Polychords - is there any interest?

• Apr 24, 2022 - 06:45

I wondered about stacking chords, for example as upper structures in jazz harmony. A quick search suggested that there is a notation for polychords, using a horizontal line to separate the chords, but although MuseScore does have "slashed" chords - usually used for inverting a standard chord - placing a chord over a single note, it does not support polychords.

Also, when I write that it does not support them I mean that it does not understand them semantically. The player will not understand any notation trying to produce such polychords.

For notation purposes it is perfectly possible to use various means to give a notation - such as using images or other text tricks.

Maybe polychords are just not used often enough that there is little interest. From looking at previous comments in these pages that would seem to be the case - though I wondered if this would ever be revisited - perhaps for MS4 .... MS5 .... etc.???


The easiest workaround currently is to just enter two chord symbols and then manually add a horizontal line inbetween them.

It's a request that comes in periodically, so no doubt it will happen at some point. Not for 4.0, that's pretty much a given because it would have to wait for some other word that has already been slated for a release after 4.0, but maybe 4.1 or 4.2 or whatever.

You are correct, though. in supposing it's a pretty rare notation. Music involving polychords isn't so unusual, but normally they are simply written out in full voicings rather than relying on chord symbols. I think I can recall polychord notation being used on all of three or four charts out of the literally thousands I've played or directed. Meanwhile, the workaround mentioned above works well.

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