Piano clusters for whole notes

I have written a part where clusters occur, and they are tied over to whole notes. Currently I have stacked a bunch of noteheads and made them square, but when they become hollow for the whole note, it shows. Is there a way to make the whole note cluster so that it is only the circumference of the entire cluster that is a black line, and so it is not a bunch of squares glued together? It looks like this:


I can’t think of a good way to do this at the moment, Laura. You could do something really elaborate like overlay some white noteheads on the lines that are scaled down to cover the horizontal lines of the square noteheads without covering the vertical ones, but it would be a lot of hassle.

I wonder if this notation is really clear. The whole note cluster could be misread as a cluster on white keys. When you only need chromatic clusters, why not specify the top and bottom note and draw a thick vertical line between them.
Unfortunately you have to adjust every line manually – but it’s not a really great deal.


I would much prefer to read b_e_n’s notation, as it avoids the “back-note” on F♯.

I created custom notehead sets for block clusters (actually, I swear I got the idea from Daniel, but I can’t find a post by him on it now; it was a long time ago). There are a bunch of glyphs in Bravura for all kinds of clusters, including, for block clusters, top, middle (for example, glyph U+E130), and bottom pieces: see this page. Somebody outlined the process for creating custom notehead sets here, and Dorico’s documentation on the dialogue box is here.

I write my clusters as extended triadic structures, with a single second between the top- and next-to-top note: so, if I want a cluster from, say, B2 to B3, I enter a chord spelled B2–D3–F3–A3–B3. If I remember right, I set up my notehead set so that the top “cap” of each cluster is offset horizontally, so it appears in the same voice column as the others — otherwise, Dorico would draw it on the other side of the stem, the way traditionally drawn seconds are.

Kurt Stone’s 1974 book on standards in avant-garde notation has a lot of useful guidelines about clusters (and a bunch of other things).

thanks, this is great, but it actually solved itself in my piece anyways. Thanks for the help though