Harp harmonics

Good afternoon,
I would like to know if it is possible to make sound the harp octave harmonics in their correct pitch. When I input harp harmonics in Dorico, they sound in the same pitch that they are written, and it would be much better if they sound an octave higher, as it is common in the harp common notation. Is this possible in Dorico?

Thank you!

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According to Walter Piston, one can notate either way; when notating them at sounding pitch, specify that this is so. (Adler says the same thing.)

Yes, I know, but I have spoken with several arpists about this issue and all of them prefer the notation of harmonics an octave lower than their actual sound…!


As mentioned, harpists in this day and age would dearly love if the octave down notation (“harmonics where played”) was the de facto standard; at least, that is the overwhelming anecdotal evidence I have from working with a large number of harpists. The fact that Adler and Piston wrote about the two possibilities likely speak of Salzedo’s influence in the US, as he was the one-off promoting the other way; but even some of his students, and certainly by now most his students’ students, are not really fond of it. Still, as a result, one must still write a notice about “where played / where sounding” in harp scores, which is too bad. Maybe one day …


Ciao, la scrittura degli armonici per l’Arpa assolutamente più usata è quella che dici tu: si mette il simbolo (°) sulla nota reale per ottenere il suono all’8va superiore.
Io uso NotePerformer che suona perfettamente la notazione (vedi allegato).
Prova ad impostare l’expression map come ho fatto io.
Buona Musica.


@gualgasull If you don’t want to mess around with the expression map, here’s what I do. Enter the harmonic notes at sounding pitch (an octave above the notated pitch) and enable the natural harmonic property on the notes. Then apply an octave line on the notes to push their notation down an octave, and scale the octave line to 1% in the properties panel to make the octave line disappear. Now you have the desired notation and it sounds an octave higher, and it doesn’t really take too long to do.

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Very true, but I find that when I export to pdf using print mode, there remains the ghost of a line when I use that method …

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Thank you very much! Perfect solution!

@claude_g_lapalme Hmmm… that’s unfortunate, Claude. I suppose if you go the expression map route, you’d need to make a separate EM for the harp with the octave shift for the harmonics so that you don’t mess up harmonics for other instruments like strings. I think I’ll try that and see how that works out.

…come ho già detto sopra io lavoro esclusivamente con NotePerformer e, con questa libreria, non ho alcun problema. Naturalmente bisogna creare un EM separato per l’arpa.
Buona Musica.

Yes @Dorico54, I do have a separate expression map for NotePerformer called “NotePerformer - Harp” which I load for the harp in endpoint setup. As you say, very easy and the thing to do. What I meant is that doing the shortcut with ottava can create a ghost line. @hamhm3, what Dorico54 explains is the best way, I should have been clearer … In expression maps, create a duplicate of the NotePerformer expression map, set Natural harmonics1 to a 12 semitone transposition, call it anything you want, and then use it on the Harp line in endpoint setup in play mode (the gear icon under the VST)