Wonky Chord Spelling on XML Import

When I import a score from Sibelius via XML, I’m getting some chord spellings that I don’t want. I wish Dorico would convert these to the spellings that appear when I simply enter them into my Dorico score manually:


These, in order, should read:

It’s a slog, and an error prone process to manually correct these chords in the newly imported score.

Am I right in thinking Dorico knows what the common spellings are for these? For instance, I’ve never (ever) seen anyone write Bb7sus4sus9, and I wouldn’t accept this spelling from students’ scores. If you’re going to ask, here’s that same chord in the source Sibelius chart:


It might be helpful if you’re able to share the XML file that produced these chord symbols, in case someone is able to look into it and identify possible issues there.

Otherwise, have you already checked in either Library > Engraving Options > Chord Symbols (if you have Pro) or Library > Chord Symbols (if you have Elements) for default settings that determine how different chord symbol components appear?

Hi Lillie,

Here’s a cut down XML file with the chords in question.

I’m running D5 v 5.0.20. I’ve got my chord symbols all looking the way I want them, and when I manually enter chord symbols in Dorico, they look as I expect. It’s only when I import XML files (from Sibelius) that I get these other spellings.
XML Chord Symbol Conversion Test.musicxml.zip (2.9 KB)


When Dorico imports chord symbols from MusicXML, it has to conform them to the current chord symbols settings as defined on the Chord Symbols page of Engraving Options. It is grabbing all of the semantic data about the chord symbols as defined in the MusicXML file, but it won’t try to use the actual text that is specified in the harmony element in the MusicXML. Once you’ve imported the file, you should find that a few tweaks of the settings in Engraving Options gets things looking as you want them to.

Thanks Daniel, that is helpful. This is the only chord in the example that I can’t get to appear as I’d like by adjusting the Chord Symbols Engraving Options:


Doesn’t this look like a Bb11 chord? (Or a Ab/Bb ?)

Yes, the spellings are arguably interchangable. I just never got used to writing Bb11. I sometimes write Ab/Bb, or Bb7sus4, it just depends on context. If I’m thinking of triadic movement over a common bass note, for instance, like | Ab/Bb | G/Bb |.

Or if the dominant chord goes through a transition as in the above example I’d probably favor
| Bb9(#11) | Bb9sus4 | Bb7(b9) |
Both these affect my thinking as an improvisor, which is a big part of my chord symbol choices.