SongBook Songs and Chords

Chordpro Format

SongBook stores songs in the chordpro format, a simple format for notation of lyrics together with chords. Using your Internet search engine you can find huge collections of songs in chordpro format.

Chords are written in square brackets [] within the text, e.g.

[Em]Alas, my [G]love, you [D]do me [Bm]wrong,

SongBook will render this as:

Alas, my love, you do me wrong,

In addition to the chords in square brackets, the chordpro format defines several commands in curly brackets {}. Songbook understands the following control statements:

{title: ...} or {t: ...}

Song title

{t: Greensleeves}
{subtitle: ...} or {st: ...} or {artist: ...}Song subtitle, typically the artist or composer{st: Traditional}
{comment: ...} or {c: ...}A comment, e.g. "Repeat 2x" or "Chorus". Comments are rendered inverse by default.{c:Chorus}

Start and end of chorus. Depending on settings, the chorus is marked with line to the left or indented or shaded.

Halleluja, halleluja...
Start and end of a tab. A tab (tablature) section is rendered in a fixed width font. Often used for intros, bridges, solos...{sot}
Start and end of a chord grid (Jazz Grille). Parts between bars | are considered chords and rendered in columns.

Verse || A   . E+ . | Amaj7 .  |
      |: Bm7 . F# . | A     . :| Coda


Start and end of a highlight marker. Can span multiple lines.

For colored highlighting (web colors), use {soh #rrggbb}


{soh #00FF00}Green{eoh}

{define ...}Used to define a special chord diagram for this song only. The format is
<chord name>: <base fret> <string 6> ...<string 1>
Base fret is usually 0.
To force a certain chord variation to show up in the songs chords window/bar, define it in the song.
{define: D 0 X 0 0 2 3 2}
#Lines starting with # will be ignored and are not displayed.# (C) Author, 2016
SongBook specific controls
{time: mm:ss}

Total playing time of song (including last page), used for auto-scrolling independent of zoom-factor.

{time: 2:30}
{pause: ...}

If this line reaches the top of the screen, auto-scrolling will pause for the specified number of seconds (also works on beginning of song)

{pause: 2.5}
{metronome: ...}

(iOS/Android only)

Defines the metronome tempo for this song (beats per minute)

{metronome: 90}
{key: ...}Key of the current song, used e.g. for transposition or NNS conversion. If not set, SongBook uses the first [chord] in the song as key.{key: Am}
{capo: ...}Indicates usage of a capo. All song chords are transposed down the given number of half-tones. E.g. for a capo 2, an A written in the song will be displayed as G.{capo: 2}
{zoom: ...}

Zoom size for current song. Device-specific as zoom-iphone, zoom-ipad, zoom-android. 1 is original size (depending on font preferences).

Use Save Zoom to save the currently used zoom factor in the song.

{zoom: 1.5}
{tag: ...}

An arbitrary tag for a song (e.g. *** for favorites, or In Progress). A song can be marked with several tags.

Songs can be filtered by tags.

{tag: ***}
{tag: Sample}
{instrument: ...}

Use the specified instrument only for this song. For chord look up and chord bar display. SongBook will switch back to the default instrument when you change to another song.

{instrument: Ukulele_C}
{tuning: ...}

Song-specific tuning (use together with {instrument: ...})

{c:Drop D tuning}
{instrument: Guitar}
{tuning: D A D G B E}

{musicpath: ...}

Path to a music (MP3) file which can be played with the song. SongBook will search for the given file name in the main song folder.

{musicpath: Greensleeves.mp3}

(Windows PC/Mac only)

Insert a page break when printing the song.


(iOS/Android/Mac only)

Instrument-specific chord definition. You can have several definitions for the same chord but different instruments in a song. SongBook automatically displays the first matching one.

{define-Guitar: D 0 X 0 0 2 3 2}
{define-Ukulele_C: D 0 2 2 2 0}
SongBook user-specific controls

User/instrument specific comment. This comment will only be displayed if the given value matches the user name defined in settings or the currently selected instrument.

Note: This also works for sot, sog, capo, instrument and tuning.

{c-Lead:Play 2x}

User/instrument specific highlighting. The text will only be highlighted if the given value matches the user name defined in settings or the currently selected instrument.


{soh-Guitar #00FF00}Green{eoh}

SongBook will also recognize links in the song text, e.g.,, file://path/to/file etc.

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Last Update: 2021-04-19