Chord Symbols "Show for all parts" should be selectable at the INSTRUMENT level

The chord symbol implementation is pretty good in Finale, except for one really large flaw. This is almost entirely for the person writing jazz arrangements, and an almost universal requirement in jazz chords is to provide chord symbols for solo instruments only in short passages, not the entire piece. The only way to accomplish this today, as far as I know, is to alter that PLAYER (not the instrument) to show the chords, then painstakingly select all the chords you don’t want to display and hide them.

It seems to me it would be a much more elegant and useful solution to select the display of chords (for non-rhythm instruments) at the INSTRUMENT level. That way, for the tenor sax player, I could have 2 instruments (section tenor sax and solo tenor sax) with the chords only showing for the section where the solo instrument is being used. Similarly, we would need a convenient way to show that solo instrument staff only during the solo section.

This approach would have the added benefit of putting the solo instrument on a separate mixer and VST channel. Typically I’d want to boost the solo a little, move it to the center, and maybe select a different sound that is more soloistic.

That doesn’t solve the more basic problem that it is extremely tedious to select chord names in the first place. I cannot find any way to select all the chord names for a particular instrument. Yes, you can marquee select everything and then filter down to chord names, but good luck with that when working on music with 100-200 measures.

To slightly ease your pain, I can at least say that there is no need to marquee select. Ctrl-a is much better, then you filter and ctrl-click the symbols you do want to see. I like your idea though.

Craig, you lost me at


What is “Finale” :stuck_out_tongue:



Aaaack. I meant Dorico. And no – chords are not “pretty good” in Finale.

And as a related item, I suppose most people here know that you can control the chord playback from the PLAY mode. I expect most people don’t want to hear the chords, but I absolutely do want to hear them, at least once after everything is entered. It is much easier for me to catch mistakes in the chord spellings by listening to the playback. I set the chord playback to a synth pad that has a fairly quick attack. I pan that all the way to the right and pan everything else to the left. That makes it easy to hear any chord collisions or mistakes – especially with headphones. After that, I will either mute the chords or let them play quietly and set the pans more normally.

Unless I am misunderstanding you, that is not a solution. That will select every instrument being displayed. That’s no good. I only want one instrument.

I could show the view that has only the tenor sax. That’s not great as in shows multi-meter rests, making it virtually impossible to select the chords you need if you have not yet entered notes.

And with my newly preferred work flow, I will be using two instruments per player – a section tenor and a solo tenor. There is no way to get a layout that has only one of the instruments. It really is a catch-22 every way you turn. I eventually gave up and clicked on every ^#$%^ chord symbol individually.

Here’s an update on the idea of using two instruments for any player that will have solos. It actually works brilliantly (except for the chord selection problem.) I am going to do this every time I have a horn that has a solo passage. The primary material goes into “Tenor sax” and the chords will be carried in the other instrument “Solo Tenor”.

Dorico automatically displays an instrument change instruction. You can easily edit this to read “Solo”. And the instrument change after the solo can be edited to read “End solo.” In the mixer, you can put the soloist at center stage, with a different VSTi voice, and maybe slightly different verb and EQ settings, to give it stage presence.

That doesn’t solve the chord selection process. But that would be completely solved in a snap if I could show chords for the solo instrument and hide chords for the section part. When you think about it, the improv solo is very much like picking up a different instrument. The player uses a completely different set of techniques when soloing.

I tested this with notes written into the “solo tenor” part where the solo occurs. That is not uncommon, especially for beginner and intermediate level arrangements. It is normal to suggest a solo and also include the chords for the player who is able to stretch out. That worked perfectly. The layout shows the section music right up to where the solo begins, and seamlessly switches to the solo instrument within the same system. No editing needed at all.

This is not as successful when notating the solo part as slash notation. As a separate complaint, there is no option for a slash region to suppress the display of any notes in that region (like Finale staff styles). So if you want slashes to appear correctly, you need empty bars. But an empty bar with a slash region is not enough to cause the player to switch instruments. And instrument switch does not happen until there are real notes. Another catch-22.

You can work around this by entering a note at the first beat of the solo section. Then select the note and mute it and color it white. If you put it immediately under or immediately above the staff, it won’t look too bad. But we really need the ability simply to hide notes. A slash region should have the option to hide all underlying notes. And a slash region with no notes entered should be sufficient to trigger an instrument change. All the building blocks are there. These are loose ends that need to be cleaned up.

Sorry, I misunderstood, I didn’t realize you were talking about the full score. I thought you thought of individual layouts

The select-all would work in individual layouts, except that it gets really crazy when there are multi-measure rests. And with my technique of a separate instrument for the solo section (which I really like), the selection of chords is more complicated.

With Finale, you can double click to the left of any instrument to select everything connected with that staff position/instrument. That operation seems to be missing in Dorico. That is to say, you can Select All, which gets everything both vertically and horizontally. And you can select from the system track, which gets everything vertically. But I don’t see any way to get everything horizontally (i.e. one instrument’s worth.)

What about utilizing the new slash regions for this? When I have a solo for an instrument I generally put in slash notation with the chords above and let them solo away. How about if Dorico was smart enough to know that when a part has slash notation, THAT is where chords should appear. It’s not ALWAYS the case of course, but for indicating an actual solo selection, create the slash region and click a button that says show rythm section chords. Just a thought. Obviously doesn’t solve the current state but might be a nice future enhancement.

I could certainly see that as an engraving option – Slash notation displays chords (in parts / in score).

That might save some time. I cannot think of any cases where I would use slash notation and NOT want the chords displayed. But I would want the same option for rhythmic notation. For piano and guitar parts (and sometimes bass parts), I will mostly use slash notation, but if there is a particular rhythm the piano/guitar needs to hit, I’ll sprinkle measures of rhythmic notation here and there.

cparmerlee, have you tried SHIFT+CTRL(CMD)+A ?
I think that way one can select one stave only until the end of a flow.

Shift+CTRL+A seems to do nothing on my system.

I see this help topic: Large selections

But none of the techniques in that topic (other then Select All) include the chord symbols. That seems to be the issue here. There was a time that the chord symbols were included in all the normal selection methods, but people had trouble wiping out chords. So that was removed, leaving us with no good way to mass-process chords.

I do not agree at all with this statement, I find Chords in Finale very well thought!
I am not here to defend Finale and I am in the process to try to completely migrate from Finale to Dorico but I find such statements simply too much and for me there are missing thingsin Doricos concept of chords.

I do like indeed some aspects of Doricos concept for chords for example that chords exist for all staves and you have only to activate chords without to have to copy them but due to the lack of further features like the possibility to define a range of bars where chords are visible or the impossibility to have different chords for each staff reduces considerably this usefull aspect of the concept.
I also I miss a chord library that you can import.
And I really can’t understand why a user chord has to be build for for each degree of a scale!

What I really would like in Dorico is at to be able to define a range of bars (something similar to “Staff Styles” in Finale) where chords are visible and this per instrument/staff basis.

BTW a feature similar to “Staff Styles” from FInale would be great in Dorico not only for chords but for a lot of other things!
This feature allows

  1. to define any range(s) of bars on any staff
  2. to define what should be visible or not in this style
  3. to create a “Staff Styles” library

For those who do not know Finale you can see in the attached image the possible settings of “Staff Styles”

k_b, Shift-Cmd-A is a custom shortcut that I use for “select to end of flow”. It won’t select chord symbols, as already stated.

I’d like a mode for chords where Dorico just puts them where you input them. Even in jazz arrangements, I rarely put chords throughout and often need different chords for different parts.

Hi, I am trying to find a solution how to create two different choir parts within of one single project:
1st one with chords for a pianist/conductor and
2nd one - without chords for choir singers.
I can set Dorico to show chords in a full score and parts, or in parts or score only, but I couldn’t find a way to show or hide them in one particular part. Hm…

Here are a couple of options, mipi:

  1. Could you be using a score layout rather than a part layout?
  2. Why not set the 1st one up to show chord symbols above the top system (Layout Options > make sure you select the correct layout on the left side > Staves and Systems > Chord Symbols) and then set the 2nd one to show no chord symbols (the usual way, on the left hand side of Setup mode).