Finale Quick Tip : Chord Symbol Playback

Chord symbols in Finale can play back, should you want them to.

To turn on Chord Symbol playback, select the Chord tool, then make sure Enable Chord Playback is checked in the Chord menu.

Chord Symbol playback can be muted for an individual staff in Score Manager > Instrument List > Instrument > Chords in Finale 2012 and later, and in Window > Instrument List > Instrument > Chords in Finale 2011 and earlier.

Some chord libraries, such as the JazzCord suffix library from Finale 2010 and earlier are not defined to play back by default, which is a shame, since the JazzCord suffixes look really nice for handwritten charts. Or perhaps, you’ve created a custom chord suffix and would like it to play back.

Here’s how to define a non-playing chord suffix for playback:

Open the Chord Suffix Selection dialog by right-clicking an existing  Chord symbol and selecting Edit Chord Definition…

Alternatively, with the Chord Tool selected, type Shift and any letter, (as if you were programming a macro for a particular suffix) to enter the dialog.

In the Chord Definition Dialog, click the Advanced button to show the full dialog and choose the Select… button in the Suffix area:


The Chord Suffix Selection dialog will open. Select the suffix you want to define playback for and click the Edit… button:



The Chord Suffix Editor dialog will open:

  1. Click the Set Play… button
  2. Click the Listen button
  3. Play the Root only of the Chord on your MIDI keyboard
  4. Play the Suffix of the Chord without the root
  5. Click OK twice to exit
  6. Repeat as needed for each chord suffix


Note that you can enter these playback definitions in any key on your keyboard: Finale asks you to play the root of the chord separately from the suffix so it knows how to transpose your chord voicings into any key on playback.

One Reply to “Finale Quick Tip : Chord Symbol Playback”

  1. Thanks for posting these instructions on your website.

    I recently learned a trick that I think might be helpful. I found out that sometimes a chord library that won’t play on Mac will play just fine on PC. I was able to re-save that file (from PC) and open it again on my Mac, where it then played fine too. After a few tweaks, I saved it into Document Styles. It is working great now.

    Hope that helps.

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