Placement of the staccato on headless notes

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OCTO
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Placement of the staccato on headless notes

Post by OCTO »

I've come across a question about staccato markings. As the rule, staccato is placed above the notehead, centered, with a 0.5 (in space) to 1 space distance (on line) from the edge of the notehead. However, I noticed that with headless notes, the centered option doesn't seem to look quite right. What are your thoughts on placing the staccato above the stem (centered)?
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RMK
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Re: Placement of the staccato on headless notes

Post by RMK »

The first example looks better to me, but you should adjust the staccato dots so that they are parallell to the gliss. line.
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Re: Placement of the staccato on headless notes

Post by JJP »

Above the stem is the answer in this case. Without a notehead, the stem becomes the horizontal reference point for the eye.
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OCTO
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Re: Placement of the staccato on headless notes

Post by OCTO »

Yes, I guessed it was the correct way, however NONE of the available notation software respect this rule.

There are other issues with the example above. As you see, I have adjusted the spacing between the first two notes in the first example. Example on the right is default and has numerous issues: wrongly (horizontally) positioned staccatos, spacing between the first and the second note, but included spacing of the "invisible" ledger lines in the overall spacing. Also, stems's end is not aligned with the glissando line and, what you have mentioned, staccato dots should follow the glissando line (positioned vertically).

As said, this is in common for all available programs (above is MuseScore 4), and quite a lot for programmers to adjust it.
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Re: Placement of the staccato on headless notes

Post by JJP »

I would speculate that this is because the program still “sees” a blank notehead character and places the staccato in relation to that.

Also, I’d be willing to bet that this is a case which was not considered by programmers because it is quite rare. If it was considered, I’m sure it was placed rather low on a long list of programming priorities.
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Anders Hedelin
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Re: Placement of the staccato on headless notes

Post by Anders Hedelin »

I recall trying this for a job I had and discovering there was a surprising difference between two possible ways of hiding the noteheads:
Headless staccato A.JPG
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Headless staccato B.JPG
Headless staccato B.JPG (23.08 KiB) Viewed 31523 times
The really surprising thing was that the difference ocurred not when changing the noteheads as you might have expected, but when hiding the ledger lines!

The vertical placement of the staccato dots could of course be adjusted manually, but I never found out how to fix the "uneven" stem lengths. They seem to be inseparably locked to the absent noteheads.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Placement of the staccato on headless notes

Post by John Ruggero »

Anders Hedelin wrote: 06 Oct 2023, 06:19 The really surprising thing was that the difference ocurred not when changing the noteheads as you might have expected, but when hiding the ledger lines!
Finale seems to be doing exactly what JJP mentioned above: it is centering the dot over the most prominent visual reference point. Amazingly sophisticated for Finale.
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