Chord lead sheet

Use the chord leadsheet editor to:
  • Add chord symbols, eg Cm6, Ab7
  • Add sections, eg A, B, verse, chorus, ...
  • Move and edit chords to adjust rhythm accents, interpretation or harmony

Chord symbols


Select a bar or a chord symbol then:
  • type the first letter of the chord symbol ('A' to 'G'), or
  • press ENTER, or
  • double-click, or
  • right-click menu, Edit
You can also select an existing chord symbol and move it while pressing the control button, it will create a new copy that can be edited.
To move a chord symbol just select it and move it with the mouse.
To change the size of the lead sheet, select a bar then right-click menu and select Set end bar.
Use ctrl-click or shift-click for multiple selection.
In order to input a lead sheet from scratch, the easier way is to select the first bar, directly type in the chord symbols, press ENTER (it will automatically select the next bar), type in the chord symbols for the second bar, etc.
Use the popup menu (right-click on windows/Linux, ctrl-click on Mac) to see commands available for the current selection: bars, chord symbols or sections.
Bar popup menu
Chord symbol popup menu
Section/Time signature popup menu


JJazzLab recognizes many aliases for each chord symbol. For example C7M can be written Cmaj7, Cma7, CM7, CMAJ7 etc.
You can add more aliases in menu Options/Chord Symbols.


Select a chord symbol, edit it (double-click, press enter, or right-click menu), and select the Interpretation tab.
The Interpretation tab lets you decide how this chord symbol should be played:
  • Normal
  • Accent: add a rhythmic accent and randomly a crash cymbal. You can make the accent stronger, or make sure a crash cymbal is played or not played.
  • Hold: add a rhythmic accent and hold notes until next chord symbol. If extended more instruments are hold.
  • Shot: add a rhythmic accent with chord notes played briefly. If extended more instruments are shot.
  • Pedal bass: bass line will only play the bass note (for ex. F for Fm7 or C for Fm7/C). This setting is on by default when you enter a slash chord.
Each rhythm generation engine may render these Interpretation parameters differently.
The shape of the marker below the chord symbol depends on the interpretation mode:
For example, in order to render:
you could use the following interpretation parameters:
See below the keyboard shortcuts to change the interpretation of selected chords.


Select a chord symbol, edit it and select the Harmony tab.
The Harmony tab lets you select the scale to be used when rendering the music for this chord symbol.
Example Suppose that the reference bass line for Eb7M contains a Ab (4th degree of the Eb major scale). If you select the Lydian mode (which has a sharp 11th degree) then the reference bass note Ab will be rendered as A for this chord symbol.
By default no scale is selected: each rhythm generation engine will decide the "best" scale to use.

Substitute chord symbol

Select a chord symbol, edit it and select the substitute chord symbol tab.
Snapshot to be updated! Alternate > Substitute
This tab lets you define a substitute chord symbol which will be used when some conditions are met.
Substitute chord symbols are useful when you need to introduce a slight variation in a part of a song.
The substitute chord symbol can be any chord symbol, with any interpretation or harmony, or no chord symbol at all (void chord). Chord symbols which have an substitute chord symbol defined are displayed with a different color (see image below).
In the Carlos Santana's "Europa" song, the 1st ending of the theme is a Cm7, but the 2nd one is a C major. To implement this in JJazzLab, one solution could be to duplicate section A1 to create section A2 with the different ending, then update the song structure accordingly. This is perfectly fine, but when changes are minor the substitute chord symbol can provide a simpler solution.
You can see below (and in the dialog snapshot above) that a C7M substitute chord has been created for Cm7. C7M will be used for all song parts (see the song structure editor) where the marker is set to Theme2. On the image below it means the C7M will be used only for the 2nd song part.
Snapshot to be updated! ALTERNATE > SUBSTITUTE
There is another substitute chord symbol example in the 3rd bar: A7. If you listen to the original song you'll notice that they play a A7 on the last beat of the 3rd bar only during solos. So the A7 chord symbol defines its substitute chord symbol as the "void chord symbol" (same as no chord symbol) when marker is not "Solo".

Sections input

Typical sections are 'intro', 'verse', 'chorus', etc.
A Song section is the basic unit used by JJazzLab to define the song structure. There is always a section defined on the first bar.
To add a section select a bar which is not after the end then:
  • press ENTER, or
  • double-click, or
  • right-click menu, Insert Section... or Edit...
The new section name must be different than the existing one.

Force a section at new line

You can force a section which is not on the first bar of a row to start on the next line. This can be useful when some sections have an odd number of bars.
Select a bar with a section defined or select the section itself, right-click menu "Force Section at New Line".
This will result in the display below.

Mouse shortcuts

bar, chord symbol, section
chord symbol
double click
edit using chord symbol editor
bar, section
double click
edit using bar editor
bar, chord symbol, section
popup menu
chord symbol
ctrl mouse-wheel
change X zoom factor

Keyboard shortcuts

Many actions are also available via the context menu (right-click on Windows/Linux, ctrl-click on Mac), and when available the associated keyboard is displayed.
chord Symbol
edit with chord symbol editor
bar, section
edit with bar editor dialog
set end bar
insert bars
clear bar contents
chord symbol, section
chord symbol, section
move item one bar left/right
chord symbol
chord symbol
change interpretation
chord symbol
stronger accent
chord symbol
crash cymbal/no crash
chord symbol
hold/shot more instruments
chord symbol, section
select all in section, then in lead sheet
bar, chord symbol, section
copy/cut/paste items
close song