Guitar natural harmonics - fret/position, notehead size


Hi Dorico friends :slight_smile:

Two questions:
(1) Natural harmonic noteheads - all of them, but in particular minim and semibreve - seem to me too small - see the notehead in the last chord of the attached. I can set a custom scale, but this thickens the ledger lines unacceptably. Is there any way to increase just the notehead size?

(2) It’s common in guitar notation to indicate the string (using standard guitar string symbol - a circled numeral) and fret position (using upper-case roman numerals) of a natural harmonic. The former is clearly possible, but I cannot enter the fret position (eg VII for the first of the harmonics in the attached) as a fingering. Is this possible?


Do you find the Wide Diamond Notehead acceptable, size-wise? It seems the harmonic notched selected when invoking it in the Inspector window is smaller.

For the whole note, I use the half note, hide the stem, remove the resultant rest. A bit more work, but not too bad.

You can edit the wide diamond notehead used for whole notes in the Edit Notehead dialog - the Scale options affect its size, and I can’t remember off the top of my head but I think I’ve found c. 130-140% looks quite nice. Alternatively, remove the whole note notehead from the set entirely and just use the half notehead for all durations a half note and larger.

1 Like

Thanks Lillie - scaling the glyphs to around 115% (for the standard black diamond notehead) and 130% (for the whoile note) in the notehead editor did the trick for me!

1 Like

Hi Ronald - Yes, I really don’t like that glyph. I’ll play with substituting it in the notehead editor, which seems less fiddly than hiding stems. Cheers!

David, I’d love to see a pic of what you consider to be the right size and proportion for these noteheads. I’ve been planning to adjust them in Bravura but I’m not sure exactly in which way to go.

1 Like


I can live with the half note - it’s the whole note that is simply not usable! I have never seen a harmonic symbol such as that.

Was it your thread where you asked about indicating fret positions along with harmonics? I may be merging two issues, but the only way I have found is to use text. I suppose it’s Dorico’s way of telling us to stick to standard, non-harmonic pitches.

Best wishes,


Hi Daniel! I’ll dig out a few examples.


On this topic of notehead size for harmonics: If I have a pitch, choose to make it a harmonic via the Inspector, the harmonic will this “smaller” notehead. If change my mind, and uncheck the Harmonic choice in the inspector, the resultant notehead will be smaller, as well - not the same size as the regular noteheads. I assume this is by design - a smaller notehead replaces a smaller harmonic?

Hi Daniel - I’ve dug around for a few examples, attached here. Couple of observations:

  1. I’ve never seen the whole-note diamond notehead in the font in the wild. All the examples maintain the symmetrical diamond shape (old style or new style) - a square rotated 45 degrees then slightly squashed. This one is a tilted rectangle.

  2. In the modern set, your half-note notehead again doesn’t appear in these examples, where the same notehead is used for half and whole note durations. The oval space in this notehead looks odd and also the thicker parts of the outline seem to be on the wrong sides - NW/SE rather than NE/SW

  3. The Bravura filled and half-note noteheads are absolutely square. In the VL and Birtwistle examples you can see that they’re slightly squashed, making them look a little wider in the space than the strict diamonds of the Bravura set.

  4. The noteheads in the examples (especially the old-style ones in my little pieces) bleed a little more obviously into the stave lines - for me this improves the visual balance of the noteheads, and makes the notes look a little less like grace notes.

1 Like

Thanks, David. I’ll be working on some Bravura updates soon, so I’ll try to improve these shapes a bit.

1 Like