I am trying to find a way of providing certain analysts to do an export to Excel from a list of incidents and to inlude each and every note that is attached to each incident.
I know I can use the 'Notes' object and have a separate instance of each incident for every note and this would be fine, but some incidents don't have notes and therefore wouldn't appear in the list. As far as I can see, there is no way of doing this via a query based on the incident object.
Unfortunately you're correct. You can either export a query of incidents but not get the notes, or export the notes along with information from their incidents but you'll miss out on any incidents without notes.
Depending on what you're trying to achieve you might be able to solve this by doing two exports - one for incidents and one for notes, then link them together with some Excel magic. Alternatively you could extract the data directly from the database via a SQL query, Crystal report, etc.