Roman Numeral Analysis - Inversions using letters

• Nov 5, 2019 - 10:12


How do I add an inversion to a chord with a note letter - eg: IVb

When I type 'b' I get a flat sign.



In reply to by jeetee

It is how I was taught, but looking through some of my library, "Harmony" by Walter Piston, "Theory of Harmony" by Arnold Schoenberg, "The Evolution of Harmony" by C.H. Kitson, I can only find the attached example from "Teach yourself composition" by King Palmer. img20191105_12293949.pdf

However on the web I found this page:… which uses the same notation to teach the ABRSM theory syllabus.

And also here:

And here:…

And here:

And if Wikipedia is your bag, here also:

So, maybe not so common, but not uncommon.

In reply to by SteveBlower

Thanks for the references.
Perhaps it could make sense to have an RNA-style option likewise to how currently there exist different chord symbol styles. Although I'm unsure that the current techniques used by Marc to implement RNA can support such a thing.

As it currently stands, you should (as Jojo indicated) be able to put a backslash in front of the character to prevent auto-formatting of it. So try typing in IV\b and you should get the end result you're looking for.

Interesting, first I can recall ever having heard of this a/b/c notation. So, I'm happy to have added that backslash method (a last minuted addition to the font), so typing IV\b will do the trick. People have suggested you don't need Campania font then, but it's still nice to be able to type bII and get the automatic flat. You can get this in any font by using Ctrl+Shift+b, but then I assume you still want the superscripted 7 for seventh chords. Which, I supposed, you can get using the text toolbar, but this isn't available when using the RNA feature, so you'd have to go back to faking it with lyrics or whatever. So, bottom line, the "\b" seems your best bet.

Right now there is no way to implement an option in MuseScore to control this, because the formatting is hard-coded into the font. In theory there would probably be a way to do this by toggling different font features, but I'm not sure it could be cleanly or if Qt even supports it, and I'm reluctant to go to that kind of trouble for what seems to be an exceedingly rare use case.

However, I wonder - would it always be the case that the "b" here is the last character of the symbol? There would never be a number after it? If so, then I could tweak the font to not translate accidentals at the end of a symbol. I would, however, be a little worried that somewhere else there is someone who uses IIb to mean "flat II" (after all, we do write Db, not bD).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The letter denoting the inversion should be the last part of the symbol as far as I can see. The logic is: specify the chord notes, then add the letter to specify the inversion. So one can have V7d or even V9e for example. In all the examples I have to hand 7ths etc are not superscripted, but I would not be surprised to find examples that are.

Regarding the escape \, it seems that once it has been used it applies to all subsequent characters. Is there an "unescape" character? I can't think of a case where it would useful, but perhaps that is just my lack of imagination.

In reply to by SteveBlower

No, \ should apply to a single character only. So for instance, I\b6 gives you the "b" literally as a b, but the 6 is still superscripted. I\b\6 will render the b and 6 both literally.

So if you want V7d with no superscripting, type I\7\b. Actually, in this case, the \b isn't needed, I already don't automatically convert the b to flat after a number, unless another number follows. But I may change some of the details of that based on this discussion.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

OK that makes sense, I was experimenting and thought that having escaped the 7 to avoid superscripting it had persisted when the final b didn't turn into a flat.

As far as I can see, the RNA as is, with the escape facility does everything we Brits need to add our peculiar symbols. Perhaps it needs just a note of its application to the different usage in the documentation.

Hello, I was able to add a 64 chord, etc. This is great, thanks a lot.

However, if i only want the number to show up at the bottom (leaving the top blank, as in a third inversion of a 7th chord, I was not able to position the 2 at the follow with the top was blank). Can you let me know how this can be done?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

FWIW, if you do wish to use subscripted 2 instead of the standard superscript, you can press F2 while editing your text to bring up the Special Characters palette, then click Unicode, find Superscripts and Subscripts, and the character from there. If you do that a lot, you can easily drag a symbol from the Special Characters palette to your regular Text palette (or any other palette you wish) to make it easier to get to later.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sorry, Marc, I have encountered one more problem. When I typed V763 for a first inversion of a 7th chord, 763 lined up vertically instead of having 7 recognized as part of the chord type. Can you let know the best way of writing V7 (preferably with 7 in subscript) and then 64 vertically to the right? Thanks.

In reply to by bone

As I said, the correct notation of a first inversion V7 is V65 or V653. Including the 7 is incorrect, because once the chord is in inversion, there is no longer an interval of a 7 above the bass note.

But for the record, you can create notations like this by either putting parentheses around the 65 or adding a space (via Ctrl+space), or just entering them as two separate elements.

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