Ossia staves

Ossia staves are smaller staves shown above/below the main staff of an instrument. They are used to show alternative phrases that can be played instead of the original phrase, such as suggestions for ornaments, alternative notations from other sources, or an easier version.

Figure 1. An ossia staff below the left-hand piano staff shows an easier alternative

In Dorico Pro, you can add ossia staves both above and below instrumental staves for specific durations only, and their formatting is handled automatically. Vertical spacing is adjusted around ossia staves automatically.

Signposts are automatically added when you add or remove ossia 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 ossia staff with signposts shown

By default, ossia staves are scaled to two thirds the size of a regular staff. Because this is a scale factor rather than a fixed staff size, ossia staves automatically adjust according to the staff size, which you can set per layout, per section, and per player.

  • Music on ossia staves is not played back.

  • Ossia staves prevent instruments from condensing in the systems where ossia staves exist.

Video tutorial about ossia staves (English)