Controlling which measures Chord symbols appear

Sorry if I’m not finding something obvious, but is there a better way to control where a chord symbol appears in a saxophone part other than to specify “show for all instruments” in the Setup Mode instrument setup, then going Write mode, to each chord symbol that I don’t want to see and manually select ‘hidden’? Trying to simplify writing a jazz ensemble chart where an instrument may have only 8-16 bars of changes in a 100+ bar piece of music.

What you’ve described is the only way of doing it for now. Just in case you really are selecting the chord symbols one at a time to hide them, you don’t need to do that. Draw a marquee selection around everything, then filter chord symbols, then hide them all in one go.

You can also use Edit > Select More to quickly select all the chord symbols in the flow, then hide all of them in one step, then selectively un-hide them in the places where you want them to appear.

Ah, thanks for the suggestions. It’s always good to get more familiar with Dorico’s powerful editing tools.

Maybe a suggestion along these lines:

The “Show for all instruments” selection in the instrument setup implies that chord symbols would exist and remain hidden if this is not selected. I don’t get the gist that this is actually the case, given that I currently would have to go and mass-select symbols on a staff to hide them when this is selected. What about automatically creating them on every staff and having them hidden, and add an option “hidden chord symbols” to the “View->Signposts” submenu, which is un-checked by default? This wouldn’t be a huge savings in clicking, but I think it would affect that a bit. Plus, as the functionality currently seems to be, the “show for all instruments” selection in the instrument setup should actually be “create for this instrument” or something thereabouts; the language currently doesn’t quite reflect the functionality.

The language reflects the functionality once you bear in mind that a single player may potentially hold a rhythm instrument and a non-rhythm instrument.

Ah, you mean “all” doesn’t apply to all instruments in the score, but to all instruments in the “player”. Gotcha.

That’s actually not the main part of what I was referring to in a language/function mismatch. I was thinking more along the lines of a chord symbol not existing in a staff at all without that check mark, or at least being entirely inaccessible.

Just to be blunt about it, Dorico’s implementation of this seems like a really inefficient way to handle chord symbols. I just finished a 314 bar big band arrangement and because Trumpet 2 has a 12 bar repeated solo, I had 302 measures of chord symbols to hide in both the score and part, as hiding chord symbols in one will not update in the other (regardless of whether the hiding was done in Write or Engrave mode). Ctrl-Shift-A (3x) is invaluable here as is turning on chord signposts, but it seems like there should be an easier way to implement this. To add to the confusion, this technique to mass hide them is not mentioned in the Anthony Hughes video on chord symbols, nor does it appear in the documentation when you search for “remove chord symbols.” (It’s not mentioned in the first few pages of results anyway.)

I only discovered the Ctrl-Shift-A 3x method after spending about 10 minutes trying to do it with Edit/Filter/Chords and realizing there has to be a better way. There really should be a separate entry in the help detailing this technique as it is not at all obvious to new users. Sorry if it is already in there somewhere but I didn’t come across it when searching.

Perhaps a better way would be for the user to be able to assign a Chord Region where they will show, and then they remain hidden outside of that selected region. A checkbox to only show in slash regions or slash noteheads would be another way, although that certainly would not be comprehensive as players often require chord symbols over a solo melody on a ballad for example. At the very least, a separate entry detailing the Select More and Signposts technique added to the documentation would go a long way toward clearing this up as it is not at all intuitive for a new user.

To be fair, I like how Dorico handles chord symbols in general. In the long run, it’s nice to be able to enter a chord symbol once and have to do very little editing to have it propagate to other relevant parts. The way it works will be relevant for most of the vast majority of jazz scores, and on average will save time. I’m just offering criticism of an exception. :slight_smile:

And yes, better documentation of what I asked about here would be nice, even if it’s a bit redundant.

To be honest, all I really care about is what is the fastest way to get the result looking the way I want. Selecting all chord symbols in the score for a part, hiding them, showing signposts, selecting the chords I want to appear, then going to the part, selecting all chords, hiding them, then selecting the signposts I want to appear, seems a lot slower than creating a chord region that tells Dorico to show the chords there for example. I sort of like how Dorico handles it for rhythm parts as hiding them as needed is probably faster than Edit Filter/Chords-copying them is in Finale, but the implementation in non-rhythm instruments does not seem optimal with regard to amount of time spent. The fact that the edits have to be done twice, both in the score and part, and that the best method to accomplish this editing is not mentioned in the documentation or instructional videos (as far as I can tell, perhaps I wrong) means that most new users will be quite frustrated with this.

The edits don’t need to be done twice - you can Edit > Propagate Properties on them!

Arrg! Thanks Leo! I didn’t realize that, and obviously just wasted a bunch of time not doing it that way.

Hmm, I’m actually trying it now and they don’t seem to Propagate after all. I can certainly propagate other properties between parts and score easily enough. Can you get the Hidden status of chord symbols to propagate? If so, I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong as I can get other Properties to propagate, just not the hidden status of chord symbols.


The hidden state of chord symbols doesn’t seem to propagate after all, unless I’m doing something wrong here (which is entirely possible!)

I stand corrected - sorry! I could have sworn somebody said you could, just the other day, but this is one of the rare occasions I posted without checking.

Chord symbols are system-attached items and hence it’s difficult in general for their properties to be propagated for boring technical reasons that may perhaps in the future be overcome.

This issue has come up in discussion quite a few times over the last couple of years, and we know that for instruments where chord symbols are needed only for a short passage, the current approach is comparatively unwieldy. We have plans to improve this in future, so please hold your horses. You don’t have to convince us of the utility of further functionality in this direction.

Naturally. And everybody agrees that some further refinements will be welcome.

I found this area very frustrating and tedious as I was first using it, particularly because it is so hard to select the chords you want to hide when a player may need chords for only 8 bars in a 100-bar chart. But there are ways to make this process much less daunting. For starters, take note of the fact that you can have multiple windows open simultaneously.

Let’s say I need to give the Alto 1 8 bars of chords. I’ll open a window with the ASax1 layout in page mode and zoom it down to where I can see the entire page – or multiple pages if the monitor is big enough. You don’t need to see the notes clearly to lasso a big chunk of chords you want to hide. I have shortcuts Ctl+Shft+Alt+C for “filter chords” and Ctl+Shft+Alt+H for “hide.” So this whole process takes maybe 15 seconds. I lasso a bunch of measures before the solo, then do the two shortcuts. I do the same with a big chunk of bars after the solo. Then I might have to do a couple more smaller lasso operations. It is all in the extra window, so I can minimize or close that window and then continue editing in the score. It really isn’t bad once you have done it once or twice.

And if you want to get really clever, I think you could set up a StreamDeck button to do the filter and hide together with one button “Hide chords”.

This process isn’t perfect. If you add some chords along the way, they will appear in the horn parts, so I generally wait until the end to do this hiding.