Guitar Fretboards in Dorico

Finale has one feature that as far as I know no other notation program has, it can automatically show guitar fretboards above chord symbols. To do this one simply have to enter all the chord symbols first end then enable “Show Fretboards” in the Chords-menu. Finale comes with a special font called Seville for this purpose which contains the most used chords. In addition Finale has a Fretboard Editor where you can define your own fretboards.

I would love to see this function in Dorico but of course implemented the “Dorico Way”. I have found this feature indispensable when making song books. But now as I switch to Dorico I will miss this feature. Any plans to include this functionality in the future?

Fretboard Editor.png

Guitar utopia is coming in 3.0, sometime next year.

That was quick. What is Guitar Utopia?

Just me being flowery. What I meant was that 3.0 will include many features for guitar: probably tab, chord diagrams, and native fingering option, I imagine. Guitar is a significant focus of 3.0, but the specifics are speculation at this point.

Ok. Thanks. I guess they have to include such features sooner or later in order to stay above Finale.

I think Sibelius does that too.

I’m not a guitarist but I took lessons in college. I look forward to this when implemented. I learned some simpler classical works back in the day with the help of diagrams… I have a few compositional ideas that I’d love to try out and see if I can play myself once this is implemented. 2.2 has barely arrived and I’m already excited about 3.0!

I suppose it depends what you mean by “automatic”. Even Musescore or Lilypond can do it, but not “automatically” by any reasonable definition of the word.

But until the software gets enough artificial intelligence to “automatically” select the best voicing from half a dozen ways to play a chord, it’s only useful for simple music - and good guitarists don’t need diagrams to tell them how to play F#7(b9#11)/E anyway :wink:

As I stated above I used this function when making song books which incidentally are made for people that just want simple versions of songs they know and be able to play them at home in their livingrooms.

Several of the guitarist at our church play with a number of custom voicings, and I would love to be able to specify and save those. For example, I would never play the standard G chord with a low B. Sounds awful with a full band.

Having used such a feature in Sibelius, and then presented the guitar part to an actual guitarist, it transpires that Sibelius is entirely unintelligent about how it spells each chord - it has a default chord shape for C major, a default chord shape for G7 etc. There’s no consideration given to how easy it is to get from C major to G7. Furthermore, some of the defaults are far from simple.

That’s a warning to anybody that uses this feature in Sibelius (and likely Finale, too), and perhaps an insight into why the Dorico developers might be taking their time over Guitar notation in Dorico.

yeah C7/E

But you won’t get a Jazz guitarist to take you seriously if you write chords as simple as C7/E, even if that’s what it sounds like :wink:

I imagine they will come up with the best yet, but what a daunting perspective. I have a feeling that determining which are the best voicings relative to other chords in the progression is water they won’t wade in to (hopefully they prove me wrong! I wouldn’t be surprised…) as this is a) theoretically beyond the scope of what the program is meant to do, and b) incredibly subjective. There are fingerings I’ll do on the organ that my students would never do in a million years, likewise, my old professor could pull amazing feats I wouldn’t attempt, yet if you asked him, it was perfectly normal… I’m sure it’s the same with guitar. I imagine some of those preferences who”d also change with idiom. I imagine that simply allowing you to select from a myriad of voicings for the same chord will still be an impressive feat.

If you have a MIDI guitar controller, why not record the voicings you play in real time, and also convert them to chord notation? :ugeek:

(I’ve no idea what the Dorico team is actually planning to do - I’m just thinking outside the box here…)

I’ve just taken a look at the Guitar Pro 7.5 User Guide ( It seems that Guitar Pro hasn’t got as far as identifying the simplest progressions, so the Dorico team wouldn’t need to wade into that water to remain competitive (to people that notate for guitar). They do have a library of chord shapes, and so does Sibelius. I suspect that Guitar Pro’s “killer feature” in this area is that it can negotiate altered tunings and regenerate fret diagrams to compensate.

Guitarists typically think in shapes. G shape, D shape, C shape, etc. It makes the most sense to think in terms of shapes (with common fingerings) within a particular key.

The set of commonly-used chord shapes is certainly finite. Of course a feature like this that’s worthy of Dorico would include the ability to easily modify or create custom diagrams, and save them for easy recall.

This is a subject I’m very passionate about, because the ability to easily create custom shapes would go along way towards bridging the gap between the oral and written tradition of folk and worship guitar styles.

No, Dorico does not have either a fretboard window or a keyboard window. You can easily add a keyboard window using free third-party software; I myself sometimes use MidiKeys when I don’t have a MIDI keyboard to hand. I’m not aware of any MIDI-capable fretboard applications, though I’ve not looked.

We certainly may add such windows in the future, yes, though I can’t be specific about exactly when we might do that.

If you connect a MIDI interface to your guitar you will be able to input music into Dorico, but Dorico does not yet have any specific features to optimise input from a MIDI guitar, such as being able to handle input on a separate channel per string, and providing some filtering to ignore unwanted notes and other MIDI noise that is commonly transmitted via MIDI guitar interfaces, even for very clean players.