Directives: define

See also: chord.

Defining chords for string instruments

This directive defines a chord in terms of fret/string positions and, optionally, finger settings.

{define: name base-fret offset frets pos pospos}
{define: name base-fret offset frets pos pospos fingers pos pospos}

A fret position is designated with a number, e.g. 5th position, 7th position, etc, and the number is based on what fret the first finger would naturally lie on depending on where you are on the neck. (see e.g.)
In practice, the term fret is often used to indicate position, which is unfortunate.

In the left diagram the first (topmost) finger is in position 1, it presses the string against fret number 1. The finger positions are, from low to high, x (muted), 3, 2, 3, 1, 0 (open). The corresponding define directive is

{define: C7 base-fret 1 frets x 3 2 3 1 0}

In the middle diagram, the first finger is in position 3, it presses the string against fret 3. The finger positions are, from low to high, x, 5, 4, 5, 3, x.

{define: D7 base-fret 1 frets x 5 4 5 3 x}

The right diagram shows the same chord as the middle diagram, but it has been shifted towards the top. The 3 left of the top row indicates that the top row of the diagram is really the row at position 3. This can be obtained by adjusting the value of base-fret in the define directive:

{define: D7 base-fret 3 frets x 3 2 3 1 x}

The define directive details:

{define: name base-fret offset frets pos pospos}
{define: name base-fret offset frets pos pospos fingers pos pospos}

  • name is the name to be used for this chord. If it is an already known chord the new definition will overwrite the previous one.

  • base-fret offset defines the offset for the chord, which is the position of the topmost finger. The offset must be 1 or higher.

    When printing chord diagrams, the top row of the diagram corresponds to the actual row at the indicated position, see the discussion above.

  • frets pos pospos defines the string positions.
    Strings are enumerated from left (lowest) to right (highest), as they appear in the chord diagrams.
    Fret positions are relative to the offset minus one, so with base-fret 1 (the default), the topmost fret position is 1. With base-fret 3, fret position 1 indicates the 3rd position.
    0 (zero) denotes an open string. Use N or x to denote a non-sounding string.

  • fingers pos pospos defines finger settings. This part may be omitted.

    For the frets and the fingers positions, there must be exactly as many positions as there are strings, which is 6 by default. For the fingers positions, values corresponding to open or damped strings are ignored.

Example:

{define: Bes base-fret 1 frets 1 1 3 3 3 1 fingers 1 1 2 3 4 1}
{define: As  base-fret 4 frets 1 3 3 2 1 1 fingers 1 3 4 2 1 1}

The resultant chord diagrams are:

The asterisk after the chord names indiciates that the chords have been defined in the song, possibly overriding built-in definitions.

Defining chords for keyboard instruments

For keyboard chords, only the chord notes relative to the root note must be specified:

{define: name keys notenote}

  • name is the name to be used for this chord. If it is an already known chord the new definition will overwrite the previous one.

  • keys notenote defines the keys.
    Key 0 denotes the root note, 7 is the fifth, 11 dominant seventh, and so on.

    Chords in the root position always start with note 0. The first inversion starts with 4 (major) or 3 (minor) third. The second inversion starts with the fifth 7.

Example:

{define: D  keys 0 4 7}
{define: D² keys 7 12 16}

The resultant chord diagrams are:

Note that keys that would exceed the diagram are silently wrapped.