diamond note-heads?

Am I correct in seeing that there is no tool to change the shape of a note-head, not even to a diamond for string harmonics?

Choose a note and right click on it (or Ctrl-click on Mac). A contextual menu appears, and one of the option is “Noteheads.” Diamond noteheads can be found within, among many others.

This is available from a contextual menu. Select the note(s) in question. Open the contextual menu (right click) then select Notehead > to see a dropdown of options. There are 3 types of diamonds.

Unfortunately Dorico, at the moment, seems to lack a diamond half notehead symbol necessary to write string harmonics…

Maybe we’ll receive an official confirmation about that and, hopefully, a short-term implementation.

Diamond half notehead: any official word about it?


What exactly do you mean by “diamond half notehead”? Can you attach a picture of one?

I think the “diamond notehead” in Dorico is the standard notation for string harmonics.

Hi Rob,

For example (I’m not able to upload an image now, sorry!):


I believe it’s an issue of being an open (outlined like a half note) diamond vs closed (completely filled in, like a quarter note). It’s a widely used practice that no matter the note length of the harmonic diamond head, it should be open like a halfnote. So far I’ve not seen a way to force that option. Yes, it’s fine for half note/whole note harmonics, but for shorter notes we have to live with the filled in diamond head.

There may be a workaround using other voices for the diamond, so it’s length can be a half note - but for now I’m content to just leave diamond heads as they currently are until a true harmonic notation is added. It still gets the point across.

OK, I understand now - you meant “a diamond notehead for a half note” - i.e. a “white” diamond not a “black” one.

I’m in the UK, and we don’t use “half note”, “full note” etc - except when talking to people from the USA!

I thought a “half notehead” meant a half-sized (small) notehead, or something that looked like “half a diamond” (i.e. a triangle shape).

The plan is for us to implement a proper harmonic playing technique for string instruments that would not involve manually changing the notehead type of a two-note chord.

I supposed you were cooking such a thing!

However, it should great to have a diamond half notehead as an alternative option; very useful in other contexts…


Hi Folks,

Any news on the aforementioned ‘white’ diamond notes or harmonic playing techniques coming in a near-future update?

I’m afraid not in the forthcoming 1.0.30 update, no.

Any news?
Having the symbol as a notehead option, not bound to the rhythmic value, it would be a really great improvement!

I work with a lot of contemporary scores, and the symbol is ubiquitous, not only confined to the string harmonics: winds harmonics, breathing and whistling sounds, special vocal techniques, silent pressed keys.
And this lack often prevents me to use Dorico.


I believe, in Finale, t’s a stave style ‘Rhythmic Notation’ that “turns the music into beamed and stemmed slashes, all on the middle line of the staff.” - to quote their manual.

It hasn’t been a huge issue, so far, but can be a bit irksome to find a work-around.

Rhythmic and Slash notation would be great, especially when working up a chart for my rhythm section.

That’s an example of what I mean…

Thanks for the implementation of the white diamond note-head!

However, I’d like to point out two issues:

  • the symbol is pretty big, too big when there’s more notes with close intervals (see the picture)
  • the main issue, in my humble opinion, is the inconsistency trough the whole rhythmic arc: in other words, the whole note uses a different symbol.
    Is that desired? I don’t see the logic there… Differentiation among different values is cancelled by the symbol itself and it risks to generate misunderstandings. I decided to write this post after a flautist, new part In the hands, asked me if the symbol (whole note) would indicate a different technique.

Thanks for the consideration!

In general we do use different symbols for half, whole, and double whole noteheads, and I think in general that’s a good thing, but there is obviously quite a difference between the two symbols.

Thanks for the usual fast reply.

In general I agree with you but in this specific case I don’t, sorry!

The symbol indicates a technique and, being the same notehead for all the rhythmical values but whole and double whole, cancels, in fact, its relevance as ryhmical ‘helper’ (yes, stems help but not in the case of 1/4 and half).
So, whole and double become an exception, in fact, and unchangeable. Moreover, if the same symbol were ubiquitous, I could always use ‘Diamond Noteheads’ or ‘Wide Diamond Noteheads’ to to emphasise the difference among different values.
Hope it makes sense.

I notice too that ‘Diamond Noteheads’ remain always white, whereas ‘Wide Diamond Noteheads’ respect the rhythmical value (e.g. a quarter note has the black notehead).
It seems strange to me…

Why this is strange for you? It’s good, that in Dorico you could chose betwen notehead’s, which respect the rhytmical value and the ones, which remains always white. It gives you more flexilibity to use it in the score.