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Missing "7alt" chord definition.

Moderator: Michael Good

Missing "7alt" chord definition.

Postby robipad » Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:02 am

Imo the "7alt" chord needs a special "kind" addition like e.g. a C5 chord is written as:<kind text="5">power</kind>. At this moment the "7alt" chord, which is frequently used in jazz music, is written as <kind text="7alt">other</kind>. Since "other" means it is not a valid defined chord the text addition "7alt" will be printed next to the root. However not beïng defined as a "valid" chord the root will not be "transposed" in programs like "Avid Scorch" for iPad. Sibelius will export "7alt" as a 7(b5)(b9)(#5)(#9) in musicXML if you force it to recognize it as a valid transposable chord. However in it's own format .sib it will add "7alt" as a transposable chord. A little bit complicated imo. So why not defining it for instance like <kind text="7alt">dominant-alt</kind>?
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Re: Missing "7alt" chord definition.

Postby Michael Good » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:11 pm

Thanks for this suggestion. It's been a while since I've looked at our list of kind elements. I am no jazz harmony expert, but my recollection is that we had difficulty coming up with a standardized version of what "alt" or "7alt" means that would span the different communities of jazz musicians. I believe that this notation is also referring more to a scale than a particular harmony at one point in time. Please let me know if you think I am mistaken about either of these points.

The matter of either exporting or importing as an "other" kind seems software specific. It sounds like you might be exporting with Sibelius 7's built-in MusicXML export? The Dolet 6 for Sibelius plug-in should be exporting this as a "dominant" kind with various degrees subtracted and added, using #11 instead of b5 and b13 instead of #5. The problem of importing "other" chords in a way that you can't transpose is a Scorch limitation, not a MusicXML limitation. You should be able to import such chords into Finale for instance and transpose them as you like.

I think that MusicXML 3.0 is working sufficiently here, but would be very interested to hear what others think.
Michael Good
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MakeMusic, Inc.
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Re: Missing "7alt" chord definition.

Postby robipad » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:03 am

Michael thanks for your reply. Yes "alt" is referring to a musical scale and it is to the musician what added notes sounds best in his opinion. But it is a very commonly used chord like e.g. "power" which as far as I know is also coming from the jazz scéne. This one got also a special name. There are more like C2 or C4, you could give them typical names to. The problem is, "alt" is not a "defined" harmony. That is exactly the reason that translating programs seem to "ignore" it as a valid chord and do NOT transpose it unless you specificly make clear it is a (un)defined chord to be used to the musician's interpretation. But if you want to use musicXML to be a general purpose language that opens your music in any application for direct reading without the need to correct your music before using it, you need to have at least a name for commonly presented harmony's. That's what I like at least. I use PDFtoMusic Pro (1.5.0 RC2 Beta) that reads and translates all the chords used in pdf's coming from "band in a box" perfectly. But for all "7alt" chords I need to open it e.g. in Sibelius and search for "7alt"s and correct them manually (meaning only retyping it). I know it is not ONLY a musicXML limitation, but it might help to learn Sibelius (and other which have probably the same limitation) to recognize the "7alt" directly as usefull written harmony. But if you write it back as musicXML there is no way to write it back as written "7alt". Only in their own format (.sib) it functions.
Rob
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