Staff labels

Staff labels are used to identify the instruments playing the music on the corresponding staves, and are positioned to the left of systems, before the initial barline of each system. Staff labels are typically used in music containing multiple players.

It is usual to show instrument names in full in the staff labels for the first systems in each flow, and abbreviated instrument names in the staff labels of subsequent systems. Using abbreviated instrument names saves horizontal space, allowing you to include more music in each system.

Figure 1. Examples of staff labels on the first system in a flow

By default in Dorico Pro, staff labels show the instrument names set for each instrument. You can show player names in staff labels instead for each player in each layout independently; for example, for percussionists who play multiple instruments.

For players holding multiple instruments and showing instrument names in staff labels, the staff label shows the instrument they are currently playing. If the player changes instrument partway through a system, the name of the new instrument is shown above the staff at its first note and the staff label is updated at the start of the next system.

Dorico Pro includes the instrument transposition, or instrument pitch, in staff labels for transposing instruments by default. Transposing instruments are instruments whose sounding pitch is different to the notated pitch.

Part layouts by default do not show staff labels, as most parts only contain a single staff whose identity is clear from the context and the layout name. The layout name is shown at the top left of the first page in part layouts by default.

You can change when instrument transpositions, or instrument pitches, are shown in staff labels. You can also change whether the instrument transposition is shown before or after the instrument name in staff labels.

  • You do not need to number instruments in staff labels manually, as Dorico Pro automatically numbers instruments when there are multiple players of the same type holding instruments with identical names.

  • Layout names are different to the instrument names used for staff labels.

  • Staff labels do not show all instruments held by players; for example, in the staff label for the first system. You should include a comprehensive instrumentation list that shows any doubling at the front of your score.

Staff labels imported from MusicXML files

When exporting MusicXML files from Cubase and importing them into Dorico Pro, you can improve the accuracy of the automatic instrument selection by changing the instrument names in the Cubase Score Editor to the same English instrument names that Dorico Pro uses before exporting the file.