I have a few old printouts of music pieces, which I am trying to enter into Musescore. (The paper prints are old and won't survive much longer with any use.) While everything is going fine, I'm struggling with one piece having a particular chord notation. For example, this one:

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or this one:

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or even this one:

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I can get, for example, C9 displayed correctly with 9 being offset below by playing around with styles. Yet I can't manage to get the - or + signs to be treated as part of the modifiers - if anything, it looks like C-9. And I can't get anywhere near C-9+5.

Is there a way to enter such chords in Musescore? I'm using version 3.3.

  • I don't know anything about Musescore, but will it work if you use sharp and flat notation rather than + and - ? Nov 18, 2019 at 21:49
  • 1
    @dissemin8or With sharp/flat it works partially. For example, if I type C9#5, then it shows close enough, but Cb9#5, obviously, assigns the flat to C, not 9. Regardless, this won't match the existing printed scores I have.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 18, 2019 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


Well, it's possible with a bit of ingenuity, or disingenuity:

Add Stave text for the letter (attached to the note) and move it so it's positioned correctly. Add a figured bass (Add ▸ Text ▸ Figured bass, or Ctrl-G) to the note — you can use a carriage-return to put numbers below others, and + and - appear correctly. Move the figured bass from below the note to be next to the letter.

If you're happy with using styles, then you can change the font and default placement of the figured bass so it uses Times Roman figures and appears above the stave. You'll probably still need to adjust it horizontally.

To use just a single figure, say the -9, just use a carriage-return to enter the blank line above it.

Chord symbols in MuseScore

I don't know if MuseScore will play figured bass, but if it does then it's probably a good idea to mark the figures as not playing!

  • Wow! I'll try that now. Would it transpose the C correctly, I wonder?
    – Aleks G
    Nov 18, 2019 at 22:10
  • Ok, it seems to work correctly-ish. Only in the figured bass style, there are no other fonts available besides "Musescore figured bass" font.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 18, 2019 at 22:13
  • Oh. I didn't check that: I just saw the dropdown and assumed it could be changed. Sorry. Bit odd that it can't. [Not sure what you mean by "transpose the C" -- it's simple text in my example, not a chord symbol. I suppose a chord symbol could be placed in the same way as text.] Nov 18, 2019 at 22:45
  • No worries, it still looks quite nice. I also used Chord instead of simple text - and transposing works.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 18, 2019 at 23:07

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