Option to show "long instrument name" in first visible staff when using "hide empty staves".

• Feb 9, 2015 - 00:02
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

The "hide empty staves" feature is great for saving space in a score, but it can sometimes lead to problems, especially when an instrument has rests in the first system. In such cases the long instrument name is not visible anywhere in the score. This is undesirable, both for aesthetic reasons and because it can create ambiguity if two instruments share similar short names.

It would be great if we could hide empty staves, but show the long instrument name the first time the instrument plays. This is the style used in many vocal scores (e.g. musical theatre, operetta, etc.) as it saves the maximum amount of space while still having the long instrument name visible somewhere on the score.

Note: There is a partial solution through the option "don't hide empty staves in first system". Although this may be the preferred solution in some situations (e.g. orchestral scores) it can waste a lot of space when there are many instruments in the score. Even when using this option it might be nice to get a reminder of the long instrument name if there are many hidden measures.

I guess the feature request breaks down as follows:

  1. Option to show long instrument name in the first visible staff in score. (To me this seems absolutely vital!)
  2. Option to show long instrument name after any hidden measures anywhere in score. (Desirable for complex scores.)


Regression No
Reported version 3.0
Workaround No

Just wanted to say--this is still an issue in version 3.0. I was transcribing a choral piece with a piano intro that lasts a full line and found that this feature was lacking. I couldn't find a satisfactory workaround.

Severity S5 - Suggestion S4 - Minor
Workaround No Yes
Reproducibility Always

In MS, the long instrument name does not show when the option to hide empty staves is checked.

Steps to replicate:

  1. Create a new score for piano.
  2. Enter a note in the lowest staff.
  3. Format | Style |Score -> check "Hide empty staves within systems"
  4. Note that the full instrument name does not appear. (The short name does appear)

As a workaround, it's possible to use a horizontal frame to create space, and then use system text to manually add the instrument name.

Also, the grand staff bracket disappears when hiding empty staves while only one staff has notes.

Attachment Size
Theoretical_Composition_#5.mscz 37.14 KB

This feature request is from a long time ago. I've since decide that this would be a bad idea because it would be very odd for a single instrument to have its long name visible while all the rest have short names visible. Also, it looks odd for a system at the bottom of the page to have more indentation that systems further up the page.

A better idea is to have an option to use staff text (e.g. instrument change text) to show when the new instrument comes in. This is the convention used in vocal scores when singers enter in the middle of a scene. Of course it would be nice if this text was displayed automatically, using the long instrument name as its contents.

Note that if you really want to see the long names next to the staff rather than above it (and don't care about the indentation problem) then you can always add a section break immediately before the new instruments come in.