Harmonics: Natural, Artificial & Playback

Brilliant. Absolutely fantastic. Couldn’t ask for a better, more intelligent implementation.

I work a lot with harmonics, and so I’ve been waiting for these for a while now, and am delighted both at their arrival and the design and implementation of them. I was already really impressed at how they worked when v3 came out, and now that playback is there (and working great from what I can tell), I’m over the moon.

Super impressed, thanks Dorico team for the thought and effort that’s gone into making this work as well as it does :exclamation:


Hi Colin,
Are you using NotePerformer as your sound generator? If so, are you able to get playback of both artificial and natural harmonics under Dorico 3.1 ? I got artificial harmonic playback to work by re-installing the latest NotePerformer, but natural harmonics for the string section don’t seem to be working for me.
Thank you,

PS So as not to leave the wrong impression, the support for harmonics is well though-out and well integrated!

Really pleased you’re enjoying them, Colin. Thanks for the positive feedback!

Yeah, it seems to work for me on NP. What particularly surprised me was that a piece I’d imported via xml from Finale, and just started to insert harmonics in prior to the release of v3.1, and then when I updated they all played back fine, natural and artificial.

Thank you, Colin.
Update: Yes, it works for me. Thank you (and the Dorico team).

Is anyone able to get harp harmonics to play back correctly? I’m using the latest version of NotePerformer, and the only way I can get harp harmonics to play back correctly is to select artificial harmonics, but of course that isn’t the right way to notate harp harmonics. If I select natural harmonics for the harp, playback is unaffected, as though the harmonic wasn’t there.

I am satisfied with Dorico 3.1 as well!
This is really the best well-designed application for musicians!

I likewise see no jump in octave between a harp’s normal note and notated harmonic in either NP or HSO.

Does Dorico expect Harp harmonics to be notated at sounding pitch rather than plucked pitch? (I realize that not all harpists are in agreement about how harmonics should be notated, but I thought most harpists preferred the notes notated at plucked pitch.)

I don’t know how to trigger a artificial harmonic from my sample library. As you can see the playback sends a natural switch in the playback lane with the active technique: natural harmonic 1. Should this not be artificial harmonic?
artificial playback.jpg
artificial harm.jpg

You’ll need to create an appropriate entry in the expression map for the harmonic, and potentially also specify the necessary octave transposition, depending on how your sampled harp is set up.

Thanks for confirming that, Derrek. I’m not a harpist, but I understand that harpists like to “play what they see,” so I believe the notation should indicate the actual string to be used to produce the harmonic.

Daniel, is there something that needs to be done with the NotePerformer expression map to make this work?

from what I can understand in the introductory video, natural harmonics should be notated at sounding pitch and artificial harmonics should be notated at played pitch with a diamond for the played pitch. It works admirably in VSL in this way at any rate from what I can see. Agree with Colin --a fine implementation.

Is it possible to do this with NP? It has only one map that is not instrument specific. I assume altering harmonics there would be a global change …

“Harpists prefer harmonics to be notated by placing a small circle over the note that is played; it will therefore sound an octave higher than written.”

Precisely. I have several orchestration texts that agree that the harmonic will sound an octave higher than written.

Claude may be right that for NotePerformer it’s not possible to do this. I’m not personally sure for which instruments NotePerformer supports harmonics.

Thanks, Daniel. I’ll contact Arne about this.

Hi folks,

I echo the original posting in this thread in that it is really amazing to have harmonics implemented this way, and to have harmonics playback! Especially for natural harmonics. So thank you Dorico team for this 3.1 update!!

I’m having a small issue with natural harmonics though: Almost all the harmonic notes play back at the correct pitch, except that I can’t get the G of m.6 (see screenshot or Dorico file), and the D of m.10, and the A of m.14 to playback correctly, even by changing the node. However, the C of m.2 (same partial as others, but on the G string) plays back correctly.

I’ve tried with Halion and Noteperformer. Anyone else having this issue?

natural harmonics.dorico.zip (531 KB)

Some of the harmonics could represent different nodes on two different strings, so if you get a result contrary to the one you expect, try selecting the note in question and then set the ‘String’ property in the Notes and Rests group of Properties to the explicit string you want it to mean.

Slow reply: Thank you, Daniel. That worked!

Perhaps a small bug here, I googled to see if it’s been reported, but didn’t find it:
For natural harmonics, if I select Diamond Notehead, the playback of the harmonics doesn’t work, and I can’t even select the String in Properties as the box lights up and then darkens and then weirdly jumps to the right over to Harmonics Properties (this weird jump is more apparent if you try to select the String in Engrave Mode).

If I select White Diamond Notehead, everything works perfectly.

Example project attached.
harmonics bug.dorico.zip (525 KB)