Proposal for a more easy way of customising chord symbols

Hello fellow Doricians! There is an area in Dorico that I find that needs a better option or an addition to the existing model - Customization of Chord Symbols. I work a lot with lead sheets and I find so difficult to customize certain chord symbols in Dorico that I gave up months ago (certain songs I had to go back to Finale - sorry to say this, but it is true). I read, saw many videos and could not get to know how to make the chords that I want to be useful in all roots.
So I think in order to easy this process, a simple way would be an option (a button called “custom”) added to every category of Chord Symbols where the user would put what he / she wants and the chord would be valid for all roots. This way the process of creating a template of custom symbols to be used in many songs would be more easy.
Something like this:

Dorico Chord Custom panel.pdf (46.8 KB)

In this case I created a F major 7 chord as F7+ (sorry I know it is not the standard way, but I prefer it this way because of space).

I hope this could be implemented.


I was a little bit too fast as I gave your post a thumb up because in fact what you are aiming at is already available in Dorico Pro 4.
This feature was already in the previous version but it was broken.
But this is a two steps process and for this you have to visit two different places.

  1. In the “Edit Chord Diagram” window (note that diagram is singular) where you can edit or create a diagram you have to take care that the option “Chord may be moved along the neck” is checked.
  2. Then go to “Library / Edit Chord Diagrams” (note that diagrams is plural).
    There you have to select the diagram you created and click on the star “Save as Default”
    This will assure that your new diagram is available for all projects (Old or new) and for each key.

It would be indeed a little bit easier if “Save as Default” could be integrated in the “Edit Chord Diagram” window.

What I am struggling at and where I have difficulty to understand is how the process of deleting user diagrams works.
Otherwise I find the feature no really complicated and great.

Unfortunately it seems as if this feature does not include the fingerings.
I could not find a way to save the fingering as default.

Hi teacue! Thank you for answering, but I was not talking about Chord Diagrams - only chord symbols. I will test your procedure, but in version 3.5 you only could do for a single chord (you had to do the process for all the roots). That’s why I proposed a simple way to facilitate the process.

I completely agree there needs to be an easier way to customize chord symbol suffixes globally. Having to do it for every root is a PITA. Ignoring double sharps and flats, each chord suffix needs to be customized 21 times (7 times 3 for natural, sharp, flat) vs 1 time in Finale’s chord suffix editor. Ideally I think I’d like to see 3 levels of chord editing.

  1. The current system works great for casual users and those who don’t need very complicated chords or lots of chord modifications.

  2. For those that need more flexibility, a fully featured chord suffix editor, sort of like Finale’s but less terrible. A custom modified suffix would then apply to all roots. A way to edit/overwrite the popover syntax like Playing Techniques would probably necessary here too. This would also allow the user to create custom suffixes that Dorico doesn’t currently support like “Phrygian (natural 6)” or any other suffix that doesn’t fit into a standard format supported by the current level 1 system, and easily type it into the score.

  3. Dorico’s current system of editing where the user can customize each root individually. There are quite a few bugs in the editing process here so some things are not actually possible, but theoretically the user can completely customize the suffix for each root.

Regarding the current “level 1” Engraving Options, there just aren’t enough positioning settings either. My current headache (which Daniel already is aware of) is that there isn’t a good way to fix any suffix alterations as there aren’t any settings for them. For example, taking a C7(#5), here’s the default:

Not good as the tiny sharp isn’t very legible and is positioned poorly. Changing the scale factor to 76% invokes the larger sharp glyph which looks much better:

… as long as you are using Academico that is. As soon as you switch to virtually any other font, this is no longer positioned well. Here’s Times:

If there was a way to create “an option … added to every category of Chord Symbols where the user would put what he / she wants and the chord would be valid for all roots” that would make fixing positioning errors and creating custom chord suffixes much easier!

@joaoluiztp, at least in the US most musicians would interpret F7+ as this:

Obviously you can do whatever you want if it’s your band and your musicians, but that definitely would not be universally understood to be a major 7th chord.

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Hi FredGUnn, yes I understand that my F7+ would be interpret like you said, but at least I should have the option to do it whenever I want because chord symbols have no fixed standard or absolute rule - there are so many variations all over the world. Being more flexible would be a great help (in Finale it is very easy to do it although the interface needs improvements). As Dorico interface is so powerful I think this is the last thing to make it truly great and ease of use when you need customization. For example, when I working with bossa nova songs that have a complex harmony I want to have control of how my chord symbols will apear - I had so many problems trying to make a chord like C 7 9 (always showing like C9 - I want to be precise in these cases - I don’t want the musician to think like “should I play the 7 too or just the 9”). And in many cases is difficult to configure Dorico to do what I want (it shouldn’t be).
So to clarify - I really love using Dorico. My critic here is only to make it even better and ease to use.

Oops! My bad, sorry.
And yes I find also that editing chord suffixes is so cumbersome that I also resigned and use what Dorico offers.
I would also welcome some changes in this area.