Chord symbols are an abbreviated way of representing musical chords (see Chord names and symbols (Wikipedia) for further details). For example:
When you exit a chord symbol, the characters entered will automatically assume the correct format: by default a root note typed in lower case will turn into upper case (for alternative options, see Automatic Capitalization); a "#", "b" or "natural" will turn into a proper sharp (♯), flat (♭) or natural (♮) and so on. Do not try to use actual flat, sharp and natural signs as MuseScore will not understand those properly.
The following commands are available during chord symbol entry:
MuseScore understands most of the abbreviations used in chord symbols:
An existing chord symbol can be edited in a similar way to ordinary text: See Text editing.
Chord symbols are automatically transposed by default if you apply the menu Transpose command to the containing measures. If this is not required, you can untick the "Transpose chord symbols" option in the same dialog.
To adjust the appearance of all chord symbol text, use any of the following options:
To access formatting options for chord symbols:
Three options are possible: Standard and Jazz and Custom. You can select between these using the radio buttons.
In the Standard style, chords are rendered simply, with the font determined by your chord symbol text style.
In the Jazz style, the MuseJazz font is used for a handwritten look, with distinctive superscript and other formatting characteristics. The Jazz style is selected by default if you use any of the Jazz templates.
The Custom style option allows you to customize the look of chord symbols (and also ensures compatibility with older scores). Select a customized Chord symbols style file in the field below: this can be created by copying and modifying one of the pre-existing files in the "styles" folder. Documentation can be found in the same folder. Note, however, that this is for advanced users only, and there is no guarantee these files will be supported in the future.
By default, MuseScore uses letter names for chord symbols. For users in regions where other note naming schemes are used, MuseScore provides the following controls:
By default, MuseScore automatically capitalizes all note names on exit, regardless of whether you entered them in upper or lower case. However, you can also choose other automatic capitalization options:
You can also turn off the automatic capitalization completely, in which case note names are simply rendered the way you type them.
Note: In addition to the settings described here, the default position of applied chord symbols is also determined by settings in the Text Styles dialog. The effect is cumulative.
Enter the number of the capo position at which you want to display substitute chords, in brackets, after all chord symbols in the score.
The Nashville Number System (NNS), available in MuseScore since version 3.3, is a shorthand way of representing chords based on scale degrees rather than chord letters. This allows an accompaniment to be played in any key from the same chord chart.
To start entering Nashville notation:
Just as with standard chord symbols, you can type Nashville notation normally and MuseScore will do its best to recognize and format the symbols appropriately. The same shortcuts used for navigation when entering standard chord symbols (e.g. Space, see above) are available for Nashville notation as well.
As of MuseScore 3.3, the Roman Numeral Analysis system is supported—a type of musical analysis where chords are represented by upper and lower case Roman numerals (I, ii, III, iv etc.), superscripts, subscripts and other modifying symbols. It is used to notate and analyze the harmony of a composition independent of its key (see External links for further details).
Note: Unlike standard chord symbols and Nashville notation, which MuseScore formats using its own algorithms, RNA uses the free and open source Campania font to format the symbols. This allows MuseScore to format the symbols as you type, rather than applying the formatting only when you are done. Also, if you install the Campania font on your system normally, you can use it in other programs as well and benefit from the same formatting.
Just as with standard chord symbols, you can type Roman numeral analysis normally and MuseScore will do its best to recognize and format the symbols appropriately. The same shortcuts used for navigation when entering standard chord symbols are available for Roman numeral analysis as well (see Keyboard commands (above)).