Different note heads on a chord?

• Jan 3, 2014 - 15:16

There are two posts that indicate that this is now possible (actually as of two years ago), but I'm not seeing how to do it:


When I right click on a note head and choose "Note Properties", the "Small" check box only appears under "Chord Properties".

Is there another way to access the "Small" property for the individual note head, or is the statement in the 1st link above (that this was implemented in r4923) not actually correct?



also on other notes, or do you mean something else?
and also:
hold down Ctrl, click on the notes you want to change (they change color);
Release Ctrl, click the right button: known properties, select "small"

Attachment Size
small.png 6.08 KB

In reply to by Shoichi

From your pic, I'm referring to the 2nd instance (which I'm assuming is a bass clef), where one might want to have the "B" as a small note head while still having the "D" & "G" normally sized.

In MuseScore 1.3, you may have to use a separate voice for that one note.

In the nightly build for 2.0, you can click on the note in the chord and change the note head size via the 'Inspector'.


In reply to by aTallGuyNH

Still wondering what your use case is. I can't offhand think of any standard notations that would involve mixed size noteheada within a single chord. Which is to say, people here and there may have decided individually to do this for their own reasons, but it's not the "official" way to do anything in particular I can think of. Meaning, it's very likely there would be alternate solutions that would be no less familiar to readers.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sharing the same stem is the standard way this is handled in any hymnal that I've ever seen. Here's a fairly complex example, where the stems are shared wherever possible: http://www.hymnary.org/page/fetch/HHOF1980/295/high/288

Just to prove/indicate that this is not a fluky approach, here is the same hymn that is clearly engraved separately and for another hymnal, but is still using the same basic approach:

It is common in pop music as well -- particularly in simplified arrangements (in contrast to the full "as recorded" scores which vary to such a degree between verses that they generally must be written out in full). I've attached another example.

In reply to by aTallGuyNH

I'm not saying that it is unprecedented, or even uncommon within particular genres. I'm responding more to your comment about wanting to use "proper" notation to make your work "accessible to anyone with basic knowledge of notation". My point is that if you find the workarounds to get this notation to be too painful, there are lots of others equally "proper" ways this can be notated that should all be equally accessible to anyone with basic knowledge of notation. Or you can put up with the pain - that's of course a valid choice too. But I personally prefer to take the path of least resistance in most cases.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I hear where you are coming from on it. I do think this notation method is sufficiently common (it's a heck of a lot more common than shape notes, for instance) that it makes sense to support it natively -- which it sounds like is the case in 2.0 anyway. (What is the general ETA on that anyway? It sounds like it's getting fairly close?)

BTW, my concern re: "proper" and "accessible" was most particularly in regards to the idea of using colors, which would be (IMHO) very far off the beaten path of standard notation given that virtually all sheet music is printed in black & white.

In reply to by aTallGuyNH

No official word on when 2.0 might be released - just the standard "when it's ready". But yeah, my sense too is that it's not that far off. They are pretty much done adding features, but there are still quite a few bugs to fix. I've tried my hand at fixing a few myself, and there are a couple of other people who have recently started helping too.

In reply to by aTallGuyNH

You'll find a lot of issues in the tracker closed as already fixed that aren't actually fixed in the current version - they are fixed for 2.0, which has been under development for somewhere around 3 years now (?). But note that the nightly builds are *not* ready for any serious use. Download one and play with it, report bugs, etc, but don't expect to use it for real work. You may end creating a score that won't even open in the build a week later.

Is there a particular use case you are thinking of where you need different types of noteheads on the same chord? There might be another way of notating it that is easier.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

On the nightly builds, and for this feature in particular, would it be possible to edit my score there and then open it with the current version to see small & normal note heads mixed on the same chord/voice? Or is it a one-way street and once edited in 2.0 there is no going back?

The use case is any spot where there is a need for alternate notes without resorting to separate staves or voltas. This could be in the case of a descant or an alternate melody on a repeat. An example of the latter is attached.

I can't think of an easier way to go about it... rendering the attached via separate voices would be extremely tedious. For example, let's take the single 1/16th note at the end of the partial measure shown in the attachment. To make a small note head on the same stem via using a different voice:

1) Enter a half rest, dotted quarter rest, and 1/16th rest.
2) Enter the note itself
3) Go back and delete the rests. This is made more tedious due to the fact that when deleting, the "focus" does not automatically move to the next or previous note/rest (not sure if that's on the docket of future fixes... I know others have posted about it in the past).
4) Change new note head to "small".
5) Zoom in so I can see what I'm doing for the next steps.
6) Double-click the small note head and Ctrl/Alt+arrow to get it exactly against the stem of the original note/chord.
7) Lengthen the original stem to match the end of the new stem.
8) Make the new note stemless (necessary to avoid seeing multiple flags).

That's about it... This winds up with a flag that is normal size instead of matching the small note head though, which isn't the same as what is in the snippet from the score that I've attached. I tried messing around with hiding the normal sized flag, but MuseScore crashed, so I'll avoid that I guess. :-)

In reply to by aTallGuyNH

Scores opened in nightly builds will not open in 1.3 - they might not even open in a nightly build from the next night :-)

OK, it appears you use case is showing a melody used for one verse and the melody used for a different verse at the same time. This is a good example of what I meant - this isn't really standard technique that everyone familiar with notation would necessarily expect to see. It's just one particular convention some particular editors may have adopted for some particular publications. There are other ways of indicating this same thing, such as actually using two separate voices and not trying to fake that they are one (that only works if they happen to share the same rhythm anyhow), or writing out the passage twice to show the different melodies. Also much more commonly, one just doesn't bother notating those sort of improvised variations between verses but assumes the vocalist will supply his own improvised variations. So I wouldn't really bend over backwards to notate passages this way given the number of perfectly good alternatives.

But if you do want to create this particular notation in 1.3, an easier way might be to add the notes in the first voice, hide the note heads, then place the small notes as graphics.

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