Feature Request: Automatically Hide Chord Symbols in Empty Bars

Hello all,

I am brand new to Dorico and the Forums (just bought Dorico about a week ago, coming over from 15 years of Sibelius use so the learning is slow but enjoyable). I have searched all over, and have yet to find a simple/efficient answer to this problem.

I work primarily arranging/orchestrating for a 9 piece funk/pop/jazz band (5 horns + Rhythm), which means I am finding the approach to chord symbols in Dorico both amazing, and frustrating. I love that the chord symbols are universal and so the chords only need to be entered once and exist in the data for all instruments, but by default they appear in empty bars and break multi-rests for instruments who aren’t playing.

Right now as far as I can tell, the only way to hide the chord symbols when an instrument is not playing, is to manually select the chords and hide them. I would like to propose an option to automatically hide chord symbols if the measure has no notation data. I believe that this would save a LOT of time in jazz/pop workflows.

Welcome to the forum, daltnjazz. Please see the documentation about chord symbol regions, which should help you a good deal.

Hi Daniel,

Thank you so much for the response, I understand the use of chord symbol regions, which seems more to exist for adding changes for solo sections for horns etc. who would primarily never need the chords anywhere else.

Unless I really don’t understand how the feature works, using chord symbol regions to solve my particular workflow issue seems like the same problem I have now just approaching from the other side of the argument; adding extra regions instead of hiding unnecessary ones. Both work just fine, but are extra effort where I think a future feature of a simple toggle in settings of “hide chord symbols automatically in empty bars” would instantly achieve the same result and massively improve workflow efficiency. Perhaps even going so far as to have separate toggles for score, parts, and gallery view.

Anyhow, just my 2 cents. I am really loving getting to know this program and am looking forward to getting more and more familiar with all of its inner workings.

If it’s more work to hide them where they are unnecessary, you can always right-click the instrument in Setup mode and select Chord Symbols/Show in Chord Symbol and Slash Regions. Hiding doesn’t propagate so any time you are hiding, you have to do it twice, both in the parts and score so sometimes I find it just easier to specify where they should show and not worry about propagating. I agree, a hide in empty bars option would be useful, but I actually would also like to see a setting where they won’t break empty bars too, so I could do cued or optional chords like this as well:

As I said, the two ways to achieve this effect right now are both fine, but are both more work than is necessary. I just think with one extra setting in a future release, those of us who spend the bulk of our time working with rhythm sections/chord symbols will see a much improved workflow.

Though another thing that would be good to see is a setting to have an algorithm try to snap chord symbols to a note on the staff (with the ability to drag to a new anchor point without effecting the other instruments) for things like latin charts where every instrument in the rhythm section is likely playing a slightly different syncopation and thus needs the chord symbol anchored to a slightly different beat, which right now requires a TON of work through either entering duplicate chord symbols and hiding the wrong beat-ed symbols on each staff, or using a visual offset for every single chord… both of which are huge time sinks… but that is a separate feature request for a separate post someday.

I have been ‘bugging’ the Dorico team with exactly this request. It would save me a lot of time and seems to fall into Dorico’s philosophy (automate procedures to save users time). In my case I’m often hiding chord symbols for rhythm players who don’t play in introductions and/or rest part way through songs. The current workarounds are frustrating and tedious. I do hope one day this feature will be added. I also second your request for more ease or automation to attach chord symbols to different rhythms when they vary. I understand there is improvement to this coming in the next update.