Chords using ABC notation

Chords using ABC notation

Hi All,

I have a question regarding ABC notation and chords. What is the correct way of writing chords? I read that the way to do it is using quotations, like this: "dmaj", before the notes of the melody line that the chord is associated with. Is this correct?

One more question before I end this:
I use the mandolintabs ABC notation converter, and seem to have trouble inputting chords. Does anyone have anx experience with how you’d input chords in ABC on this particular site?

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Hi BlindMusician,
You do input chords using quotation marks, but, from what I remember, they have to be particular quotation marks - the neutral straight ones rather than angled left and right. Here on the session.org it automatically uses the correct quotation marks. If you type your abc into a comment box here and then copy and paste to mandolintab.net or type straight into the submissions box on the abcConverter, the chords should come out fine.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

@donaldK Can you type out which quotation marks to use? I’m reading in braille, so it would be easier for me to take a look at what those quotations marks look like by themselves!

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Not sure how to do it on here.
When I type in, say, a Word document, and use quotation marks they appear as "double typographic quotes", whereas in this comment box they appear as "neutral double quotes". So, in a Word document, the default quotes are typographic (the left and right are different) but here the default is neutral (left and right are the same). I can’t remember how I found the neutral quotes when working on abc files. In Word you can go to Insert - Advanced Symbol, but don’t know how that works in braille.

To complicate things it seems there is a problem with quotation marks in braille:
http://www.dotlessbraille.org/aposquote.htm
Sorry I can’t be more help. There are some blind members on site who may be able to offer more help.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Just “D”. Should work for D major. “Dm” for D minor and “D7” for a 7th etc.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Those don’t work, Andy. You’ve used typographic quotes as in “D”. They need to be neutral quotes as in "D".

But, from your comment, I was able to get typographic quotes into the text here so that’s been a help.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

@DonaldK So, something like this? “ and ” ? Maybe I’m pressing the wrong keyboard commands. I’m on a mac, but I con’t think that should matter.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Those are the typographic (left and right quotes). They won’t work for chords in abc. You need to use neutral quotes.

This is what Mr Google says to do:
"first change the input type to Unicode Hex Input and then use option key with 0022 to type neutral code.."
whatever that means.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

@DonaldK Ok, Let’s see… How does this look? "D"

I typed that in braille this time.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Those are neutral quotes. Try those in mandolintab.net.
The problem seems to be that certain programs will change neutral quotes to typographic quotes.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

I think this might be getting unnecessarily complicated. On a Mac keyboard, the normal, default quote marks are already neutral so BlindMusician shouldn’t have to do anything special to get the correct quote characters. In fact, to get the curved "smart quotes" on a Mac, you press OPTION+SHIFT+BRACKET. So, yes usual way to put in chords in ABC is in quotes, such as this first 4 measures of The Swallowtail Jig:

"Em" GEE BEE | GEE BAG | "D" FDD ADD | dcd AGF |

I’m going to make some assumptions, that you are after a MIDI output that includes chords? And you are using the Mandolin Tab ABC Converter to achieve this? I just did a test on the Mandolin Tab ABC Converter by copying and pasting a setting of Swallowtail Jig that had chords in normal quotes in it, and the MIDI download seemed fine, with playback of both melody and chord backing.

Apologies if my assumptions are wrong and you are dealing with a different issue. Let us know. Folks here are eager to help. Good luck!

Re: Chords using ABC notation

My problem was that, when I used to use abc for scoring, I would write out the text in Word before pasting into a converter. But Word changes the neutral quotes to typographic quotes which don’t work for chords. So it really depends where you write your abc text.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Generally speaking anything that does word processing or formatting will try and force open and close type quotes; anything that is a text editor, like the input box here, will usually use straight quotes. It’s a pain in the neck, not just for ABC, but everywhere.

Here is the relevant section from the ABC specification - apologies for the length, but it’s worth knowing. I have also included the following section, annotations, which is easily confused with the strict chord notation:

4.18 Chord symbols

VOLATILE: The list of chords and how they are handled will be extended at some point. Until then programs should treat chord symbols quite liberally.

Chord symbols (e.g. chords/bass notes) can be put in under the melody line (or above, depending on the package) using double-quotation marks placed to the left of the note it is sounded with, e.g. "Am7"A2D2.

The chord has the format <note><accidental><type></bass>, where <note> can be A-G, the optional <accidental> can be b, #, the optional <type> is one or more of

m or min minor
maj major
dim diminished
aug or + augmented
sus suspended
7, 9 … 7th, 9th, etc.

and </bass> is an optional bass note.

A slash after the chord type is used only if the optional bass note is also used, e.g., "C/E". If the bass note is a regular part of the chord, it indicates the inversion, i.e., which note of the chord is lowest in pitch. If the bass note is not a regular part of the chord, it indicates an additional note that should be sounded with the chord, below it in pitch. The bass note can be any letter (A-G or a-g), with or without a trailing accidental sign (b or #). The case of the letter used for the bass note does not affect the pitch.

Alternate chords can be indicated for printing purposes (but not for playback) by enclosing them in parentheses inside the double-quotation marks after the regular chord, e.g., "G(Em)".

Note to developers: Software should also be able to recognise and handle appropriately the unicode versions of flat, natural and sharp symbols (♭, ♮, ♯) - see special symbols.
4.19 Annotations

General text annotations can be added above, below or on the staff in a similar way to chord symbols. In this case, the string within double quotes is preceded by one of five symbols ^, _, <, > or @ which controls where the annotation is to be placed; above, below, to the left or right respectively of the following note, rest or bar line. Using the @ symbol leaves the exact placing of the string to the discretion of the interpreting program. These placement specifiers distinguish annotations from chord symbols, and should prevent programs from attempting to play or transpose them. All text that follows the placement specifier is treated as a text string.

Where two or more annotations with the same placement specifier are placed consecutively, e.g. for fingerings, the notation program should draw them on separate lines, with the first listed at the top.

Example: The following annotations place the note between parentheses.

"<(" ">)" C

Posted by .

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Yes, we know that Ben.
But I suspect a lot of people who post tune settings here paste the abc into the submission box rather than typing it all in. And doing it in a word processing program will often, as Calum says, result in neutral quotes being changed by default to left and right quotes.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

If writing ABC in a MS Office program like Word or Outlook, you can make dumb quotes by immediately pressing Alt+Backspace after typing the left/right quote.

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Hi All,

Another question here, and I’m asking for a friend. My friend is wanting to write chords in ABC, but just have the chords play when converting the ABC notation into midi. Is it possible to even write chords down without the notation of the melody?
P.S. I figured out how to write out chords!!!

Re: Chords using ABC notation

You can use rests instead of melody notes in the converters (such as EasyABC) that use abc2midi

Re: Chords using ABC notation

@David50 could you give me a quick example, just so I can convey what that would look like?

Re: Chords using ABC notation

"D" z8|"A" z4 "D" z4|

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Examples
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
|:"D"Z|"D"Z|"A"Z|"Em"z4 "A7"z4|"D"Z|"D"Z|"A7"Z|"D"z6 "A" z2:|

M: 9/8
L: 1/8
|:"Em"z3 "D"z3 "Em"z3|"Em"z3 "D"z3 "Em"z3|"Em"z3 "D"z3 "G"z3|"G"z3 "D"z3 z3:|

Re: Chords using ABC notation

Hello

saw this post thru the session e-mail update.

I gave up in writing chords in ABC notation. Playback is iffy depending on the software.

so I found the Strum Machine. I love it in writing chords with great playback. It takes less than 2 minutes to write chords assuming you copy it from the right sheet music. Here’s my tune list: https://strummachine.com/app/lists/CS45HX4ry97Jyjwki

It also has a recent update that it can auto speed up after every round per the speed increase that you want in BPMs.

The software author has a list of tunes already in that system and you can make your own lists.

cheers,

Alain Gauthier, folkloreoutaouais.org

Re: Chords using ABC notation

BlindMusician, you can turn off the use of smart quotes if you still want to work in Word on the Mac. It’s in your Word preference settings (command ,), under "Autocorrect". The tab is labeled as "Autoformat as you type", and the section is labeled "Automatically as you type". Uncheck the option that says "Straight quotes with Smart Quotes", and that should eliminate the use of left and right quotes.

As with most things in Word, it’s buried somewhat deeply.