Strings harmonic notation


I’m doing a transcription of my manuscript and I’m in need of writing strings harmonics.

The following style is my goal.

So normal note down, diamond in the middle and black notehead without steam in the upper part.

Any idea how I can achieve that?
Since it’s only a transcription I don’t need it to playback the harmonic I’m just looking for a graphic trick.

Thank you very much.


I think I’ve gotten as close as you can to the image you provided. Here’s what I did:

  1. All three notes are in different voices. It doesn’t really matter which one is in what voice as long as they’re different.

  2. The whole note has no modification to it.

  3. Right-click on the half note to bring up the contextual menu, and you should find a menu option called “Notehead”. In there you’ll find a couple diamond-style notehead options. I picked the “Old-style” one but they’re basically identical.

  4. To remove the stems, go to Engrave Mode and click on the note. In the properties panel there’s a property called “Stem length adjustment”. If you set it to “-2 1/2” then the stem will go away AND Dorico will reposition things accordingly.

  5. The parentheses are just a text object with the text “( )”. There is no parentheses notehead option but there is a “circled notehead” option if you want to use that.

Hope that helps!


Ok, that is surely the best solution so far.

I think I’ve already seen around that I can’t insert smaller noteheads (for the upper notes). I tried to fake the visual idea by inputting a grace note, but I can’t seem to find a solution to put the grace note right on top of the “chord”…
I maybe doing something wrong but offset isn’t moving anything o.O

anyway… that could be a good solution, maybe when I export to InDesign I can figure out something.

Thank you very much

Offset isn’t currently set to do anything but if you select the grace note, does it have an “index column” property? You may be able to get it directly above the other notes by using that possibly.

There are two kinds of default noteheads in Dorico, and the Default large is used by default, so one (maybe passable) option is to set the notehead to default… it’s too large, absolutely, but not as obtrusive as the large one…

Another option, if you’re the adventureous type :slight_smile: is to hide the notehead with the “colour trick” (select a notehead first that won’t interfere too much with the ledger lines) and replace it with text… you can copy/paste the notehead from here: and combine it with parantheses as I’ve done here. Again, I would never bother with this myself :slight_smile: It will probably all be much easier later on…

Afraid not. I already tried that but the Index column changes nothing on the grace note position.

There are two kinds of default noteheads in Dorico, and the Default large is used by default, so one (maybe passable) option is to set the notehead to default… it’s too large, absolutely, but not as obtrusive as the large one…

Yes, I did that, for now this is the best solution.

I’m not a very big Harmonics user, I’m writing a musical theater show, in more than half an hour of music I got like 8 harmonics, so it’s not a big deal to work on it for a bit.

But still, I agree, maybe later on it will be faster.

Thanks everyone.

Dear beloved Dorico’s team,
Is this coming in the next update or the next one ? I admit I do not have the patience to use the workaround on more that ten notes.
I am aware that many musicians never use this kind of notation, but still, there are so many strings players… Just wondering.

By the way, I had to go back to Sibelius for a couple of hours (problem with importing an XML file), and this is official : I don’t want this to happen again ! I love Dorico !
Keep up the good work

No, I’m afraid there is no change to harmonics notation in the forthcoming update.

… and if I’d just like to parenthise an ordinary notehead? I haven’t found that one anywhere yet…

Unfortunately this is possible only for notes on percussion instruments at the moment, though we plan to make it possible for all pitched instruments in the future too. The reason for the disparity is that parenthesising noteheads on pitched instruments is much more complicated, since it needs to be able to take into account chords with many notes, back notes, accidentals, multiple voices and so on.

Hi … Just wondering if artificial string harmonics (e.g. touch 4) will be supported in Dorico 3?

I can’t give any specific information about what will or will not be included in the next version until it is actually implemented. Software development is hard and it’s possible for plans to go awry and run into issues during implementation that could delay or even cause us to remove a particular feature. We do of course plan to add a dedicated feature for harmonics as soon as it is practical to do so.

Thank you, Daniel. If the development team implements features for harmonics as well as they have features for cues and chords and rhythm then it will be worth whatever wait is required.

Sorry for waking a year old thread, but I was wondering if there’s a solution to creating harmonics other than the preset partials given in 3.5? Even the example at the top of this thread uses a touch 6, and there’s plenty of music (Sciarrino, Saariaho, etc.) that utilizes harmonics - whether sounding or not - at everything from a minor second to an octave (and beyond occasionally). I myself have need for this in most of the music I write. I realize playback support may not be there for these harmonics, but is there a good workaround for it currently? Any help is appreciated.

Until such time as we add support for other nodes on instruments other than the guitar, you’ll need to add notes at the appropriate interval and override their noteheads manually.