Dedicated Jazz Post

I didn’t find any topics specifically about jazz so I’ve decided to make one.

This is a list of features I, and other jazz composers I know, would suggest for Dorico in the future. I invite other users to add suggestions to this also. I’m aware some of these are addressed but I’m including them anyway for the sake of posterity.

  1. Chord Symbols: I know that this is coming. However, I’ve noticed a lot of limitations with Finale’s chord notation so I’ll get into more detail. I think a really basic library of chords that the user can further add to and customize would be the best way to go. If that’s not ideal, Berklee College of Music has a very good system and apps like iReal Pro are also good.

  2. Time Slashes, Rhythm Slashes and Kicks Over Time: Again, I know one of these has been addressed. Finale treats the first two very well, so the main suggestion are the kicks over time, or “hits.”

  3. Custom Rehearsal Letters: I like being able to write “Intro” or “A17.” I haven’t heard anything about this for future updates.

  4. Swing: I know this isn’t a priority but just being able to assign regular eighth notes to triplet subdivisions in the Play window would help. It would also be nice to see “Swing” and “Straight” as some kind of articulation.

  5. 8va/8vb Shortcut: This is more general. When writing notes on a keyboard it would be nice to have a hot key shortcut to raise or lower a note’s pitch by an octave.

  6. Chord Playback: I have no real need for this, though I would suggest something more like iReal Pro rather than Finale’s awful playback; at least something that voice leads.

  7. Handwritten Font: I, myself, prefer the engraved look but a lot of people I know like the Real Book look.

  8. Jazz Ornamentation: Specifically: falls, spills, rips, “DOIT,” shakes, slides, etc.

  9. Drum Set Notation: This is a big one, even though it’s last. For some reason, I can’t change the note positions. They may sound different but they appear on the middle line of the staff. I don’t know if it’s possible but I’d like to be able to customize the notation system too.

Finally here are some things that might exist already, I just haven’t seen them.

  1. Customizable Ensembles: In the same way a string quartet is an ensemble template I’d like to be able to create my own and save them.

  2. Note Auditioning: If you press Option+Space and drag the mouse across notes in Finale you can hear them. It’s useful for testing out voicings and getting a feel for your piece without having to play it back. This could also be improved by allowing you to mute instruments you don’t want to hear.

  3. Tabloid Paper: In fact, I have never heard of most of the paper sizes Dorico will accept so it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s already there, just under a different name.

  4. Deleting Things from Existence: I still haven’t figured out how to delete notes, measures and staves from the score. Pressing backspace just changes everything into rests. This is especially annoying when working with multiple voices.

I’m still very happy with Dorico. It’s a shame I can’t use it as much as I’d like, because what I write requires a lot of what I suggested, but I use it when I can. I hope my input was useful and I’m looking forward to the next update!

Command + Alt + arrow up or down!

Thank you!

I love all of these points, but for the playback I’ve got two ideas: First, Cubase has fantastic chord playback, just grab that whole module and we’re golden!
Second, it would be fabulous if we could tie chord playback to a rhythm staff to get kicks from, ideally with articulations and all!


I’d also like to see work done on the whole area of drum grooves. Ultimately it should be as simple as just dragging a groove from the VST window and dropping it into the appropriate point in the piece. Cubase is superb on this point. Then Dorico should analyse the groove and represent it in notation with adjustments for repetition, fills etc.

Appreciate there’s a huge amount of work for something like this…

I am also waiting for chord notation in Dorico.
So I am really very interested to know how it will be managed.

But I can’t follow your statement about Finale.
If I had a quick advice to the Dorico team about chords it would be:
Make it at least as easy as in Finale for the user to create his own chord library.

I use Finale since decades and all my scores - I write scores for Musicals - need chords.
At one point I took the time to create my own chord library with help of the Chord Suffix Editor in Finale.
My library consist of about 100 chords suffixes.
I decided on my own how each suffix should be written.
It means I choosed how and where each character should written, the font and font size for each character, if parenthese should be used, I also choose on my own the horizontal distance between each character as well as the vertical position for each character …
After finishing this custom library I never had to look back and I use it for each of my work.
The only changes I make are sometimes to eventually add a new chord or if I change my mind about how a chord should look.
It is also very easy in Finale to replace chords from an older library with chords of your up-to-date library.

So I do hope Dorico will be at least as flexible as Finale in this subject and will allow the user to have control on each aspect of the chord.

On my side though I appreciate some automatism, I really do need the full control on how things should look like.
Considering how many opinions one can find on this forum on how a chord should look like I doubt that one can please everyone.
One solution is to give the user, among other possibilities, at least the ability to completely define how a chord should look like … as in Finale.

@Miere Cat: And though this forum is about Dorico I would really like to know what you could not achieve in a chord library within Finale! In case you find my question to off-topic feel free to PM.

I would add as a must the possibility of Swing being applied to playback with various swing settings (Cubase knows this very well BTW).
BTW this is the statement of Daniel about swing playback which unfortunately does not seem to be high on Steinberg priority list.

from this thread:

@teacue I find Finale’s way of doing it needlessly complicated. It’s annoying having to turn off chord playback because it doesn’t sound good. There’s no reason for it to sound that bad. I cant use symbols like the major triangle or half-diminished sign. Writing chord symbols with uncommon tensions is also a pain. I think it only takes a max of two tensions, and even then if they’re altered flats appear as letter B’s. Even if I do go through the effort of formatting these chords and adding them to the library I can’t get it to apply to other pieces of music. It only applies to the one I’m working on and that’s it.

To the moderators:
I am aware that the following discussion contains detailled instructions for Finale and may seem at first sight off-topic, but as I previously mentioned, I would be very glad if Dorico could provide at least all the features for chord definition that Finale offers.
This is why I think that these description can illustrate very well what one could wait from Dorico about chords.
If Dorico can offer more, then great of course.
But I do hope it will allow at least this kind of flexibility.
I also personally find that Finale features for chords quite comprehensive and easy to use.
And again the most important thing is that the user is able to do what he needs and must not follow a dictated choice he possibly does not agree with.

I intend to buy Dorico and I am waiting for the demo in order to have a better understanding of the program.

Well indeed some things are complicated but some are not so complicated.
And there are some other things that may be complicated only at the beginning and then they are very easy to use, for example a custom chord library :wink:
But of course it is necessary to take the effort to fully understand how it works.

I agree with you.
But this particular feature as nothing to do with the look of the chords, so I put this matter by side.

To be able to use a triangle for a major 7 chord you have to use the Maestro Font for this symbol and type “y”
For example use Maestro 28 plain, vertical 14 (EVpus)
With the vertical value of 14 the symbol will be aligned to the suffix.

For the half diminished symbol use also the Maestro Font and type “ALT 168”
It will gives you the inverted question mark and Finale will translate it as the half diminished symbol
You can also use again Maestro 28 plain, vertical 14 (EVpus) to vertically align the symbol.

I do no use these symbols any more, I rather use Maj 7 and m7 (b5), but it tooks me only 3 minutes to create both symbols and to add them to a custom chord library.
If I load this custom chord library in another Finale document I can then immediately use these two new created symbols and there is absolutely no need to recreate them again and again for each document.

Hmm, no, it isn’t at all.

No, just for fun I just created a chord with 4 tensions, it is absolutely no problem.
But indeed you have to know exactly how does the Chord Edit Definition window works.
But this is really not very difficult.

Of course you have to edit your chord in the Chord Definition window.
In this edit window you have the choice to choose a prefix for your symbol.
It can be either a Sharp, a Flat, a Minus or a Plus.
It means instead of writing the letter b and the number 5 to get b5 you write the number 5 and choose the option “Prefix with Flat”.

Here again one has to fully understand how Finale manages the libraries.
After you have created and formated a new chord you have to go to: File / Save Library
Ther you have to check the Library you want to save.
Uncheck all libraries and check “Chords and Fretboards”, then save the Chord Library with a custom name.
You can then later load this library in any othe Finale document in order to use these your new new chords symbols.

You also load this library in the default file loaded by Finale when you create a new document, then save this default document.
Now each new document will have all the chords you have created.
When you edit or create new chords, just take care that you actualize your custom chord library and update it in your default document.

There is also a great and very simple way in Finale to substitute older chord symbols with new ones.
Load your new chord library in the document with the old chords.
Go then to the Edit Chord Definition window
Click then on select in order to see the full list of all the chords
If you have loaded the new chord library this list will contain the old chords as well as the new chords.
Now click on a chord symbol you want to delete and click Delete.
If the chord symbol is not used in this document Finale will simply delete the symbol from the selection palette and from the score.
If the symbol is used in the document, Finale will give you two options:
. the option to delete the element from the selection palette and replace it in the score with a symbol that you can choose.
. the option to delete the symbol from the selection palette and from the score.

I am quite sure that someone reading this for the first time will find it complicated, but it is not and it is very fast.
I had to go through this process a lot of time because I changed my mind quite often on how chords should look like. It takes me less than a minute to substitute old chords with new chord.

I also do hope Dorico will offer such a great and easy feature to substitute chords, this will allow users then to change their mind and experiment on how their chords look like :wink:

Hi there,
Does anybody knows how to open or use iReal Pro in Cubase 9 so that one could record the backing tracks ?

Is it possible to use i Real Pro as a plugin in Cubase 9?

Thanks everyone!


This is not the Cubase Forum. Try posting (copying and pasting) at

Great post.

+1 particularly on the following which I find myself often missing:

  1. Time Slashes, Rhythm Slashes and Kicks Over Time
  2. Custom Rehearsal Letters
  3. Swing
  4. Chord Playback with voice leading
  5. Handwritten Font
  6. Jazz Ornamentation



See halfway down page 541 of the manual for a workaround for rehearsal marks that say “Intro”, “Verse 1” etc. using suffixes.

Clue: it involves changing a rehearsal mark to “I” and then adding “ntro” as a suffix.

Not intuitive but already works.

  1. What do you mean by time slashes?
    2.1. Naturally I agree that a native implementation is need, but you can already fake rhythm slashes, in case you didn’t know.
    2.2. It depends on how you want to notate them, but rhythmic cues might be an interesting way to notate kicks already.

  2. If you input chords with a MIDI keyboard, the voicing you entered will be stored and played back, even if you corrected the spelling.

  3. MuseScore’s jazz font is SMuFL compliant, and as such can be used with success in Dorico.

  1. Was just quoting the original post. I was referring to rythm slashes, sorry for being unclear
    2.1 Yes, I’m aware of that but would prefer a native implementation.
    2.2 Thanks! Will look into this

  2. I sometimes quickly enter chord names in charts using SHIFT-Q, leaving the actual voicings for the players to decide on. Dorico can already play these chords automatically, but if this could be done with basic voice leading that would be a great plus (I realize this is somewhat outside the standard scope of notation software, but at least for Jazz content this would be great playback feature).

  3. Will try that today. Thanks!

This all seems awfully complicated, just by reading the thread. I wonder wether one starts thinking in a complicated way after a while…

Hey everyone, this seems like a good place to post my question, as I don’t want to start a new thread in case the question has been answered somewhere. (I searched but couldn’t find)

I write in jazz style notation when it comes to chord symbols, and prefer a “-” for minor chords, a “o” for diminished and a “o” with a line through it for min7 b5, and a triangle for maj7.
Is there anyway to alter the default settings so that when I type maj7 in the chord pop-up, it inputs a triangle? The same with the rest of the symbols. I realize I can edit them later in the wonderful chord symbol editor, but that sure takes a lot of time.
And then ideally, have these settings as my default whenever I start up Dorico. When I type “E dim” it gives me "Em(b5), this is kind of a ridiculous symbol, haha, in all my jazz playing days, I’ve never seen that on a chart. the common way would be “Eo”, and then if a 4 note chord is wanted, add a 7 and get “Eo7”, I think this is the far more common custom.
Any help would be great, thanks.



Hi Aleo.
You probably should spend some time studying the beautiful Chords symbols chapter in Engraving options.
Once you’ve applied everything and it fits your needs, you can save as default and every new file will follow those rules.

Indeed it should be possible to get the symbol you need but bear in mind that if this symbol differs from Doricos options you have to create/define this symbol for each scale note.

Thanks guys. Guilty as charged, I’m a bad manual reader. haha.
But went through and organized all my preferences for chords, and it looks beautiful. Dorico has most definitely nailed the chord game. Wow.
One more question though, in the 'edit chord symbol appearance" dialog box, is there anyway to save as default, small adjustments that you make to existing symbols. For instance, because of the font I use for my chord symbols, ‘D-7’ looks a little to cramped. So in the editpr I space out the ‘-’ and the ‘7’. But this doesn’t apply to everything, nor does it carry over to another chart. Not the biggest problem, but I was wondering if their was a way to save these adjustments. I guess that is what Teacue was referring to?

Appreciate the help, thanks.

teacue meant that you can’t directly change all minor chords, but you’ll have to change it for every root separately: C minor, C# minor, D flat minor, D minor…

The chord library is project-specific. For now, if you want consistency between projects, you’ll have to work on the same project, or save a blank file (with no flows) to serve as template.