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ChordBud 2 AUv3 MIDI Sequencer by Cem Olcay

Cem Olcay released ChordBud 2 AUv3 MIDI Sequencer! This sequel to the 2018 Chord Bud helps you create unique chord progressions, across over 40 different scales.

ChordBud 2 AUv3 MIDI Sequencer App Store Description:

ChordBud 2 is a MIDI chord sequencer where you can create unique chord progressions very quickly.

It has a very powerful music theory engine under the hood with +40 scales. You can select the scales you want to work with and see them from top to bottom on one screen. From left to right, you can see the chords inside those scales. You can either compare the scales or borrow chords (modal interchange) from each other!

By default, it presents all the chords inside a scale for the key you are working with which you may change at any time. But in the settings menu, you can also select the chord progression you want to work with and you can see the chords in the progression.

You can work with as many patterns as you want! You can set different keys, scales, and chord progressions for each pattern. You can copy/paste/delete them by long-pressing them. Patterns are triggerable with the MIDI CC messages. You can build automation or create a song mode with that powerful feature.

You are not limited to just the triad chords! The powerful music theory engine lets you modify your chords with add/sus/6/7/9/11/13 and more chord mods! After adding a chord to your timeline, just tap it to present the chord editor. You may change the chord mode, velocity, octave, inversion, key, and division of the chord. You can make your edits while the sequencer is playing, so you can hear your changes immediately while you are working.

In the timeline, you can move your chords to change their position. Also, you can drag them from their right edge to change their duration. You can pinch to zoom in or out in the timeline. If you want to position your chords more precisely, you can zoom in and work in the subdivisions.

ChordBud 2 offers its core components for free on Github. You can fork them to create your own music app! The standalone app's MIDI layer is powered by the open-source AudioKit framework.

https://github.com/cemolcay/MusicTheory
https://github.com/cemolcay/MIDITimeTable
https://github.com/cemolcay/MIDIEventKit
https://github.com/audiokit/AudioKit

Note: ChordBud 2 is a MIDI sequencer app. It does not produce sound itself. You need an audio app in order to get sound. Just route ChordBud 2's MIDI Out to your audio app's MIDI in and arm the sequencer.

Reader Comments 12

I hate to be "that guy" but there's a difference between sus4 and add4. Those chords show "sus4" but they are playing "add4" chords. Sus means that the 3rd is replaced with the 4, add means the 4 co-exists with the 3rd. I like add4 chords. I think they sound amazing, but they aren't sus chords.

That modal chord borrowing thing is very nice. I've been using that in compositions for forever. The harmonic minor scale is a good example of that-- borrowing the V7 chord from major (ionian)

I wish these chord generators would allow more customization-- not just creating user scales and chords, but also allowing you to go in and set ALL the scales and chords to your liking. The side benefit would be to make unique sets for your own signature sound.
September 11, 2020  | favorite_border stub
A random generator would be nice. Say you have some "standard" progression i, b7, b6, V7 kind of thing, it would offer some alternatives via a generator. Instead of the b6 it gives you.. II7#9#5 or something. Know what I mean?
September 11, 2020  | person Rednecksamurai
Cool thing about continued development in these MIDI plugins for chords and arps is that it encourages people to try diverse things. For those of us who enjoy elaborate harmonies, it can help expand the stuff we hear in our scene. Something to keep in mind, too, is that some audio harmonizer plugins accept MIDI input. So, by combining two plugins, you could fully harmonize audio input (say, the singing voice). Harmonizr+Mozaic can be a neat combination, in this case.

At the same time, they tend to focus on very similar features and produce similar results, despite the wide range of things which could be done. It’s cool to have extended chords… it might be even cooler to have extended voicings.
Routhier’s Suggester app does support diverse voicings, including some based on compatibility with preceding chords. That’s really neat… and could be extended yet further.

I keep dreaming of a plugin which implements proper voice leading. On the desktop, it sounds like Captain Plugins might do something like this but plugins requiring you to be online when you use them are quite offputting.
September 11, 2020  | favorite_border Enkerli
Fun comments, y'all. This is an interesting topic.
September 12, 2020  | favorite_border stub
I am glad you are that guy Stub. Those chords sound and function differently. I think rigorousness on this subject is important. Unfortunately I think these types of programs may gloss over how chords interact and how the voicings really matter chord to chord.

I wrote out a chart to Everybody wants to rule the world for students and wrote chords in the chorus as G/E A/F# G A instead of as would probably be more common Em7 F#m7 G A, just because this shows the split on the voicings between instruments and follows the idea of the slash chord on the verse, A/D G/D. And even this is not enough because there are different voicings for G and A in that passage as well. In the end notation best displays how chords work, and it would be good for anyone interested in chords and harmony to understand how to use that essential tool.

BTW Rednecksamurai, I'll searching for the Stray Cat Strut progression in EDM from now on.
September 12, 2020  | favorite_border Laarz
Thanks for the validation, Laarz.

I don't mind that the app has predefined scales-- though unlimited custom scales would be a major selling point. However, as you say, the voicing of the chords and the voice leading can be done right or done wrong. If you have a set of 7 chords for a key-- you can voice them so they are all hovering in the same general area, and then you can expect reasonably good voice leading. You could even have a slider that moves that chord/inversion range up or down from that middle C range. But the best option would just be to allow the user to set the actual notes for each chord, save it and be done.

I'd be all over that.
September 12, 2020  | favorite_border stub
Ha! Just an example ;)
September 12, 2020  | person Rednecksamurai
Careful with the diminished chords. The full diminished is playing dom7b5 and the half diminished is playing full diminished.
September 12, 2020  | person Rednecksamurai
Maybe I should try to reach out with a correct chord list.

One developer (of a cool hardware device) invited my input for a chord list and I created a really cool and complete list for them. They included the whole list, as is, in their next firmware release. It's not even a device I own. I was just a little OCD about it and it was a satisfying little project.

At another point, I thought, "Well, I have this lovely chord list..." I reached out to another developer who had an app for writing out songs and generating accompaniment. His response to me was, "Some of those aren't even chords." In a way, he was right. But what he missed, was that I actually created a pretty comprehensive list of chords that could be used in a composition.

It's ironic that Jazz was supposed to represent all this freedom. Now it's fucking boring.
September 12, 2020  | favorite_border stub
I just installed ChordBud 2 and took a quick look around.

As far as voice leading, in the editor, there is an option to click +/- inversion for each chord in the timeline. This should allow one to smooth out the voice leading (I think).

There's an impressive scale list with some very exotic options.

I reached out to Cem and offered to help with correcting some chords. I'll let you know if anything comes of it.
September 14, 2020  | favorite_border stub
It's interesting that you can choose any selection of scales to be in your chord picker field-- i.e., not just parallel modes.

When "none" is selected from the chord picker, it will presumably just be a triad from the selected scale. That alone is pretty nifty.

I think after that, the chord picker overrides the scale, but I'm not sure.

One approach that would be cool and I think would work really well would be to base the chord quality entirely on the scale notes. Sorry, this'll take a little mental effort--

Rather than list the qualities of chords & component notes, maj/min, Maj7, b7, #5, b5, etc. Just have a list of chord "shapes"

Triad 135
sus2 125
add2 1235
sus4 145
add4 1345
6 1356
7 1357
9 12357
11 123457
11(no7) 12345
11(no9) 13457
13 1234567
13 (no11) 123567
13 (no 5,11) 12367
etc.

Then follow the scale as to whether the member notes are major, minor, diminished, etc.

I think it would be even easier to just have the scale degrees as buttons and be able to turn off the scale degrees for each chord.
September 14, 2020  | favorite_border stub
After digging in a little bit, I'm seeing that ChordBud 2 has some game-changing aspects to it. And though it has some incorrect chords, I think the diverse scale collection and the way it is set up means that you will have access to a ridiculous universe of harmonic choices. It can get very exotic!!

I think the misnamed chords can be forgiven, since an add4 is way more fun to hear than a sus4. However, with a constrain-to-scale structure, we could paradoxically see more chord options with fewer selections needed.

I'm going to do a little post about this in my Music Theory Tidbits forum thread, if you're curious about going a little deeper with this.
September 15, 2020  | favorite_border stub
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