Harmonics stuck on "orange"

In the attached project I have attempted to enter the violin notes in bars 2&3 as harmonics, following the directions indicated in the documentation here:

Turning notes into harmonics (steinberg.help)

However, the selected notes turn “orange” and I cannot get the orange part to turn off. Assuming I had made an error (i.e. entering somethin gimpossible), I also experimentally changed the pitch of the note up and down and also toggled between natural and artificial,but nothing turned the selected notes back into normal appearance. They remain “orange”. Can someone explain how to fix this?
Remanso Transcription.dorico (1.4 MB)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not seeing any notes in the violin in bars 2 & 3? Provided that you haven’t fiddled with the settings, orange simply means that notes or other objects are part of the current selection. Click anywhere outside the staff to remove the selection and turn the notes black again.

Another possibility I can think of is notes turning red, when the software knows they’re out of range or otherwise unplayable on the instrument. In the attached picture, the A, B and C simply don’t exist as harmonics on a violin.

Scherm­afbeelding 2024-02-05 om 22.08.28

Other than that, this is a rare case where a screenshot of the problem would in fact have been more useful than the attached project, as I can’t quite figure out the issue you’re having!

Sincere thanks for contributing. Attached is a screen shot. I have clicked out of the staff repeatedly and even closed and re-opened the project but the 2 violin notes are still “selected”.

I don’t think that’s the selection orange, but instead the red indicating it’s outside the playable range of the instrument.

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those notes are not possible on the violin.

Sorry, but they are playable (on the G string) - sounds an 8ve higher.

that is the incorrect notation for that.
besides, a harmonic played at the 5th node would not sound an octave higher.

to use the little circle, you place your “real” note where it sounds, with the circle above it to indicate that it must be performed as a harmonic, which will sound as the “real” note.

I don’t know if you’re a string player, but I’m holding my viola in my hands right now, and there is absolutely no way that node would give an octave higher.


If you touch a d on the g string, it indeed sounds like a d, but the octave higher of where it has been touched. Nonetheless, this isn’t the correct notation for it, and it should be an unfilled diamond notehead at the same pitch.

you’re right, it WOULD sound a D an octave higher (if correctly notated).
I of course had the touched node being the 5th on the G string, and incorrectly interpreted @Janus’ comment as meaning it would sound one octave up from the G. (one gets used to thinking in terms of the result from an open string, reading “one octave up” to me meant “one octave up from the G string”.)

but as you also correctly noted, this IS the incorrect notation to have a D sounding an octave up.
In harp notation you would mark it this way, but not string notation.

Which seems weird to me… why would the harp notate it this way, and mean “one octave up from the notated note”, but strings require you to notate the actual pitch if you use the ° symbol?

as the king of Siam once said, “it is a puzzlement.”


Notating it as a normal note with a circle is OK in my book since there is only one way to play it (ie on the G string).

Yes. I’ve played violin/viola for nearly 60 years.

as notated, no, they are not playable.
the ° symbol means “resultant note”, in other words, the SOUND the harmonic will give. you can’t hear any note lower than G 2nd line in treble clef as a harmonic on the violin.

As your examples show, this IS the incorrect notation. and it is immaterial whether or not YOU would find it acceptable. it is the wrong notation. period.

I think you answered yourself. Every pitch on a harp has their separate string, so I think a pitch on a staff for them indicates more the string to be plucked, not the sound to be heard (not a harpist, but there are more indications to the theory, such as g flat and f sharp being different things for a harpist). Thus it’s more intuitive for them to reach for the right d-string when seeing this notation and just by hand-technique creating the flageolet effect.

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No, it really is not, because it will become inconsistent with higher pitches. If you write a g1 with a circle above it, in your system is it then an octave flageolet on the G-String or a fourth flageolet on the D-String?
It doesn’t work and every literature about flageolets on strings is clear on it and consistent across all of them.

In those cases you would require a Sul G or Sul D indication, but in this particular case (and also the natural harmonics on B and C) it is only possible on the G string (on the Violin), so is unambiguous.

the correct notation would be far less ambiguous.

I think, in this particular case, it is best not to mislead the OP into believing their notation is correct or in any way standard (since it isn’t.)

This is one of those moments where it would be best to give a clear, unambiguous answer, and to correct the erroneous notation in their example.

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The issue is not the string, but rather whether a circle means fingered or sounding note, and a “sul” indication doesn’t resolve this inconsistency.

That’s actually the point. A circle on a G mid-staff is totally unambiguous, because it can be only produced one way, as that’s the lowest flageolet a violin can produce.

I think “sounding an 8ve higher” may be what I am looking for. Which Dorico notation should I employ? The track I am transcribing is here.

The violin notes come in pretty quick! They kind of sound “harmonic-y” to me and I was attempting to represent the played note.

there are two notes sounding, I would just write the D and A at sounding pitch (so second staff line from above and above highest staff line) and add harmonic circles. I think there’s only one possible way to perform it anyhow, so that should be sufficient.

Edit: wrong pitches, it’s late…!


honestly, to me it sounds a bit like non-vibrato flautando, rather than actual harmonics. I could very well be wrong.

but often times, bow pressure and speed of bow and lack of vibrato can create a sort of overtones effect.

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Awesome. Thankyou! Do you mean “2 notes” (i.e. a double stop) sounding both as harmonics?