Notation software can be a big time saver if you have a file with notation entered and you would like to generate chord symbols above the notes. This post focuses on the options for creating chord symbols from notation in Finale 2012 and Sibelius 7.

Let’s start with a piano piece by Eric Satie, the “Gymnopédie No. 1″ and see how each of the options work.  If you want to play with this in your software, download and import the MIDI file: Gymnopédie no 1.

Finale 2012 – Creating or Realizing Chord Symbols from Notation

There are a couple of options for realizing chord symbols from notation in Finale:  one at a time or by selecting a passage or an entire score.

1. One Chord at a time
– Choose the Chord Tool
– from the Chord menu choose either one-staff, two-staff, or all staff analysis.  In this example, either two staff or all staff analysis will generate good results.
– Click on the top note of the treble staff where you want Finale to guess the chord text. Continue clicking any place where you want a chord added. You can edit the chords as needed


2. An entire passage or piece at once using the Plug-in
– Choose the Selection Tool
– Select the passage where you want chord text added (this can be one or more bars or the entire piece. Include all of the staves you want to analyze using click and shift-click.
– Select Plug-ins > Scoring and Arranging > Chord Analysis

– Make your choices in the Chord Analysis window and chord symbols will be added to the score. You can then edit them with the chord tool and add additional chord symbols as needed.

– Click OK and Finale will add the chord text. It might not always be the way you want it, so you will have to edit the chords using the Chord Tool.

Both of these options have their advantages. After the chords are entered they can be manually edited via the chord tool.

Sibelius 6 & 7 – Creating or Realizing Chord Symbols from Notation

In Sibelius 6 & 7 there is a Realize Chord Symbols option. This can be applied to any selection of notes and it can include multiple staves.

1. Press Esc. so nothing is selected.
2. Use click and shift-click to select a specific passage. You can select a single staff, two staves or many staves.
3. Sibelius 7:  Choose Text > Chord Symbols > Add from Notes.
Sibelius 6: Choose Plug-ins > Chords > Add Chord Symbols

4. Make the selection from the Plug-in window.  You can then edit the chord symbols as needed after they are entered.

5. You can then edit the chord text as needed.

Notation software is all about saving time entering notation. Sometimes, it can speed up the process significantly.