Fine Tuned Chord Symbol Alignment

• May 14, 2020 - 17:53

First, I am using the Standard Chord Symbols and the FreeSerif font.

While I am general happy with the placement of chord symbols in MuseScore, many times when using chord names with long modifiers, I often find myself manually adjusting the X Offset in the Inspector so the full chord name is more centered over the note head it corresponds to.

This just looks better, at least to me and avoids crowding in measures with less stretch or several long chord names. I realize I can adjust the vertical offset and scaling of modifiers, but the bottom line is the first element of the chord symbol/name is centered over the note head, so G looks fine but Gm7(b5) looks better if the chord symbol is centered over the 7 or m in Gm7(b5).

I realize there are other ways to express this example to shorten it, but a regular spelling leads to less confusion than Jazz notation and I like it the way it looks with Standard Chord Symbols in the Free Serif font.

I was wondering if added chord symbol placement options could be added to MuseScore at some point beyond those found in the Text Styles. So for example, zero horizontal offset for chord names with one element, and additional offset settings for symbols with additional elements, with more options depending on the number of modifiers.

So for example, you could set up a Style so long chord names could be positioned more centrally over the note head (if desired) while basic chord symbols like G or Gm could be left as is. It would be a major time saver, at least to me when trying to create nice looking scores.

Thanks in advance for any consideration given to this idea or any enlightenment if there is already a way to do this without effecting placements that already are satisfactory.


I'm not sure I understand, but if you want the chord symbol centered, just check the appropriate box in the Inspector. And if you want that applied to all chord symbols, hit the "Set as style" button ("S" icon) right next to that control. No need to mess with offsets.

If that doesn't make sense or help, please attach your score and tell us a particular chord symbol you are concerned with so we can better understand and assist.

Note that centering chord symbols isn't standard or recommended by most experts unless you are using fret diagrams, so that's why the defaults are the way they are. Centering chord symbols in other contexts can lead to confusion over which note the chord symbol actually is placed over.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I understand the "not centering chord symbol" thing as well as how it applies to the placement of lyrics, but unfortunately those absolutes can lead to some cluttered looking scores. Not to mention that there are a million published scores that don't follow the "rules," especially when looking at leadsheets without accompaniment which is what I am creating most often.

I attached an example which illustrates the default, centering and what I would do with manual adjustments. It should at least give you an idea what I am talking about.


Attachment Size
Chord Symbol Placement.mscz 5.54 KB

In reply to by HuffNPuff

I'm not really understanding you're designed alignment. Doesn't look centered at all, it just looks inconsistent and frankly awkward. If that's the look you want, then offsets can indeed be used. But I don't see any reasonable way of automating one particular non-standard style of inconsistent placement.

But FWIW, I'd be interested to see the published sheets that don't follow the rules, that you are trying to emulate. Most I know are actually quite consistent. There might be a few places here or there where they apply a manual override to save space, but I don't know of any publisher who creates inconsistent placement as a general rule. If you attach an example, maybe we can understand better what rule they might actually be following.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.