What is the purpose of a system staff indent?

I’ve been looking through some music books and notice that some indent the staff on the first line and I know Dorico does this by default in the layout. I can understand if it’s to make room for an instrument name for that particular part, but is there any other reason why that indent on the first line of the system staff is present?

I’d say it’s the same reason that some (most of them, actually) books show indents for first paragraphs in chapters…

Partly tradition, originating from the presence of staff names, or even large initial Capital letters (“majuscules”). Partly because it draws the eye. An entirely uniform page is less visually ‘obvious’.

Indents can also be used to mark new sections within a piece, much in the same way that paragraphs of text start with an indent: again, it draws the eye, marking it out as a ‘break’ from preceding material.

Brilliant, thanks guys!