Shared notehead and ties

For a while I am stuck now with the following situation.
The original looks like this:
In my rendering I came to this:
In reality there are two voices in the upper stave, in the next screenshot I moved the downstem voice so they are recognizable:
But now I still have to tie the two upper notes, but when I do that (and I have selected only the up-stem voice) the result is as follows:
which is obviously not what I want. Then I tried to also tie the two notes in the down-stem voice, this is the result:
So now I have two ties! I tried to remove the second tie but that is not possible, in Engrave mode I did not see any possibility (properties panel) to remove it or make it invisible.
Anyone any idea wow to resolve this, or is ot simply not possible?

You can select the downward tie (which belongs to the downstem voice) and press U in Write mode.

Undoing the tie in the downstem note does appear to make the voices not overlap. The only solution I can see to have only one tie is to tie upstem voice and not tie downstem notes and manually move them (the 'e’s) to overlap.

Tried this, but it then flips back toe the situation as before in the preceding screenshot!

Well, that is not the easiest way! I was hoping there were easier ones…
Shall give it a try tomorrow, have not tried to do something with the horizontal moves, looks rather impressive all those handles!

The only other manual (sorry) way I can think of is to adjust the voice column index of the down-stem voice in Engrave mode.

Does this help at all?


Illustrating what Daniel described…


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As long as the noteheads have the same forced voice column, they will align properly.

I think it’s normal that it does that, because Dorico tries to give the reader the most unambiguous notation. After having done that, you can change the voice column index of both e in engrave mode and you’re set.

Yes! That does it, and also thanks @Derrek for the illustration.
Glad it worked out, but it is a little cumbersome:

  • first make sure that the forced duration is in place
  • select the notes to tie
  • filter for the right voice
  • change cloumn index (engrave mode)
    I had hoped it was easier than that, but on the other hand this is the way to learn how things work in Dorico! Here is the result:

    Thanks to all!

Once one sets the structure up once, one should be able to copy/paste it and repitch the notes with Lock Duration. Then all one has to do is CTRL/CMD + Click the “misplaced” notes and apply the Voice Column adjustment at once.

Yes that makes it easier, but I meant that I had expected that there was less manual intervention needed!

Why? You are applying a pattern that is quite unusual (and ambiguous for the player).


a quick comment, unrelated exactly to your initial question, but in your image, measure 23, the high D’s stem is in the wrong direction. Thought you might want to correct that.

I also find that type of notation highly ambiguous. Do you repeat the notes from voice 2? do the ties from voice 1 take precedence?
This is the type of notation that I dislike as a performer. It leaves too many questions unanswerable.


Well maybe my expectations for Dorico were a bit too high! The amount of manual intervention is bigger than I initially expected, but no problem, it is not too much work, once you find out how it works.

You are right, but that was done by Dorico! I have corrected it by now (and many more stem directions), that’s the reason I opened an old issue about voices and stem directions.

Yes that is also true, but the arrangement is not by me, and as is remarked before by some: the composer (arranger in this case) can ask strange things sometimes…
And for me this is my first Dorico project, so I try to do everything exactly as is written down, mainly as a learning case, and for me that works very good! If it was my arrangement it was probably different.
One of the problems in arranging is that voices sometimes clash, and not always it is possible to find a proper solution for that, so in this case I think the arranger wanted to emphasize that there are two voices, the upper is the main melody, and the alto is a kind of rythmical after-beat supplement. As a player I would let the ties take precedence.

Fwiw, I don’t find the notation confusing in the slightest.

Dorico doesn’t do that by default if the rests before the 2nd voice entrance are included.
However, I did see that the second you make that voice 2 note begin the voice at that spot, Dorico inverts the stem on the voice 1 note.

This is obviously something that the team have to look at, Daniel Spreadbury.

As for the ambiguity or confusion (for the player) I would, as player, not exactly be sure how the composer intended the passage to be played. Even if the wanted notation is not unacceptable (I would nevertheless be curious if @JeroenH could post a picture of an example in some edited music), it remains a little vague about the intended interpretation.
I tried to make two exaples (nr 2. and 3.) of the possible interpretations in the perspective of the player.


Exactly. That is why I wrote this notation is ambiguous and probably why Dorico does not make it easy to write it like this.

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I am not quite sure what you mean by “edited music”, you mean by Bärenreiter, Henle or one of those editions? I do not know if there are any examples of that kind.
In this case (and many more!) the original arrangement is handwritten, so you can see immediately that if you write music by hand there are many more (im)possibilities than with a sofisticated piece of engineered software which tries (and does a good job!) at capturing as much as possible in rules.
Here is the “original”, in which the arranger has offcourse thought about the notation:

Another question (maybe OT) is how important it is to have all ambiguity erased, I mainly play Baroque, or at least “older” music, and then there were less rules than nowadays in te notation, and the composer/arranger did leave more room for the interpretation of the performer, which I like, but that is personal. Also personal I do not like to play form scores in which everything is painstakingly notated, I like to have some freedom…
What to think of the unmeasured preludes of L. Couperin and his comtemporaries, much more ambigous you cannot have it!