How to get up- and downstem noteheads on top of each other (butterfly notes)

Non-musician question again.

As in the attached screenshot, how can I get the noteheads to display on top of each other with one stem up and the other down?

If there is some proper vocabulary to describe “one notehead on top of the other,” please let me know :slight_smile:.


You’d need to select one of the “butterfly” notes and move them to the (opposite-stem) voice. I’m assumming that you wrote the notes in “Up-stem Voice 1” as this is the default. If so, then move one of those notes to “Down-stem Voice 1.” Right click on the note then Voices/Change Voice/Down-stem Voice 1 or if it doesn’t exist yet, New Down-stem Voice. Similarly, if you wrote the notes in a down-stem voice, then you need to move it to the up-stem one.


Thank you so very much! Got it.

And now I know they are called “butterfly notes”.


You’re welcome!

And nooooo, they are not called butterfly notes officially. I call them that because it’s funny and cute, but that’s why I used quotation marks “” :wink:

1 Like, After doing that, some rests appeared. How can I get rid of them?

Try doing this: Hiding/Showing bar rests in additional voices

Oops! I thought it made sense since they kind of look like that …

Eric, That didn’t work. The “Omit bar rests” option was already selected.

Dorico automatically shows rests within the bar when there are multiple voices active.

Try selecting that whole bar and doing this:


This is handy! Is this a new feature in Dorico 5 or was I asleep for too long?

This has been available from the beginning, as far as I can remember :slight_smile:

Perfect! That did it. I selected the rests and used Edit > Remove Rests (Option-F2).

Thanks to you and for solving this problem for me!


Well, I guess better to learn about it late than never. :smiling_face_with_tear: Excuse me while I go reminiscing about all those times I went on doing this manually…

However, from an engraving standpoint,
for that type of unison you ARE better having the two noteheads side by side as in your original post, rather than suddenly have split stems.

if you REALLY want separate stems, then I would start the split stems in that measure, and not only on that note.
if this is the very beginning of the passage, I’d say make it all split stem, from the pick-up measure.
although if it goes on for pages like this, then the best solution is two noteheads, side-by-side, as in the image. with no split stems.


Thanks for chiming in. Since I’m not a musician even, and certainly not an engraver, I am out of my depth.

I’m just imitating what I see in professionally published hymnals. Maybe others will add their voices to this discussion. I don’t really care one way or the other how the notes are presented. I just was trying to follow what I think are good examples.


EDIT: “want” changed to “was”

I’m sorry to be blunt. But if you really don’t care, then just let Dorico do it’s thing and accept that it will be following good practice (even if you don’t understand why).

On the other hand, you could care and begin to learn why different solutions might better suit particular circumstances.

I apologize for my imprecise wording. I do care that the engraving be done correctly. I should have said something like “I do not have enough knowledge to know what is correct, so I’m not pre-disposed to one method of presentation or another.”

As with many things, there may be different views of what is (a) acceptable, (b) better, and (c) best – at least that was my thought. I just don’t have what it takes to evaluate the input. (I’ve noticed from reading the Dorico forums that some things in music engraving – just like in most professions– are matters of opinion. Other things are commonly agreed upon and really should be done one certain way. I don’t know which things are in which group. The fact that all of the hymnals I looked at had the noteheads on top of each other made me think that at least some musicians / engravers think that is acceptable.)

Thankfully, the hymnal will be reviewed and corrected by a professional engraver who uses Dorico, and he will be able to change anything in the score. I am not sure how he handles this issue.

Thank you for your patience with a non-musician who really wants the end product to be the best it can be. I am very grateful for the help you folks on the forum have given me. I’m sure it’s painful for knowledgeable persons to respond to some of the questions I have posed :slight_smile:.


1 Like

Of course one could simply select the note in question and press SHIFT + I + 1 and use the Interval popover to add the “buttefly note.”

Close enough, it was added in 1.0.30.