trying to do square notation in Dorico


I have an example of old notation.
It looks like this:

and probably originates from notation like this here:

I try to do this in Dorico by using the rectangualar noteheads with stems hidden:

Is there a way to get the noteheads a little smaller - so they resemble my first example?

Thank you for tips.

Bravura contains the noteheads you need:

I would create a new notehead set with these noteheads.

Or just apply the Custom Scale property to the notes.

This is intriguing to me. (I’m a church musician by trade.) I didn’t realize that the medieval noteheads were in the repository. It doesn’t look like they are currently “baked in” to Dorico yet though… this poses a bit of a challenge.

(Currently I just use the regular noteheads and hide the stems in engrave mode. This amounts to “modern chant notation” but certainly isn’t the same as true medieval notation. There’s so many nuances in the ancient style that it pains me to transcribe it.)

I’m trying to hold my breath and wait until “Medieval” is ported over to Dorico. I reallllllllllly hope this will happen. I almost bought finale just to use that plugin. Every time I even look at the finale interface I want to punch something so I never could bring myself to do it, no matter how slick that plugin is.

The cost, too. I would have purchased it, but for that price, I wanted something easier to use.

I don’t blame the developer; he does great work. It was just the limitations of how Finale worked.

I stand corrected. All the way down labeled “medieval_______”

Well, I tried creating a new notehead set (which frustratingly does not show up universally… it only pertains to that one project… I learned that lesson the hard way…) and anything but the simplest notation will be a bear. If you simply want that notehead shape in lieu of a traditional notehead, you can do it, but creating neumes or trying to assign different shapes to the basic beat value won’t work. The problem with true chant is there are multiple ways of depicting the basic beat (square, diamond, neume, etc.) depending on the context of where the note appears. I can’t seem to crack the code to be able to choose different versions of the “quarter note” even though I programmed a few in. Changing the noteheads won’t give you a sub menu to select the one you want. There’s a long way to go on this front, I’m afraid. I doubt this will be a priority (much as I would like it to be) as this is a relatively niche corner of notation. It is near and dear to Daniel’s heart, I’d imagine, as he is a church musician, and this topic has popped up on the forum before, but as I recall the response was, “don’t expect anything soon.”

I’d love to see it too. I can’t imagine the complexity of programming such a functionality, which must be staggering.

If one can change an entire measure or a single note to X noteheads, why can one not create two custom notehead sets, one for general use and another to specify a single, alternate quarter note neume?

Florian, a great hint, it is all there, thank you!

So I fiddled around with the notehead editor to get at least one notehead shape right, put the clef symbol via Shift-X. Now I just have to find a way to get a four line staff instrument…
At the moment it looks like this:

The problem is that “real” chant notation doesn’t just use single notes. See for example.

SmuFL gives you an “kit of parts” to build those notations - see

Rob, I know this area is quite complex.
But as one can see in the first example right at the top (the one I am trying to replicate) it is not real gregorian chant. They just seem to use these noteheads to give it an ancient appeal.
I will be probably fine by just using the Punctum glyph and the Plainchant C clef.

I did not manage to create a four-line staff instrument in Dorico, but found a workaround:
I fired Sibelius up, added a four-line-instrument, put in a few notes and exported to music.xml.
Then imported this file into Dorico and voilà: a four line staff right in Dorico :slight_smile:

For traditional plainchant, I created a template in Illustrator that has a set of different neum forms that can be dragged into place, on top of a framework of staff and lyric lines. It’s as simple as anything else I’ve tried.

Dang. This was a great idea! I was having computer memory issues and just deleted my old stalwart license for Sib 7.5 three days ago because I never opened it anymore… looks like I might need to reconsider lol. After nearly 2 years, I can’t even remember how to use it well anymore; alas—such has been my contentment with Dorico! :smiley:

Like you, I may still use the simple notehead for the simplified chant that I prepare for my choir too. My goal is to transition them to a traditionally engraved chant book (Parish Book of Chant) so this would be a great baby step to acclimating their eyes to the new style of notation.

The idea about creating TWO different customer notehead “sets” is a great one too.

The trickier substitutions will probably be made possible by scripting – when it arrives…

But either way, this is a bit removed from what notation is today – complicated by the fact that MIDI won over the Score paradigm –, so this notation will hardly ever be interpreted semantically by any software. I’m sure you could do any example on Dorico or on any other software for that matter, but in a rather Score-like, graphic approach. Hence why people do it directly in Illustrator or InDesign, as Ben suggested.

Has Dorico come any closer yet for us liking to vary the number of lines per staff?

The only way is to create a 4-line staff in some other app, and open it from XML as a new document. Dorico will honour the number of lines.

It seems to work neither from Finale nor from Musescore … I won’t buy Sibelius only for that. Other programs I ought to consider?