Custom Notehead Sets - Scale Degree options

Hi everyone,

I’d like to create a custom Notehead Set with a different notehead for each scale degree for all 12 semi-tone steps in the octave, not just the 7 scale degrees of the diatonic set.

It seems this is not possible. The ‘Pitched’ category allows for different noteheads for all 12 semitones, but not the ‘Scale Degree’ category. I realize that the traditional scale degree noteheads are diatonic collections of 7, but I’d like to create my own collections of 12.

Is there a work around for this? Is it possible to request a new feature that would give us an additional drop-down menu in the ‘Scale Degree’ editor for accidentals, similar to the drop-down in the ‘Pitched’ editor so that we could assign different noteheads to all 12 semitones in an octave?

Thanks for any help!

Welcome to the forum, David. The scale degree functionality for noteheads was based on the requirements for shape note singing, which as you know only require a maximum of seven shapes, one for each diatonic step of the scale.

Can you say a bit more about your own requirements? Dorico doesn’t accommodate anything beyond the seven diatonic steps at present, but perhaps it would be possible for us to extend this functionality in future. What kind of scale are you trying to map onto noteheads?

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Hi Daniel!

It is a pleasure and an honor to be welcomed by you! Congrats to you and the rest of the team for making such a great product. I’m a newly converted Dorico user from another piece of notation software that I’ve used since 1997. I’m considering a recent frustrating project with that particular software to have been its grand Finale…

I’ve been enjoying the workflow of Dorico very much, and I’m excited about my future with it, so thank you!

I am a music teacher and I have a system where I use different noteheads for each of the 12 chromatic scale degrees. So, it’s not really a particular scale that I’m mapping, but more that I am prepared to represent any of the 12 chromatic tones with a different notehead. Whether that is part of a secondary dominant chord, a chromatic neighbor tone, or just a borrowed color pitch from a relative key, I like to be able to represent each of the 12 semitones with a unique notehead.

I would be most grateful if this ability could be incorporated into a future version of Dorico! In the meantime, is there an easy way to select all instances of a particular pitch and then replace them with a custom notehead from the library?


It’s a little tedious to do, but yes, it is simple. You can filter by pitch, then change the notehead of that selection. Though I’m not sure if there are sufficient noteheads to choose from for your needs.

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Hi Janus,

Thanks for the tip! This will be a decent workaround for now.

One more question regarding custom Notehead Sets: Is it possible to set my custom Notehead Set as a default for a layout so that they appear automatically when entering notes?

As far as I can tell, I need to first enter notes, then select them, and then choose my custom Notehead Set from a ‘right-click’ menu.

The ‘notes’ section of the Engraving Options dialog only contains the 4 default scale degree Notehead Sets (it doesn’t show custom sets).

I guess I could overwrite one of the default sets with my custom noteheads and then select it in Engraving Options…

Thanks for any help.

You can’t change the default notehead set beyond the choices that are presented on the Notes page of Engraving Options, I’m afraid.

@dspreadbury Thanks! That’s OK. I have just changed all of the noteheads in one of the default sets that I won’t be using and have chosen it from the Engraving options.