Correspondence of chord symbols between text in musescore and exported musicXML

• Oct 24, 2017 - 03:14

Hello. I've come back here after eight months...

Now I'm trying to make musicXML files with chord symbols in musescore for the purpose of computational harmony analysis as a part of my research project. (on Musescore v2.1, OS X El Capitan (10.11.6))
I'd like to know whether there is a way to edit how a chord symbols is written in musicXML.

The cause of my problem is that some chord symbols have different interpretations.
For example, in my limited knowledge, 'Bdim' has two possibilities: diminished (B, D, F) and diminished-seventh (B, D, F, Ab), depending on the genre or transcriber's decision.
Also, I expect 'C+5' to be an augmented chord (C, E, G#), but it appears as a power chord (C, G) in the exported musicXML from musescore.

Of course, I can distinguish diminished and diminished-seventh by writing 'dim' or 'dim7' respectively. For the 'C+5' case, I can write 'aug' instead of '+5'.
However, if I can change correspondence between chord symbol text in musescore and harmonic information in exported musicXML, for example to interpret '+5' as 'augmented', that will prevent me from making a mistake in transcribing from a paper sheet.

Sorry if my English is not clear.
Or if my understanding on chord symbols is wrong, please correct me.
Honestly, I'm not familiar with lead sheets.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you.


It's not clear for me, why you want to edit the chord name in the xml file.
Chord symbols in MuseScore doesn't add the notes of a chord in a staff, you've to add them manually. A chord symbol describes a chord name, but doesn't transfer the notes themselves to the staff.

I never saw a chord named "C+5", the chord is named "C+" (the "+" indicates the augmented fifth). If this appears as power chord, then you've to edit the notes of a chord in the staff, not the chord symbol.

For the diminished chord symbol, yes I would write Cdim and Cdim7 (or C0 and C07), so it's more clear for the reader of the score.

In reply to by kuwitt

Thank you for the response.
Adding the notes of a chord in a staff is not my intention. Maybe my having written note names such as (B, D, F) misled you... I try to clarify.

What I need for the analysis is an musicXML file consisting of a single melodic staff with chord symbols attached (<harmony> element).
I'm going to make such musicXML by transcribing paper scores using musescore.

In some of the paper scores, I see 'dim' symbol indicating a diminished-seventh chord and '+5' symbol indicating an augmented chord.
While transcribing, it's quite possible to mistakenly input chord symbols as written in the paper score, and then they will lead to "wrong" interpretation such as diminished triad for 'dim' or power chord for '+5' in the analysis.
(I mean, "wrong" in the context of the paper score)
That's why I'm looking for a way to change how musescore interprets chord symbols in exporting musicXML.

I hope I made it clearer...

In reply to by etno.stri

I'm not very familiar with editing chord symbols in music xml files, Maybe something like that is a helpful ressource:

Concerning the "C+5" chord: A full augmented C chord (within both major thirds) will be written as "C+" chord symbol (without the "5"). I suppose the additional "5" in the chord indicates the power chord, see:
(you could also write it as "C+no3" or "C+omit3" for the power chord).
But if a reader of a lead sheet will see a "C+" chord, it should be clear for him, that it means C/E/G#.

In reply to by kuwitt

Hmm... it seems I still failed to tell you my intention. A human reader is not a concern now.
I'm making musicXML files to input into my analyzer, and the problem was how to prevent an error while I transcibe from paper scores because of non-standard chord symbols written in the paper.

But thank you for taking your time. I agree with your supposition that additional "5" is the cause for the 'C+5' case.

C+5 is not a standard abbreviation for augmented, so indeed, MuseScore probably won't recognize it as such. Better to use either C+, or Caug, or C(#5), etc.

As for "Bdim", literally, it always means only the triad B D F. If you want to denote a fully diminished seventh chord B D F Ab, you need to write Bdim7. True, many jazz musicians will add a seventh on their own, but the same is true if you simply write "C" (they will assume Cma7 or C7 depending on context), or "Cmi" (they will similarly assume Cmi7, Cmi6, or Cmi(ma7) depending on context. For that matter, most jazz musicians add ninths and sixths to pretty much all chords. MuseScore is not in the business of trying to guess what notes a jazz musician will add; it just interprets chord symbols literally.

So, I would say your best bet is to simply use more standard abbreviations in your work rather than trying to train MuseScore to understand non-standard ones.

However, for the record, you can force MuseScore to recognize pretty much anything as something else by creating a custom chord description file. So to Style / General / Chord Symbols and see the controls at the top, these will also show you how to access the chord description files. We don't really document or "support" that kind of customization, but if you read the existing files, you may be able to figure out the format required and make the cusotmizations.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

OK, then the paper scores which I'm going to transcribe does write chord symbols in a non-standard manner.

It's good to know about how jazz musicians read chord symbols.
Now I've learned that the abbreviation 'dim' being interpreted as diminished-seventh is actually a part of more general convention to adding another note according to the context. (Is this understanding correct?)

Style / General / Chord Symbols is exactly what I was looking for.
I found many descriptions how chord symbols are interpreted in files at /Applications/Musescore
I'll try to customize musescore's interpretation in this way.

But yes, I appreciate your suggestion to simply write chord symbols in standard way.
Making a simple checking tool for my own use is also an option.
I'll find the best way for me and go ahead. Your comments would be a great help. Thank you!

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