User Manual

Chords and Lyrics

Chords and lyrics represent the content of your song and can be expressed either as bracketed chords or as chords over lyrics. Place this content in sections to divide your song into its logical parts.

Bracketed Chords

With bracketed chords, you place the chords on the same line as the lyrics, but surround the chord with square brackets. Here is an example of this format:

Verse 1:
Amazing [D]Grace, how [G]sweet the [D]sound,
That saved a wretch like [A7]me.
I on[D]ce was lost, but [G]now am [D]found,
Was blind, but [A7]now I [D]see.

Bracketed chords are the preferred method of expressing chords in the OnSong File Format and in the ChordPro File Format.

Chords Over Lyrics

The other way to express chords in lyrics is to place the chords on a line above the lyrics and use space characters to align the chords with lyrics. This is supported since most music found in other formats use this technique. Here is an example of chords over lyrics:

Verse 1:
        D           G        D
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
  D                  G      D
I once was lost, but now am found,
               A7    D
Was blind, but now I see.

It's important to note that if non-chord words are found on a line of chords, that OnSong will reject that line and not detect the chords. Please move any musical instructions or notes to the following line to avoid this. One exception to this rule is if you surround instructions in parenthesis. This will allow the chord line to be detected. You can also start the line with a period or a back tick character to force the line to be detected as chords like this:

.I Am Chords
`I Am Also

OnSong recognizes chords using the following set of rules:

  1. It must start with a capital A, B, C, D, E, F, G or H (used in some languages)
  2. It can be followed with an optional flat or sharp symbol: #, b, ♯ or ♭
  3. It can have one of the following modifiers: add, sus, m, min, man, aug or dim
  4. It can then be followed with an optional numeric position like: 0, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, or 13
  5. It can optionally flat or sharp those numeric positions with: #, b, ♯ or ♭
  6. It can provide a slash to indicate a bass note as in "A minor over C" which can also have an optional sharp or flat.


If you want to create comments in your song that will not appear on the screen, prefix the line with a "#" symbol.

# This line will not appear in the song viewer, only in the song editor.
OnSong 2023 — Last Updated on February 9, 2016