Standard way to format Chord Symbol and Rehearsal Mark on the same note

• Apr 14, 2019 - 16:39

Seems like it's a common enough occurrence. I decided here to let the chord symbol stay in the default position, and to move the rehearsal mark to the right of it. It looks OK to me, but I'm wondering if that's normal. In a sense, the rehearsal mark is too far rightward. In another sense, it probably doesn't matter much. The example image is paired down to make it as small as possible.

By default, MuseScore tends to resolve this conflict by putting the rehearsal mark above the chord symbol. But that also forces an increase in the space between systems, which can cause fewer systems to fit on the page. So I prefer a horizontal solution. But if there are standards and I'm just being a goofus, I'll add height or do whatever is most readable for others.


In my experience at examining classical scores, the Rehearsal mark is either above the barline or above where the chord symbol is. Since there are not chord symbols in Classical music, it might be a tempo or technique text that would be there.

In reply to by mike320

That's probably why MuseScore defaults to that layout.
What about in parts? Is it the same? Parts always look much more compact to me, vertically, than scores.

I'm building dynamic scores that share space on the screen with video and other elements. I'm a bit obsessed with vertical screen space, which is always at a premium. That's why I went this way, like the image I posted. But that's also why I ask the question here.

In reply to by sideways

I almost never see published parts, but I can't imagine that a publisher would keep the RM above or left of text in the score then allow it to move to the right in the part since the RM marks the beginning of the measure and really should be the first item seen reading left to right.

I'm not sure about the way you are using RM's, It may make sense to allow them to move to the right of the chord symbol, though I really think it belongs to the left. I would add leading space to the first note if I don't like the way they stack. I've been know to add the leading space by ctrl+inserting a time or key signature that's the same as the existing to the first instrument and making it invisible.

In reply to by mike320

So you add leading space at the start of the measure? Interesting workaround. I'll consider putting them to the left. In this particular instance (the image I posted) the chord change is on the 1/8 note before the measure starts (it's rock & roll). So it's awkward all around.

Thanks for the feedback.

This is very genre-dependent, and also different from publisher to publisher. But FWIW, the Jazz templates set the defaults to match a pretty common setup in that world, where rehearsal marks are often positioned before the barline (as opposed to centered over it) specifically to make room for chord symbols. Unfortunately, it looks like something changed and this isn't working the way it did before, there needs to be an additional -2sp offset I guess, or I need to look at the algorithm for right-aligning rehearsal marks (align to barline, not first note, I guess).

FWIW, it's also common enough to have rehearsal marks above the chord symbols, as the general MuseScore defaults do.

While Gould doesn't discuss chord symbols, she does suggest placing rehearsal marks to the left of tempo markings.

Anyhow, to my eyes, I think you did it backwards. Either move the rehearsal mark left, or change the style to right align them and add a negative horizontal offset so they appear there by default, or leave them alone as the defaults are actually OK too.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the feedback. I'll flip them and put the rehearsal mark to the left. Yes, I was thinking that big band scores would be a reference point. That's great that the standard jazz layout is designed for this exact situation. I'm still obsessed with vertical screen space, and adding an extra row of space just for rehearsal marks bothers me. Too sparsely populated to be worth the precious space :)

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Wait: If you change the alignment code, will any adjustments I make need to be readjusted after your changes? It sounds like they will if you change the anchor from first note to the prior measure's barline. Are you going to make this decision/change soon? I'm not "publishing" these scores until at least the end of the month, probably in May.

In reply to by sideways

...but that does not preclude you from aligning the rehearsal mark to that barline. There is an exception for the first measure, which doesn't have a previous measure. Other than that, the code isn't any more complex.
If that's the best solution, alignment relative to the barline.

In reply to by sideways

I say barline, but literally I mean, the start of the measure, so no worries about the barline actually belonging to the previous measure. We already do have special handling for measures with headers (clefs, key & time signatures). So, we need to be sure to do the expected thing for center as well as right alignment, measure with and without header. So that's four different cases As I recall, there was some disagreement about the expected behavior with header among people who use center alignment, and this is probably what changed and broke things for people who use right alignment. but at this point I'm speculating a bit based on fuzzy memory. Time to look into this in earnest...

In reply to by sideways

I do need to be careful about it, yes. I kind of feel like 3.1 is the now-or-never for that, there are enough other subtle improvements (bug fixes, really) that some amount of fiddling with manual adjustment may be necessary for some scores anyhow. We're looking at a couple of weeks or so for 3.1.

I opened an issue for this - #287723: Right-aligned rehearsal marks should align to barline. More investigation needed, I know there has been quite some discussion of the "correct" alignment and we've tried to accommodate everyone as best we could, I don't want to break anything that people are depending on. But, people were depending on right-alignment mean aligned to the barline, in 2.3.2, so we've already broken that.

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