Join Julio Appling for an in-depth discussion in this video Notation and chord entry, part of Real Books and Digital Accompaniment Tools for Musicians.
- [Instructor] Designed for quick and easy chord entry, iReal Pro has a simple editing interface. To begin creating a new song, I can either press command N to instantly create a new staff. Or I can click the pencil icon in the top right corner, to choose from music length presets. If a song were already open, I would also see options to edit the current song or duplicate it. I'll select blank to start with a blank staff. Notice that entering edit mode opens the editor window which contains the notation symbols and song information.
In the staff window is a blinking cursor next to a double bar line, marking the beginning of the song. As I add content, I can use the mouse to select different areas of the lead sheet. We'll begin by adding a time signature using the time signature dropdown in the editor window. I'll chose 4/4. Chords may be entered using either the chord dropdown in the edit window or typed in using the keyboard. To use the dropdown menu, first select the root. If a more specific chord quality is needed, select the dropdown again to choose the chord quality.
Typing is often faster and some helpful shortcuts include lowercase B for the flat symbol, the number symbol for sharp, a lowercase O for diminished, and a minus sign for minor keys. I'll go ahead and enter a few chords now and advance by pressing return. Even though I've specified a time signature, I'ma still manually enter bar lines to indicate measures. For added flexibility, bar lines can be added immediately to the left or to the right of the cursor.
If using keyboard shortcuts, use command B to enter a bar to the left and command shift B to enter to the right. While you don't need to evenly space your measures for iReal Pro to play them correctly, it's best to keep them consistent for readability. Particularly if you plan to print the chart later. Beat spacing can sometimes take a little trial and error. In 4/4 time, a measure spanning four spaces with the space separating each chord, indicates a chord change on beat three. This correlation can vary depending on the time signature.
Since in 5/4, for example, spacing two chords equally apart puts three beats on the first chord and two on the second. I'll play it first in 4/4 time. (drum sticks clicking) (slow jazz music) Now let's hear it in 5/4. (drum sticks clicking) (slow syncopated jazz music) Inserting an extra beat, using command back slash, gives you five beats in the measure and allows you to more clearly specify your timing.
(clicking) (drum sticks clicking) (slow funky jazz music) While iReal Pro does not support off-beat or syncopated chord changes, you may simulate them by using a composite of two time signatures. For example, in 4/4 time, chord changes on the and of two could be simulated with a bar of 3/8 and a bar of 5/8.
While notation text is helpful for understanding the overall form of the song, it can also affect playback. Place symbols on the staff as they would appear in sheet music, and iReal Pro will follow accordingly. Many of these also may be entered using a keyboard shortcut. If one is available, keyboard shortcuts can be viewed by hovering over the corresponding symbol in the editor window. Lastly, since iReal Pro charts can also serve as printed charts, there are a few symbols available that do not affect playback but can be helpful visual aids.
You have the ability to mark sections alphabetically as well as intros and verses. Single, double, and triple vertical spacers add space between lines, allowing you to separate out sections such as codas or leave space at the top of the chart for notes. You may also type custom text in the editor should you wish to add any custom performance instructions.
- Accompaniment styles
- Playback options and settings
- Drums and tracks
- Band in a Box
- iReal Pro