How to Edit Chord Symbols in Dorico | Engrave Mode

🎬  This article is a transcription of one of the excellent tutorial videos posted to the official Dorico YouTube channel.

Presented here in written form with the kind permission of its creator, Anthony Hughes, this tutorial is titled “How to Edit Chord Symbols in Dorico”…

The Chord Symbols feature was introduced in Dorico 1.1


Hi, I’m Anthony Hughes and in this video I’ll be showing you how to edit the appearance of Chord Symbols in Dorico, the notation software from Steinberg.

Inputting chord symbols in Dorico is just the beginning of the story. Dorico supports a multitude of difference appearance options and you can control every aspect of the visual design and layout of your chords.

(chord symbol preset, chord root, solfège, nashville, root-only symbols, chord quality, major and minor, diminished, half-diminished, augmented, suspended notes, intervals, alterations, dominant altered chords, altered bass notes, polychords, transposition, modal chord symbols, position, design, use of parentheses, project default appearance)

Let’s open the Engraving Options, by pressing the key command Ctrl+Shift+E (that’s Cmd+Shift+E on Mac).

Here we can start setting our preferences for the way each type of chord is displayed in Dorico.

We start with the chord root, which can be expressed using standard note names, solfège or even scale degree numbers relative to the tonic [Nashville],

and it’s easy to configure the position and size of root note accidentals.

There are numerous options for how to display the chord quality.

The options continue through all aspects of chord symbols including intervals, alterations, altered bass notes and polychords.**

All of these variants have come about over decades of use and are generally used together in sets of options that compliment each other.

To accommodate these sets, Dorico ships with a number of presets for chord symbols that set multiple options at once to replicate some of the most popular conventions used by musicians.

Editor’s note: if needed, use these presets as a starting point, then you may customize from there.

Another powerful aspect of Dorico’s chord symbols feature is the ability to quickly change the font used for chord symbols.

This is done in the same way that any fonts for music items are modified:

Switch to Engrave mode, open the Engrave menu and choose font styles.

From the popup control, choose Chord Symbols font. Enable the font family control by pressing its switch, then choose another font.

You can also modify font properties such style and size. Pressing OK applies the changes.

Because I have made the size of the font bigger, I am going to need to also increase the size of the chord symbols music text font so that characters such as accidentals are at a matching size. If I had another SMuFL compliant music font installed, I could select it here.

Please be sure to check out my video that shows you how to input chord symbols in Dorico, either by using your computer keyboard or a MIDI keyboard.

If you’ve found this video helpful, please subscribe to our Dorico channel today to see many more videos like this one.

I’m Anthony Hughes, thanks for watching.


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** chord symbol style, chord root appearance, vertical position of accidental for root note, appearance of accidentals, appearance of B and Bb, solfège appearance of D-D-G-B, Nashville order of accidentals relative to root scale degree, Nashville appearance of accidentals, root-only chord symbol appearance, pedal chord symbol appearance, appearance of major triads, appearance of minor triads, vertical position of major and minor qualities, appearance of diminished triad, appearance of diminished seventh, vertical position of diminished quality as text, vertical position of diminished quality as circle, appearance of half-diminished, vertical position of half-diminished quality as slashed circle, appearance of augmented quality, vertical position of augmented quality, order of augmented quality relative to interval, appearance of suspended fourth, appearance of suspended second, vertical position of suspended notes, case for suspended notes and augmented quality, vertical position of intervals, appearance of open fifth, position of interval number when using subscript vertical position, appearance of 6/9, appearance of major seventh, vertical position of major seventh, triangle (delta) appearance, appearance in chords with other intervals, appearance in minor or augmented chords, vertical position in minor or augmented chords, triangle appearance in minor or augmented chords, appearance in minor or augmented chords with other intervals, use of parentheses, vertical position of alterations, arrangement of alterations, appearance of accidentals, use of parentheses, appearance of omitted notes, case for added or omitted notes, altered fifths and ninths considered altered chords, appearance of altered chords, vertical position of altered chord appearance, use of parentheses, separator between chord symbol and altered bass note, arrangement of altered bass note relative to chord symbol, appearance of successive identical chord symbols with differing altered bass notes, arrangement of polychords, enharmonic spelling for chord notes and altered bass notes, interval between chord root and altered bass note, case for mode names, abbreviated mode names, vertical position of mode, vertical position, horizontal position, design, project default appearance

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