1.1 Perelease - preview of new jazz features

• Jul 18, 2011 - 18:52

While 1.1 is mostly a bug fix release as far as the actual code base goes, if you check the Release Notes , you'll see a number of jazz-related things in the New Features section. I plan to post a full writeup on this in conjunction with the actual release, but I would love it if people who have used 1.0 for earlier for jazz charts could take a look at the prerelease and verify that a) we didn't unwittingly break anything and b) the new stuff works as it is supposed to. Read on for a description of what to look for. Most of these are not code changes per se, although lasconic did manage to squeeze a couple of goodies in (see the space/tab behavior during chord entry!). But I am more concerned with the changes I made to the MuseJazz font to allow it to be used as a regular text font, the corresponding changes to chord description files, and the new chord description files as well.

Here's what I hope you find:

- Existing charts created using stdchords.xml should be unchanged.

- Existing charts created using jazzchords.xml should look "essentially" the same. There may be slight changes in appearance and relative sizes and positions of some of the glyphs on close inspection; these were meant as improvements.

- The same should apply to *new* charts created with stdchords.xml or jazzchords.xml.

- Existing charts created using the customchords.xml file I posted a while back will no longer look correct, but if you substitute cchords_muse;xml and increase the font size a few points, all should be well - again, at most just slight and hopefully beneficial changes.

- If you were using customized XML files that relied on the MuseJazz font (eg, if you modified my customchords.xml, or had rolled your own based on jazzchords.xml), things will also look wrong. Ideally, you can switch to one of the new files provided with 1.1 (see below) and eliminate the need for your customizations. Otherwise, for those who still prefer to use customized files that rely on MuseJazz - and I'm hoping this doesn't affect too many people - I will post a list of changes you'll need to make. Or you can perform your customizations again starting from cchords_muse.xml or one of the other new files.

- My intent is that cchords_muse.xml be the new default for jazz charts. Charts using this should come out very similar to those using jazzchords.xml, but with a few changes I thought important but significant enough to warrant leaving the old file for compatibility. I have also provided three additional new chord description files: one using the triangle and circle-with-a-slash symbols as so many have requested, one that mimics the Real Book, and one that mimics the New Real Book (similar to, but subtly different from, the cchords_muse.xml). See the updated Handbook entry for Chord name . I would love it if people could try out these new files and let me know how they seem to work out. Switching to one of the new styles in an existing chart should now be as simple as upping the font size in your chord name text style (say, from 12 to 15 or 16) then swapping out the chord name general style.

- For new scores, the intent is that people wanting a "jazz" look will use the new Jazz Lead Sheet template or one of the two new styles you can load via Style->Load Style: Jazz Lead Sheet (which is similar to the template) and MuseJazz (which sets fonts and chord name style only but leaves other settings alone). Using any of these methods sets the sizes of chord symbols for appropriately for you. I would love it if people would give these a shot and let me know how they work out. Assuming you load the styles before creating text elements (including title etc), you should get MuseJazz throughout your score, which I hope people will find a good thing.

For most new users, the last two paragraphs are all that will matter. The handbook has been updated to emphasize use the use of the MuseJazz style as the way to get jazz chords if you aren't using the template. Then if you prefer different abbreviations for your chords, you would switch to one of the other chord description files. So I want to make sure that this works as it should.

While I appreciate that some may have issues with some of the design decisions made along the way here, please realize that we are not really looking at revisiting those for this release. We just want to be sure that things basically work as we intended. 2.0 will bring changes to the chord name system in the code itself, much of which Werner has already implemented. I don't know what else he may still be planning, but I assume there is still plenty of opportunity to have a say in that process.


I know that you developers are working hard on new features for MuseScore, and have no words to express how precious your efforts are in order to spread musical culture. Anyway, a new visitor may think nothing is happening, if he looks at the last "news" posted on the front page (right now three months old). Excuse me for my English is far from perfect, and believe I want to be constructive... :-)

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