"Kind of" Lead Sheet

I’m writing a series of lead sheets with two instruments: one for melody and one for chords/piano. So the layout is switching between one, two and three staves (one for chords with slashes only, two for melody plus chords with slashes or just a great-stave piano, and three for melody plus great-stave piano).

What’s the best way to do this?

When I use a single instrument (piano) and add another stave on top I can write everything in one instrument which is easier to transpose and layout. But when I have the melody on top and a slash region in the second stave the chords are written above the melody and the slash region has no chords. Is it possible to always position the chords above the middle staff?

Engraving Options gives an option to put chord symbols between the staves of a grand staff instrument.

Hm… I know this function but I can’t get it to work in Dorico 3.5

New project: Piano… 4/4 meter/32 bars etc… writing some chords. Engraving Options/Chord Symbols/Position “Chord Symbols between Staves” or “Above Staves” and apply doesn’t make any change. The chords are still above the upper system. The only difference: If I select “Chord Symbols between Staves” I can’t hide empty staves any more.

Strange: when I start a new project in Dorico 3.1 it works: I can select chord position between and above staves and it happens. In the the project I started in Dorico 3.5 it’s not possible, the chords remain above the upper stave (in Dorico 3 and 3.5).

Same vice versa: Opening the Dorico 3.1 project in Dorico 3.5 let me choose the position and switch back and forth between “above” and “between”.

Anyway: selecting “Chord Symbols between Staves” completely prevents hiding empty staves. No matter if chords are there or not, no matter which stave is empty. So creating lead sheets with more than two staves doesn’t work in the single instrument layout.

Since Dorico only allows chord symbols on one staff per instrument (please correct me if i’am wrong) and the option to put the symbols between the staves is global, i can imagine two possibilities for what you want to achieve

a) Use three instruments. One for the voice, and a treble clef and a bass clef instruments in a braced group, for the piano (of course you would have to change the group name and/or staff labels if you want it to be displayed as “piano”, and edit the Endpoint configuration if playback is important in your project), that way you can have the chord symbols in any staff you want.

b) Voice and two pianos. one piano with the chord symbols betwenn the staves and the other with the chord symbols above. Enter the music and hide/show the staves as needed. The layout should of course shows just one of the two pianos every system.

I would definitely recommend the use of at least two instruments; the big problem you will run into is that if you tell Dorico to show the chord symbols between the two staves of the piano, it won’t allow (say) the left-hand staff of the piano to be hidden when empty if you have the ‘Allow individual staves of multi-staff instruments to be hidden’ option on the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options set. So Rafael’s advice to use three instruments and manually brace two of them together may be necessary if hiding one or other of the staves of the piano and otherwise showing the chord symbols between the staves is crucial to you.

Yepp, using three instruments is that’s what I do now. It’s the most flexible way. Thanks a lot!

I’m trying to figure how to have chord symbols on a piano part on the bottom staff for one section, on the top staff for another, and I am 100% completely confused by what you folks are talking about. :smiley:

Is it possible to post a screen shot of this solution?

Screen Shot 2020-06-23 at 11.02.07 AM.png

Here’s a sample.
movingChords.zip (503 KB)

Thank you!

Sorry, two more questions…

Is there a way to re-label this in the score so it says “piano” centered on the brace?
Is there a way to erase the background behind a chord symbol?


It looks like showing the players group name as staff label is not an option.
In Layout options i would set the staff labels to never show, indent the first system by 10 spaces and then enter the “staff label” as text (shift+x) and move it in engrave mode.
Would it help if you select center in the “Horizontal alignment relative to note, chord or rest” in the Chord Symbols engraving options? I do not see a “erase background” option for chord symbols.

Yes, I hope this will become an option at some point in the future.