Guitar Natural Harmonics with 7-string Electric Guitar / integer fret numbers

maybe lockdown is turning my brain to soup, but I couldn’t find an answer online or maybe there is a problem with this instrument in Dorico - I want to write a C# harmonic on the 7-string electric guitar on the A string at the ninth fret, butI can only get the note to appear on the tab as 2nd fret on the low B string (string VII). I can’t move it across the strings or change the node as with other guitars, it just gives ‘?’ as the fret number. See here the problem - artificial harmonic at the end as a tester (but it needs to be an open string harmonic).

Is there anything I can change about the instrument itself in the set up page or is this something with the system/file inaccessible to me? I can post the project if needs be.

Also, for the fret numbers for harmonics, how do you get dorico to round to integers?

As a composer working with microtones I love this detail, to automatically calculate the precise position on the string, and it will be very useful to many in some contexts, but as a guitarist and teacher I think it is, in most cases, not necessary to give the decimal value, and potentially counterproductive or confusing for younger students (maybe you could have it in integers by default and then have a decimal option for hardcore harmonic hacks?) - just my opinion of course, I know programmers like to flex.

I think for this what you want is to:

  1. create the note with the desired sounding pitch
  2. set the “Type” property for the harmonic to “Natural”
  3. change the “Node” property to choose the appropriate node along the string

I’m not sure which octave of C# it is you want, but hopefully this gives you an idea.

csharp harmonic.dorico (582.7 KB)

As to the rounding of the harmonics I am afraid this isn’t adjustable within Dorico - it is fixed at a single decimal place. This was based on published material that we have; I suspect publishers do this in order to distinguish the harmonics around the third fret as there are a few that are quite close together.

Thanks Richard, sadly the three steps you suggest don’t work in this project because I can’t move the harmonic onto the A string, it stays on the B string.

I can share the project to see if it’s something I’ve done without noticing in the settings or if it might be the instrument somehow… I just don’t know how to get rid of the VST stuff in the project file to reduce the file size to the allowable maximum (it’s currently 5mb for 2 pages of solo guitar).

Also to clarify, does node for natural harmonics = partial for artificial?

Understood re decimal fret numbers and agreed about subdividing third fret - just the fourth fret in particular seems a bit OTT to put at 3.9.

Does it help if you set the String property explicitly, maybe?

Anyway, by all means post here and I’ll take a look. The easiest way to slim down VST stuff in order to post a project file is to apply the “Silence” Playback template in Play mode and save that version as a copy.

Oh, and I forgot to reply to the other bit. No, “node” reflects which node point for the same harmonic that you are touching. So, for example, a C# on the A string is the 5th partial, and you could play that at the 4th fret (1st node, 1/5th along the string), 9th fret (2nd node, 2/5ths along the string), 16th fret (3rd node, 3/5ths along the string) etc.

Got it, thanks a lot Richard.

I couldn’t use the N shortcut to move the tab note up a string but could change it it on ‘String’ property as you suggest and then set the node as 2 to get 8.8.

Thanks for explaining the node - I’m not sure the documentation explains it as clearly as you did - it would be cool if the terms node and partial were described maybe with some examples to avoid confusion for numnuts like me.

Ah, yes, you will sometimes find that the “n” and “m” shortcuts aren’t ideal for harmonics - they will try to move to an immediately-adjacent string, but in the case of harmonics the note may not be playable on the next string along.

I did put short definitions for node, partial, and harmonic series in the glossary, to support documentation of harmonics. (They’re in the glossary rather than as an aside somewhere in a harmonic-related topic because they’re related to multiple different topics and this way, their name is the “headline”, ideally making them easier to find. It also starts to straddle the boundary between “documenting the software” and “general musical information” which can be a difficult one to balance!)

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