A staff is a line or group of lines on which musical notes are notated to indicate the pitch and rhythm of music. Pitched instruments use the traditional five-line staff and unpitched instruments often use a single-line staff.

Notes are positioned on the lines and in the spaces on five-line staves, and can also use ledger lines above/below the staff to represent pitches that cannot fit on the staff.

Figure 1. A phrase on a five-line staff
Figure 2. The same phrase on a single-line staff

The pitch and register of notes on five-line staves are determined by clefs, which can also be combined with octave lines to indicate what pitches performers play.

On five-line staves for unpitched percussion instruments, the different staff positions correspond to different percussion instruments.

Because it is often necessary to have different staff sizes in different layouts depending on their type, such as having smaller staves in full score layouts than in part layouts, in Dorico Elements you can change various aspects of staves in Layout Options.