Saving Chord Diagrams


Editing and saving a chord diagram seems to not really save it, even within the project. The problem is rotating (using option/alt Q) through the chord shapes after saving the chord - it disappears. See the two screen shots - chord fingering saved, and then chord fingering lost after rotation through selection. This is true whether using the editor in Write or Engrave mode.

If a chord diagram you edit doesn’t reappear when you cycle through the shapes for a given chord symbol, it’s because Dorico doesn’t think that it closely enough matches the chord you’ve paired it up with. This is because Dorico doesn’t store the chord diagrams you edit according to the chord you say they are paired with: it stores them according to the shape of the hand on the neck of the instrument, and which notes that ends up producing when considered along with the pitches of the strings and the arrangement of frets on the neck. If you miss out notes that Dorico considers important to the identity of the chord, then it won’t be presented as a shape for that chord.

Thanks for the response. I realize this is a version one of this feature and I appreciate the work that has gone into it. It would be great if Dorico could allow for input from the chord author - perhaps a custom user chord library? Something to think about - believe it’s already been discussed elsewhere.


Any chord diagram you edit does go into your project’s chord shape library, of course, but at the moment there’s no way to make those chord diagrams available across all projects. That is something that we will certainly make possible in the (hopefully near) future.

To be clear, that’s any shape accepted by Dorico for said chord name, correct? My “illegitimate” chord shape only gets saved as the default Gm11 voicing until I use another voicing of that chord or cycle through the choices, then it is removed from the library.

No, it stays in the library, but it will only be offered to you for a chord that it thinks it fits adequately, and I think that’s the issue here: Dorico will only show you the chord if it includes the third (which one of them doesn’t) and the fifth (which the other doesn’t, I think), unless you explicitly have the option in Note Input Options set to return chords that omit the fifth.

However, Bill (the developer who has worked on this feature) and I have talked about this a bit and we think what we will look into doing is making Dorico return user-defined chords in a more relaxed way than it does chords from its own library: even if you have chosen to omit notes that Dorico would otherwise think crucial to the chord, provided your shape only includes notes that are common to the chord (i.e. no added notes that are not in the chord, even if otherwise “crucial” notes like the third or the fifth are omitted), Dorico will return the chord. I can’t promise this but we will look into it and see what can be done. I think this would solve the issue you’re experiencing here, certainly.

Thanks Daniel (and Bill), that would be a very useful feature (to me, anyway). The problem with guitar is there are normally only four fingers and 6 strings. Being a jazz player and wanting to get different notes of a chord expressed, I often use multiple different shapes in a measure (or measures) that by themselves are incomplete structures but with the implied harmony of the moment sound tonally correct.

Also I observe the shape I was using (G,D,F,C) can not be labeled Gmi7sus4 - Dorico changes it to G7sus4. The shape is in a minor context, it is not dominant. Perhaps another naming would better suffice?

I think without the third it’s impossible to say whether it’s major or minor, right?

Agreed, without the help of the harmonic context of the piece. If you are in a minor tonality and played the above mentioned shape functioning as a tonic chord, then asked a musician to sing the third, I doubt they would sing the major third of the chord. Rather they would sing the minor third. Dorico is assuming that without the third the chord is major, which would not always be true.

I think this would all be academic if Dorico would let the user create, name and save their own library - look forward to such if it can be included in later update.

Great program, thanks for the continuing robust updates.

Just to add to this thread, I’m notating some diagrams for simple triadic voicings, which most definitely include each of the three notes of the chord, but Dorico is still selective about which diagrams it chooses to offer me and which ones it doesn’t.

The three-note F voicing in the attached picture is accepted into the library, but the three-note C voicing is not. Perhaps it has to do with the root note not being on the bottom, but that seems an odd distinction to make in this context.

Also, for the purposes of parts like this which are written for students, where the chord diagrams are used as an aide for those who are weak on notation, it would be tremendous if the chord diagram could automatically respect the voicing specified in the notation, where that voicing is playable.

Can I just say, “Amen to that!”

Hi everyone!

Any news on this subject?
I love Dorico 4 and it’s so much better than Sibelius (that I’ve used for 10 years until now…), but I do think that the chord diagram feature is limited at the moment. There are very few voicings for most chords and I hade to custom make new diagrams all the time today. This wouldn’t be a problem if the diagrams would be saved so that anytime I would write a new one, (even in different projects), it would stay in the library. But at the moment it doesn’t seem to work that way. Do you think that this might be added to an update in the future?

Thanks for making such a wonderful software!
Kind regards/Emil Ernebro