Chord Symbol Order in MusicXML files

• Jan 14, 2009 - 17:20

OS: Windows XP Pro
MuseScore: r1422
Usage: Typical lead sheet, one staff with lyrics and chord symbols.

Is there a way to control the order of chord symbols when they are written to a MusicXML file.

Take for example, a passage consisting of whole notes. For each whole note, there are two chord changes--a very common occurrence.

In this case, it is necessary to add two chord symbols to the same note in the music and then move one of them to the right so that the score will read correctly.

When the files is exported as a MusicXML, the order of the two elements. I am using these lead sheets on the Wikifonia web site. This web site will render the MusicXML files correctly if there are multiple elements on a single if they appear in the correct order in the MusicXML file.

However, in MuseScore, I cannot seem to reliably and predictably control the order of elements when creating a lead sheet.

Can you help?


Ken Parrish (aka EulerOperator)


Possible solution: split the whole note in 2 half notes and add a tie. Add a chord name to each note.

However, MuseScore might need some work regarding the musicXML import of chord names: it should take the x/y coordinates into account when reading in the harmony elements in the musicXML file. I guess this could be noted as a feature request.

In reply to by Thomas

Many of the scores I create are lead sheets that are published on Wikifonia. The Wikifonia rendering engine generally does the right thing when it renders chord symbols in MusicXML files and spaces them out based on the order in which they appear in the MusicXML file.

Very often, I use the technique of splitting a note into two or more notes connected with ties and attaching separate chord symbols to each tied note. This always works and is reliable. However the result is atypical of a normally published lead sheet and often seems 'odd' when reading the score. Most times it's tolerable, but in some cases, it obscures the phrasing of the music in an unnatural way. It's a matter of wanting the result to be as 'correct' as possible (e.g. follow common conventions).

I have not tested the technique of using invisible notes, but believe this will not work with the Wikifonia render since voices beyond the 1st voice are ignored by Wikifonia.

Another technique that works is to hand edit the MusicXML file after it is generated by MuseScore. I'll do this sometimes and swap the order of the elements as needed. It works, it's reliable, but it means that every time you make corrections in the MuseScore .mscz file, you have to hand edit the MusicXML file each time it is regenerated.

'thomas', your suggestion would be best: order multiple elements attached to the same note based on the x-coordinate of the position of each element. Put in my vote for this feature request.

Finally, it would be helpful to 'know' or predict how MuseScore orders elements. I had hoped that the order in which chord symbols were entered would be the order in which they are exported to Music XML, but apparently this is not the case--at least not consistently. I have tried many experiments with this, but have yet to determine a definite pattern of behavior for the order of multiple chord symbols when translating from MuseScore files to MusicXML file. Any help with this would be appreciated.

In any case, a 'cheap' fix would be to cause MuseScore to order elements based on the order in which multiple chord symbols are entered for a particular note.

Thanks to you all,


Don't know if it's "cheap" or not :) but I added this in r1437 : Chordnames are exported to harmony elements in the x graphical order. It will be convenient for me as well as a wikifonia contributor ;)
So let's wait for the next prerelease ;)

I finally had a chance to download the newest pre-release and try this out. Works great and should greatly simplify the creation of lead sheets.

I am a software engineer myself--nothing comes 'cheap' in this business.

Thanks so much for all your work and support.


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