Playback: Chord symbols / Nashville numbers

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    Overview

    Musescore, as of 3.5, understands and creates playback for chord symbols and Nashville numbers, but not roman numerals. This chapter discusses the playback settings available. They also affect functionalities other than playback including:

    Available settings

    The playback behavior of each chord symbol and Nashville number on a score is determined by two levels, see also Layout and formatting chapter.

    • Level 1: Properties of each individual object. By default, objects do not have any specific properties. When properties are assigned in the Inspector, they will always be used. To assigned properties to selected object(s):
      1. Select object(s). To select multiple objects, use Shift+click, or Right-click → Select all similar elements in selected range, see Selection modes chapter.
      2. Make changes in the Inspector.
    • Level 2: The "Style for Chord symbols" (style profile). Every object use it. Its Play option is enabled by default only in score created with MuseScore 3.5 and later. The values inside can be edited in two ways.
      • Edited directly in Format → Style… → Chord Symbols window (see Layout and formatting chapter); or
      • Assigned with the values of a selected object, by clicking the Inspector : Set as style (bold S) button to the right of Voicing (see Inspector chapter).

    On top of settings explained, all these objects attached to one particular instrument (any of its staff(s)) use that instrument's specialized harmony channel. Its control strip is only visible inside Mixer when there is at least one such object. The control strip may be hidden under a parent control strip, in that case click the arrow on the top left corner to show all child strips, see Mixer chapter. Ways to change sound (virtual instrument) used and the volume / muting / soloing are covered in their respective sections.

    Every score file has a "Full Score" layout. It also contains "Parts" when the Musescore Part feature is utilized to generate different versions of the same score. Each "Part" and the "Full Score" has their own separate complete set of settings explained above.

    Additionally, there are adjustable specific playback settings of Musescore software for these objects. See "Changing settings of Musescore software" section.

    Enabling / disabling playback completely

    Use combination of the following settings to toggle playback.

    Interpretation and voicing settings

    • Interpretation
      • Literal
      • Jazz: Adds color tones (e.g. the major 9th) but may also omit certain notes—this depends on both the chord itself and the context (the next chord in particular)
    • Voicing. All voicings include a bass note, 2 octaves below the root note of the chord.
      • Auto
      • Root only : Just the bass note
      • Close : Arranges the notes within the span of an octave
      • Drop 2 : Lowers the second highest note of the chord by one octave
      • Six Note
      • Four Note : 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th intervals
      • Three Note
    • Duration
      • Until next chord symbol
      • Until measure end
      • Chord/rest duration

    Shown below are different settings used on a CM7 (Cmaj7) chord, and notes demonstrating the resultant playback. The "Close" and "Auto" create identical result. It is not necessarily so for other chords, so it is advisable to use "Close" explicitly when it is the case.

    Chord Symbol Voicings

    Changing the sound of a harmony channel

    Harmony channel use "Grand Piano" sound by default regardless of instrument, except where a score created in Musescore 3.5.1 and later using the Guitar solo template, the "Nylon String Guitar" sound is used by default.

    To change the sound:

    1. Open the Mixer (shortcut: F10, Mac: Fn+F10)
    2. Inside the Control strips Area, locate the instrument's control strip.
    3. Click the "Channel display arrow" (the arrow button on the top left corner) to show all child strips.
    4. Locate the strip that shows in its Name property "harmony" or "Chord syms." (may be truncated).
    5. Change Sound property.

    Note: The exeception that Sound settings of an instrument are shared among Musescore Parts.

    Changing the volume, muting or soloing a harmony channel

    1. Open the Mixer (shortcut: F10, Mac: Fn+F10)
    2. Inside the Control strips Area, locate the instrument's control strip.
    3. Click the "Channel display arrow" (the arrow button on the top left corner) to show all child strips.
    4. Locate the strip that shows in its Name property "harmony" or "Chord syms." (may be truncated).
    5. Adjust the volume, mute or solo.

    Note: In a score file containing multiple Musescore Parts, separate adjustments are needed in each individual Part for the same instrument, as harmony channel volume and mute settings are saved in the Part, but not shared among them.

    Changing settings of Musescore software

    Requires Musescore 3.5.1 and later

    To change the playback function of Musescore software on chord symbols and Nashville numbers, when playing back a score:

    1. Open Edit (Mac: MuseScore) → Preferences… → Advanced tab.
    2. Edit options:
      • score/harmony/play/disableNew: Only affects scores created with Musescore 3.5 and later. The default status is unchecked (playback function enabled). Check it to disable the playback function of MuseScore software.
      • score/harmony/play/disableCompatibility: Only affects scores created with Musescore 3.4.2 and earlier. default is checked (playback function disabled). Uncheck it to enable the playback function of MuseScore software.


    To change playback of a chord symbol or Nashville number when it is first added onto a score:

    1. Open Edit (Mac: MuseScore) → Preferences… → Note input tab.
    2. Check/Uncheck the Play chord symbol when editing option.

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