Moving multiple chord symbols at the same time in a lead sheet.

• Aug 3, 2021 - 18:49

By highlighting one chord in a staff, it is possible to bump that chord up or down with the keyboard arrows. If one were to highlight all chords in a staff or two or the entire lead sheet, it would be nice if one could press the Ctrl or Alt keys or some other key combo and bump up or down all the highlighted cords using the arrow keys without going through a labyrinth of menus to do it.

Attachment Size
Move several chords together.JPG 97.13 KB


To be clear - you can use the Inspector to move all selected chords at once (the Y offset field, no menus needed). But that's not what you want. This will only affect chords already present (new chords will appear at the old default), and it could also mess up if the formatting of the score changes. That's why the solution Jojo mentions is better (and easier). Just move one chord the way you like 0 either with the Inspector or any other way you like - then hit the "S" button next to the Y offset to make that the style default. if you generally prefer your lead sheets to have that height, simply save the resulting score to your Templates folder and use that in the future instead of the standard Jazz Lead Sheet template or whatever else you might be using.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you Marc,

I tried Jojo's steps and it worked it moved every chord, even the unmarked, to the same level. What I am trying to do, (independent of the setup in the Inspector for a particular instance), is to nudge several highlighted chords as a group from their original positions to a new location ... all by the same amounts in the X Y plane,
by the user clicking up arrow (or some combination) on the keyboard. I hope that I said it more clearly this time.

I am just starting to appreciate the vast capabilities of MS and remember the lay of the land more and more and some of the logic. Great program. I hope that one day it grows into an all in one Notation, VST, and DAW, all rolled into one.

In reply to by abzmusic

Using the inspector does that, and you can use the arrow keys to nudge. Simply select just the chords you want to move.

But again, this is almost always the wrong way to go about it. simply adjusting the style settings to be more to your liking achieves the result more simply, more accurately, more reproducibly, and more importantly, it also works for future chords in this chart as well as in future charts. So you only have to do this sort of thing once and then never again.

So again, if you attach an actual score (not just a picture) and describe in more detail what you were trying to make happen, we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc, Thank you for your timely response. I always appreciate it. Attached is a lead sheet
that may explain it better. As an example: Say I am happy with the layout other then the second line measures 6 - 10. I want all the the chords in line a little higher than it is. Per Jojo's directions, I go into the Inspector and move them all up as a group with no problem. I want the rest to stay as they are and any new chords will be at default inspector height.
Since a single highlighted chord can be nudged using the arrow keys, why can't a group of chords be nudged the same as a group? Maybe hold Ctrl and then click the arrow keys to move the whole highlighted group. Why bother the Inspector which is set to the default value I am happy with? BTW the stacked chords are not poly tonal, the lower note is the bass but not the root.

This chord group movement is really not an issue for me just a wish. Thank you again for your time.

Attachment Size
The_christmas_song.mscz 25.75 KB

In reply to by abzmusic

So my question for you is, what is it about measure 6-10 that causes you to want the chords higher? I'm guessing the actual issue is how inconsistent they are, and that is because you have not enabled the option to automatically align them. The jazz lead sheet template does that automatically, so I recommend that - it does this and a number of other settings that are very useful for this type of music. But if you prefer not to take advantage of that, you can still make the same setting yourself. Just go to Format / Style / Chord Symbols, and set the "Maximum shift above" to something like 3 sp. This tells MuseScore, "go ahead and automatically raise up the chord symbols that are lower than the other to align them, but only to a maximum of 3 sp. If the highest chord is ridiculously high above the staff, don't raise everything else to match, just let it stick out.

So by simply making that setting, I'm thinking you probably won't want to change anything else manually. certainly I can't see anything else about measures 6-10 that would make me want those particular chords to be higher than the rest in the score.

But if that truly is the goal - to create an inconsistent arrangement where chords on one systems are higher than the others above and beyond what was required to align them - then the method we have suggested works perfectly. Click the first chord in measure 6, Shift+click the last in measure 10, now they are all selected. Then click in the "Y offset" field of the Inspector and use the up/down arrows as you see fit. Not sure why you'd want to not "bother" it - it is intimately connected. Moving an element directly automatically updates the Inspector and vice versa - there is no such thing as moving an element while leavining Inspector values alone, nor would that make sense.

But, you'll need to correct the bit of manual adjustment you made to some of the chords. It's "off" already, but will be more obviously so if you try this. It seems you have entered what appears to be either alternate chord symbols or even polychords like the Ab-6 and Cb triad that show simultaneously in bar 5 - probably those should simply be slash chords, like Ab-6/Cb. but if you truly do mean alternature chord symbols, you should not use manual offset for them, but instead simply enter the primary chord first, then the alternate chord, and set the text style of the alternate chord symbol as such in the Inspector. Except that it seems you've also customized that in a strange way, adding an X offset that shouldn't be there, and setting the Y offset too low. So you'd need to correct that too. The alternate chord symbol style is meant for displaying altnerate chord symbols above the standard chords - that's the norm, and how the default settings for that style work.

In reply to by abzmusic

I think part of the confusion may be that you are thinking of the Inspector as what sets the default height of chord symbols. It isn't - at least, not directly. It's only the "set as style" button - the "S" icon - that causes whatever values you have in the Inspector to become the new style settings. So, simply clicking in the Inspector field then changing the value with the arrow keys won't change the default one iota.

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