When will Chords be available?

To use your example: since an F7 b9 b5 (which, btw, usually is a F7 b9 #11) without an F actually is a B7 (in that it consist of the same four notes) the system would probably simply recognise it as a B7. But since we sometimes want different chord descriptions than the software suggests, I think that there should be a way to call any chord whatever you want.

Reading through this thread again after seeing John’s youtube teaser, I think a lot of people (including myself) will be super happy with Dorico’s implementation of chords.

Looking carefully through all the engraving options showed in the video, I have the feeling that there is something missing that is quite important to me and others in my field: the ability to add custom chord text.
The way this is handled with the ‘Legacy chord symbol’ function in Sibelius is perfect - it transposes the root/bass note name, and keeps everything else as text. I don’t need playback, or Dorico to know what I’m doing.

I imagine some engraving options could be to choose whether the unidentified text should be superscript/baseline, and if it should be parenthesized.

Another way to achieve some flexibility is to have an ‘Alternative text’ property, as we know from the playing techniques.

This is especially useful when defining scales for improvisers, but also with ‘rare’ chords.
Examples:
E phrygian, E phryg (much easier to interpret than Esus4(b9)
C blues
Cmaj7#15 (which I prefer over Cmaj7b9 or Cmaj7#8. This chord is used by Billy Strayhorn among others)
Cø7#2 (6th mode of melodic minor - locrian #2)

Sometimes also ‘bull-s-hit’ chords, or translation of the scale name is useful, so I think Dorico (eventually) should offer a way to customize, rather than implementing every common possibility.


I understand that this isn’t on the top of your priority list, but since your doing such a thorough work on chords, I’d just like to mention it. I know several people who has been super happy when I showed them the ‘legacy chord’ feature of Sibelius.

I concur, Anders (and very good input), but what prevails at this point (also watched the sneak preview) is amazement at the rigor, intelligence and creativity that has gone into this first instalment of chord symbol implementation, well worth the wait. but then, we suspected as much

Unlike Sibelius, Dorico doesn’t make any major assumptions about what constitutes a valid chord: provided the string you enter can be parsed into some combination of root, quality, interval, alterations, and/or altered bass note, it will produce a chord symbol, even a musically nonsensical one. This is because it doesn’t have a preset library of chords that it understands: it rather takes an algorithmic approach to the recognition of chords, both from keyboard input and from what you play on your MIDI keyboard.

At the moment you can’t type e.g. “C Phrygian” and get a chord symbol out the other side of it. But we’ll consider whether or not we could allow you to set a custom string to replace whatever chord symbol would otherwise be shown.

I just want to be able to put the chord symbol of my choice using whatever notation standard I choose in the usual spots for jazz lead sheets / big band charts & scores.

I don’t want the chord to play, and I don’t want Dorico to “help” me or do anything else other than print what I tell it to print where I tell it to.

Will this ever happen?

Chords won’t play if you don’t want them to (indeed, they don’t play by default), and you can make them appear however you want them to look, by spending a few minutes setting up your preferred appearance in Engraving Options. After that, you’ll never need to think about it again, unless you want to revisit your earlier decisions.

I had a look at the clip which demonstrates the upcoming chord symbol feature, and there’s a a lot of good stuff in there… really! Thanks!


Will Dorico be able to recognise and display a ‘fourth’ chord (eg C F Bb)? It is often used as a voicing (eg D4/E, as a way to display how one wants a Cadd 9 with E in the bass played), but is also used as a separate chord eg in jazz… not only by McCoy Tyner, who have played more fourth chords than any other musician on the planet, but people like Keith Jarrett and Joe Zawinul also often used ‘fourth’ chords (and voicings). One of the first harmony books I bought was only about voicings in fourths, btw, so it’s definitely an… existing phenomenon. :slight_smile:

Personally, I think the best way to display such a chord would be simply eg. C4.

Also: A common way to display eg Cm7 (b5) chord is to have the b6 in parenthesis, but also in superscript. I couldn’t see that option in your clip (but there were three other options there).

I also see that some of the example chords (in the chord symbol preferences area) seems to be displayed by using non-existing chords/chords that are extremely close to never being used at all, like chords with #3 in the root, Bbmaj7 chords with a #9 and more. Is there a particular reason for that? It’s easier for me, at least, to quickly see what is being displayed if those examples would only be relying on chords that are commonly used.

Finally, I hope there will be a simple way to always display chords an a sans serif font - they are always easier to read in small print/when using subscript/superscript or in a cluttered context. Serif fonts may be prettier, but I would prefer that a sans serif fond would be the default.

"Strings like “Neapolitan,” “German 6th,” etc., might be useful for “classical” common practice chord analysis, as well as for modal jazz theorists.

I suppose the problems would start when your sans serif font doesn’t have the full range of symbols required, or doesn’t have the same encoding for them as SMuFl.

And some combinations of serif and sans serif fonts are just unredeemably ugly! (IMHO Microsoft should have been prosecuted for crimes against humanity when they chose Times Roman and Helvetica as default fonts… :wink:).

I’ve never seen this, and I would never have interpreted it as a C - F - Bb. Can you give show an example where this is used?
I’ve always seen this chord written as C7sus4 - clearly displaying the dominant function.
http://i.imgur.com/Ly2Ox.jpg

Depending of the context, I think I would read C4 as C-E-F-G or C(add4).


My guess is that the Bbmaj7(#9#11)/F is used to display as many aspects of the preset as possible - using both maj symbols, alterations and alternate bass note. I agree that the chord itself is pretty uncommon, but I still think it serves its purpose perfectly. If they used a chord as common as C, you wouldn’t be able to see what happens when you change the preset.

With the Nashville numbers example, I think the idea behind the #3 is to show you the use of numbers, and that every chord is in direct relation to the root of the key (contrary to function analysis). However, I cannot think of a single example where one would actually write #3 (which I interpret as 4). b3, #4 or b7 would be better examples.

I’d never interpret “C4” as a C7sus4, because there already is an established way to display that chord (C F G Bb): the way you just wrote it. And since you use a McCoy Tyner example, this is the guy who is more than anyone else known for using quartal chords (two perfect fourths), which certaibly sound different than C F Bb.

Furthermore… one actually could write C F Bb as Fsus4/C, but it’s so much easier to just write C4. So this is probably, more than anything else, about how we can write rather common chords but which doesn’t have an established way of being displayed. But I certainly don’t want a C F Bb to be displayed as a C7sus4, because they sound different, are different, and that way of writing it obstructs the fact that this is a quartal chord and nothing else.


"Depending of the context, I think I would read C4 as C-E-F-G or C(add4). But there already exists common way to display plain chords which contain an extra note - by using “add” as you just did.


"My guess is that the Bbmaj7(#9#11)/F is used to display as many aspects of the preset as possible - using both maj symbols, alterations and alternate bass note. I agree that the chord itself is pretty uncommon, but I still think it serves its purpose perfectly. "

There are other, more common chords which would serve that purpose better. I’m 99.9% sure that Bbmaj7(#9#11)/F is a chord that never has been written by anyone, ever and never will! (except in this context! :slight_smile: C4 isn’t common either, but I know some of us used it at Berklee when I studied there. The Dorico team seems to very knowledgable about a lot of things, but this chords looks like it’s written by someone who hasn’t worked much with harmony or chord symbols. I think we can agree that it’s a non-existing chord. :slight_smile:

This chord, for instance, would make more sense (but I can’t display it correctly in this context):
A C7 (#9) (b13) /#9

“I cannot think of a single example where one would actually write #3 (which I interpret as 4).”
Exactly.

While I would like as much control as possible, that is an extreme case. The defining characteristic of chord symbols are their transpositions. The examples you provided pertain to functional analysis and, as such, have no need to transpose and would be well suited as a string.

The “Neapolitan” and similar descriptions might not be relative to the tonic of the key signature (e.g. it might be the Neapolitan chord of a secondary dominant,) so the complete chord description might need to transpose, just like “C Phrygian”. I’m assuming “C Phrygian” would transpose to something like “E Phrygian”, not to something like “C Mixolydian”.

Yes, the chord that we have chosen to serve as an example for the presets is designed to contain enough of the different aspects of chord appearance that use different appearances between the various conventions for which we have included support, rather than because it is a common chord.

We don’t have default support for a chord like “C4”. This is not something we’ve come across before. You will be able to modify the appearance of a C7sus4 chord to show just C4 somehow, I should think, but I’m not entirely sure how.

It will be possible to use any text font you like for chord symbols: Dorico will automatically use the appropriate special characters for things like major seventh, diminished/half-diminished etc. from the Bravura Text font. To change the font, simply go to Engrave > Font Styles and edit the ‘Chord Symbols Font’ (don’t edit ‘Chord Symbols Music Text Font’ unless you have another SMuFL compatible font that you are sure contains the necessary chord symbols range of characters).