Graphically altering note pitches and accidentals in the notation editor.

Key command summary

Graphical notation navigation

After selecting a note or rest in the graphical notation, you can move to other notes in the score melodically or harmonically. Use the left key to move the previous melodic note, right key to move the next melodic note, up key to move the next higher harmonic note in the score, and down key to move the next lower harmonic note in the score,

Below is a demonstration of the arrow keys in action. Notice that harmonic navigation wraps around, so that attempting to go up beyond the top note in the score will wrap the cursor to the bottom harmonic note at that point in the score.

navigating notes in a score with arrow keys
Navigating notes/rests in a score with arrow keys.

Also note that there must be a note or rest at the same timestamp on a staff or layer; otherwise that staff or layer will be skipped. Also note that the cursor in the text editor to the left is updated to match the currently selected note/rest. And finally note that moving melodically of of a page will cause the next/previous page to be loaded.

Stepwise transposition

Notes can be transposed to a different staff-line or space by clicking on a note and then using the shift-up and shift-down arrow keys to move it vertically. Below is a demonstration where the D5 pitch is moved down by step to D4:

graphically transposing a note
Stepwise graphic transposition of a note with shift-down.

Notice that as the note moves down in the notation editor, the corresponding note in the Humdrum data will change automatically to match the new pitch of the note in the notation.

Transposing by diatonic interval

If you need to transpose a note by more than a step at a time, a faster transposition method prefixes the shift-up or shift-down keystroke with a digit from 3 through 9 to transpose up or down by that diatonic interval:

graphically transposing a note by thirds
Transposing a note up by thirds with 3+shift-up.

Transposing by octave

The keystrokes control-up/control-down can be used as a shortcut to transpose a note by an octave. This is equivalent to 8+shift-up/8+shift-down.

graphically transposing a note by octaves
Transposing a note up/down by octave with control-up/control-down.


Accidentals can be added to a selected note by pressing minus for a flat, hash for a sharp, and n for a natural. To add a double-flat or double-sharp, prefix the accidental keystroke with the digit 2.

Repeating the same accidental on a note that already has that accidental will remove the accidental from the note. An easy way to remove any accidental other than a natural sign would be to type n+n: once to convert the accidental into a natural sign, and another to remove the natural sign (the note will still possess an implicit natural, however).

changing the accidental of a note
Graphically adding/removing accidentals.

Printed vs. sounding accidentals

Humdrum **kern pitches always encode sounding accidentals. VHV automatically calculates visual accidentals when converting to MEI for rendering to graphic music notation.

However there can be exceptions to the visual accidental calculation rules, which are demonstrated in the sub-sections below.

  1. forced accidentals: the accidental can be forced to display on a selected note by pressing x.
  2. suppressed accidentals: don’t show the accidental regardless of whether or not it should be shown. (not currently available in graphic editing).

Below is a demonstration of changing accidentals in the music. Notice that altering the accidental on one a note may automatically add a different visual accidental on a following note in the measure.

automatic calculations of printed accidentals
Demonstration of printed accidental calculations.

As demonstrated in the above figure, if a grace note has a printed accidental, the next note on the same staff line or space in the measure will be given a forced accidental. If you don’t want this automatic courtesy accidental add a y after the accidental in the Humdrum data.

Forced accidentals

Accidentals can be forced to display in the notation by typing the key x while editing a note (mnemonic: eXplicit). This will add the character X (capital x) after the accidental for the note data, which means to explicitly show the accidental in the notation. Forced accidentals are typically used to remind a performer that the note has the given accidental, such as when an accidental is canceled by a barline and a note in the following measure is spelled according to the key signature again. Forced accidentals used for this purpose are called courtesy or cautionary accidentals.

forcing the display of accidentals
Forcing the display of accidentals with x.

Natural signs (n) in **kern data are automatically treated as forced accidentals when converting Humdrum data into notation. To create a forced natural, you should instead type n to add a natural sign.

Suppressed accidentals

VHV will automatically suppress printed accidentals on notes that otherwise require them if they are tied over from previous measures:

graphically transposing a note
Visual accidentals are automatically suppressed for notes tied over barlines.

Explicitly suppressing visual accidentals cannot be done within the notation editor (yet), but this can be accomplished by adding a single y after the accidental in the text editor.

Ornament accidentals

Ornaments containing auxiliary accidentals will automatically force an accidental on a following note if it is different from that of the auxiliary accidental.

Ornamental accidentals
Automatically forced accidentals after ornaments. (typing m, w, and T)

Editorial accidentals

The VHV notation editor allows toggling of accidentals between regular and editorial forms. Press i to switch between these two types of accidentals.

editorial accidentals
Creating, removing and changing editorial accidentals.

To indicate an editorial accidental, an RDF signifier has to be added to the data:

!!!RDF**kern: i = editorial accidental

Any user-signifier other than i can also be used. If no editorial accidental RDF is found in the data, one will be inserted at the bottom of the Humdrum content automatically; otherwise, the signifier for an existing editorial accidental RDF entry will be used (even if it is not i).

Editorial accidentals will always be forced to display, so adding a forced display signifier (X) with the x key is not necessary.

Styling editorial accidentals

By default editorial accidentals are displayed as small accidentals above the note. This is the most common editorial accidental style for Renaissance music. For music that includes basso continuo numbers or chords, editorial accidentals are typically displayed within brackets or occasionally parentheses.

Adding the string bracket or brack somewhere on the editorial accidental RDF line will move the editorial accidentals in front of the notes and place brackets around them:

selecting an editorial accidental style
Examples of how to select editorial accidental styles.

Any user signifier can be used for editorial accidentals, but the last RDF line in a file is given priority for adding/removing editorial state of accidentals when using the i graphical editing command.