Shape note noteheads (U+E1B0–U+E1CF)

Glyph Description Glyph Description
U+E1B0
noteShapeRoundWhite
Round white (4-shape sol; 7-shape so)
U+E1B1
noteShapeRoundBlack
Round black (4-shape sol; 7-shape so)
U+E1B2
noteShapeSquareWhite
Square white (4-shape la; Aikin 7-shape la)
U+E1B3
noteShapeSquareBlack
Square black (4-shape la; Aikin 7-shape la)
U+E1B4
noteShapeTriangleRightWhite
Triangle right white (stem down; 4-shape fa; 7-shape fa)
U+E1B5
noteShapeTriangleRightBlack
Triangle right black (stem down; 4-shape fa; 7-shape fa)
U+E1B6
noteShapeTriangleLeftWhite
Triangle left white (stem up; 4-shape fa; 7-shape fa)
U+E1B7
noteShapeTriangleLeftBlack
Triangle left black (stem up; 4-shape fa; 7-shape fa)
U+E1B8
noteShapeDiamondWhite
Diamond white (4-shape mi; 7-shape mi)
U+E1B9
noteShapeDiamondBlack
Diamond black (4-shape mi; 7-shape mi)
U+E1BA
noteShapeTriangleUpWhite
Triangle up white (Aikin 7-shape do)
U+E1BB
noteShapeTriangleUpBlack
Triangle up black (Aikin 7-shape do)
U+E1BC
noteShapeMoonWhite
Moon white (Aikin 7-shape re)
U+E1BD
noteShapeMoonBlack
Moon black (Aikin 7-shape re)
U+E1BE
noteShapeTriangleRoundWhite
Triangle-round white (Aikin 7-shape ti)
U+E1BF
noteShapeTriangleRoundBlack
Triangle-round black (Aikin 7-shape ti)
U+E1C0
noteShapeKeystoneWhite
Inverted keystone white (Walker 7-shape do)
U+E1C1
noteShapeKeystoneBlack
Inverted keystone black (Walker 7-shape do)
U+E1C2
noteShapeQuarterMoonWhite
Quarter moon white (Walker 7-shape re)
U+E1C3
noteShapeQuarterMoonBlack
Quarter moon black (Walker 7-shape re)
U+E1C4
noteShapeIsoscelesTriangleWhite
Isosceles triangle white (Walker 7-shape ti)
U+E1C5
noteShapeIsoscelesTriangleBlack
Isosceles triangle black (Walker 7-shape ti)
U+E1C6
noteShapeMoonLeftWhite
Moon left white (Funk 7-shape do)
U+E1C7
noteShapeMoonLeftBlack
Moon left black (Funk 7-shape do)
U+E1C8
noteShapeArrowheadLeftWhite
Arrowhead left white (Funk 7-shape re)
U+E1C9
noteShapeArrowheadLeftBlack
Arrowhead left black (Funk 7-shape re)
U+E1CA
noteShapeTriangleRoundLeftWhite
Triangle-round left white (Funk 7-shape ti)
U+E1CB
noteShapeTriangleRoundLeftBlack
Triangle-round left black (Funk 7-shape ti)

Supplementary ranges

Shape note noteheads supplement

Implementation notes

A number of different shape note traditions remain in common use in the shape note community. SMuFL encodes the noteheads required for four such systems: one four-shape system; and three seven-shape systems (Walker, Funk, and Aikin). All three seven-shape systems also use the four shapes of the four-shape system, each introducing three additional shapes.

The four-shape system, used in books such as William Walker’s Southern Harmony (1835), uses a form of solmization where the syllables fa, so, la, fa, so, la, mi are assigned to the seven notes of an ascending major scale. Each syllable has its own note shape:

Syllable Half notes and longer Quarter notes and shorter
fa (or faw) Stem down: noteShapeTriangleRightWhite
Stem up: noteShapeTriangleLeftWhite
Stem down: noteShapeTriangleRightBlack
Stem up: noteShapeTriangleLeftBlack
so (or sol) noteShapeRoundWhite noteShapeRoundBlack
la (or law) noteShapeSquareWhite noteShapeSquareBlack
mi noteShapeDiamondWhite noteShapeDiamondBlack

Joseph Funk devised his seven-shape system, building upon the existing four-shape system, for his book Harmonia Sacra (1851), adding to the four-shape system by adding the syllables do, re and ti (sometimes si), so the ascending major scale would use the syllables do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti. The note shapes for each syllable are as follows:

Syllable Half notes and longer Quarter notes and shorter
do noteShapeMoonLeftWhite noteShapeMoonLeftBlack
re noteShapeArrowheadLeftWhite noteShapeArrowheadLeftBlack
mi noteShapeDiamondWhite noteShapeDiamondBlack
fa (or faw) Stem down: noteShapeTriangleRightWhite
Stem up: noteShapeTriangleLeftWhite
Stem down: noteShapeTriangleRightBlack
Stem up: noteShapeTriangleLeftBlack
so (or sol) noteShapeRoundWhite noteShapeRoundBlack
la (or law) noteShapeSquareWhite noteShapeSquareBlack
ti (or si) noteShapeTriangleRoundLeftWhite noteShapeTriangleRoundLeftBlack

In addition to being the composer of Southern Harmony, William Walker also later devised his own seven-shape system for the book Christian Harmony (1867), using the same solmization as Funk. The note shapes for each syllable are as follows:

Syllable Half notes and longer Quarter notes and shorter
do noteShapeKeystoneWhite noteShapeKeystoneBlack
re noteShapeQuarterMoonWhite noteShapeQuarterMoonBlack
mi noteShapeDiamondWhite noteShapeDiamondBlack
fa (or faw) Stem down: noteShapeTriangleRightWhite
Stem up: noteShapeTriangleLeftWhite
Stem down: noteShapeTriangleRightBlack
Stem up: noteShapeTriangleLeftBlack
so (or sol) noteShapeRoundWhite noteShapeRoundBlack
la (or law) noteShapeSquareWhite noteShapeSquareBlack
ti (or si) noteShapeIsoscelesTriangleWhite noteShapeIsoscelesTriangleBlack

Perhaps the most commonly-used seven-shape system, however, is that devised by Jesse B. Aikin, though his system is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the “Aiken” system due to an error made by the musicologist George Pullen Jackson. Aikin introduced his system in The Christian Minstrel (1846), and after his shapes were adopted by the influential Ruebush & Kieffer Publishing Company in the late 19th century they have become increasingly widely used. Again using the same solmization as both Funk and Walker, the note shapes for each syllable are as follows:

Syllable Half notes and longer Quarter notes and shorter
do noteShapeTriangleUpWhite noteShapeTriangleUpBlack
re noteShapeMoonWhite noteShapeMoonBlack
mi noteShapeDiamondWhite noteShapeDiamondBlack
fa (or faw) Stem down: noteShapeTriangleRightWhite
Stem up: noteShapeTriangleLeftWhite
Stem down: noteShapeTriangleRightBlack
Stem up: noteShapeTriangleLeftBlack
so (or sol) noteShapeRoundWhite noteShapeRoundBlack
la (or law) noteShapeSquareWhite noteShapeSquareBlack
ti (or si) noteShapeTriangleRoundWhite noteShapeTriangleRoundBlack

For practical use, scoring applications should provide a means of automatically substituting regular noteheads for the appropriate shape note notehead glyph according to the pitch of each note.

See also the implementation notes for noteheads.