Helpful ReplyChord Track / Arrangement Track.

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Kamikaze
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2018/03/30 02:52:04 (permalink)

Chord Track / Arrangement Track.

I’ve long been interested in the idea of the chord track on hearing that Cubase had one. I’ve long used tools like ‘Insert Piz Here – MidiChords’ which is a one finger to play a chord tool. There now seems a stack of these available, Cthulhu, scaler, chordz etc. I find these to be great ways to come up with different chord progressions and using a selection of voicings  (Inversions, open and closed, drop 2, rootless, etc). There is also EZKeys approach to do the same, and these tools seem far more common and accepted than a few years back.
 
I saw some reaction to Cubase’s chord track as ‘dumbing down’ musical intelligence and just letting the computer do all the work. Seemed largely based on the suggested chords, function, but these are just that, suggested. So much music and musicians often use similar chord progression, so I didn’t see a change here. I think chord tracks offer the potential of doing the opposite of ‘dumming down’ create options to break away from familiar patterns and help expand musical ideas, and learning.
 
Although we have these existing above tools, I do not see them as a replacement of the want for a chord track, but more something that can feed into the project and help define a basic shape, and for the chord track to take that further. Jamming out ideas breaks away from picking chords from the chord track approach, but the chord track can then harmonically shape and progress them further.
 
When Melodyne created tempo extraction and Studio One had it, we wanted it (and got it). ARA2 is going to have chord tracks, and more DAWs are adopting ARA. From Melodyne’s website.
 
“With ARA 2, the exchange of information between DAWs and plug-ins is even more comprehensive, which makes additional applications possible. The new ARA 2 specification allows, among other things, the simultaneous editing of multiple tracks, the transfer of chord track information between the DAW and the plug-in, seamless clip borders that make the manual setting of crossfades superfluous, Undo interlocking with the DAW, and much else besides.”
 
DISCLAIMER: I have never used Cubase or a chord track, so any of my ideas are based through thinking what is possible, These may be functions that Cubase already does, or ideas utilizing it further. I watched a number of youtube videos, but most seem to be trying to achieve some nice pads, arpeggios or buy a guitarists that never thought of using anything else than triads.  But from what I can gather the gist is:
  1. Define the chords of the bar, or part of the bar.
  2. Select different chords.
  3. Use a circle of fifths tool to make intuitive selections.
  4. Add extensions to the chord.
  5. Play chords freely and have these analysed to create the chord track
  6. Extract the chords for other tracks to use.
  7. Trigger arpeggios from these chords.
  8. Change the chord and all related tracks change to harmonically match.
  9. Play freely, but have the chord tracks transposed the notes to fit the chord track and stay in the progression.
What I’d like it to do:
  1. Not just define the chord, but also define the mode. The song may be in the key od C Ionian, but bar/measure 7 may step out of the key without changing the key of the song. Maybe it’s a Cmin7, and maybe that Cmin7 is from Dorian, Phrygian, or Aeolian mode.
  2. When in PRV, Staff View or TAB view, have shortcut keys that do the following when moving notes.
a)      Press nothing = Move chromatically (Or Snap to Scale – being the scale se in the Inspector, when this is switched on. (This is the key of the song the master key, not the mode of the bar, although often these are the same)
b)      1st Short Cut = move diatonically to the mode from the chord track.
c)       2nd Short Cut = Move to the chord tones of the chord track
d)      3rd Short Cut = Move one octave.
 
With these short cuts I think creating melodies, bass lines and harmonies that fit the chord progression will be far more intuitive, change the voicings of chords to improve voice leading, dropped notes, open chords in lower registers and closing in higher, and adding in other colours and passing notes.
This is why I don’t see chord tracks as dumbing down, but as expanding potential, improving creativity more variation and less. Probably help with ear training too.
 
Arrangement track
In the feature request thread I have seen requests for a tempo track, and that this could look just like a controller (It currently sits in the Multidock, I don’t think you can view in the track View). I have struggled in the past with key signature changes, and incorporating throughout the track (First happened working through The Beatles BlackBird, were there it jumps through 3/4, 4/4 and 2/4)   
So maybe the chord track can be more than that and an Arrangement track with
  • Part name –Intro, Verse, Chorus, etc
  • Key Signature
  • Tempo and Tempo Map
  • Key Signature
  • Chord of the Bar/Measure
  • Mode/Scale of the Bar/Measure (Typically the Key Signature, but free to step outside it).
  • Notepad
 
 
  

 
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bz2838
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/03/30 15:35:11 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Frank Harvey 2018/04/02 06:52:06
 +1 Cubase type chord track is a great idea, I use Cubase just for that feature, then I import into Sonar.

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Kamikaze
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/01 03:58:01 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Frank Harvey 2018/04/02 06:50:44
I didn't realise that the Chord Track in Cubase could process the Audio too, then this came up in my feed.
I started watching......
I got myself ready to be impressed.......
I wasn't!

 
In a way this is anther case for the chord track having the option to change the mode asscociated with each chord.  But then it cud be this users fumbling through, and letting the Chrd track d too much without understanding hw t intervene.  
 
It made me wonder though, what else Meldyne with ARA 2 could offer. If the chord track the Melodyne creates can be in Sonar, but the audio remain as a region effect and create better results when following the Chord track than that Cubase example.
 
I do like t keep my Melodyne regions short though.
 

 
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abacab
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/01 16:05:57 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ZincTrumpet 2018/06/28 14:22:36
Try the Cubase Elements free 30 day trial if you really want to see what it is all about.  No dongle required!
https://www.steinberg.net...e/cubase_elements.html
 
From your list above, #8 is probably the key, where a chord track has the power to keep all your tracks harmonically aligned.  This is a huge advantage over using a plug-in for chord ideas, unless you are only working with a track or two, for sketching out ideas.  Plugins are typically limited to just one track.
 
But once you have a more complete arrangement, it is difficult to ripple any harmonic changes you decide to make without a chord track, unless you do a lot of manual editing to each track.  This is probably way more useful that automated chord progression suggestions, although they can be useful for stimulating ideas, even if you understand music theory.

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/01 16:37:21 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Frank Harvey 2018/04/02 06:51:09
Kamikaze
I didn't realise that the Chord Track in Cubase could process the Audio too, then this came up in my feed.
I started watching......
I got myself ready to be impressed.......
I wasn't!



That's an interesting idea, but probably hard to do well.  I think that chord track is still best suited for MIDI tracks.
 
It will be interesting to see what Melodyne can pull off in this regard, as they are probably best suited for the task!

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/01 19:35:36 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Frank Harvey 2018/04/02 06:51:34
abacab
Kamikaze
I didn't realise that the Chord Track in Cubase could process the Audio too, then this came up in my feed.
I started watching......
I got myself ready to be impressed.......
I wasn't!



That's an interesting idea, but probably hard to do well.  I think that chord track is still best suited for MIDI tracks.
 
It will be interesting to see what Melodyne can pull off in this regard, as they are probably best suited for the task!


I use the chord track often in Cubase 7.5, and I have to say I haven't had any problems with it, I also find it handy for ideas for writing songs using the chord assistant.  I use Cubase 7.5 almost exclusively for the chord track, then I import into Splat.

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abacab
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/01 19:54:43 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Frank Harvey 2018/04/02 06:51:22
bz2838
 
I use the chord track often in Cubase 7.5, and I have to say I haven't had any problems with it, I also find it handy for ideas for writing songs using the chord assistant.  I use Cubase 7.5 almost exclusively for the chord track, then I import into Splat.




I was actually thinking about buying Cubase Elements 9 ($99) for just that reason!

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cparmerlee
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 13:39:21 (permalink)
I don't do a lot of song writing in MIDI, so the Cubase chord track is not something I would use heavily.  However, I was very interested in this feature because I would really like to see the various notation programs (especially Steinberg's Dorico) become "chord aware".  I definitely do not see this as dumbing down.  I see it as aids to get the desired result more quickly and with fewer errors.
 
I have used the Cubase Chord track enough to:
  1. Be impressed with its power and depth
  2. Find its user interface very non-intuitive and awkward
Cubase does allow you to define which MIDI tracks are suppose to "follow" the chords.  In my case, I work most in the jazz idiom, so we have loads of passing tones and tonalities that can be outside the defined chord.  What I would really like to see in a notation program (or in the Cubase MIDI editor for that matter) is a visual display when a note is not "inside" the chord, which is to say a note in the modal scale that is most associated with the named chord.  Such a note may well be an error, but it might not be, so it would be nice to see it highlighted.
 
Some notation programs do something similar if a note is out of the range of an instrument.  Finale, for example, defines 3 ranged for each instrument: beginner, intermediate, advanced.  I could imagine an equivalent for chords being: strictly inside, common color tones, and Coltrane (with the Coltrane mode more or less allowing any note against any chord.)
 
What we have with Cubase is strictly inside, and that is OK for arpeggiation or writing for genres that don't have much harmonic color (e.g. most pop music.)
 
Bottom line, I think making DAWs ad notation programs more chord-aware is a good thing, but the state of the art is not very advanced yet.

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abacab
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 14:21:31 (permalink)
cparmerlee
 
I have used the Cubase Chord track enough to:
  1. Be impressed with its power and depth
  2. Find its user interface very non-intuitive and awkward
Cubase does allow you to define which MIDI tracks are suppose to "follow" the chords.  In my case, I work most in the jazz idiom, so we have loads of passing tones and tonalities that can be outside the defined chord.  What I would really like to see in a notation program (or in the Cubase MIDI editor for that matter) is a visual display when a note is not "inside" the chord, which is to say a note in the modal scale that is most associated with the named chord.  Such a note may well be an error, but it might not be, so it would be nice to see it highlighted.
 



Does varying these options to the follow scale mode allow non chord tones to be used effectively?
 
From the Cubase manual:
The following options are available on the Follow Chord Track pop-up menu:

Off
Follow Chord Track is deactivated.

Chords & Scales
This maintains the intervals of the original chord or scale as far as possible.

Chords
This transposes MIDI notes to match the key note and maps them to the current
chord.

Scales
This transposes MIDI notes to match the current scale. This allows a bigger
variety of notes and a more natural performance


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cparmerlee
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 16:38:02 (permalink)
abacab
Does varying these options to the follow scale mode allow non chord tones to be used effectively?
Chords & Scales
This maintains the intervals of the original chord or scale as far as possible.

Might do.  I haven't played with that yet. That really goes to what scales are used to correspond with what chord names.  For example, for a Dmi7 in the key of C, you would use the D Dorian scale (or the C major scale.  But if you have E7(#11) you would probably want to use the E Lydian scale.  I am not sure how or if any of this is defined.
post edited by cparmerlee - 2018/04/02 17:17:42

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 17:00:59 (permalink)
I use a dummy midi track as a lead sheet and input chords there looking at it in staff view.  Imputing chords could be easily be made more efficient in Sonar.  Also having the ability to transpose Chords would make my life soooo much better.
 
I've been doing a lot in Cubase and I'm not impressed with how you input chords there either, but at least i can transpose them.  

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 18:46:51 (permalink)
cparmerlee
What I would really like to see in a notation program (or in the Cubase MIDI editor for that matter) is a visual display when a note is not "inside" the chord, which is to say a note in the modal scale that is most associated with the named chord.  Such a note may well be an error, but it might not be, so it would be nice to see it highlighted.

 
I would LOVE to:
 
1) Have SONAR extract key and chords from a melody track. (with the ability to correct mistakes, of course)
 
2) Have SONAR's piano roll highlight the notes that are part of the current chord so that I'm more likely to use a good note when I'm working on the bass line of a song. (I'm not smart enough to be able to just look at the piano roll and know where the notes of the chord are. I end up guessing and not so infrequently, guessing wrong.) I'm starting to drool just thinking about this feature.
 
3) Have a way to easily select a chord and cycle through inversions (and move those inversions up or down an octave) with a keyboard shortcut(s).
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 19:27:35 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ZincTrumpet 2018/06/28 14:22:53
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cparmerlee
What I would really like to see in a notation program (or in the Cubase MIDI editor for that matter) is a visual display when a note is not "inside" the chord, which is to say a note in the modal scale that is most associated with the named chord.  Such a note may well be an error, but it might not be, so it would be nice to see it highlighted.

 
I would LOVE to:
 
1) Have SONAR extract key and chords from a melody track. (with the ability to correct mistakes, of course)
 
2) Have SONAR's piano roll highlight the notes that are part of the current chord so that I'm more likely to use a good note when I'm working on the bass line of a song. (I'm not smart enough to be able to just look at the piano roll and know where the notes of the chord are. I end up guessing and not so infrequently, guessing wrong.) I'm starting to drool just thinking about this feature.
 
3) Have a way to easily select a chord and cycle through inversions (and move those inversions up or down an octave) with a keyboard shortcut(s).




Take a look at Tracktion Waveform and its MIDI pattern generator and chord features. It would be nice to see many of these things in Sonar.
 
To make the Pattern Generator even more powerful, you can program a global Chord Track and
allow your generated clips to follow it instead of entering a progression into each clip

 
Create chords, basslines, arpeggios, and melodies.
 

 
Downside is no score view, but if you like working with piano roll editing, it's good to go!  You can use suggested chord progressions, or create your own.  Custom chords, inversions, etc are possible.

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 20:42:01 (permalink)
abacab
 
Take a look at Tracktion Waveform and its MIDI pattern generator and chord features. It would be nice to see many of these things in Sonar.
 
To make the Pattern Generator even more powerful, you can program a global Chord Track and
allow your generated clips to follow it instead of entering a progression into each clip

 
Create chords, basslines, arpeggios, and melodies.
 

 
Downside is no score view, but if you like working with piano roll editing, it's good to go!  You can use suggested chord progressions, or create your own.  Custom chords, inversions, etc are possible.




Thanks very much for that info and I hope that Bandlab will watch it to get some ideas. However, I actually own Waveform 9 and I hate it (I'm being nice - seriously). I'm finding it difficult to even force myself to use it. I purchased it because they are currently allowing upgrading even from the free version and I like some of the included FX, etc. making it worth the money. I guess I now know why they are almost giving it away. The UI is just nowhere close to mainstream. It seems they were going out of their way to make it not user friendly. There are lots of really tiny things to click (as in that video for moving chords up/down an octave) that are so small it is difficult if not impossible to see them and you have to concentrate to get the mouse over them. Lots of tiny text. The menus are inexplicably in a box at the bottom left. There is NO HORIZONTAL SCROLL BAR in the midi editor. I'm still beside myself on that one. What??? The only way I can find to scroll a large clip is to drag (and drag, and drag, and drag) the top of the clip in the midi editor. If your clip is the entire length of the song and your zoom is high, well, good luck with that. If you know of a way to show a horizontal scroll bar in the midi editor, please let me know. I'm still in the stage of forcing myself to use it, but I'll probably be exiting that stage soon. I'm sure there are lots of nice features in Waveform, but I doubt I'll ever get past the user interface problem. Just being honest...
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 21:13:20 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ZincTrumpet 2018/06/28 14:23:05
Kamm Schreiner
 
I'm sure there are lots of nice features in Waveform, but I doubt I'll ever get past the user interface problem. Just being honest...




I can appreciate your frustration with a non-Windows based UI (is cross platform Windows, Mac, and Linux), not everyone's cup of tea, especially if you are primarily a Windows based user.  Probably better to take that discussion elsewhere, so as not to divert this thread about chord tracks and arrangement. 
 
I was merely trying to point out some chord features that may exist in another app, that would be very useful to have in Sonar. 
 
I bought Waveform a year ago, long before the Gibson/Cakewalk announcement, after demoing several products that had a chord track function, or the equivalent.  My finalists came down to Cubase Elements 9, and Traction Waveform 8.  Both were $99, and I went with Waveform.  I still might pick up Elements.  I like it too, but I already had a lot of Cubase features in Sonar (except the chord track). 
 
My goal was to have something to sketch out chord progressions with, and then import them to Sonar.  Obviously, it would be awesome if Sonar added some of these features, as it would help workflow in this regard tremendously! 

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/02 21:43:59 (permalink)
abacab
I can appreciate your frustration with a non-Windows based UI (is cross platform Windows, Mac, and Linux), not everyone's cup of tea, especially if you are primarily a Windows based user.  Probably better to take that discussion elsewhere, so as not to divert this thread about chord tracks and arrangement. 
 
I was merely trying to point out some chord features that may exist in another app, that would be very useful to have in Sonar.



I appreciate that and did find the features intriguing I'm not one for using presets but the features that allow easy manipulation and addition of various chords and inversions would be very welcome in SONAR.
 
abacab
I bought Waveform a year ago, long before the Gibson/Cakewalk announcement, after demoing several products that had a chord track function, or the equivalent.  My finalists came down to Cubase Elements 9, and Traction Waveform 8.  Both were $99, and I went with Waveform.  I still might pick up Elements.  I like it too, but I already had a lot of Cubase features in Sonar (except the chord track). 

 
I own Cubase too and like it a lot. Not as much as SONAR, but a lot. Can't say if you'd like it too, just letting you know for what it's worth...
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/03 01:25:36 (permalink)
I noticed an old Cubase AI license from a Yamaha purchase.  Updated to 9.5 for $10 and got it installed.
 
Now I can see what all of this chord track hullabalu is about

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/03 12:01:28 (permalink)
Awaiting your review, Bob! 

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/03 14:24:31 (permalink)
abacab
Awaiting your review, Bob! 




Quick & Dirty results:  Meh.  If I didn't already have EZ Keys it might be more exciting.  Mind you I have NOT recorded a buncha parts to tweak either.  I'll obviously have to spend more time with it to truly appreciate it
post edited by BobF - 2018/04/03 16:21:14

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tobiaslindahl
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/03 15:41:00 (permalink)
Stupid question alert:
 
What is the difference between simply playing the chords you want/need yourself and using this chord track thing? 
I looked at some videos and from what I can tell it is like a library of progressions you pick and chose from? Not sure I see the benefit of that, but I am sure I am missing the point as always. 
 
Next logical thing is a similair thing for melodies, and then we can toss our DAW's all together as music creation is nothing more than picking and chosing what the computer tells us. :) 
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/03 16:20:42 (permalink)
tobiaslindahl
Stupid question alert:
 
What is the difference between simply playing the chords you want/need yourself and using this chord track thing? 
I looked at some videos and from what I can tell it is like a library of progressions you pick and chose from? Not sure I see the benefit of that, but I am sure I am missing the point as always. 
 
Next logical thing is a similair thing for melodies, and then we can toss our DAW's all together as music creation is nothing more than picking and chosing what the computer tells us. :) 




Stupid question part II:
 
How many DAW users have memorized every scale, mode, inversion, voicing, etc?  What if you are writing for a genre or instrument that you are not familiar with, or have never played?
 
Having a library of the ideas at your fingertips could allow you to experiment outside of your comfort zone, until you hear something that you like.  It is still your composition.  Well unless you're just plugging a chord progression into Band in a Box (just kidding BIAB fans!  ).
 
This question is like saying that having a dictionary, thesaurus, or spellcheck in your word processor is going to write a book for you.
 
Don't be ridiculous! 

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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/04/03 19:26:52 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby abacab 2018/04/03 19:30:50
tobiaslindahl
Stupid question alert:
 
What is the difference between simply playing the chords you want/need yourself and using this chord track thing? 
I looked at some videos and from what I can tell it is like a library of progressions you pick and chose from? Not sure I see the benefit of that, but I am sure I am missing the point as always. 
 
Next logical thing is a similar thing for melodies, and then we can toss our DAW's all together as music creation is nothing more than picking and choosing what the computer tells us. :) 


I don't think the expectation is that the chord track would necessarily drive the final product.  The idea, as I see it, is to have a guide during the creative process.  Let's say you have laid out a song (using all MIDI instruments), and it is sounding pretty good.  But maybe it isn't harmonically interesting enough.  By following the Chord Track, you can quickly experiment with some chord variations, maybe to spice up the bridge.  Or maybe the third verse you want a little more intrigue, so you select more complex chords, or some inversions you don't normally hear.
 
And then when it is sounding good, you un-follow the chords and make your final adjustments to the MIDI.  That's how I would envision this, but others could certainly go with an entirely different work flow.

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#22
Vatche
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/06/28 04:54:19 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby digimidi 2018/06/28 16:08:28
Studio One V4 Pro now also includes CHORDS feature that works on MIDI and Audio (to certain degree).
It would be very helpful to see it in Cakewalk as well.
#23
Kamikaze
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/06/28 06:01:54 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ZincTrumpet 2018/06/28 09:59:33
As my threads been bumped, I'd like to add this cool video as a case for the chord track to include stating the mode (as opposed to the key signature).
 


 
#24
mettelus
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/06/28 12:37:20 (permalink)
The capability of S14 is enabled by Melodyne's ARA2, AFAIK. When CbB implements ARA2, that functionality will be available, but what the front end will look like is unknown. Patience Grasshopper, the grunt work has already been done.

FWIW, Melodyne 2 stored tempo info in exported MIDI files long before the drag/drop to the timeline existed.

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#25
Kamikaze
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/06/28 13:00:07 (permalink)
Yeah I referenced ARA2's plans in my OP. My post goes further than just having a chord track. I have the patience, I'm expecting the implementation, I'm just sowing the seed of an idea of something more complete
post edited by Kamikaze - 2018/06/28 13:46:17

 
#26
bz2838
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/06/28 13:30:05 (permalink)
Studio one 4 has a new chord track, I'm learning the DAW, love the chord track, hope Cakewalk Bandlab includes chord track, then I would go back to Cakewalk because of the work flow and pro channel, otherwise, I'm sticking with Studio One 4.

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msmcleod
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/06/28 18:23:49 (permalink)
I'd love to see a chord track too, but what would be amazing if CbB could go a stage further and do something similar to Liquid Notes. This takes your existing chords/melodies and changes them to varying extremes, from subtle changes to totally way out. Great for developing ideas.
 
 
I have a slightly different idea as to how an arrangement track could work - totally different from Cubase or Studio One:
 
1. You mark groups of tracks (or clips I guess) as belonging to a "part", i.e. Intro, Verse 1 etc.
2. In the arranger, you simply arrange the parts how you want them, repeating parts if required. So basically, it's like a playlist, but for groups of tracks.
 
What this would essentially do is temporarily change the start time of the tracks within each part when the arranger is engaged, without it having to cut/paste what you have already. Multiple arrangements for comparison would also be cool.
 

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bapu
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/06/28 19:01:54 (permalink)
bz2838
Studio one 4 has a new chord track, I'm learning the DAW, love the chord track,


My experience so far is it pretty amazing if you use it judiciously.
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bapu
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Re: Chord Track / Arrangement Track. 2018/06/28 19:03:36 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby DannyDee 2018/06/30 00:39:26
It's amazing how SO4P can actually change the chord for all audio and MIDI tracks as well as adjust a vocal track too.
#30
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