Edit chord symbols: can it be done the way I want?

No need to say that Dorico 4 is great, including the the new Library feature. Time to return to an old project of mine: can I write (and thus print) a major triad like a-c#-e as “A” (yes, of course I can) but also a minor triad like a-c-e as “a” instead of “Am”?
It would fit with my upbringing in the Netherlands, where Schumann’s pianoconcerto is in a, not in A minor, not even in a Moll.
Moreover, “a” takes up less horizontal space than “Am”. Same for “a7” vs “A7” and so on.
I have been fiddling with the Engraving options> chord symbols>edit and I almost believed to have pulled it off: new project, piano, input mode, shift+Q and then play a-c-e on the keyboard. Hurray! I do see “a” above the notes. However, trying the same with a-c#-e I get “a” as well. Part of the trick was removing the character m, so now when I play b-d#-f# I get B (ok) but b-d-f# turns into B as well (I had only edited Am into “a”).
Request: can someone please assure me that
⁃ either my plans are not feasible
⁃ or it can indeed be done (and then tell me how)
If it is not possible, no problem, but at least I may stop trying.

Thank you very much in advance.
Karel (dorico user since day one)

Unfortunately I don’t think this is possible, Karel, I’m sorry to say. I’m curious: is this kind of chord symbol also used in live music performance in the Netherlands? Do your local music publishers publish lead sheets and jazz charts using this system? Is the only difference the use of capital letters for roots of major triads and lower case letters for the roots of minor triads? How do you indicate a major-minor chord? How do you indicate a major seventh?

In the Netherlands we use A and Am.
Capitals and m for minor.

First of all: thank you, Daniel, for your almost instantaneous reaction. And right up front: I have not come across any instances of “my system” in the wild. So, no publisher, no handwritten lead sheets. Just me.
And as @Carlovanderput correctly states, in NL the general practice is A and Am.
I made my remark about the entries in the local Radio Times when , as a teenager, I listened to classical music. And there, definitely it read “a” , “e” , etc and not Am and Em. So when I started to do keyboards in cover bands I kept my own set of chord sheets, where I applied that syntax for my own use (and sometimes for the other players).
Just to answer your last questions: it only applies to the contraction of “Root+m” to “root”. And for major seventh I like the triangle, so B minor-major becomes “b+triangle”, nice and short.
Again: no shortcomings of Dorico, no feature request, just peace of mind ‘cause I can stop trying the impossible which would only have been a nice-to-have.
Thanks for a great product and keep safe,

We use that in Sweden also sometimes.


I’ve seen this quite often in old German songbooks (like the “Mundorgel”)

My impression is that this is becoming less and less common, and I prefer clarity over brevity.

That is an interesting example, @Pietzcker. For instance, because of the “cis” instead of “#c” or “#Cm”. (By the way: my neurons are used to the order “adjective first, then noun” so “raised c” and not “c raised”).
When I write the harmonies down by hand I do prefer “cis” over “#c” because of the clarity. (By another way: raised 5th over f is #c, the major third over a is cis, but let us not get into that……)
BUT when a printed score does not provide enough real estate for, let’s say, Bm#5, I’d rather use b+, and also rather b^ (where ^ stands for a small triangle) than BmM7.
And it sometimes happens: a different harmony on every beat.

I do find this kind of exchange of ideas interesting, but my original post has been resolved and may be considered closed.


I did not know that @jesele. Makes me wonder about other Nordic countries. Thank you.