XML import/export: headless noteheads

I am having some trouble on the topic of Headless Noteheads.
I am importing some XML files produced with Finale or Sibelius. The XML import works really great (microtonality, dynamics, beams, etc), however, I can’t import correctly headless noteheads. It works fine with other noteheads styles, but it seems to not recognize the headless.
Reading here and there in the forum I believe that the reason is that a Headless Notehead doesn’t exist by default in Dorico, and the workaround is to create a custom one or to use the lovely feature “hide notehead”.

Despite that, this means that once I have imported an XML file I have to manually select in the score all the notes that are supposed to be headless. Not really a big deal, but I wonder if there is a way to automatize the process.

I tried the following, without great success:

  1. I tried editing the original XML file replacing all the <notehead>none</notehead> with something else e.g. <notehead>slash</notehead>, which is correctly interpreted by Dorico. After that, one could filter in the score for all the slash noteheads, and hide them. However, I read here that the noteheads filter is not implemented yet, is this correct?
  2. Another attempt has been by replacing <notehead>none</notehead> with <notehead color="#FFFFFF">normal</notehead> hoping to have some white noteheads. This didn’t work.
  3. So I tried the other way around, exporting an XML from Dorico’s where the “hide notehead” was applied, and inspecting the exported file to understand how that information is coded. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to find any line related to a hidden notehead, and as a matter of fact, once that very same XML file is imported again in Dorico, the hidden noteheads are not hidden anymore, making me think that the information is not stored in the XML file (unless I made some mistake in the export).

So to sum up, I was wondering if there is a way to make the import (and export) of headless noteheads more automatic.


I don’t think there’s anything you can do right now to make the process more automatic. It would be helpful if you could upload a couple of trivial examples (one staff, one bar, a few notes) in MusicXML format that use the same technique for hiding noteheads as your “real” files, and we can look at what it might take to be able to detect these cases and automatically set the Hide notehead property during import.

Thanks for the reply!
Yes, it would be great if all the instances of <notehead>none</notehead> could set Hide notehead automatically on!
Here is a zip folder with two examples containing headless notes. There are both xml files and screenshots of how they are supposed to look like.
test_headless_xml.zip (64.3 KB)

To expand the size of a measure to fit spoken dialogue between the bar lines, I tried hiding stems and noteheads in a second voice, but the noteheads did not disappear, as did the measure rest in each measure. I solved the first problem by setting the notehead size to “1,” but is this a normal case when trying to hide notes in a second voice?