Enharmonic notes & tie

I can’t seem to reproduce this as can be done very easily in Sibelius and even MuseScore, do you have a solution without using a graphical trick (without the linked note being repeated in audio)?

Place a single note (a breve/double whole note) as usual. Switch to Engrave mode. Select the second notehead and respell using the usual key command (Alt/Opt- -/=)


Thank you very much, not very intuitive but it works.
I remain convinced that the write and Engrave mode should merge, too much waste of time!

I disagree. Just look at the range of issues raised on this forum. Most are caused by folks messing around with engraving matters before they have sorted out the notes.

The case you raise here is an outlier. Many musicians might argue that enharmonic ties do not exist. They must be slurs since A# is not the same as Bb.

1 Like

It’s like the 5 options windows, they should be united in a single window divided into 5 tabs but with the same search engine, it would avoid looking for a setting for hours!

1 Like

I’d argue that enharmonic ties do not exist. Since there is no second attack, it’s meaningless to change the note spelling, and just downright confusing. On instruments such as violin where A sharp really is a different note to B flat for good players who do not use equal temperament, this could look like a slur to what is effectively a different note, especially if this were modernist music.

I’ve seen this sort of thing at key changes, where a tied note crosses the boundary between the two keys and the tied note is re-spelled enharmonically in the new key signature. I’d argue, though, that it’s better to keep the same spelling on both sides of the key change. I tend to agree with Andro that enharmonic ties don’t exist.

Scusami pianoleo ma non riesco a farlo (ho un Mac). Cosa sbaglio? Puoi spiegarmi bene come fare? Grazie per l’aiuto.

The respell shortcuts are different if you’re using an Italian keyboard (see Ritrascrizione delle note)

Alt/Opt-1 and Alt/Opt-2. Otherwise the procedure is the same.


before opening this post, I studied the question a little, first the writing enharmonic ties is valid for example in the reference work: “Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation” by Elaine Gould . Then one easily finds examples like here in the “Treatise on Harmony” by Charles Koechlin.


Hello @gilogic I don’t think that settles it at all. Despite the fact that Gould titles her work ‘definitive’ - which I have always found irksome - there are people that do not hold her as the completely authoritative arbiter of music. I know Dorico holds that book in high esteem and most design decisions appear to be based on it, but the work is not without controversy and dispute in a lot of areas. In short, her dictates are not always right, or universally accepted.

As to Koechlin that is from the harmony book of 1923 and does not necessarily reflect current common practice, and Koechlin was a pretty idiosyncratic composer.

As to other examples, I still maintain this is hard to read.

Such examples would at the very least show that enharmonic ties do exist.

Gardner Read’s Manual of Music Notation describe their use and purpose.

Perhaps you can point to some literature that says you shouldn’t use them?

Not that it matters, but I feel reasonably sure that Elaine Gould herself did not provide the subtitle for “Behind Bars”. That’s the kind of thing that a publisher will add, rather than the author.


I dont quite see your point, Andro. Such notation may not have any place in a post tonal world, but if one is notating chromatic music that changes keys so frequently that it is clearly intended for performance in equal temperament, the respelling of notes that are tied makes perfect sense to me. I am sure that there are many cases in the music of Bruckner, who was a highly regarded professor of harmony and counterpoint in his day!


My own rule of thumb (not that I consider myself a successor to Elaine Gould) whether to use enharmonic ties depends on the context set by surrounding notes. My background as a singer influences me to look at the notes following the tied note to see whether the intervals would be easier to comprehend were I to reinterpret the tied-to note enharmonically.

Were the notes to appear in a keyboard part or the tied note to be followed by a rest, I would likely leave the tied-to pitch alone.


Here’s an example in a choral work by Charles Wood (1866 - 1926)

The organ holds a pedal G# while the music modulates to Db major; the G# becoming an Ab.

I’d argue that keeping a written G for 4 bars into the new key sig would be more confusing, not least because there’s a Gb in the 2nd bar, which is a 7th up from the pedal.


I hereby retract my false view!

I don’t think your views are false. It’s just that we’ve been forced into sloppy thinking by the tyranny of equal temperament!
I agree there is no such thing as an enharmonic tie, and, if I understand Dorico’s view of musical notes correctly, Dorico agrees with us.

Here’s an interesting harmonic choice with enharmonic ties. More of a linear choice to make a G# leading tone to the A. Albéniz Cordoba.