Please familiarise yourself with the forum rules & guidelines

How do you work with chords?


I often start composing by laying down pads to anchor my chord progressions ( even if I may not end up using pads in the final song ) and generally use chords a lot in the type of music I make, and I feel that currently the process of inputting and editing chords ( at least the way I'm approaching it right now ) so I'm curious to hear how everyone else is working and what tips, tricks and challenges are.

Some background: I often mix minor and major, and user inversions liberally. so I'm not simply picking a chord shape and transposing it up and down. I don't tend to use scales because they make it hard to borrow chords, and I generally don't find them super useful ( at least at that stage of the process ) because they change the absolute shape of chords. ( in chromatic mode, a minor is always 0,3,7 and a major 0,4,7 ) which IMHO is a better way to read a grid.

Here's the workflow I use (or would like to use):

Quickly set the track length 4,8,12 bars ( most of my compositions start in that range often with sustained chords over 2 bars )
Right now I feel there are too many steps to get from 1 bar to 12 for example. Using the normal way, I need to turn the encoder enough times to add another 176 steps to my existing 16 to get to 12 bars at the default zoom level.

I know I can use the double/duplicate workflow instead, but that doesn't seem like it should be the main way, and if you don't have a number of bars that are in that same progression, you still have to deal with the encoder. Also, it seems that you can't ever tell what the absolute length of the track is, and always have to check the zoom level or make mistakes ( I often end up with the wrong length because I think I'm in 16th zoom mode, but I'm not )

Zooming to 1 bar per step

Not strictly necessary, but since I couldn't find a way to have a default note length that is not 1 step, It seems that the fastest way to lay down pads that should be 1 bar long is to zoom out so each step represents 1 bar, but right now that's only available if the track length is at least 16 bars long. Anything less than that, and a bar is still longer than 1 step, so you end up editing the length of every notes anyway

Entering the notes of the chord

At this point, I have 2 options, either program the chord in step mode, which means selecting each notes of the chord one by one, and scrolling up and down ( because with 8 vertical steps, a minor triad barely fits, and anything else requires you to scroll ) which is fine, or using the isometric keyboard, which means that you have to be in record mode, and deal with timing, quantization and you're often back to step editing all the notes anyway, so why not stay there.

Editing a single chord

To me this is the part that I haven't figured out a good workflow for. To the best of my knowledge, the only way to copy/paste a single chord is to change the zoom level until that chord is the only one visible on a single screen ( which may or may not be possible ) and you can only paste it if you can also zoom and slide to find another completely empty area.

Ideally I'd like to copy/paste/ chords while the screen shows multiple chords at a time, which would mean being able to select a vertical column, and then either slide it up and down, or copy and paste it somewhere else in the same screen.

Same thing with setting the note length of the entire chord, I haven't found a good way to do this. Ideally that could be done by selecting a column of notes, and then setting the length of all notes to

How does everyone else work when it comes to chords? pros/cons and tips and tricks?



Sign In or Register to comment.