How Do I Space Chords Differently?

• Oct 6, 2018 - 09:38

When I input chord symbols and diagrams, the chord symbols snap on to particular beats in the bar, crochets (quarter notes) in 4/4, dotted crotchets in 6/8 etc...

How do I change this so they snap to quavers or even semi-quavers instead?

Thank you in advance for any responses


If you enter the chords before entering any notes then MuseScore will default to beats depending upon the Time Signature. If you enter the notes first (or enter a series od rests) and then enter the chords you can position the chords by entering the first one and then using the Spacebar to advance to the next note or press the Spacebar more than once to advance to another note.

There are indeed many commands for placing chord symbols. To summarize the most useful (in my opinion):

  • Space - move to next beat or note
  • ; (semicolon) - move to next beat
  • Ctrl+number - advance by specified duration (eg, Ctrl+4 to advance by eighth notes, since 4 is the shortcut to enter an eighth note)

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thank you guys. I was used to do it like this as it was necessary in my old Finale (and it worked also in MuseScore), but it's much easier without those hidden breaks.

Some more questions:
To enter "chord symbol edit mode" I can
- select a note or break and press Ctrl+K
- double click an existing chord symbol
any other possibilty?
underquark mentioned above "If you enter the chords before entering any notes ..."
To do so, I have to enter at least a note or a break, correct?

I frequently come across scores where chord symbols probably have been moved by dragging them with the mouse. When the score is formatted again, e.g. after transposing, those chords are positioned strangely.
Can I move existing chord symbols easily to the next or previous beat?
By now it seems that I have to delete them and add them again to the correct beat.
To display the anchor point of such a chord (or another element) I drag it somewhere with the mouse and move it back with Ctrl+Z. Is there a better way to show an anchor point?

In reply to by SqueezeBoxer

There is no need to enter anything before entering chord symbols - you can start by clicking the default measure rest that is already present. Btw, what you are calling a "break" is actually called a "rest"; a "break" is something else entirely.

Neither transposing nor formatting should never invovle changing the beat chord symbol is actually played in, so you should not normally be moving chords from note to note. If you need to fine-tune the physical position, you can drag them or use the cursor keys or Inspecor.

But FWIW, if you do ever ha need to change what beat a chord is played in, cut and paste is how you move just about anything.

Not sure why you are curious about seeing anchor points it your metHid is as good as any. Or, to reset the chord to it's default position, press Ctrl+R.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Every now and then I get scores from fellow musicians where chords are not placed where they should be. When they are placed on the wrong beat, I want to move them. Copy paste is fine in this case.

When chords are anchored at one beat and dragged with the mouse somewhere else is one case when transposing changes the position. See attached screenshots.
SampleChord_F.png SampleChord_F#.png
It's nonsense, just to demonstrate what happens. You can see that adding accidentials moves the D#7 relative to the half note
This is not a bug in MuseScore but caused by lack of MuseScore knowledge. Good to know now how to do it better.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I just learned about pressing Cmd-K a second time for placing alternate chords. But I couldn't figure out how to place an alternate chord anchored to a non-existent note using the Ctrl+number technique, so I made a hidden voice.

Is there a way to do it that I'm missing?

In reply to by reggoboy

Maybe you mean, there is a beat position with no note or rest for which you want two different chords? Indeed, you'll need to work a little harder for that, because the duration shortcuts will find the existing chord rather than allow you to enter a new one. But I still wouldn't resort to a second voice, personally. Instead, consider temporarily split the long note or rest in two, entering the chords on the second portion, then lengthening the original note/rest again. You can also make this happen via copy/paste, which is maybe the easier way if it's more than just one measure here and there. Enter the entire sequence of alternate chords onto another staff or some empty measures elsewhere, then copy the chords only, then paste to the destination. This also makes it easier to apply the "alternate" style to that whole selection at once, which is a nice plus.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"Maybe you mean, there is a beat position with no note or rest for which you want two different chords? Indeed, you'll need to work a little harder for that, because the duration shortcuts will find the existing chord rather than allow you to enter a new one. "

Yes, that is precisely my problem. See graphic:
alternate chord on non-note.png

As you can see, I tried using another voice before you posted this suggestion. Certainly a bit awkward either way! But I do appreciate the suggestions. Next time it comes up, I'll have to try your idea.

In reply to by SqueezeBoxer

One caution I'd have is that without a visible element now the chord symbol, it won't be obvious what beat you want the chord to change on, so it's unlikely to really accomplish anything different from a simpler placement. That is, the difference between a chord on beat 3 and beat 3& won't generally be obvious to the reader if there are are no notes or rests on those beats. But indeed sometimes there may be reasons, and Ctrl+number is the best way to get a chord somewhere other than just on a beat.

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