Chord Lexicon + Roman Numeral Analysis

• Jan 10, 2018 - 22:56

Unless I have missed something, I have noticed a lot of Android Apps have Chord Lexicons, but I haven't found one in MuseScore (or even Sibelius or Fruity Loops).

Right now, my music Prof wants us to do analyses with standard Chordal Notation (e.g. DMaj7), Roman Numerals (IV), and Chord Charts (just a stack of thirds; not voiced into any particular progression). These are usually a simple matter of calculation based upon a key, and/or there may be like XML libraries already available, but I haven't seen Roman Numeral Analysis or the "stack of thirds" manner of Charting Chords in Siblelius or MuseScore..

I'm still pretty new MuseScore and this is my first deep dive into the program, so I may have missed something, but it would seem these would be useful.


take a peek into an existing MuseScore 2.x plugin (Roussel manu's Chord Identifier plugin, . Properly configured - check the source code, it's easy to follow - , it can show you inversions for the majority of standard chords across any voices/staves, etc.). It does not make roman numerical analysis, but is of great help, anyway.

I'm not really sure what you mean by a "chord lexicon", so I guess first step in helping you create one would be if you could explain more what you are looking for - perhaps a picture of a published score that includes one?

I also don't really understand what you are referring to when you say "stack of thirds". I mean, I know a chord is a stack of thirds, but what do you want to actually do with that in formation in MuseScore?

As for chord symbols, you can add those with Ctrl+K - see the Handbook under Chord symbols. Roman numeral analysis I find is best entered using the Lyrics function (Ctrl+L).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Maybe "chord calculator" might have been a better term?

Anyway, here's something like what I mean, except it is just the chord names, and they aren't set on a scale, nor are they in any inversions or voicings.…

There are lots of books on this subject in music stores for all sorts of instruments.

As far as a "stack of thirds" is concerned, you might be overthinking it - I simply mean something like the following:

Except that is a very limited table of chords. So imagine if every chord (and it's inversions) were available on a staff, and you could pick it froma list as long as that in the first image link.

I imagine it as a sort of menu item, whereby you'd pull down a menu, and select "Chord Lexicon" or "Chord Calculator". It would open a dialogue, whereby you would enter a key (e.g. D Maj), position (e.g. I,IV,V), the intervals, inversion, etc - basically anything you'd need to get the right "stack of thirds", and then you'd hit "okay", click the place in the score where you wanted it to appear, and then the chord and its symbols would just appear in the area where you clicked.

As for a "stack of thirds", I was speaking too loosely. I meant more like only one of each note in a closed spacing no further apart than necessary. In open spacing, you'd have gaps in the "stack of thirds", so I just thought of it as reduced as much as possible spatially and notewise.

The idea seems like it would be useful and easy to implement, I think.

Useful because calculating a chord, or interpreting a chord symbol - either in Roman Numerals or in-Key - can sometimes be a pain. Voicing leading makes it even worse because you have to set it all in context. So a simple, quick way of configuring a barebones chord (or chords) in key according to a "stack of thirds" would seem a simple way of accurately throwing mud on the wheel to edit it into shape later.

It would seem easy to implement because - if I understand it correctly - it would be a finite exercise. If you calculated the chords, then it simply would have to build upon the parameters. Or, if you selected from a visual library of shapes, then there's still only a certain number of them, which could be templated (like WordArt) and then (to set them in key) transposed.

I came up with the idea when my teacher told me to do an analysis and a "chord chart" of a Bach piece. It would have helped if she defined what she meant by "chord chart", but she didn't, so instead I ended up researching all sorts of analyses, reductions and chord charts. A lot of what I needed for the assignment was already available through automation and/or other people's work, so I "sort-of" got the assignment done - although I still don't know what she actually meant yet! In any case, it stimulated some programming ideas, so maybe there is something to what I've conjured up here.


In reply to by William777

What I still don't understand is what you see the role of notation software being here. That chord chart you posted is nice, but it's not music notation, not something MuseScore would normally be the sort of thing one would choose to create. So I'm still struggling to understand what you want MuseScore to actually do with respect to that.

As for automatically generating notes based on chord symbols, that's commonly requested for playback, but there are major complication with this. One is, what rhythm to use. Another is what voicing - real pianists and guitarists would seldom actually play the stack of thirds in raw form but would usually spread the notes out more to create better spacing and good voice leading. Something worth tackling some day when there is less left to with with respect to the more important notation-related features.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hmmm..... it's about musical analysis, rather than notation.

To me, it seems like the OP wants to be able to notate, for example, a Bach Chorale and have access to some sort of built-in 'chord lexicon' dialog to aid in the 'harmonic analysis'.
This would include the ability to select a 'closed spaced' chord inversion (i.e. stack of thirds) that can, as he states: just appear in the score area where you clicked.

(I would rate this feature request as a long shot.)


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