedals. And if you need an organ part layout, just combine these together. Such is the flexibility of Dorico.

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I’m an organist and have tried that. I find that the distance between the manual and pedal staves is inconsistent, sometimes the pedal is way too far below. I’ve tried adjusting the vertical spacing options and never got a consistent result.
To the original poster, I find a significant amount of organ music doesn’t label the pedal and a decent amount don’t put any labels at the start instead putting “organ” at the upper left of the first page.


Regardless of what labeling convention you wish to follow, in many (most?) circumstances you only need to label the first stave anyway, in which case some well placed shift+X text is a quick and easy solution.

For the team:
If naming options are introduced to accommodate these requests, I could see the following combos useful at a minimum. I’m sure I’m missing some so perhaps other organists could chime in.







(Toggles in Layout options for Eng./Fr./Ger. and short/long?)
I’m drawing a blank on Spanish and Italian derivations at present, although I think the three main languages (plus Latin) cover the vast majority of cases.


3-stave organ with added Pedal text is much better, IMO.

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And to me it’s completely superfluous, lol. Any trained organist immediately knows what’s going on, and there’s a grand staff for the hands anyway, so technically the labels are redundant. De gustibus… (I’m all for including all the options, just so we are clear.)

Thanks, everyone, for chiming [sic] in on this. Helpful to read and know of your experiences.

@JAMES_GILBERT & @benwiggy : I tried the “add another player” approach and had the same problem: I had to futz around with the vertical spacing a lot.

I do prefer having the staves labeled throughout the score:

  • when you have an additional (“ossia”) manual staff some of the time, played by an assistant (e.g. Florentz), or because you are distributing the hands across three manuals (e.g. Tournemire), always having staff labels is yet another visual cue as to what’s what
  • in a chorus + organ score when the chorus switches between one staff (unison), two staves (SA + TB), and four staves (S+A+T+B), I find labeling throughout helpful, as well as giving a consistent look to the score (i.e. each staff always has a label except where two or more staves are braced)
  • when there are long passages in a piece that are manuals only, with the pedal staff hidden, when the pedal reappears and the staff has a label, again, it’s a stronger visual cue.

Background: my current project is gathering several solo voice + organ pieces together as a collection, and I wanted a consistent look to all the pieces.

Interesting discovery (apologies for the nerdy detail): one of the older pieces in the collection was done in Sibelius. I exported it as XML, then opened it in Dorico. The Sibelius original had manual / pedal staff labels throughout. When I opened it in Dorico, it had three instruments: voice, organ manuals, pedals (makes sense based the Sibelius “instruments”). Staves were labeled throughout. And the vertical spacing looked ok, especially on the first page.

An aside to the Dorico developer geniuses: spacing in cross-staff passages is really consistent, looks fantastic, and is easy to customize / edit. As does making a score that’s landscape (common for organ music). Thank you.

Again, thanks everyone.

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