How to Format the Clearest Chordchart Ever

I frequently use chordcharts. Here’s a couple of tips I’ve learnt over the years which make my chordcharts as legible and efficient as possible.

I use Open Office  to write out my chordcharts, because that way I can use an amazing (free!) plugin called ChordTransposer that will transpose the chart to whatever key I wish in less than 1 second. Handy if that singer (or me) has a cold, and suddenly all songs need to be brought down a step…!

For legibility of the chords and to imply rhythm, it’s really helpful to use a monospaced font – a font where all the letters and digits take up the same amount of horizontal space. I use Inconsolata.

I make the margins narrow, to make the lyrics as large as possible and the spacing as expanded as possible:

left margin: 0.7cm

right margin: 0.7cm

top margin: 0.7cm

bottom margin: 1.27cm

Correct line spacing is vital: I use double spacing. At a pinch, for example to fit one more line of a verse on a page and thus minimise page-turns, I’ll use 1.5cm line spacing.

I find font size 22 optimal for reading lyrics & chords.

I make the font ‘black’ for added clarity. If the song has a chorus, I make it ‘bold’.

The relative spacing between lyrics font and chord font is really important: I use a semi-expanded spacing for the lyrics, and condensed spacing for the chords, e.g.

For lyrics: Inconsolata Semi-expanded black size 22

For chords: Inconsolata condensed bold size 22

If a song has long lines, I’ll put the page in landscape format to allow that.

For a section without lyrics: if you’re following the font sizes and margins recommended above, insert 5 blank spaces after each chord to have 2 bars of chords equally spaced throughout a line*.

As a lever harp player, I need to set the key of the harp with levers before I begin to play. So I write the key and levers required in the top right corner of the first page.

Also as a lever harp player, I need to flip a lever every time I play a non-diatonic chord. So I highlight each non-diatonic chord in red.

Pro tip: I created a template file in the format listed above, and I just use that when I need to write out a chart.

I used to print my chordcharts, but now I export them to my iPad and view them with the app Music Book by Caposoft. I turn pages with a bluetooth pedal called the AirTurn PEDPro.

Hope this helps, and wishing you much fun and joy with your music-making!

(*In Open Office, with margins as above, using font Inconsolata at font size 26, one can fit 42 characters on a line. So for a chord chart without lyrics of 2 bars per horizontal line, insert 5 characters per chord.)

Review: Apps For Reading Chordcharts

I like to use chordcharts, and I have a filing cabinet full of ’em. Finally, after years of humming and hawing, I decided to go digital. So then I had to find an app that would allow me to input chordcharts onto my iPad, view them, turn the pages with a bluetooth pedal, and ideally transpose the music too.

I reviewed the vast majority of apps on this site:

So you can save a few hours, here’s my summary!

One can divide chordchart viewer apps into 2 camps:

a) .pdf viewers: apps which import .pdf files and allow the user to view the .pdf files, with some extra bells and whistles like bluetooth pedal sync options.

b) apps which allow the user to input and edit their own chordcharts, then view them with bluetooth pedal sync options.

In category (a), the app that I found to be the best quality and design for the least money is Music Book by Caposoft. It’s a mere €3.49 for life-time access. I write out my own chord charts using Open Office and import them into this app – sorted.!

In category (b), my favourite by far was SongSheet Pro .This app has absolutely *beautiful* graphic design, and by far the most efficient chord input system. It’s accessibly priced at €5.49 for 1 month or €49.99 for 1 year.

The runner up in category (b) was OnSong. The one advantage of OnSong over SongSheet Pro was the option to use Nashville chord notation. The graphic design is not as legible or beautiful; the input system is pretty ugly and clunky. It’s €3.49 for 1 month, or €26.49 / year. 

A cool little app called Calypso gets an honourable mention for category (b), as I *really* liked their page-turning system. It’s reasonable, with a €16.99 one-off fee.

Hope this helps you musos out there, and that you get to spend some time playing music rather than faffing as a result of reading this!

A List Of 700 Emotions

Word art

Maybe you tried asking yourself ‘Am I mad, glad, sad, or scared?‘ and you drew a blank? Well, according to research at UC Berkeley, that might not be your fault. They don’t think there’s 4 emotions… they think there’s 27.

Me being an utter nerd, I got the Berkeley researchers’ list of emotions … grouped them as they tend to occur together … and then added synonyms & associated words.

Here’s the result: my master list of around 700 emotions. If you can’t figure out what you’re feeling, try reading through this list and see if any words here strike a chord.

1. disgust: abhorrence,  contemptous,  disapproving,  disdainful,  disgust,  dismissive, distaste,  loathing,  nauseated,  repelled,  repugnance,  repulsed,  revolted,  scornful,  sickened

2. horror: doomed,  dread,  horror,  petrified, terrified

3. fear: afraid,  alarmed,  alert,  avoidant,  bashful,  boastful, clinging, clutching,  coerced,  cold,  controlled,  cowardly,  cynical,  deceptive,  derisive,  devious,  disinclined,  distant,  distrustful, dominant,  dominated,  doubtful, edgy,  fear,  frightened,  gloating,  grandiosity,  guarded,  insecure,  insincere,  judgemental, jumpy,  malevolent,  malicious,  manipulated,  meek, mistrustful, morbid,  nasty,  obedient,  paranoid,  pessimistic,  pious,  quivery,  reluctant,  reserved,  ruthless,  sarcastic,  scared,  sceptical,  self-conscious,  shy,  smug,  spiteful,  submissive,  suspicious,  tense,  threatened,  timid,  unnerved,  unwilling,  uptight,  vengeful,  vicious ,  vigilant, vulnerable,  wary, watchful,  withdrawn

4. anxiety: angst,  anxious,  apprehensive,  cautious,  concerned,  consternation, hesitant, jumpy,  nervous,  trepidation,  worry

5. anger: abominate,  aggravated,  aggressive,  angry,  animosity,  annoyance,  antipathy,  averse,  bitter,  bothered,  cheeky, critical,  cross,  defensive,  disgruntled,  dislike,  displeasure,  ennervated,  exasperated,  fed up,  ferocity,  frustrated,  fury,  grouchy,  hate,  hatred,  hostile,  impertinent,  indignant,  insulted,  insulting,  irked,  irritated,  livid,  mad,  miffed,  offended,  outraged,  peeved,  petty,  petulant,  piqued, prickly,  provoked,  quarrelsome,  rage,  rattled,  reproachful,  resentful,  rude,  sulky,  sullen,  vexed,  wrath,

6. sadness: bereft,  blue,  chagrined,  crestfallen,  crushed,  defeated,  dejected,  depressed,  desolate,  despair,  despondent,  disappointment,  disconsolate,  disenchanted,  disillusioned,  dismal,  doleful,  down,  down in the dumps,  forlorn,  gloomy,  glum,  grief,  heartbroken, homesick,  melancholy,  miserable,  mopey,  morose,  mournful,  regret, sad,  sorrowful,  sympathetic,  teary,  unhappy,  weepy,  woebegone

7. pain: abandoned,  aching,  afflicted,  agitated,  agony,  alienated,  anguish, apologetic,  cantankerous, contrite,  cranky, culpable, defeated, disconnected, discontent, discouraged, dissatisfied, distraught,  distressed, empathetic pain,  grumpy, guilt,  hateful,  hurt,  hysterical,  ignorant,  inadequate,  inferior,  isolated,  lonely,  naive,  needy,  neglected,  perturbed, regret, rejection, remorseful,  shame,  shock,  smarting,  sore, sorry,  suffering,  throbbing,  tormented,  tortured,  troubled,  unappreciated,  uncomfortable,  unsupported,  unworthy,  upset,  wretched

8. surprise: astonished,  astounded,  bombshell,  disbelief,  dismay,  dumbstruck,  flabbergasted, flustered,  revelation,  shock,  startled,  stunned,  surprised,  thunderbolt, ‘wow’-ed

9. relief,  abated,  allayed,  alleviated, “a narrow escape”,  appeased,  assuaged,  comforted,  completed,  consoled,  delivance,  discharged,  dulled,  eased,  exemption,  finished,  freed,  lessened,  liberated,  mitigated,  processed,  reassured,  reduced,  released,  relieved,  repose, safe,  solace,  soothed,  succour

10. excitement: anticipation,  edgy,  excitement,  hyper,  intensity,  jittery,  manic,  pep,  restless, stimulated,  thrilled,  vim, wanderlust,  zest  

11. interest: absorbed,  allure,  anticipation,  appeal,  attentive,  attraction,  charmed,  compulsive, curious,  eager,  engrossed,  enthralled,  enthusiastic,  expectant,  fascinated,  focused,  immersed,  inquisitive,  inspired,  interest,  introspective,  involved,  keen,  meditative,  obsessed,  passionate,  pensive,  reflective,  seduced,  tempted,  zealous

12. satisfied: appeased,  assuaged,  content,  eureka!,  fulfilled,  gratified,  pleased,  proud,  satiated,  satisfied,  triumph,  victorious

13. awkward: awkward,  cumbersome,  cumbrous,  difficult,  embarrassment,  fiddly,  humiliation,  inappropriate,  inconvenient,  inopportune,  lumbersome, mortified,  shame,  silly,  tricky,  uncomfortable,  unfortunate,  unpleasant, unsteady,  unwieldy

14. amused:  amused,  cheered,  diverted,  engaged,  enlivened,  entertained,  funny,  giggly,  humorous,  in convulsions,  jocular,  laughter,  mirth,  mischievous,  naughty,  playful,  regaled,  smiling, tickled,  whimsical,  witty,  zany

15. joy: aligned, authentic,  blissed-out,  buoyant, buzz,  carefree,  cheerful,  click,  content,  creative,  deliciously lazy,  delighted,  ebullient,  ecstatic,  elated,  enlightened,  euphoric,  exuberant,  exultation,  fulfilled,  gay,  glad,  glee,  grateful,  happy,  harmonious,  hopeful,  jovial,  joyful,  jubilation,  kick,  lighthearted,  nice, pleased, pleasure,  rapture,  rejoicing,  thankful,  upbeat,  uplifted,  vivacious

16. adoration: adoration,  affable,  affection,  agreeable,  altruistic,  attached,  caring,  charitable,  comforted,  comforting,  compassionate,  concerned,  connected,  considerate,  cooperative,  devoted,  empathetic,  fond,  friendly,  hospitable,  kind, liking,  lovable,  loved,  loving,  pity,  reassured,  reassuring,  secure,  self-compassion,  sociable,  supported,  supportive,  tender,  thoughtful,  trusted, valued,  warm

17. admiration: acclaim,  accolade,  admiration,  adulate,  amazed,  applause,  appreciate,  approve, bowled over, blown away,  compliment,  esteem,  exalt,  extol, impressed,  laud,  plaudit,  praise,  proud,  regard,  respect,  touched,  tribute,  venerate

18. awe: astonishment,  awe,  honour,  idolise, impressed,  inspired,  lionise,  moved,  respect,  revere,  reverent,  venerate,  wonder,  worship, , 19. aesthetic appreciation, attend, notice, note,  value,  respect,  prize,  cherish,  treasure,  admire,  comprehend,  perceive,  sense,  aesthetic appreciation,  touched,  moved,  wonder

20. craving: aspiring to,  broody,  covetous,  craving,  desire,  dreaming of,  envious, greedy for,  hankering after,  have a yen for,  hoping for, hungry,  impatient,  infatuated,  jealous,  longing, malnourished, pining,  possessive, rivalrous,  sated,  satiated,  seeking,  thirsty, undernourished,  wanting,  wishing,  yearning

21. calm: at ease, calm,  certain,  chilled out,  complacent,  composed, content, equanimity,  fatalistic,  free,  loose,  mollified,  nonchalant, nurtured,  pacific,  pacified,  peaceful, philosophical,  placated,  placid,  quiet,  reasoned,  relaxed,  repose,  resigned,  self-possessed, secure,  serene,  soothed,  still,  sure,  tranquil, trusting,  unruffled

22. entranced: absorbed,  beguiled,  bewitched,  captivated,  carried away,  engrossed,  enraptured,  enthralled,  entranced,  fascinated,  gripped,  hypnotised, intrigued,  mesmerised,  riveted,  spellbound,  touched

23. confused: addled,  baffled,  befuddled,  bemused,  bewildered,  chaotic,  clueless,  conflicted,  confused,  consternation,  demented,  disoriented,  jumbled,  lost,  mixed up,  muddled,  nonplussed,  puzzled,  stuck,  torn,  troubled,  uncertainty,  unclear,  undecided,  uneasy, unsure,  volatile

24. bored: absent,  ambivalent,  apathetic,  blasé,  bored,  careless,  detached,  disengaged,  disinterested,  distracted, ennui,  inattentive,  indifferent,  jaded,  lacklustre,  lax,  listless,  monotonous,  mundane,  palled on,  passive,  preoccupied,  rash,  reckless,  spiritless,  stultified,  stupefied,  tedious,  unmotivated,  vacant

25. nostalgic: bittersweet,  emotional,  evocative,  homesick,  maudlin,  nostalgic,  reminiscing,  romantic, sentimental,  wisful,  yearning

26. romantic,  affectionate,  amorous,  doting,  dreaming,  enamoured,  fantasizing,  fond,  intimate,  lovey-dovey,  loving,  mushy,  passionate, romantic,  tender-hearted,  visioning

27. sexual desire: amatory,  amorous,  ardent, aroused, attracted,  carnal,  erotic,  horny,  hot,  impassioned,  intimate,  lustful,  passionate,  randy,  sensual,  sensuous,  sexual, stimulated,  sportive,  turned on

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, contact Samaritans (Ireland and Northern Ireland) on 116 123 or Lifeline (Northern Ireland) on 0808 808 8000.


Emma MacAdam, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Oxford English Dictionary

Emotions: The QuickStart Guide

Am I mad glad sad scared

As I mentioned here, a useful first step in processing emotions is to try and name them.

Most eye-witnesses can’t draw a picture of someone they saw committing a crime. But if you put them in front of a police line-up,  they can immediately recognise the perpetrator.

So how about a police line-up of emotions?! And to keep it really simple, let’s limit it to just 4 … that rhyme with each other. 🙂 Ask yourself:

Am I …





If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, contact Samaritans (Ireland and Northern Ireland) on 116 123 or Lifeline (Northern Ireland) on 0808 808 8000.


Emma MacAdam, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Thanks to Kate Aherne for the wonderful image!

Emotions 101


I was just part of a national conversation on how difficult it is for people to talk about feelings.

Sometimes it’s worth stating the obvious. So here’s emotions 101, as I understand them:

– emotions are helpful signals.  

– if you don’t process them,  you’ll end up physically or mentally unwell,  and your relationships will suffer.

– processing your emotions is a skill like any other,  which you can learn and improve at.

– a useful first step in processing emotions is to try and name them.

I’ve completed the first few videos and exercises on this course on processing emotions,  and so far,  it’s *excellent*. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, contact Samaritans (Ireland and Northern Ireland) on 116 123 or Lifeline (Northern Ireland) on 0808 808 8000.


Emma MacAdam, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

When A Friendship Is Unbalanced


Because we’re human, and, ya know, life – sometimes in a friendship, the communicational balance is unequal.

If my friend is making more effort than me for a while, I acknowledge that. I know how much mental and emotional effort it can sometimes take to stay in touch, and I am mindful of the attempts my friends make to connect.[1]

If I am making more effort to stay in contact for a little while, I give my pal the benefit of the doubt.

But if I’m beginning to notice resentment on my part, or if the communication is not balanced in either side for a prolonged amount of time, I examine if I and the other are OK with the imbalance. If it’s not, can we try to come up with a solution that suits both of us? For conversations like this, intentional dialogue can be useful…

If the other person is initiating far more and the balance feels off, I agree with Dr. Miriam Kirmayer: “Addressing friends’ bids for attention can mean the difference between having a dear friendship flourish or fade during a frantic time.”[2] In my experience, it’s really important to give validation and affirmation in that situation, rather than just dismissing and saying we’re too busy.

[1] Miriam Kirmayer quoted in Goldfarb, A., 2020. How To Maintain Friendships (Published 2018). [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 27 October 2020]

[2] Miriam Kirmayer quoted in Goldfarb, A., 2020. How To Maintain Friendships (Published 2018). [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 27 October 2020]

Flight Emission Calculators: A Review

Last year I decided to compare the carbon emissions of a ferry-rail journey to a flight, from Ireland to the UK. The research took a lot longer than I anticipated; it turns out that the internet is full of aged, blunt, biased, or limited carbon-emission calculators, which gave answers ranging from 41kg to 900kg for the same flight. ! Here’s 5 I reviewed… read on to find out the best one!

For each calculator I used the example of a flight from Dublin Airport to Leeds-Bradford, a distance of 357km.

1. The Guardian – Quick Carbon Calculator

– really well-designed, has an infographic displaying results

– old. I suspect (and pray) the estimate was pretty far off.

– more for general lifestyle than strict travel-mode comparison.

ESTIMATE: it told me 1 shorthaul return trip would emit 900 kg of CO2.


– gives the opportunity for a precise breakdown of household fuel usage and travel.

– does not seem to be accurate on carbon emissions for flights.

ESTIMATE: its estimate for a 400 mile short-haul flight, one-way, was 173kg.


– has a flight function

– allows you to put in 3-letter IATA code instead of airport

– has option to include radiative forcing*

– stable and fast, gave answer of 50 kg

– also has calculators for house, motorbike, car, bus and rail, and ‘secondary’ emissions (food etc.)

– Personally I don’t like the text screaming at you to pay for offset.

ESTIMATE: it gave me an answer of 50 kg

4. International Civil Aviation Organisation

– stable and fast

– to me, a clueless consumer, this seemed to be the second-most accurate calculator.

– not very beautiful

– flight only

ESTIMATE: I was given result of 41kg

5. Atmosfair

– includes flight distance

– has an option for aircraft type or automagically shows the airlines who service that route

– knows the aircraft used by particular airlines, and uses that info in the calculation

– Aso from text accompanying result I assume it includes winglets (which has an impact on emissions) and CEP (climate efficiency points – which I know nothing about) in its calculations

– can’t find a single flaw. !

ESTIMATE: this calculator gave 2 results, depending on which air carrier I chose to fly with. Ryanair = 46kg, Aer Lingus = 110kg.

Conclusion: to a clueless consumer, Atmosfair seems by far the best flight emissions calculator. The consumer can tweak many knobs when inputting data, plus their documentation is published on-site; this gives me the impression of a rigorous research foundation. I’m really impressed, and I’ll be using this service from now on.

*Carbon emissions from planes at high altitude have an increased effect on global warming. Some calculators allow you to multiply aviation emissions by DEFRA‘s recommended Radiative Forcing factor of 1.891

An Eco-Friendly Fry

I’m a big fan of the ‘Full Irish’ breakfast.

But I calculated that it contains around 288g of pork, which according to this article, produces around 1.76kg of carbon dioxide.

So, to assuage my ecological conscience, I limit the ‘Full Irish’ to special occasions.

However, today I just figured out that a typical fry provides at least 33.9g of protein, which is more than your body can process efficently .

Typical fry ingredientsgrams of protein
2 slices of pudding5.6g
2 rashers7.4g
3 sausages9.9g
1 egg6g
2 slices of toast5g
Total grams of protein33.9g

It seems gratuitous to eat a meal which has a high carbon footprint, when it doesn’t even provide optimal nutrition.

So my new resolution? From now on, my fancy-schmancy breakfast of choice shall be eggs.

But on Those Days when I Just Want A Fry … I could

a) just have my faves: pudding and sausages

b) or try having just one of each of the meats.

These eco-friendly tweaks produce less than half the carbon footprint, and the body can process the protein more efficiently.

‘One of each’ modelgrams of protein
1 slice of black pudding2.8g
1 rasher3.7g
1 sausage3.3g
1 egg6g
2 slices of toast5g
Total grams of protein20.8g
My favesgrams of protein
2 slices of pudding5.6g
3 sausages9.9g
2 slices of toast5g
Total grams of protein20.5g

Speaking of, now it’s time to get off this computer and have some food. Yum!


Carbon Footprint of Pork Industry

What does 20g protein look like? – vegetarian & vegan

Most of us should eat at least 20g of protein in every meal. Here’s a list of common vegetarian & vegan protein sources, with required portion size & approximate price included. Hrrrrmm… now all I want is a Fulfil bar… ! 🙂

FoodPortion req. for 20g proteinLooks LikeCost per portion / €Category
Protein powder30gone serving spoon1.51vegan
Fulfil bar20g1 bar2.99vegetarian
Feta cheese121g just over half a pack0.78vegetarian
Quorn138g just under half a pack3.45vegan
Eggs - whole150g3 medium eggs0.8vegetarian
Egg - whites150ml5 egg whites1.33vegetarian
Tofu167g just under half a pack1.25vegan
Cottage cheese179g 1 pack0.47vegetarian
Fat-free Greek yoghurt194g just under half a container1.2vegetarian
Kidney beans260gjust over 1 can0.7488vegan
Ricotta cheese285ga little more than 1 pack1.98vegetarian
Chickpeas298g1 and a 1/4 can0.36vegan
Lentils322g 1 and 1/3 can0.95vegan
Baked beans476g 1 can and a bit0.44vegan
Milk - cow588mla pint & a small glass0.62vegetarian
Milk - soy666mla pint & a glass1.44vegan


What does 20g of protein look like? – meat & fish

Most of us should eat at least 20g of protein in every meal. Here’s a list of common animal protein sources, with required portion size & price included. Top tip: meat portions are generally around the size of your palm. I must confess that tip doesn’t work for me, though, as I have pretty big hands. ! 🙂

FoodPortion req. for 20g proteinLooks likeCost per portion / €Source
Beef78galmost 1 burger0.67meat
Turkey80garound 4 sandwich slices0.62meat
Tuna80g1 small can0.7meat
Chicken87garound 4 sandwich slices0.62meat
Mackerel100g1 fillet0.75fish
Salmon105g 1 fillet1.45fish
Ham125garound 5 sandwich slices2.5meat
Prawns125g 1 pack2.82fish
Rashers134garound 5 rashers0.53meat
Basa143g 2/3rds of a fillet1.22fish
Black Pudding173garound 7 slices1.61meat
Sausages188g3 sausages0.74meat