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Best software for making chord charts

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by PauFerro, Sep 13, 2018.


  1. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Curious if anyone knows of REALLY GOOD, intuitive software for creating chord charts. Software that requires almost zero learning curve to use, and that allows you create chord charts really really fast and efficiently. And it has to allow you to export it in a graphic, or a PDF, for example.

    The a typical chord chart would look like this when done, but longer:

    upload_2018-9-14_0-20-46.

    I'm not talking about Sibelius, Finale, Muse Score of other programs that have a lot of extra features not needed. I'm talking about lightweight software that is focused heavily on chord charts.

    The example above, I created with New Song · Chord Sheet Maker Online

    But that site is in beta and doesn't seem to be complete yet, or it might have fit the bill. Plus it looks like a subscription service and aint nobody got time for that. I have tried Opensong.com, and that didn't cut it, and a couple others that are mostly focused on lyrics AND chords at the same time. But they don't look that good (mostly text based rather than a nice chord font) and I wasn't able to use them immediately like I want -- without a learning curve. What has to be done is so simple, a good computer programmer/designer should have been able to make it dead simple.

    I hear that IRealPro allows you to make your own chord charts, but without buying it, not sure if it allows you to export the chord chart as an image or PDF, or it it's really easy to use.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    If that's all you want to do and you're stressing "zero learning curve," use whatever established word processing software (MS Word, etc) you're already familiar with. All but the most home-brewed will export to PDF and—if you want to be fussy about fonts—let you add fonts. For clean spacing, write your charts in tables or tabbed docs rather than freehandng.

    Otherwise, the best charts IME come from packages that do other things well (BiaB, etc) or go deep in notation (Finale), so zero learning curve goes out the window.
     
  3. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    I just use RTF format, editable with Wordpad (comes with Windows) or Jarte (free). I'll attach one of my charts, you can use any fonts you want.

    TB doesn't allow RTF files :( so you'll have to download this and change the extension to .rtf
     

    Attached Files:

    PauFerro likes this.
  4. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    You can also check out my entire notation system here:
    Index of /abc
     
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  5. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I would agree with this, and I think Band in a box fits the bill quite nicely, it IS very intuitive and has what I would call a zero learning curve. It's what I use for charts (since the whole software revolves around the concept, basically), and I think it doesn't get any easier than that really.
     
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  6. LeeNunn

    LeeNunn Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Charlottesville, VA
    You might give iReal Pro a shot. You might find other ways to use it besides printing charts. ;)
    iReal Pro: Print a chart
     
    devnulljp likes this.
  7. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Thanks everyone -- here is what mine look like in MS Word right now...I know there is a symbol that can do the beginning of the 1st and 2nd endings better than my first attempt below. But I was taking this one step at a time for a rehearsal I had to do quickly, so I just glossed over it.

    upload_2018-9-14_10-53-1.
    I like the idea of using MS Word but it still has limitations and is not optimized for chart making. For example, one real hassle is keeping the spacing within and across bars consistent. Margins and Tabs will likely help, so I'll try that next.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I don't quite know what the aversion to something like MuseScore is. Just because it has a feature doesn't mean you have to use it. And for the purpose of lead sheets, the learning curve is next to nothing. The price is exactly nothing! I saw your post less than 10 minutes ago and knocked this up...
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018 at 12:00 PM
    tradernick and Renaissance like this.
  9. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I can see how I made some errors in my "transcription" given the symbols I used, but I appreciate what you did. The --------3--------- is three bars of drum solo, for example, and my -/. sign should be an E only. Same with the --------3---------- at the end.. But I realize you were trying to show how easy Musescore is, rather than copy music for me. So don't feel you have to fix it in Muse Score
    upload_2018-9-14_13-30-7.
    In Muse Score, is it possible to put the chords right IN the staff, with no staff lines visible, where notes would normally go? I want to be able to make it all very compact. Is this possible in MuseScore?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018 at 12:30 PM
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    what are you using for manuscript/scoring?


    although there is a learning curve: sibelius allows me to whip out a chord chart in minutes --- and i have control of how the symbols look (font and size + preferences, e.g., major 7ths, etc.).
     
    SteveCS likes this.
  11. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    There's not much you can't do...
     

    Attached Files:

  12. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    My image above I did in MS Word. I use Finale, Muse Score and Crescendo (NCH software) but I want something dead simple that is also capable of transposing the chords as I see fit. Something narrow and deep in chord charts.
     
  13. IRealPro has a very easy chord chart generator. Spend 2 minutes on the tutorial, and you’re set to go. You can export to many sources (email, PDF, etc.)
     
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  14. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource

    Dec 28, 2012
    iWriteitdown is pretty good <.<
     
    Slough Feg Bass likes this.
  15. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    1) iReal, looks like the snippet you used is from iReal. I learned it in about 10 minutes. Yes it can be exported to pdf quite easily.

    2) a piece of paper, pencil, and a scanner.
     
    InhumanResource likes this.
  16. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    ireal pro and musescore do it for me
     
  17. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    This is a simple iReal chart I made for beginning students, just exported it as a pdf straight to google drive, voila 2044D011-3019-4928-A165-C22E1F2EACD8.
     
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  18. StatesideRambler

    StatesideRambler

    Jul 1, 2015
    iReal Pro is, hands down, the goods. The price is right, the ability to do a wide range of stuff is there but you can get by very nicely with the default settings. You can export charts in native iReal format, PDF and MusicXML. (That feature is at the top of the chart's page; a couple taps and it's on the way into your Dropbox or Google Drive or ...) Making playlists is super easy as well. The tutorials are brief and very well done. There's a user forum where you can ask questions, share works in progress, get songs that others have transcribed and more.

    Can you tell I'm a fan?
     
  19. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I have a Windows machine, and not a MAC -- does that pose a problem?
     
  20. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Not for me. Windows all the way...
     

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