Copying Chords to Parts

• Nov 6, 2010 - 03:38

When creating parts from the score (file:parts), is there a way of specifying that the chords above the top line be copied to certain other parts but not every other part? I have version 09.6.3. On my scores, I enter the chord names (i.e, E7) only above the top line. When I create the parts, the chord names appear in the top part and only the top part. Unaware of any other way to add the chord names to the other parts, I have been entering the chord names manually or copying and pasting them to the parts that require chord names such as the guitar, piano and bass guitar parts. This manual chord name entering requires considerable time and effort and presents plenty of opportunity for error. Please help.
Thom Salamone
PS: 9.6.3 works beautifully. I have already scored 4 songs and notated all 11 parts for each song in the last couple of months.


I agree; and such a copy function should also include automatic transposition of chord symbols for transposing instruments.

Most arrangers write the chord symbol just in the top staff in the score since that is enough for the score, but when writing for rock/pop/jazz rhythm section and for soloists, the chords need to be shown in some of the player's parts (either for the duration of the whole chart or for certain sections of the chart).

The most obvious case would be, say, a trumpet part in a big band chart that contains a trumpet solo. In brass or ensemble sections, the trumpet part would be written out literally and no chord symbols would be required. For the trumpet solo section of the chart, however, all that would be written for the trumpet player would be chord symbols.

Another example would be a bass part in a big band chart. For ensemble sections, the bass part might be written out literally, but when a soloist is playing only with the rhythm section, the arranger would want the option of giving the bass player just chord symbols for that section of the music, so he can come up with interesting bass lines based on his own expertise and experience.

A good solution would be to have a dialogue box "copy chord symbols to parts" that shows a matrix of all the instruments (vertically) and all the sections of the chart (horizontally). The arranger could then select for which sections of the chart each instrumental part should show chord symbols (for this, a special text category that is used only for different sections of the chart might be necessary). The software then would copy the master chord symbols to the selected sections of the selected instrumental parts, and automatically transpose them.

This would be an essential time-saving device for Jazz, Rock and Pop Arranging.

In reply to by Thewolf37

Dear Thewolf37,

Wow! You understand exactly what I suggested. Thank you.

Have you noticed that MuseScore likes to put chord symbols at the beginning of measures that have 4 beats of rest in 4/4 time but seems to refuse to allow me to put the chord symbols anywhere else in that measure? I have been using text to put the chord symbols anywhere but at the beginning of that kind of measure because when I open a score, only the chord symbols at the beginning of the measure were saved. All chord symbols not at the beginni9ng of the measure dissapear.. If this is a real problem (not just something I am doing wrong), should I make a suggestion?



In reply to by Thom_

Hi Thom,

Yea, I noticed that as well.

The positions where chord symbols can be placed within a bar seem to be tied to each symbol that is written in a staff (any note or rest). When you enter a chord symbol and press the space bar, the cursor will move to the position of the next symbol in the staff (whether it's a half note or rest or 8th note or rest).

I found that one way to have a number of measures of 4/4 just containing whole rests while still having 2 chord symbols per bar (chords changing every 2 beats) goes like this:

- change the whole rest in the first bar to two half rests (or 4 quarter rests, if you need one chord symbol per beat)
- copy this rest pattern to all measures where you need whole rests with more than one chord symbol
- enter the chord symbols

Now comes the trick:

- select all those bars that now have multiple rests (where one whole rest should be enough)
- press delete

All rests are replaced by whole rests, but - the chord symbols remain. You can even write melodies or anything you need in those bars now, and the chord symbols will remain in place.

So, when creating just a lead sheet, if you start by entering chord symbols using the above method, things should work.

As long as the score is just a layout containing empty measures, you can even select measures and copy them to other sections of the empty score - the chord symbols will be inserted as well. So if you have a 32 bar AABA tune and put in chord symbols for the first A, for the second and third A you can use copy, then modify the second A (which will likely differ from the first A in the last measure to make for a smooth harmonic transition into the B section).

But the handling of chord symbols could be made much more flexible and time-saving for jazz arranging (especially regarding selecting series of chord symbols independend of what's written in the staff they belong to, then delete them or copy them somewhere else).

For writing a big band chart, the possibilities to copy and automatically transpose chord symbols are not flexible enough yet. Manually entering chord symbols in each instrumental part is too time-consuming, and the whole point of notation software is to save copying time.

Or maybe it is that I just did not discover what muse score can do in that regard?

(I certainly did not find anything in the handbook).

Anyway, I might post a suggestion or two regarding improving that after experimenting some more.

Hope that helped

In reply to by Thom_

If you want to make these types of changes you will need to make a copy of the stdchords.xml in the MuseScore programs folder. Make the changes you want to the .xml file and point to your edited version from the General Style dialog.

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