7th chords' inversions symbols question

Here are two snapshots of 7th chord inversion symbols.
The first one is what I’m used to:
Screen Shot 2020-05-16 at 10.26.00 AM.png
And here’s what Dorico offers:
Screen Shot 2020-05-16 at 10.24.40 AM.png
I checked it one more time in the 2nd flow - just make sure that there’s no context.
The symbols were created by pressing Shift + Q and playing the chord on the midi keyboard.
Truth be told, the Dorico’s way is puzzling to me - why the inversions of the same 7th chord are assigned different symbols?
Igor Borodin

It is an Engrave Option:

That was not my question.
The question was: why the symbol in the first bar is ‘Am7’ (which is what I’d expect), yet in the second bar - ‘C6’, while I’d expect ‘Am7/C’ because it’s just an inversion of the same chord.

Am7/C and C6 contain the same notes, but are different chords with different function. The only way to tell them apart is context. Entering the chords with a MIDI controller does not give Dorico any context as to which chord it is, so it has to just pick one. For consistency, it always picks C6 so it’s predictable.

If you want Am7/C, you can tell Dorico which note you consider the root. Check the manual.

I would never expect to see Am7/C or Am7/E. What context are you using these chords in?


Thanks for the pointer to Manual.

That statement puzzles me - why would C6 be more consistent than Am7?
But regardless, since Dorico is relying on algorithms, I’d expect it to figure out whether the notes in the chord can be ‘rearranged’ by 3rds and if they can, from that to determine the root note.

There’s still something strange (to my eye) in the way the symbol for 3rd inversion is configured.
Following the instructions from the manual - holding first the root note and then adding the rest of the chord - I get this:
Screen Shot 2020-05-16 at 3.26.37 PM.png

The screenshot is from some textbook on music theory, and that what I used to see in other sources.
This way it’s instantly clear that this is an inversion of particular chord.


Because it’s a root position chord. Why are you having Dorico guess at chords anyway? Just Shift-Q and type them in. It’s just as fast and you can get the exact chord symbol that you want. They could completely remove the “have Dorico guess at chords” feature and it wouldn’t affect my workflow at all. If you just type them in there’s no guesswork and you can get exactly the root, quality, alterations, and inversion that you want.

I can think of plenty of reasons depending on context. The Am7/E chord in that exact key is literally one of the chords in “Dolphin Dance,” a tune virtually every jazz musician knows. The 4 bars of E pedal are Bm7/E - Am7/E - Bm7/E - Am7/E. Herbie often plays Am9/E like the first statement of the melody here, but writing it as a straight minor 7th is still common enough.

…and the following drop into Dbmaj7/Eb is utterly gorgeous.
Thanks, Todd - I’ve not listened to Maiden Voyage for yonks.

Warning: thread derailment ahead (sorry OP!)

So circa 2002, Slide Hampton asked me to write a chart on Dolphin Dance for his trombone ensemble. I had been his copyist for several years by then and was really thrilled to be asked. I wasn’t entirely sure of the correct changes at that point you mentioned (the Eb pedal stuff), but older jazz musicians back then weren’t as aware of BCCing emails, and I knew what Herbie’s personal email was from an email blast that didn’t hide it, so I got up the guts to email him about the Dolphin Dance changes there. I told him this was a chart for Slide that would likely be recorded so I wanted to get it right. He responded!!! The chords in those three Eb bars are, according to Herbie himself, Eb7sus - Abdim/Eb - C/Ab/Eb. No one wants to read “C/Ab/Eb” and Larry Willis (who was on the recording) said just write it Abmaj7+5/Eb so that’s what I did. Dbmaj7/Eb is basically the same thing as Eb7sus, but I guess Herbie was thinking of it as Eb7sus there when he wrote it.

Slide cancelled my original intro because he wanted to feature piano, but here’s my arrangement of Dolphin Dance for Slide’s band:

Heh! I’m literally reading this in bed on an iPhone, but I’ll listen to your arrangement in the morning. I’m a classical (but versatile) pianist so my chord theory’s pretty ropey, but I’m happy to say I’m sufficiently capable to be able to hear exactly what you’ve written, in my head.