Multiple alternative chord symbols

I also would like to know if this is possible. I often prepare study pieces which give shell chords above extended or altered chords. The ability to do this easily would greatly enhance my work.

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Daniel has intimated in another thread that “player-based” chord symbols - chords on a player’s staff which differ from the system chords - are indeed planned for the upcoming free update.

Yes, you’ll soon be able to create player-specific chord symbols, but that will still limit you to a single chord symbol at a particular position for a given player, ostensibly allowing you to choose between the global chord symbol or a chord symbol specific to that player. To produce the kind of alternative chords shown in the first post i this thread, I would probably put them in a short rhythmic duration after the main one (e.g. 1/16th note later), then move them in Engrave mode, but of course there’s a certain amount of labour required to achieve that.

Yes. Alternate chords needed on specific beats. Also ability for chord symbol to be bracketed. Surely this could be an option here
Screenshot 2019-12-05 at 11.07.57.png

Ah, if only one could just add a checkbox to the User Interface and all the background programming would take care of itself. :confused:

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No updates regarding this matter yet? You can add my vote to include this on the next update!

Local chord symbols exist as of Dorico 3.1. See page 24 of the Version History

writing jazz scores you “need” alternate chords and brackets, please add, thanks


Welcome to the forum, @R_R. We know that users need to be able to enclose chord symbols in parentheses, and this is definitely something on our list for future versions.

thanks, but to have a second chord line for substitutions would be a must,

in any case, good job

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I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but I don’t see how to enter alternative chord symbols in Dorico 4 (like in Autumn Leaves as shown a few posts above). I seem only to be able to make chord symbols optional, but I can’t add alternatives.

The “New features” page says “Easily show optional or alternate chord symbols…” which makes it sound like two different things.

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Perhaps the wording we’ve used to describe the feature makes it sound grander than it is. You can’t add multiple chord symbols at the same rhythmic position, but you can indicate optional or alternative chords by parenthesising them.

The problem with this is that once it’s not at the same position, there’s not a easy way (that I know of) to tell D4 to ignore it for spacing purposes. Since they can’t occupy the same position, once I offset it I get this:

The new alignment lines make it easy to get this;
lined up

… but now I’m left with manually adjusting the music spacing, which won’t look as good as Dorico’s default music spacing here. If 2 chord symbols could occupy the same beat with a vertical offset, that might be ideal, but a Properties checkbox to ignore for horizontal music spacing could also work if the user has to manually align the chords.


Another request for multiple chord symbols at the same rhythmic position like seen in the Sher ‘new real books’.

  • As a workaround is it possible use chord symbols as text? (I mean shift+X to write text, but have access to the chord symbols such as the circle with a diagonal line). I’m changing the font but can’t find them
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You can use @dankreider’s excellent MusGlyphs font (if you’re writing chord symbols in Academico) for the vast majority of chord symbols you might need.


MusAnalysis actually offers much better support for stacked alterations, including parentheses.

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Looks perfect, thanks

Right, MusAnalysis is even better for this. Hadn’t thought of that.

I even found out how to do things like
(that I had previously thought impossible) by entering C7(b#193) and then manually superscripting the parenthesized expression. So the 1 and the 9 are stacked, and then the 3 starts a new stack :slight_smile:
But maybe there is a better way to do that.

By the way, @dankreider: In the MusGlyphs/Analysis manuals, to make MS Word kerning/ligature-aware, the following instruction is unnecessary:

  • Select MusAnalysis in the dropdown list, then select the Advanced tab.

because those settings are bound to the current paragraph, not to the font selected in the other tab.

This also means that if you create a new paragraph that doesn’t inherit the properties of the previous one, you need to set those options again.

Chiming in here just to say that I too need a way to enter alternate chord symbols. I hope that’s not coming as late as with V5 … please? I love Dorico, but I thought that with V4 this would be possible.