Red note heads

I’ve imported an XML file from Notion and some of the note heads appear in red in Dorico (latest version). I can’t seem to find any reference to this. What does it mean?


Notes out of range now are shown - depending on what instrument this is, would this apply?

That’s exactly what that is.

Oh, nice! I hadn’t seen that that feature was added. That’s going to be a HUGE help!


Is it possible to extend the range in an instrument? i.e. for lead sheets it’s nice to have a one-stave-piano. I opened the lead sheet template and simply replaced the sound in play mode but I still get red notes from the previous voice range.

You could just change the instrument in Setup mode.

If the piano plays the notes, does it really matter if the notes are red?

You could also just set this and forget about note ranges:

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Thanks for the answers! Yepp, all good solutions.

The thought behind the question is: in Dorico it’s possible to load instruments from the list. Horns with accidentals and without, Clarinets in A and Bb… but is there a page where I can create my own instruments? I’m rather used to from the DAW world… loading a track, connecting a sound, setting the transposition, the range, the clef, number of voices, tonal/non tonal, percussion maps, name etc. for the score editor… things like that. Or simply a non-specific instrument like on lead sheets: one or two staves, sound of choice, clef of choice, no range limit, no transposition until I change something. Is there something like this in Dorico?

No. At the moment you have a predefined list of instruments. You can rename them, attach a different patch to them, change the clef, but you can’t alter the underlying rules about each instrument: range and transposition.

Thanks! Good to know. Saves searching time!

My question is what the difference is between red and dark red / burgundy noteheads???

Burgundy = possible on some instruments or by professional players.
Red = not possible.

The ranges are sometimes overly conservative, though.


I have an issue with red notes: in an imported midi file (Debussy, La Mer), all the harp parts appear in red, although they are absolutely in the range. I mean the whole part is red.

I’ve checked in the Player section and the playback thing, the right instrument is indicated, in setup mode I tried to reload the instrument too, nothing changes: still red. All notes. Of course I can choose to hide the out-of-range color, but I wish I could understand the problem…



If there are red notes in a harp part, Dorico’s telling you that you haven’t added sufficient pedal diagrams to make those accidentals possible.

Oh, ok, thanks for your answer, I’m gonna check this!

See the documentation here.

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Thanks pianoleo and Daniel, problem solved!

I had the same issue after importing a Notion xml-file. Lots of notes were red, but without any reason. They are perfectly playable, even for amateurs. But from previous reactions I’ve noticed that there are more problems with Notion and xml (e.g. disappearing dynamics). So I don’t bother too much about the red notes.
It’s a good thing that they normally indicate pitches out of playing range. All of us sometimes forget (in all our enthusiasm) that not everything is possible… :wink:

For XML-imports, it could be that the instrument type hasn’t been correctly identified, and therefore Dorico internally thinks the notes belong to a different instrument. Changing the instrument in Setup mode (even if it appears to be to the same instrument) makes sure Dorico has the correct instrument identification.

For harps, red notes can also indicate accidentals/pitches that don’t fit with the prevailing harp pedaling settings.

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