There is a lot of blank sheet staff generators and PDFs for printing ranging from 6 to 22 per A4/Letter (portrait orientation).

My songbook has 6-9, I feel comfortable writing notes with printed 12 staffs per page.

What is the usual (or academic standard) for number of staffs per A4/Letter page in portrait orientation?

1 Answer 1


For orchestral parts recommended stave sizes are 8.5 or 8mm (the larger size preferred for string parts which often have two players per desk. (Note that A4 paper size is considered a reluctantly-acceptable minimum.) That's an absolute maximum of 10 staves per A4 page. 7mm is OK for piano music. That's 11 or 12 staves on A4. For a study score of a big orchestral work, we see as small as 3.5mm which fills A4 with - lots of staves :-)

If buying pre-printed manuscript paper, it almost certainly wouldn't be A4. On a larger size 12-stave could be considered standard. But I'd make 10-stave the standard if you're stuck with A4.

(One great thing about today's ubiquitous computer music preparation is that we can suit size to content.)

  • You mention string-parts. What size should be used for players of big instruments such as the double-bass or trombone -- do they need a still bigger font? Computer music preparation does indeed make some things easier, but if you're changing the size of font for parts, then you'd better rethink where best to put the page-turns.
    – Rosie F
    Aug 31, 2019 at 16:34
  • Great write up! I measured staff height in my Soviet textbooks and they are 5 / 5.5mm. In some Soviet scores it is 6mm. It is not for orchestra though.
    – gavenkoa
    Aug 31, 2019 at 17:53

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