Chord symbols

Chord symbols describe the vertical harmony of the music at a specific moment. They are frequently used in jazz and pop music, where players often improvise around chord progressions.

Figure 1. Chord symbols shown above slashes on the Clarinet and Piano staves to help the players improvise around the notated Cornet melody.

You can input chord symbols using the chord symbols popover and you can automatically generate chord symbols based on existing music.

In Dorico Elements, chord symbols exist globally at the corresponding rhythmic positions by default. This means that you only have to input chord symbols once, but they can appear above multiple or no staves as required. However, in some circumstances it is necessary to show different chord symbols for different players at the same rhythmic position. In such cases, you can input local chord symbols.

Dorico Elements automatically shows the appropriate chord symbols for transposing instruments in transposing layouts, including for fretted instruments whose transposition you have changed to reflect a capo. You can also define capos for chord symbols and show only main chord symbols, only capo chord symbols, or both.

You can hide/show chord symbols project-wide above specific instrument staves, including if multiple instruments belong to the same player, and in different layouts. You can also show chord symbols only within chord symbol/slash regions and hide/show individual chord symbols.

If you have input chord symbols but no players in the current layout are set to show them, they are indicated by signposts.

Depending on the style of music, there are different conventions regarding how to present chord names.

Dorico Elements provides a comprehensive set of chord symbol appearance presets that you can choose from.

Video tutorial about chord symbols (English)