Stacked Chords/Upper Structure Chords

• Jan 2, 2018 - 20:54

I saw a thread or two about this, and I followed the instruction on this page:

First to clarify:
Stacked chords are where you play two chords together.
indicates D chord, with a C bass, which yields (low to high) C ADF#
indicates (shouldn't be broken line though) D chord above C chord, which yields (low to high)

In the above thread ( I am suppose to insert the two different chords mentioned above with the slash key, therefore I am not sure how to produce a chord over bass note, once this style is selected.
See attached images for the desired outcome.

Also, adding numbers (7, 6, sus and such) mess it up even more.
Input appreciated!
Happy new year

Attachment Size
chordOverBass.png 13.01 KB
upperStructure.png 9.77 KB


Unfortunately that article is really for an obsolete version of MuseScore. It would take some work to update this for current versions. but in any case, the intent was never to allow for for both methods at ocne - in fact, this is practically unheard of in published music. It was just to switch from the standard style (horizontal layout) of slash chords to the less common style (vertical stacking). I get that some people might try using both in the same chart, but I wouldn't recommend it - people reading would be unlikely to understand the distinction you are trying to convey because it really isn't standard.

That said, if you do want to use both in the same chart, I'd do the chord over bass note type normally, and the polychord style by entering these as two totally separate chords. You can use the Inspector to adjust the offset of the bottom (or top) chords all at once, and add the horizontal line as another chord.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc, thanks for the reply!
I've seen people suggest to write two different chords (one above the other), and add an horizontal line, like you offered, but I was hopping there was a better solution where the software does it with the same ease, as a chord over bass.

Regarding the need for that, I've read a lot of music that has both - stacked chords & chord over bass, those are two types of chords that can co exist...

Hopefully in musescore 3, I can't wait for that!
I've seen in musecore 3 nightly that they allow you now to change instrument, so we will be able to write a part for someone who's doubling in two different instrument (ie flute & Bb clarinet), and it's switches the keys automatically..

Thanks so much for the reply though, it helped me stop looking for a shortcut that works..

In reply to by fixingahole2

There are no current plans to add support for the stacked notation in MuseScore 3, but that can change if there is sufficient interest. You say you've read a lot of music that has both - can you point to some published examples? I've read literally thousands of jazz charts but can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've seen this.

As for the instrument change with transposition, no need to wait for MuseScore 3 - that has been working since the release of 2.1.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hey Marc,

I didn't know MS2 can do the instrument change, it's great, thanks!

Regarding stacked chords, I saw it a lot, more when band leaders handed it to me, and in college. I am not sure if it's all published though.

I hope musescore will do it, as it's possible in the other programs for a reason...

Check this song out (not jazz):

Very melodic song, there's an electric guitar that plays triads above the harmony.
That song has chord over bass, as well as chord over chord.
Anyway, thanks for your help

In reply to by fixingahole2

I'd also like to see support for stacked chord symbols for polychords. You don't often see it in jazz charts, true, but it's used for analyzing polychords in pieces like Petrushka.
Entering in the symbol could work just like normal chord symbols, but instead of a slash /, you could put in an underscore _ between the letters to create a symbol with the letters stacked and a horizontal line in between. And while there are workarounds like what I did for the image, it would be nice to make the process quick and clean.


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