So I've written a trio for piano, cello and flute, but was unsure of which order vertically in each system they should go. My initial thought was that it would be highest pitched to lowest pitched - thus placing piano in the middle. But almost all scores for other such trios I've looked at have flute, cello, then piano from top to bottom. The grand staff is also larger than the flute and cellos.

Is this the correct way to proceed?

Thanks in advance.

  • Whatever you do, be sure to produce individual parts for the flute & cello! Apr 6, 2020 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


Yes, have the piano at the bottom. So this would be used as both the score and the part the pianist would play from. That's why the flute and cello parts are smaller, as they would of course be reading from their own individual parts.


I checked out Finale's various orders. All have the flute at the top. The "Orff" and "Choral" order have the piano at the bottom. The "Orchestral" and "Concert Band" and "Jazz Band" and "Marching Band"(?) place the Cello at the bottom. There's a "custom" order which allows anything.

It probably doesn't matter. (Especially if the players get parts.) I've done a few pieces with Flute or Clarinet, Piano, Bass, Bnga, and Conga which I put in that order. If the cello is primarily used as a bass instrument (no matter the register), it could useful go at the bottom. If it's effectively a flute and cello duet with piano providing sort of a continuo, the piano could be at the bottom.

  • What, have you never seen a marching band with cello and grand piano? Apr 6, 2020 at 14:01
  • @leftaroundabout back to Woody Allen, are we? Apr 6, 2020 at 14:03

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