Attaching a clef to a harmonic 'sound like' note

Often when you have a harmonic in the strings you want to show the player what pitch is actually produced by the harmonic.

So I create another voice, add the note, hide the stem, put brackets and get rid of the extra rests. So far so good.
But - quite often, the produced pitch is so high, you need to put it in another clef, but without affecting the clef that is current for the instrument. eg: a high note in the treble clef for a viola. The treble clef should only affect the note in brackets.

Any ideas?

You can put a clef change at pretty much any beat position. If you put the guide note at, say, an eighth after the main note, the clef can go there. You’ll have to change clef back to alto after that anyway.

If you insist on the (cautionary) - I would notate this one at pitch in alto clef. That said, (as a viola player) IMHO the cautionary is unnecessary, though for total clarity you could mark the harmonic III (3rd string)

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the message. But the issue is exactly that - if you look at th jpg on my post, you can see that Webern has notated it in a way that makes it obvious that the Treble Clef only applies to the bracketed note and therefore there is no need to reset the clef back to viola.

If you have a lot of harmonics it can get very messy changing back and forth with lots of clefs. Webern’s way is much better.

Thanks for the response. That has been my solution (to leave it in Alto clef) but some harmonics result in very high pitches - even in treble clef - say C# 3 octaves above Middle C# - so if you leave it in Alto clef you have too many ledger lines.

Having read you response, I thought I might try putting and 8va above the note.

Well, apologies to Webern, but when you change clef, it applies to everything following. Unless you’re pulling a Debussy and writing one bass note with a chord tied over on a treble staff – and in that case, the bass clef is in mid-air, not even on the staff.

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I think a clef in mid-air would be great. Could scale it down too.

I accept it is a niche issue, but thought maybe there was a workaround I hadn’t thought of.

Create a playing techniques with a cautionary clef as the glyph > insert it on staff (> disable collision avoidance ) > move in engrave mode into place


Great solution. Thank you!