How to Create Ossias in Dorico Pro 2

🎬  This article is a transcription of one of the excellent tutorial videos posted to the official Dorico YouTube channel.

Presented here in written form with the kind permission of its creator, Anthony Hughes, this tutorial is titled “How to Create Ossias in Dorico Pro 2″…


Hello, I’m Anthony Hughes, and in this video I’ll be showing you how to use Ossias in Dorico Pro 2, the advanced music notation software from Steinberg.

Ossias are additional staves of music that appear for a limited period above or below an instrument’s existing staff. They can be used to show alternative passages that can be played instead of the music on the primary staff; they can display full realisations of ornaments; or editorial differences and deviations between conflicting sources.

Adding / deleting ossias and basic operations (00:38)

Adding an ossia is as simple as making a selection in your music, right-clicking and choosing Staff > Add Ossia Above or Below. The ossia staff is added for the duration of the selection.

When signposts are set to show (which you can control via the View > Signposts menu), you’ll see one at each end of the ossia region indicating the presence of the additional staff.

You can drag these signposts to modify the start and end positions of the ossia. And they don’t need to be aligned to barlines.

You can select the signposts and press Delete to remove the ossia. This doesn’t actually delete the music. If you add an ossia staff at the same position at a later date, the music will still be there.

For grand staff instruments such as a piano, selecting both staves will create a grand staff ossia.

Layout Options: showing ossias (01:36)

There are several options available for ossias. Let’s start with the Layout Options, which we can open by pressing Ctrl+Shift+L (that’s Cmd+Shift+L on Mac). Select the Staves and Systems category and scroll down to the Ossias and Extra Staves section.

Here we can choose whether ossias will be shown for the selected layout in the sidebar.

By default, ossias are shown in all layouts, though you might at times find it appropriate to hide them in the full score.

Layout Options: ossia labels (02:08)

You can also display a label before each ossia. By default that will display the word ossia though you can choose you own text if you prefer.

Layout Options: what to display when ossia crosses system break (02:19)

You can also set the appearance of ossias at the beginning of systems, choosing whether or not to show the clef and key signature.

In fact, you can set this on a case-by-case basis by selecting the signpost at the beginning of the ossia and activating the property to show the preamble.

Layout Options: vertical spacing (02:39)

Back in Layout Options, now looking at the Vertical Spacing category, there is a new ideal gap option for ossia staves, though of course Dorico will still move the staves apart automatically to make room for music items.

Engraving Options: staves (02:54)

So, now let’s take a look at the available Engraving Options for ossias, which will apply to every layout. We can open the dialog by pressing Ctrl+Shift+E (that’s Cmd+Shift+E on Mac) and there are several options relating to ossias, again found in a couple of different places.

Firstly, select the Staves page in the sidebar. He we can set the scale factor of ossia staves; by default they will draw at two thirds the size of regular staves.

And you can set the position of the labels we were adding in Layout Options.

You can also set how much staff lines extend beyond the start and end of mid-bar ossias.

Engraving Options: barlines (inc. joins) (03:38)

There are also several options for managing barlines on ossia staves. They are found towards the end of the Barlines page.

You can choose whether or not to display barlines at the beginning or end of your ossias. And also whether to join ossias to the main staff with barlines, which can be dotted if you so wish. …

… I’m Anthony Hughes, thanks for watching.



I very much hope you’ve found this video transcription to be helpful. If you have, please subscribe to OF NOTE and follow me on for ongoing music notation news and info. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Dorico YouTube channel to see many more videos like this one. ~robert puff

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