Updating hidden staves (or manual hide for multi-instrument player)

Hello - I’ve been working in Engrave mode, and I came upon a system where an staff was displaying despite not having any content. (Empty staves are set to hide by default.) It turned out it had a couple dynamic signposts in it, so I deleted them. As far as I can tell, the staff is completely empty now. However, the empty staff still displays, instead of being hidden like the rest of the empty staves in the score. So I guess three questions:

  1. Is it possible there’s still content in the staff I can’t see? (There are no more signposts, nor any unexpected custom clefs or signatures that I can think of.)

  2. Is there a way to refresh/update the document so that this staff hides, now that it’s empty? (It hides fine everywhere else in the score, and I’ve tried toggling in and out of various modes, as well as closing the file.)

  3. Failing that, is there a way to set manual visibility for this staff on this system only? I’ve found the Manual Staff Visibility dialogue, but that doesn’t seem to work in this case: the instrument in question is a percussion instrument, one of several played by one player. Manual Staff Visibility only allows customization by player, not by instrument. Other percussion instruments do have music in this system, and hiding the percussion player hides all the percussion staves, including those that have music, which I obviously need to avoid.


Welcome to the forum @halcyon – when something unexpected is happening in a specific project, it’s really helpful if you can share that project here on the forum for someone to look into and identify what’s going on, as there are various factors that might be in play.

If you’re not yet able to attach Dorico files to your posts here, due to your trust level in the forum, try reading others’ posts for 5-10 minutes to raise your trust level.

In the meantime, one thing that can sometimes prevent apparently-empty staves hiding is when a lyric expects to continue over a big gap. Are there lyrics on this staff? If so, make sure the last lyric before the stave that won’t hide ends where it should (sometimes temporarily adding another note immediately after the lyric’s last note, then selecting the lyric, pressing Return to re-open the lyrics popover, and advancing it only up to the temporary note will help. Once you’ve done that, you can delete the temporary note.)

Sure. I’ve included the whole project since I don’t know what the problem is and don’t want to remove the issue by accident.

The offending system is Full Score layout, pg 56, top system. There is a cymbal staff that I’m trying to hide. (As you can see elsewhere, it hides just fine everywhere else.)

Smyth - Fake One.dorico (3.4 MB)

Many thanks,

I’m not entirely sure exactly why it won’t hide, but I suspect it has something to do with the anticipation of the instrument change back to the Cymbal in the next system. I’d need to defer to a better informed colleague for the specifics.

However, I can’t help but notice you’ve done an awful lot of manual staff spacing in this layout – I dread to think how long that took you.

It seems to me that some tweaked vertical spacing settings in Layout Options, especially raising the threshold of fullness above which Dorico only justifies systems (and not also the staves within those systems) would basically get you the result you want without much or even any manual intervention.

Here’s your project back with a few tweaks so you can see what I mean. You can use the Library Manager to compare settings against your original, to see what’s different. I’ve basically allowed notations like dynamics, text items, tempo marks, and lyrics to be a bit closer to the staff by default (reducing pressure on vertical spacing), lowered the Ideal Gaps for spacing, and increased the 2nd vertical justification threshold.

I also set a fixed casting off of 2 systems per page, so you quickly get that consistent result, but you can override that using frame breaks if needed.

I created a custom page template with a music frame only filling half the page, based on the Default page template so they’re linked, that you can apply to any pages that only have one system. That will prompt the one system to fill the height of this (shorter) music frame, without you needing to move each staff individually.

You’ve also resized your text items (duplicating the automatic instrument change labels – intentional?) using the “custom size” property: might I recommend instead you use an appropriate paragraph style? e.g. the paragraph style set up for instrument change labels, for consistency? Much easier to resize them all later if you change your mind. Also, you can edit the text of instrument change labels in Engrave mode, using the “custom text” property, e.g. if you want to add a suffix etc.

Smyth - Fake One_LH.dorico (3.4 MB)

John Barron’s done a couple of great videos on vertical spacing, I’ll put links to them both below.

Wow, Lillie.