Chord Definition dialog box

How to get there

  1. Choose the Chord tool icon. The Chord menu appears.
  2. Choose Chord > Manual Input.
  3. Double-click a beat in your score where you want to add the chord symbol. If the note already has a chord attached to it, right/CONTROL-click the handle and choose Edit Chord Definition to edit the current chord.
  4. The Chord Definition dialog box also appears if you select the Chord tool and press SHIFT with a letter or number. Pressing SHIFT and a letter or number is the sequence for programming a Chord Metatool, useful for quickly adding chords to your score.

What it does

Noteman says: To display fretboards on all chords in the piece, Chord > Show Fretboards must be selected.

The Chord Definition dialog box offers an easy way to enter an entire chord symbol by typing it into a single text box. Or, if you prefer, you can enter the root, alternate bass note, and suffix into separate text boxes. You can also access the Fretboard Editor dialog box to create custom fretboard diagrams.

When you type a chord symbol, then press SPACEBAR (or click another field), Finale updates the settings that control the display of the separate parts of the chord.

If you access this dialog box by using a Metatool, Finale memorizes any chord you build in the dialog box and assigns it to the number key you pressed. For example, if you press SHIFT+5 and build an Eflat13/G chord in the Chord Definition dialog box, then you can add this chord to the score at any point just by clicking the beat to which you want it attached while pressing 5 with the Chord tool icon selected.

  • Chord Symbol. Use this text box if you’d prefer to enter the entire chord symbol in one place instead of specifying three separate settings for the root, alternate bass note, and suffix. Enter a chord into the text box. To add a chord suffix, enter the suffix after the root; for example, you could type Cmin7. When you press SPACEBAR (or click on another field), Finale interprets the chord (paying attention to upper and lowercase letters), then updates the dialog box settings. In the Chord Symbol text box, the chord symbol will appear in the system font; however, it will appear correctly in the score, where the root and alternate bass notes appear in the display style selected in the Chord Style submenu.

    If no match is found for the suffix you type, an alert appears. Click Cancel to return to the Chord Definition dialog box. Or, click OK to create a new suffix from the suffix you typed in; the Chord Suffix Editor dialog box appears with the suffix characters already entered. Edit the suffix or set playback for the suffix, then click OK. Finale adds the new suffix to the chord suffix library and returns you to the score, where the chord symbol appears in the piece. For a list of keyboard shortcuts you can use to enter chords, see the Keystroke table.

  • Show/Hide Advanced. Click this button to expand or collapse the Chord Definition dialog box. When expanded, you’ll have access to advanced options, such as a numeric chord definition, suffixes, and capo settings.
  • Fretboard: ID • Select • Edit. The Fretboard ID indicates the number of the currently selected group of custom fretboards. Click Select to open the Fretboard Selection dialog box, where you can choose a fretboard group or create a new one. Click Edit to open the Fretboard Editor dialog box and edit the currently selected fretboard group. This button is unavailable if you do not have any fretboard libraries loaded.
  • [Fretboard icon]. Finale shows you a thumbnail or small picture of your currently selected fretboard.
  • Style • Edit Styles. Use this pop-up menu to choose from various fretboard styles. Click Edit Styles to open the Fretboard Styles dialog box, where you can customize the building blocks of your fretboards.
  • Show: Root • Lowercase. Use the selected Root checkbox to display the root letter name as part of the chord symbol. You can omit the root from the chord symbol by deselecting this checkbox (to create, for example, the "rootless" chords in this sequence: Cmaj7/B/A). Select Lowercase if you want the Root Scale Tone to appear in lowercase. For example, if you’re using the Roman chord style, you’d select Lowercase to display minor chords (ii, iii, and so on) in the score. This checkbox is automatically updated when you type your chord symbol.

    When you specify a suffix by clicking Select in the Chord Suffix Editor dialog box, Finale automatically selects the checkbox for the Chord Suffix ID, so it will appear in the score.

  • Show: Suffix. Use this checkbox to show or hide the chord suffix. When selected, the suffix will appear in the score.
  • Show: Fretboard. Use this checkbox to force a single fretboard to appear. To show fretboards globally, select Chord > Show Fretboards.
  • Show: Alternate Bass • Lowercase. Use the Alternate Bass checkbox to display the scale degree number in the text box as an alternate bass note and notate it as part of a slash chord symbol (such as Cmaj7/E). For example, if you’re in the key of C and the Root Scale Tone is 1 (C), select Alternate Bass and enter 5 to produce a C/G chord in the score. Select Lowercase if you want the alternate bass note to appear in lowercase. This checkbox is automatically updated when you type your chord symbol.

    Finale ignores lowercase settings when displaying Nashville and Solfeggio chord styles, which follow different conventions.

  • Lowercase: After Root • Under Root • As Subtext. Use this pop-up menu, when Alternate Bass is selected, to choose from three ways to display the alternate bass note. After Root places a slash after the root (if displayed) and then the alternate bass. Under Root displays the alternate bass directly underneath the chord symbol (as though it’s the denominator of a fraction) instead of following a slash. As Subtext displays the alternate bass slightly below and to the right of the chord symbol.
  • Noteman says: The capitalization of a chord’s root may affect playback when the chord doesn’t have a suffix (zero appears in the Chord Suffix ID text box); for example, in the key of C Major, the chords C and d will play back major and minor, respectively. This setting also affects the display of major and minor fretboards.

  • Play: Root • Suffix • Fretboard • Alternate Bass. Use these checkboxes to define the playback of the chord symbol. Root and Chord Suffix are selected by default. Select Alternate Bass to have that note play back with the chord. Deselect any of the four to omit playback of the corresponding part of the chord symbol.
  • Root: Scale Tone. Use this text box to define the root scale degree of the chord. To indicate a C chord in the key of C, enter 1 in this box. To indicate a G chord in the key of C, enter 5.
  • Root: Alteration. Use this text box to modify the diatonic scale step you’ve specified as the root of the chord. Enter a number in this text box (measured in half steps from the unmodified diatonic step); a positive number raises the root by half steps and a negative number lowers the root by half steps.

    For example, to create an E flat chord in the key of C, enter a 3 in the Root: Scale Tone text box (which would normally create an E chord symbol), but enter –1 in the Alteration box. To specify an F sharp chord in the key of C, enter a 4 in the Root Scale Tone box and enter 1 in the Alteration box.

  • Alternate Bass: Scale Tone. Use this text box to enter a number to be used as an alternate bass note. Finale notates it as part of a slash chord symbol (such as Cmaj7/E). For example, if you’re in the key of C and the Root Scale Tone is 1 (C), enter 5 in the Alternate Bass text box to produce a C/G chord in the score.
  • Alternate Bass: Alteration. Use this text box to modify one of the diatonic scale steps for the alternate bass note. Enter a number in this text box (measured in half steps); a positive number raises the root by half steps and a negative number lowers the root by half steps.

    For example, to create a C chord over a B flat bass note in the key of C, enter 1 in the Root: Scale Tone text box (to create the C chord), 7 in the Alternate Bass text box (to create the B bass note), and enter –1 in the Alterationtext box to lower the alternate bass note by a half step (to B flat).

  • Suffix: ID • Select • Edit. Use this text box to identify the chord suffix by number. If the number is zero, no suffix has yet been defined; click Select to open up the Chord Suffix Selection dialog box. The Chord Suffix Selection dialog box displays any suffixes that have been loaded (via a Chords & Fretboards Library) or created (by you or by Finale) in this piece. If the Chord Suffix text box already contains a number (other than zero), click Edit to enter the Chord Suffix Editor dialog box, where you can edit the chord suffix. For example, you can change its spacing, specify a font for any character, or determine whether it notates a major chord suffix as "maj" or "M."

    When you specify a suffix by clicking the Select button in the Chord Suffix Editor dialog box, Finale automatically selects the checkbox for the Show: Suffix so it will appear in the score.

  • Listen. As a shortcut to building a chord symbol by typing numbers, click one of the three Listen buttons, then play the note (Root or Alternate Bass) or notes (Chord Suffix) on your MIDI device. Finale enters the correct number in the appropriate text boxes. For example, if you click the Root Listen button and then play a B flat (and the key is C), Finale automatically writes a 7 in the Root: Scale Tone text box and –1 in the Root: Alteration text box.

    When you click the Suffix Listen button, play the chord suffix alone (the remaining notes of the chord, without the root and without the bass). If the corresponding suffix has been defined (by you, Finale, or by loading a Chord Suffix Library), the suffix’s number appears in the Suffix: ID text box. If the chord suffix hasn’t yet been defined for this piece, no new number appears.

  • Capo At Fret. Select this checkbox then enter a fret number to automatically adjust the selected fretboard to reflect the position of the capo. Example: if the capo is set to the first fret and an E flat 7 chord is entered, the fretboard that appears will be the D7 from the currently selected Fretboard Group. The name of the chord will change to D7 even though the chord will sound like an E flat 7. To change the chord name to an italic style, choose Chord > Italicize Capo Chord. See Chord menu for more information.
  • Use Fretboard Font. Select this checkbox to use the font selected for fretboard diagrams in the Document Options - Fonts dialog box. Uncheck this box to use a custom fretboard.
  • Cancel • OK. Click OK (or press RETURN) to confirm, or Cancel to discard, the changes you’ve made and return to the score.

Tip: In C major, 1 = C, 2 = D, 3 = E, 4 = F, 5 = G, 6 = A, 7 = B.

See also:

Chord symbols

Tips for entering chord symbols manually

Fretboard diagrams