Following on from yesterday’s advice about leaving in blank staves leading up to, or between instruments being used. Here is the other side of that equation – always reduce systems where instruments are dormant for long stretches. Shedding the blank staves helps the conductor’s eye to define the relationships between instruments and groups. It’s a much more realistic portrayal of what’s happening in your score – essentially, you’re scaling things back to a subset of the available corps, which may even show the music settling on a particular location of the orchestra’s seating arrangement. That’s so much clearer when the blank space has been removed. Finally, it saves paper, the cost of which adds up for both composers and publisher over the decades.

Scores - Shedding Blank Staves
excerpt from movement 1 of my harp concerto in progress