MakeMusic
SmartMusic Finale Garritan MusicXML

Notehead Shapes

The one remaining task is to specify the alternate noteheads that distinguish the hi-hat from the cymbal. While the MusicXML playback can distinguish these by the use of different instruments, a drummer will certainly appreciate having different notehead shapes for different instrument on the same line.

The MusicXML notehead element specifies these different shapes. Values can be slash, triangle, diamond, square, cross, x, circle-x, normal, cluster, inverted triangle, arrow down, arrow up, slashed, back slashed, do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, and none. Enclosed shapes like normal, diamond, triangle, and square can use the filled attribute to indicate a filled or hollow shape.

The first two notes of the cymbal/hi-hat line look like this:

      <note default-x="78">
        <unpitched>
          <display-step>B</display-step>
          <display-octave>3</display-octave>
        </unpitched>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <instrument id="P1-X13"/>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <stem default-y="40">up</stem>
        <notehead filled="no">diamond</notehead>
        <beam number="1">begin</beam>
      </note>
      <note default-x="109">
        <unpitched>
          <display-step>B</display-step>
          <display-octave>3</display-octave>
        </unpitched>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <instrument id="P1-X6"/>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <stem default-y="40">up</stem>
        <notehead>x</notehead>
        <beam number="1">continue</beam>
      </note>

clear

The filled attribute on the notehead element is also useful for multi-part piano music. There are many cases where, for instance, a downstem half note shares a hollow notehead with an upstem eighth note. The eighth note can specify that it uses an unfilled normal notehead, making things display correctly when moving back and forth between notation programs.


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