Flipped noteheads

Hi everyone,
I’m working on a piece with strings & percussion.
Several of the percussion instruments, because they are VSL SYzd collections, are using EM?PM’s I created. With them I’ve also created new Playing Tech. icons.
One has to do with the different rolls/upbeats each instrument offers.
Because I need to use the tremolo symbol on notes but they must be suppressed playback so the VSL sample plays, I duplicated the note and hid the notehead of one. This is so the score has the needed musical symbols and I can also hear the instrument sample.
The issue is: after I do all this work I just described, getting everything to look like I need it to, some noteheads start to flip. This a lot of work that’s not ending.
So does anyone know what I might be missing to get the result needed? How do I stop noteheads from flipping?
Here’s a visual to illustrate :

When you have two unison noteheads, their order is I think essentially undefined, which isn’t very helpful in this rather unusual circumstance. I’m not sure off the top of my head how you would be able to counteract that as things stand. Obviously this is a very unusual requirement.

I haven’t been able to figure out how to use the tremolo symbols in the program so that when used, would trigger the different rolls/upbeats needed from different instruments.
Is there anyway to do such a things?

You can define the effect of tremolos on a per-percussion instrument basis in the Edit Percussion Playing Techniques dialog, but I assume you’ve already exhausted the possibilities provided there.

I was under the impression that these options were still non-functional. I’ve been understanding that they would be activated later one some time.
Is this wrong?

Last year, I wrote a piece that does this. I had this cross-staff diad between two bassoons (a duo). Here is an example:

The staff favors one notehead direction on one staff while the other is flipped. My solution was to do this hidden unison workaround as @algae592009 did. To my dismay, the notehead’s position randomizes every time I open the file. Here is an example:

I have to manually fix it, which is tedious. Is it possible to remove this randomness? I had originally avoided posting about this issue because it felt far too niche, but now it seems like there might be some reason to look into it. (?)

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I need what I call these double headed cross staff bobbles all the time. It would be great if Dorico could support this. It’s not overly unusual notation - you see it in a lot of piano music. I may have put in a feature request for this before - I can’t remember.

My question on the other side is: What information does this notation convey that is different from regular separate beaming?


@Mark_Johnson in massively complex new Complexity School piano music that I engrave it is a big help in visually lining up rhythms and timing between hands.

[I may be wrong but I think Chopin and/or Brahms uses this. I’ll have to check!]

Indeed, to me it makes sense in keyboard music to write octaves or other intervals played by one hand on both staves for ease of reading. Of course 19th century composers sometimes extended stems between staves, but I doubt that they ever drew them extending in both directions from beams in the middle. I’d love to see any examples if I’m wrong.

I fail to see any advantage to this notation for e.g. two bassoons. Just as with stems connecting more staves, I can imagine its appeal in hand copying, where line weights are all more or less equal and perfect alignment is elusive. But with digital graphics, the unity of rhythms looks even clearer to me with normal notation.


Would the two bassoonists play any better when you connect their stems in the score? They’re still two individuals needing to pay attention to each other. They’ll realise in an instant that their parts are homophonic. Would they even (need to) know that their stems are connected? Or would the conductor even care at all? A reasonably skilled conductor can read a score, and notice two voices being synchronous, especially in a fairly straightforward case like this. Why invent a new notation? There has been an established orchestral practice, for centuries, without it. IMHO the noteheads being skewed makes everything even less indicative of being synchronous.

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For those confused about why I did this, realize that engraving your own music is a kind of self-expression. Not everything requires a functional end, even though there is one from my perspective. We make art, and our scores are art.

That being said, this is a bassoon duo. They read from the open score—not individual parts. There is no conductor or other instruments. I don’t need any more comments telling me that this has no musical value. This is not a moment for your opinion. Leave me alone.

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That’s the about artistic license (similar to Mark Twain’s picture of the riverboat pilot or today’s airline pilots), you can do whatever you want, but if it all goes south, you get the flack.

Performed. Not-criticized. Loved. No comments. The commissioners liked the score and had no trouble with it, and it was performed multiple times. People forget the art of music. It isn’t just a product to make you money.

I am sorry to have put you on the defensive about your creation. I am curious about the details of self-expression you feel with this notation, but clearly we should not discuss it anymore because I have made it a sore point. Best wishes.

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I concur. For me, the end result is the performance, the actual sounds, and the notation should mainly be focussed at enabling the players to play the piece as perfect as possible. Apparently, your notation served its purpose well, so it may not have been as unclear as I thought it would be. And I admit my rambling about a conductor was not quite to the point…