Producing Schenker graphs in Dorico

Will Dorico be able to produce beamed minims that are required for Schenker graphs?

We don’t yet have a means of changing the displayed notehead for a given note, but in principle there’s no good reason why we shouldn’t add this in addition to the more usual ways you can change the notehead design of a note, so I hope this will be possible relatively early in Dorico’s life.

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After a search for “Schenker”, this seems to be the most relevant post. Has anyone had any luck making Schenkerian graphs in Dorico? It would be great to be able to use half-note style noteheads with 8th notes (to get the proper beams) but I can’t find a way to do that.

Couldn’t you just use the notehead set editor?

OMG, I had completely forgotten about this! I will check this out!

Actually, you probably don’t even need the editor. Just right click and choose the notehead you want from the default options!

(Edit: yes, you do need to use the editor. I tried.)

The dashed slurs in Dorico are also quite beautiful. I think you probably have everything you need.

Oh, and you can slur or tie a note in one voice to a note in another. Click and Ctrl-click to select both.

I’d love to see what you come up with!

I don’t think there is a default “open 8th note” note head but it’s trivial to make one with the notehead editor.

You can also have stemless notes, using the Engrave mode properties.

If there is a definitive complete list of Schenker notations somewhere, that would make it easier to answer the question “is it possible yet” - I guess not all the Dorico gurus here are also Schenker gurus.

Thanks very much Dan and Rob! It’s not hard to make a simple example, like this one. But to do something more complicated, I think a thick line (a fake beam, in other words) is needed; I’ve also attached Schenker’s analysis of a song from Schumann’s Dichterliebe. Brackets and regular straight lines would also be helpful; I think these are on the Dorico team’s list.


The standard thickness of beams (half a staff space, and 1/4 of a space between beams) is non-negotiable in conventional notation - otherwise, beams and staff lines don’t play nice with each other.

Ok, I fiddled around with it for about a half-hour.

…it’s hard. At least, hard to make a graph of average complexity.

The problem arises from the fact that you need all sorts of multiple note values, with hidden tuplets all over the place. And when you create a notehead set, it has to apply to certain note values. You can’t mix and match notehead sets within a project, apparently.

So for even the standard Schenker fare, I think it’s just too difficult at this point. Here’s a bit from the Beethoven Op. 27, 3rd movement. Not terribly complex at all:

And here’s my best attempt. It took forever, and although I could have done a bit more, I couldn’t figure out how to get the downstem notes like I wanted them. The reason is that I started with eighth notes for the Urlinie. The inner notes I accomplished with tuplets, but I couldn’t figure out how to use the notehead set in a way that worked for every note value.


Holy cow Dan - that is just amazing! Thanks so much! Would you mind posting your Dorico file here, too? I’m curious to see the nuts and bolts!

Thanks, but I don’t think the way I did this was best. I need to think through it more. There might be a better way to get “eighth notes” with open noteheads, while properly stemming or beaming the other voices.

It seems noteheads can easily be changed, but beaming and stems are harder. So I might enter the half notes and whole note in the lowest voice, then enter the Urlinie as eighth notes in a 8:32 tuplet (with some rests).

Of course the issue at hand is that all the brain power is being used to “trick” the software into imitating syntactically what we want to merely display graphically. It’s part of that whole other discussion about how much of a graphical approach Dorico should take. (347 KB)

I wonder whether it wouldn’t be easier to do this in a vector program.
If you set up a grid and create all the symbols you need first so you can just drag them in place this should be reasonably quick. And you’d have much better control over those slurs.