Extra staves

In Dorico Pro, you can add extra staves to any instrument; for example, to make complex contrapuntal music easier to read because it is spread out across more staves than usual for that instrument.
Figure 1. An extract of Debussy's piano prelude "Feuilles mortes" with three staves

When you add extra staves, they exist for the whole flow. However, you can control exactly where they appear, as often extra staves are only needed for short sections. Extra staves can end immediately, and so are followed by white space until the end of the system, or can fill the width of the system, even if they do not contain music for part of the system.

Signposts are automatically added when you add or remove extra staves, indicating the number of staves added or removed at that position. If multiple staff changes happen at the same rhythmic position, they are all shown in the same signpost.

Figure 2. An extract of Debussy's piano prelude "Feuilles mortes" with three staff change signposts

You can use these signposts to change the start/end positions of extra staves; for example, if you want to lengthen or shorten the region where an extra staff is shown. You can also use these signposts to delete extra staves.

Dorico Pro also allows you to change the number of staves in different ways according to the intended purpose of the staves, with dedicated features for each type.

  • Extra staves are full-sized staves belonging to a single player.

  • Ossia staves are small staves belonging to any type of player.

  • Divisi staves are full-sized staves belonging to a section player.


Extra staves prevent instruments from condensing in the systems where extra staves exist.

Video tutorial about extra staves (English)