Dash in chord symbols is too small in every font I've tried

Tell me if I’m crazy, but I can’t get over this problem. The dash in chord symbols, used to mean minor, is too small and thin in every font I’ve tried.
Screenshot 2020-03-10 at 13.40.28.png
I am not knowledgeable about this topic at all but I know there are several different types of dashes/hyphens - maybe Dorico is using the wrong character? I’m guessing it’s using an en dash? A hyphen would be too short and an em dash would be too long, but I just wish it could be thicker. Maybe this needs to be its own kind of music text character or something. Again, I am not knowledgeable on this so please educate me.

From a distance, it’s really easy to miss the dash and play a minor chord as major or dominant. Both with triads and chords with extensions and alterations.

I also don’t like how low it is and how close it is to the letter before. In some fonts, in the chord symbol “A–”, the dash is actually contiguous with the letter A.

I really do not want to use “m” or “mi” if I don’t have to. If anyone has a good chord symbol font that might help, please let me know! Thanks!

Yes, the default positioning of this seems pretty off to me too. Personally, I hate the use of a dash to mean minor, but it’s still a pretty easy fix if you want to use it.

Go to Engraving Options/Chords/Project Default Appearances. Click Edit and then enter Cm7, or any other minor. We are going to edit the actual symbol so the root of the minor chord doesn’t matter. Click the dash. You’ll notice that there are two dash options, one longer and one shorter. Choose whichever one you want.

The minus is also too low with my settings as well. With it selected, click the Edit Component icon to bring up the Edit Chord Symbol Component dialog box. Modifications here will affect the symbol everywhere it is used, rather than just for that specific Cm7 chord. Change the Y offset to give a better appearance with your chosen typeface and size. Y: 1.25 seems pretty good for mine. If you need an X offset you can do that too, as well as scale it to make it larger if you want. The scale values have to match for it to have an effect.

Hit Ok, then Apply, then close out of Engraving Options. The symbol should now look something more like this, and your edits should affect that symbol everywhere it is used, not just in Cm7:

While Dorico can certainly accommodate this style, the use of minus for minor was a handcopying shortcut in the Real Book nomenclature style. I’d still love to see it die out for as you point out, it is easy to miss, and also can cause confusion with styles that use plus and minus for alterations.

Thanks so much Fred, this is great!

I actually prefer the dash (when it’s large enough) for jazz charts because it corresponds with the triangle for major, looks better than adding in more letters, and I think it’s what most jazz musicians of my generation (millennials/GenZ) are using. But I suppose that’s a topic for a different forum. :slight_smile:

In the SMuFL definition there is a symbol called csymMinor (U+E874), supposedly meant for this purpose. I don’t know if Dorico actually uses this symbol, but if it does, I understand why the the result is unsatisfactory. Especially compared to the + for augmented (csymAugmented, U+E872), it is really (too) small. In the screenshot you can see these + and - chord symbols from BravuraText combined with Academico in a text editor.
Maybe a small tweak in BravuraText is needed. In the meantime, fortunately, we can adapt music symbols ourselves, as described above.
Schermafbeelding 2020-03-10 om 17.08.13.png

Interesting. Dorico is using csymMinor for the main minus, but the larger minus is actually named csymMinorSmall. I’m curious if that’s on purpose and why. It seems odd that the larger symbol would have the “small” designation.

This is kinda OT obviously, but in dim light (or multiple beverages :smiley: ) the difference between the triangle and ordinal (for dim) isn’t always quickly apparent. The use of the descender “j” makes “maj” instantly recognizable as it is the only chord quality using a descender. Some of the shorthand conventions like - for minor, and triangle for major really are remnants of the handcopying era. Using maj for major and m for minor really is the preferred nomenclature now in the computer copying era.

Regarding the relative proportions of U+E872 (the plus sign) and U+E874 (the minus sign), they are quite consistently sized relative to other fonts. We could make the minus a little wider, but otherwise I think it would also be necessary to make the plus sign larger too.

“csymMinorSmall” is an optical variant, which is designed to be of a similar visual boldness to the regular minus symbol when it is scaled down to 75% or less normal size, so I made it the same width as the plus sign.

Ah, the small variant is made to be scaled smaller, got it.

What does this have to do with Printmusic and Finale? This is the Dorico forum…

Well, he DID say one of the pros should weigh in with a comment… :laughing:

While you’re here, SmithClr, have you ever considered joining the Dorc side…?

Yeah, that was an odd post. Since he was quoting a dead Finale forum thread, I’m guessing maybe he meant to quote the post above it that stated, “And I don’t know any jazz musician who writes charts with Amaj7 instead of A with a little triangle (for instance) or Bmin7 instead of B-7, etc.” Not worth arguing about with someone who has a locked account here quoting someone with 7 posts on a dead forum.

Yeah I see the argument, and I use “maj” for pop and rock stuff, but for jazz musicians, with the stuff we’re doing nowadays, the chord symbols are getting longer and longer and moving quicker and quicker. “Bbmaj7#5#9/Eb,” etc., with each chord lasting a quarter. In the screenshot I put in my original post for example, all those letters just won’t fit without making the note spacing too wide.