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The chord tool

In Counterpointer the chord tool is used to specify a particular harmony using Roman numerals. To see what chords can look like specified this way, take a look at one of the Realizing Harmony exercises. You may, for example, want to practice writing voice leading to match a given chord progression. Choose the chord tool, enter the name of the chord, and then click the tool in the music at the point where that chord should appear. After a chord is entered you can also select it with the arrow tool and drag it left or right.

Counterpointer is able to interpret common chords in Roman numerals, so you don't need to fill in the actual pitch names of the chord if the chord is one of the typical chords described below. But if you want to make use of the program's ability to understand Roman numerals you need to follow certain naming conventions:

(1) Chords will be identified by the Roman numeral of the scale degree that is their root.
(2) Do not use spaces in the chord name, except for secondary dominants or other chords in which you're going to specify the pitches (see below).
(3) Major chords will use upper-case Roman numerals, minor and diminished chords will use lower case numerals. For example, the basic root position triads found in a major key would be identified as I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, and viií.
(4) The sign, °, following a numeral means the chord is diminished. The sign, ø, means it is half diminished. Example: viiø7
(5) Inversions are indicated by figured bass numerals immediately following the Roman numeral. They are as follows:
"6" = first inversion triad. Example: V6
"6/4" = second inversion triad. Examples: I6/4, i6/4
"7" = root position seventh chord. Example: V7
"6/5" = first inversion seventh chord. Example: V6/5
"4/3" = second inversion seventh chord. Example: V4/3
"4/2" = third inversion seventh chord.Example: V4/2

Currently those are the limits of the figures that can automatically be interpreted by Counterpointer. It understands diatonic chords and can interpret the signs for half and full diminution. It does not automatically understand chromatic alterations, or terms such as those used for the augmented sixths and Neapolitan chords. But it is still possible to use any type of chord if you specify the chord notes yourself.

Specifying unusual chords

To make a chord that is outside the limits of automatic interpretation, the chord notes can be specified in the same window used to type the name of the chord. Chord notes are identified by pitch name and octave, using "#" and "b" for flat, for example: C#3, E4, Ab5. The octave indication is there just so that it's clear which pitch is the bass. For clarity it helps when making such a chord to specify the pitches with the desired bass first. If Counterpointer finds that you have already specified the pitches of a chord it will not attempt to interpret the name of the chord, so you can call it whatever you want. For example, you could specify V6/5 of V in the key of C this way:

name: V6/5 of V
pitches: F#2, A3, D3, C4

The order of the upper notes doesn't matter as long as the intended bass is lower than the others. Using this method of specifying pitches it is possible to indicate any desired chord, and you do not need to follow the above naming conventions.

Requiring that you follow specified harmony

If you want Counterpointer to check that you've followed the specified harmony, be sure to check the box "Write to specified harmony if supplied in exercise." That option is found in the Harmony style window.

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