Capo chords: script? workaround?

Hi all. Dorico 3 hit so many of my marks I thought I was dreaming, but one of the last “I need that” features on my list is still out there: capo chord support (i.e., a secondary layer of transposed chord symbols above the concert pitch set already in use). It’s one of the last lingering wistful memories from Sibelius for me, even though Sib’s functionality was a plug-in, not native.

Has anyone successfully implemented a Lua script for this? I can see this being a rather complex bit of computation for a script to handle…

Basically, anything I can do to avoid the Finale-esque horror of creating individual text elements for this would be keen.

Thanks and happy notating.

Dorico scripting isn’t developed enough (or isn’t sufficiently accessible to users) for this sort of thing yet.

Yeah, that’s kinda what I was afraid of. Thanks.

We are hoping to add support for capo chords in the relatively near future.

Thanks, Daniel! Count me in on the conversation if you’re looking for input. Someday I WILL convince the liturgical music industry to go Dorico, and intelligent implementation of this feature (vs. the Hieronymous-Bosch-esque experience they endure with this in Finale) could be the deal-sealer.

On that note, would this also cover treating detuned guitars as transposing instruments? Such as a guitar tuned to E♭ Standard, but the notation shown as if it’s tuned to E standard?

I’m not sure that it would. What do you really want to happen? You want the playback to be a semitone lower than the notation, or what?

Yes, precisely. I’ve attached a PDF as its easier to explicitly show what I would like to be able to do. For clarity, D standard is tuned [DGCFAD], Drop D is tuned [DADBGE], and Drop C is tuned [CGCFAD].

Essentially, when tuned to D standard, the guitar becomes a B♭ instrument, transposing at the major 9th in transposed scores, and at the octave in concert scores. It does get a little trickier when the strings are not detuned by the same amount (as in drop tunings or open tunings).

This is standard practice I’ve seen in most published guitar tab books. Not saying one way is correct and the other is incorrect, just that I would like to have the option. I’m happy to post examples once I find my tab books.
Guitar Transpositions (23.1 KB)

I’ll consult with the guitar experts on the team about this.

Thanks so much. I knows it’s a day after the update and didn’t mean start with feature requests so soon. It was related to the original post which is why I brought it up. The added guitar support has been really great so far!

My colleague Richard suggests that perhaps you could achieve what you want most simply, assuming your project is for solo guitar, by adjusting the tuning parameter on the Tuning page of Playback Options, which would allow you to transpose the playback down by whatever interval you like.

This can be done using MuseScore as an intermediary step. In MuseScore you can go into a stave properties and tell it to transpose the guitar (or any instrument). So, for example, if you wish to capo at fret three, tell MuseScore to transpose the instrument up by a minor third.

If you then export this as a musicxml file and import it into Dorico then Dorico respects the transposition. If the instrument was defined as a guitar in MuseScore, then Dorico will allow you to add a tab stave which will also work properly.

All Dorico needs is the same ability to transpose any instrument individually.

One thing that I’ve found though is that it is best to prepare the whole piece before using MuseScore to do this. You cannot simply import the guitar line from MuseScore. Dorico will mess it up if you change they key elsewhere.

I write songs, so I generally only need the voice and guitar. If I was also adding a piano part I would do it all in either MuseScore or Dorico before passing it through Musescore.

Chord symbols and text such as titles don’t seem to pass through this process, so you need to tackle it methodically. What I might do is prepare the score completely, then reimport it in a new score and copy across anything that went missing.

One thing here that annoys me about Dorico is that it seems to be impossible to select everything and filter our just the chords. But I’m probably missing something.

One more thing: Dorico will show that you have a guitar in Eb if you follow the above. This will confuse every guitarist on the planet, so remember to go into edit instrument name and turn off the ‘in Eb’ with the option below the edit boxes.

Also, if you turn on chord display for both voice and guitar in the above, the chords will be shown correctly transposed in each stave.

I remember when Daniel was involved in the Avid G7 development, I was a beta tester. The question of how to handle capos was discussed at great length there. Everyone seemed to look at capos in different ways. Some people were much more creative that others, using spider capos or part capos. Personally I see them as a crude transposer or as a means of making some music playable by putting the fingering in a sensible place.

I also should have added to the above that if you use the workaround, you will also need to go into Setup->Guitar->Edit Strings and Tuning to virtually add the capo to the guitar.

I am with you on this, Tony. When I did Psalm Songs (Cassell) in Finale back in 1998, I needed these upper-level capo chords in virtually every song. I actually rang Finale support in America about it, only to be told, “No-one has ever requested that before!”. Yeah; right. After all this time, I forget exactly how I did it, but it was agonising. I will raise the proverbial flags when Dorico implements this feature.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying Dorico 3 so much that I have begun resetting all my old Finale/Sibelius scores in it. Congratulations, team!

I spoke with an editor at one major Catholic publisher (a Finale house) a few years back, and their “workaround” was to create a library of every chord symbol they could conceive of, in every key, and manually insert them from these libraries. They are by far the most guitar-friendly of their peers, so the amount of time they spend enduring this particular form of hell must be staggering.

And don’t even get me started on “no one has ever requested that before.” My response to that is likely vulgar enough to be booted from the forum. :smiley:

When I have to fake a “transposed” guitar (with a capo or low tuning like EbAbDbGbBbEb) I write the chart as normal and then transpose its track in halion or KONTAKT

Please allow for various either co-existing capo chord tracks or lanes, or individual properties per instrument.
I’m writing this because I just edited chords and realized the edits have been ported to all other instruments containing chords.
How about the properties panel of every player/instrument being updated as soon as chords are entered? On/off chord display and options (colour, font, size, position), on/off secondary chord display (could be solfège or capo chords or – who knows – both) and transposition (= capo) per display, player or even instrument (in case of several instruments per player) and/or flow. Why per flow? Because I write for pupils that swap instruments and obviously don’t need chords displayed when they put away the guitar and pick up a bongo :wink:
[For this very reason I’d also very much welcome any instrument change being made possible, unpitched to pitched et vice versa, with according change of staff appearance. But that’s OT, so I stop here.]
Have you ever thought of having Dorico suggest appropriate chords from what it derives from the key and the voices already written out?

I love using this software since v.3 and am eagerly awaiting the next update.