Chord symbol positioning

• Mar 5, 2019 - 22:11

Until recently, MuseScore increased the spacing between notes to make all chord symbols fit on one line above the stave, like this.
C7 G7#9 C7

Now, it makes the spacing between notes closer and places some chord symbols on a higher line, like this.
C7 C7

Is this a bug, or if it is by design, then is there a way to set the spacing to keep all chord symbols on the same line?


It's a known limitation of the new layout algorithm that this is no longer handled this way by default except if the chords are on adjacent notes/rests. That is, it works if the chords are on two consecutive quarter notes, does not work if there is a note or rest intervening, or if the second chord is not on a note or rest at all.

Definitely something we'd like to fix, but for now, I'd suggest just adding system breaks or increasing stretch to make the measures wider yourself. If you need help, feel free to attach your score.

In reply to by ozmusicman88

Thanks for the reminder that this is something I've been wanting to look at. It does seem there might be a simple solution to this, but there are kinks to work out before I can submit it for eventual inclusion in a future update.

As mentioned, workaround is to add stretch to those measures.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Stretching measures works, but gets very tedious if you export parts, since stretch and similar properties don't propagate between parts.

I mostly work on scores with a piano part and a vocal line, with chord symbols above the vocal line. The pianist usually works off the full score, but it is nice to export a part consisting of just the vocal line and chord symbols for use by guitarists and vocalists who don't like to turn pages. Since the guitarists often want capo chords, the current layout method leads to lots of stacked chord symbols on chords like "A♭Maj7(FMaj7)"

I don't mind manually stretching measures, but it is annoying to have to do it BOTH on the score and on the part.

As an alternative to changing auto-layout, it would be useful to be able to flag some layout items as "apply to all parts" via a check-box in the inspector or something similar. This would also help when updating text frames with things like performance notes. Some apply to only one part, but most of mine should be shown on all parts, and currently they must be updated manually if the text must be changed. I would also use it on at least some manual line and page breaks.

In reply to by OldBaldGeek

It’s not really clear what you are referring to, but it seems it must be something different from what was described here, as this issue was fixed quite a while ago (So stretching is no longer necessary as a workaround). Best to start a new thread, attach your score, and describe the specific issue in more detail so we can understand and assist

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I can start a new thread if you like, but my experience using version (current today) is the same as this thread: chords stack up, and I need to use manual stretch to fix it. Example score attached.

This shows chord stacking in default layout pic . So I don't agree that "stretching is no longer necessary as a workaround"

Here I have manually stretched the B-flat and Gm chords to avoid stacking pic

Here I have added a vocal/guitar part, as described in my comment pic . Since stretching is "layout", it isn't copied to the part, and the chords are stacked there. This was intended to point out that manual stretching is cumbersome, since it may need to be repeated multiple times. My suggestion was some sort of "apply this layout item to parts" option

Attachment Size
Chord_Stacks.mscz 18.11 KB
S3.png 7.9 KB
S2.png 10.53 KB
S1.png 9.08 KB

In reply to by OldBaldGeek

The original report had to do with multiple chord symbols within a single fix bar, which was not being handled at all. Now it is, which is why I said that workaround isn't necessary in that case. But it is true that conflicts between measures are still not handle. This doesn't tend to come up very often because in most charts of this nature, people tend to apply breaks every four bars using Tools / Add/Remove System Breaks. So again, stretching is almost never actually needed in those cases either. You just need to run that tool separately for the part. There is an outstanding request to have an option on that tool to apply to parts as well, or to have a plugin to do the job, but at least running that takes only a couple of seconds. I would try avoid resorting to stretch in any case.

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