User defined staff

Is there a way to get just a simple blank staff into an ensemble?

In writing for percussion, I prefer to have a five-line staff with set positions for the instruments chosen for the piece, which, understandably, will vary considerably from piece to piece. I know that this means that the staff will not be represented in the MIDI (unless a way is figured out – which ought to be easy enough, I would think – for the user to control the linking of MIDI percussion sounds to specific staff positions).

And there are other reasons one might want a user defined blank staff – to rhythmically indicate specific stage action in an opera or dance piece, to show when to turn on or off an electronic component – think of the Lumen part that runs along the top of Scriabin’s Prometheus.

Or is the solution to choose a staff-employing instrument from, say, the Orff collection, rename it, and just turn off the MIDI output?

Percussion support is basically not ready yet, but our plan in this area is that you would be able to assign unpitched percussion instruments to players, and then choose whether or not to show them as single lines or as a grid, mapping each unpitched instrument onto a five-line staff in the positions of your choosing, which would give you the flexibility to both show the staves how you want them to appear in the score and also potentially show them in a different form (perhaps as separate lines) in the parts. We will start to improve the percussion support in Dorico quite soon, though probably not in the very first update, which I expect will be focused more on improving the general snappiness of the application.