Possible to transpose chord symbols ONLY?

• May 17, 2022 - 04:04

In MuseScore's Transpose dialog we can exclude chord symbols when transposing by unchecking "Transpose Chord Symbols."

Sometimes I'd like to do the opposite: that is, I'd like to transpose chord symbols without affecting notation. But I don't see a direct path via MuseScore's Transpose dialog.

Interestingly when I select a range of chord symbols and open the Transpose dialog, it initially appears that MuseScore is ready for the task:

• The Transpose Chromatically is enabled. (Though I'm note sure why the sub-option To Key is disabled.)
Transpose Diatonically is also enabled.
• However Transpose chord symbols is disabled. Pfffff. Whaa?
OK is enabled, but pressing it produces no result.

This begs the questions:

• When I have only chord symbols selected, MuseScore won't allow their transposition ... so why does MuseScore show Transpose enabled in the Tools menu? And why are any of the dialog's transpose options enabled (including the OK button)? Seems like wonky UI.

• And why don't we have a "Transpose Chord Symbols only" option. That would be the direct solution ... and MuseScore certainly has the capability.

Am I missing something?

scorster


Comments

You aren't missing anything; it isn't currently possible to do in one step, because it only very rarely gets requested. The indirect method would be to transpose everything, then just the notes back. Of course,e if this is for cap, simply enabling the cap in Format / Style / Chord Symbols does the trick.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc wrote >> it isn't currently possible to [only transposed chord symbols] in one step, because it only very rarely gets requested.

I guess your suggesting such a feature pertains only to obscure, fringe use cases.

Use cases:

Case No. 1: Transposing in MuseScore with chord symbols excluded is the converse of my request. Assuming the score's chord symbols were originally entered in the same key as the staff notation, and (whether intentionally or not) Tools>Transpose is applied with chord symbols excluded the resulting chord symbols display in a key different that the notation. When a scorist encounters a score so rendered they may want a direct means for setting the chord symbols back to the key of the notation.

Case No. 2: Say I know a particular accompaniment on guitar in the key of C capo 3, and I'm working on an Eb score that will have no guitar part, but I want to leverage this knowledge to add concert Eb chords to the score. Instead of mentally transposing each chord up a minor 3rd (for instance C to Eb), I could enter all the chord symbols in the key of C (like a transposed Part); then transpose them up a minor 3rd to the key of Eb. Quick and easy—and for many, surely less error prone than mentally transposing each chord.

Case No. 3: The user has a Guitar score, with no additional Parts—just notation (possible tablature) and chord symbols. The user plays the piece with guitar "C" fingering (and therefore has notated it in "C") but performs with Capo 3 which sounds Concert Eb. When rehearsing the song with a bassist perhaps the user wants to print the score with Concert Eb chords, so the bassist doesn't have to transpose on the fly.

In each case MuseScore clearly has the power and ability; it's just lacking the UI.

I've used three other notation applications where transposing chord symbols (independently from the staff notation) is supported and elegantly simple.

Marc wrote >> The indirect method would be to transpose everything, then just the notes back.

Thanks. I thought of that. But before resorting to workarounds I always like to post to see if I've overlooked an existing feature.

Marc wrote >> if this is for cap, simply enabling the cap in Format / Style / Chord Symbols does the trick.

Sorry. I don't know what that means.

scorster

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Okay, thanks,

But, if we're talking about Format/Style/Chord Symbols/Capo Fret position, that just adds the capoed chord symbol in parentheses to the right of the concert chord symbols. It doesn't transpose the concert chord symbols, which is the core point of this post. So I don't see how Marc's suggestion pertains.

In reply to by scorster

I’m saying the fact that this is almost never requested does indeed imply it’s a bit of a niche use case. Not that niches don’t exist or have value. I’m just reporting on why this use case hasn’t yet been supported. As always, best way to help ensure it gets supported in the future is to find others who have similar needs and get them to weigh in as well. The likelihood of a feature being implemented is always higher the more users that express interest in it.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, I think your method is maybe only one step more (and easy to do) than what the OP wants. Especially if you just have a melody line with chords over it.
CTRL+A. (It takes at least three actions to select just the Chord symbols)
Transpose up.
Open Transpose again.
Un-check chord symbols.
Transpose down.

Of course, it depends on the situation. Maybe 6 steps to do just the symbols, and 7 to do it the above way.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc,

I'm wondering if I'm swimming upstream against unexpressed ideology ... or attachment to the current design.

If you could just snap your fingers and have it done, do you think it would be a good idea to include the requested option in the Transpose dialog? (And I get that you see this as niche enough to not warrant the needed manpower, so you don't need to reiterate that. )

scorster

In reply to by scorster

I agree with you. It seems like this should be possible from the transposition dialogue. But it's not, so in the meantime it can be done fairly easily.
I must confess that in all the years and groups I've played guitar in, I've always played from lyric sheets with chords. Only using a capo to raise the pitch. I try not to rely on a capo too much because it changes the tone of the instrument. Though I've known plenty of experienced players who use a capo so the don't have to play Bb or Eb.
Just my 2 cents.

In reply to by scorster

If you could just snap your fingers and have it done...

Ah... if only that were possible, then we each could snap our own fingers and have it done. (Sorry, couldn't resist - MuseScore being open source, and the frequent citing of "itch scratching" ;-)

Anyhow...
Regarding your use case No. 2) Say I usually play an accompaniment on guitar in the key of C capo 3.

Do you mean that you play with the capo at the third fret and are "grabbing" a chord shape (i.e., fretboard diagram) as if you were playing in the key of C major? In other words, you "grab" a C chord shape and it sounds as an Eb chord when strummed?
This is commonly seen with those 'open mike folksingers' who "slide the capo up" to suit their individual vocal range. They read the chord symbols written in C major, and play the C major fretboard diagrams so really don't need to view transposed Eb chord symbols. Yes?

In reply to by Jm6stringer

>> Regarding your use case No. 2) Say I usually play an accompaniment on guitar in the key of C capo 3.

>> Do you mean that you play with the capo at the third fret and are "grabbing" a chord shape (i.e., fretboard diagram) as if you were playing in the key of C major? In other words, you "grab" a C chord shape and it sounds as an Eb chord when strummed?
This is commonly seen with those 'open mike folksingers' who "slide the capo up" to suit their individual vocal range. They read the chord symbols written in C major, and play the C major fretboard diagrams so really don't need to view transposed Eb chord symbols. Yes?

Indeed. In keeping with common capo logic!

With respect to the example I offered, using use a guitar C "grip" and capo 3, my playing is akin to a transposing part in the key of C. And a capo at fret 3 raises the pitch concert Eb.

A guitarist at capo 3 may prefer not to see chords in Eb—just as an Bb clarinetist expects and needs their Part (or chord chart) in C to concert Bb. And when there's a mix of capoed players and players in concert pitch, Ideally chord communication occurs in "key agnostic" Roman numbering or Nashville parlance: VI - II - V - I, rather than the key specific Tower of Babel: A - D - G - C (for key those thinking in C) or C - F - Bb - Eb (for those thinking in Eb.)

Scorster

In reply to by scorster

With respect to the example I offered, using use a guitar C "grip" and capo 3, my playing is akin to a transposing Part in the key of C. And a capo at fret 3 raises the pitch concert Eb.

Yes, I understand that. What I don't understand is who needs to see the transcribed chord symbols? Certainly not the guitarist. As you say: "a guitarist at capo 3 does not want to see or think in Eb." Agreed. So why a need to transpose chord symbols for this use case?

In reply to by scorster

I did not say it's too niche to warrant the manpower. I said the reason it hasn't happened yet is that it hasn't been requested often, and that the more it gets requested, the more likely it is to get implemented. And I definitely didn't express any attachment to the current design - I think this dialog is needlessly confusing and awkward to use, and would love to see it overhauled someday.

But if it were up to me, one thing would happen immediately: selecting the chords symbols only and then choosing Tools / Transpose would work. The dialog would work for chord symbols in list selections just as it does for notes, providing an interval option.

As for adding new controls to the dialog, my concern is making an already complex dialog even more complex. So I'd need to see the specific proposed design before commenting on it. Id be much more interested in a design that simplified the dialog rather than one that kep it as is but added yet another control. But sure, if someone came up with a design that were sufficiently clear and didn't impact the normal use cases at all and yet also supported this new functionality, I'd have no problem with it.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc wrote >> ... if it were up to me, one thing would happen immediately: selecting the chords symbols only and then choosing Tools / Transpose would work.

Thanks, good to hear!

marc wrote >> The dialog would work for chord symbols in list selections just as it does for notes, providing an interval option. I'd need to see the specific proposed design before commenting on it.

For now, with respect to the Transpose dialog design—without changing anything else—when the user has a list of chord symbols selected, have MuseScore show Options>Transpose Chord Symbols enabled in the Transpose dialog. If it were enabled and functioning we wouldn't be having this discussion.

In reply to by scorster

FWIW, in the interest of helping others see the value of this and thus increasing the likelihood of a solution being designed and implemented, I'd like to understand your use cases more.

1) seems, unless I am missing something, like just an error correction - if a particular type of error is encountered, to allow a quicker fix for it. Correct? Or is there something else to this case?

2) seems the one more likely to resonate with people, but also the one I'm not understanding as well. What key is the music in when you start? If it's written in C already, why wouldn't you want it transposed along with the chords? Or if it's in Eb and you want to enter C chords, why wouldn't you simply transpose it to C before entering the chords? And most importantly, as mentioned elsewhere - if you are playing in C capo 3, why would you want to see the Eb chord? Isn't the whole point of the capo to just see and think C while actually the sound of Eb?

Here I think an actual sample score and a more clear explanation would help. If a new feature is to be designed, it's important that it actually solve the use case it was designed to solve, and that means being able to understand the use case.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As I understand it, the OP wants the music to stay in the same key. He only wants the chord symbols changed so that he can use the capo.
How about this: Change the Transpose Chord Symbols check box to a drop down menu. The default could be to yes transpose. Other choices could be do not transpose, and transpose chords only.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc wrote >> ... as mentioned elsewhere - if you are playing in C capo 3, why would you want to see the Eb chord? Isn't the whole point of the capo to just see and think C while actually the sound of Eb?

Sorry for any confusion. I rewrote Case 2 to specify that there was no desire to have a guitar part in the score, thus neither guitar notation nor "capo key guitar" chord symbols. I was trying to propose a case use about applying "capoed guitar knowledge" as a means of entering chords—in a "transposed" schema—onto a concert part, and then Transposing those chord symbols to the concert key.

I'll see about clarifying Case 1 later. Busy morning here!

Scorster

From your (revised) Case 2:
Say I know a particular accompaniment on guitar in the key of C capo 3, and I'm working on an Eb score that will have no guitar part, but I want to leverage this knowledge to add concert Eb chords to the score. Instead of mentally transposing each chord up a minor 3rd (for instance C to Eb), I could enter all the chord symbols in the key of C...

Example...
Okay, so you know something like this song, but have perhaps never notated it in MuseScore, so transposition within MuseScore is not readily available:
C_song.png

Then you obtain (by whatever means) a MuseScore file in Eb with no chord symbols:
Eb_score.png

You wish to leverage your knowledge of the C chords and add them to the Eb score:
Eb_score_C_chords.png

Then have MuseScore do the transposition (up a minor 3rd) of the chord symbols only:
Eb_score_Eb_chords.png

I guess the above example is close to what you envision.

You also wrote that this will be easier than "mentally transposing each chord up a minor third."

Instead of entering all the chord symbols by "mentally transposing", you can quickly and easily make a conversion chart like this for reference as you enter the chord names in Eb:
Keymap.png
Any chord modifiers (maj7, dim, sus4, etc.) do not change. It is only the root that needs to be transposed using a simple chart. That may explain the rarity of such a request.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Nice summary jm6stringer. Your notational examples nicely illustrate the concept. Thanks for taking the time!

For the record, it's not much trouble for me to think through the transposition when I'm not rushed or tired (and visually referencing a conversion chart is about equally wearing for me.)

So the request is for MuseScore to shoulder the weight when I want it to.

The concept (and the universal use case) is simple:

A museScore user has a score in which he or she wants to transpose chord symbols independently from the notation. This does not seem a remote possibility (and I'd like to underscore that the impetus is unimportant to this discussion.)

So I find it surprising that MuseScore doesn't offer independent transposition of chord symbols, particularly when there's a checkbox for just that purpose. Ironically, when I have only chord symbols selected MuseScore disables the dialog's option to transpose chord symbols—as if it's trying to protect against some potentially sordid outcome.

This refusal to separate the issues is kinda like seeing a sandwich and salad on the menu, but if you don't want the salad you can't have the sandwich.

Regarding insufficient requests, if missing fire extinguisher has gone unreported for years I shouldn't conclude that the situation is unimportant, nor that the remedy should be delayed until x number of requests have been registered.

scorster

In reply to by scorster

So the request is for MuseScore to shoulder the weight when I want it to.

Okay, so you don't wish to mentally transpose the chords, and referencing a conversion chart wears you out, and so you have purposefully entered "C chords" instead of "Eb chords":
C_into Eb.png
I do understand your stated issues with the enabled items in the Transpose dialog regarding range selection of chord symbols, so consider this a workaround - which hopefully doesn't become wearisome for all the times you need to do this sort of thing.

So... here we go...
Transpose everything by interval - up a minor third:
Minor_third_up.png
Chord symbols get transposed (along with everything else).
.

Transpose to the key of Eb major after disabling the 'Transpose chord symbols' checkbox:
Done.png
Chord symbols remain and are now correct for Eb major.
.

I do agree with your assessment of the lack of symmetry for the 'Transpose chord symbols' checkbox's function. Since Ctrl+K is used to enter chord symbols (to distinguish chords from ordinary text), and because the chord symbols themselves are touted as being "transposable", chord-symbol-only transposition should be available.
Also, as more instruments get added to a score, that interim key signature change in the workaround could confuse the uninitiated.

BUT...
In addition to folks mentally transposing chord symbols, and/or using a reference chart, the existence of a workaround might lessen this issue to below an urgent need for a "fire extinguisher".

Starting file: Home On The Range_3.mscz

In reply to by Jm6stringer

If you don't want to affect the already entered notation, consider adding an additional instrument. Add chord symbols to that and transpose only that instrument (it doesn't have notes, so they remain unaffected).
Then cut and paste your chord symbols and remove the additional instrument again.

In reply to by jeetee

To me that is the correct solution "logically", but it's actually more work than just transposing twice.

So as far as I'm concerned, enhancing the transpose dialog to handle chord symbols in list selections is the no-brainer improvement that allows one to save a couple of clicks in this use case without penalizing anyone else by adding yet more controls to the dialog. And I'd recommend submitting this as an issue, after verifying it doesn't already work as you'd expect in current MU4 builds.

A more thorough redesign of the transposition dialog is something I would hope would be considered sometime after 4.0.

But also, back to jeetee's suggestion - if it were possible to add a chord-symbol-only staff (so you didn't need to play games with copy/paste/remove), that would be the better solution still, and it would handle a bunch of other far more common use cases.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc wrote >> ... without adding more controls to the dialog, enhancing the transpose dialog to handle chord symbols in list selections is the no-brainer improvement [snip] so you didn't need to play games.

Glad that makes sense.

>> And I'd recommend submitting this as an issue, after verifying it doesn't already work as you'd expect in current MU4 builds.

Presently I have no way of verifying v4.0 functionality here on site.

Anybody know if v4.0 allows independent chord symbol transposition? If I don't hear back I'll submit the request.

Scorster

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Last I checked MuseScore 4.0 nightlies won't run on Mac OS 10.13.6. (I've had to stay with an old computer to continue using a couple of outdated apps, including Encore. I'm nearly done exporting all my Encore files so I'll finally depart from that era. I expect to have a new Mac in a couple of months. At that point I look forward to many new possibilities, including MuseScore 4.0.

If you (or anyone else reading this) use the 4.0 nightly it would take just a minute to enter a chord symbol, select it, open the transpose dialog to see 4.0's interface allows chord symbol transposition independent of the staff notation, and report back.

In reply to by scorster

Well, not until they fix the nightmare that is the drum palette, much much better sounds, and PDF import to name but a few. Oh, and easy playback of a single staff or combination of staves (without the mixer), better organised fonts, and repeated playback from a selected note without having to reselect the note.

In reply to by bobjp

I recall you expressing difficulty with the drum palette, but I'm not aware of any concrete proposals for changes that would help your particular use case. Feel free to start a new thread and propose your design! Not sure what you mean about fonts, but feel free to start a new thread about that as well!

Much better sounds are coming in MuseScore 4, and easy playback of a single staff.

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