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Timo Finkbeiner

FR: Chord track

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32 minutes ago, Steve Harder said:

7 years or so ago Cubase 7 introduced Chord Track.  The first implementation had the following features.

Can send midi out to instrument for auditioning chords.
 Chord Track located in display like Arranger Track.
Select a chord by dropdown or by playing a chord on keyboard.
Chord Assistant can suggest an intermediate chord between 2 chords, with varying complexity.
Can change voicing of chord from the info line related to Chord Track.  Root, 1st inv, 2nd inv, etc.
Display root key and scale. 
Different chord voicings.  Piano, pop, jazz, rock.
Can write midi from Chord Track to midi track.
Can be applied to existing project by selecting tracks, will detect chords, then you change chords in Chord Track and midi in associated tracks will be altered accordingly.
 Live Transform,  where you play identical notes and they are transformed to match the current chord.
 Coordination of audio track with a Melodyne like product.

I would utilize all except the audio track Melodyne integration.  I am primarily interested in orchestral sample libraries, but other users might give audio a higher priority.

I watched several vids but this gives a succinct overview.

 

Thanks for sorting this out. I didn't know this in Cubase, but it covers for a large part what I had suggested earlier as options that I would like to see in a Chord Track. 
 

1 hour ago, Colin Nicholls said:

I was meh on the whole chord track idea, but the thing that really tickled my fancy in the Cubase video posted  earlier was the placement of chords; picking a chord; using the built-in circle-of-fifths to workshop progressions.... I could have a blast with that.

I probably would never use the chord track as a real-time playback component of a project. But as a compositional tool, re-harmonizing an existing melody; refining my boring chord progressions...

Having it built-in and sending MIDI notes to an instance of Pianoteq or my string sampler du jour.... yummy. I feel like this should be implementable as a VST plugin but I suspect there is something about the inputs and outputs that would require some plumbing refactoring under the hood.

Actually displaying the chords in a track above the project (c.f. the Arranger track) I honestly don't see the point, although I respect other user's needs here.

I would mainly use it in a comparable way: to help me get out of a writers block, boost my creativity and preferably:

  • provide me other than the simple, standard chord progressions that are mostly used
  • suggest other than standard voicings for different instruments

Right now I use Toontrack's different options and Scaler and some other software once in a while, but having something build in would speed up things, and I would not be depending on some VSTs and have to exchange parts between VSTs. 

It might be complicated to implement a Chord Track that meets most of the wishes in this thread, but looking at the recent CbB improvements I think that the bakers are capable of surprising us more and more! 

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On 11/16/2020 at 4:39 PM, pbognar said:

Cubase was the pioneer for chord track tools within a DAW.  The differences between Cubase and Studio One:

  • Cubase seems to be more musical when it comes to different ways of creating the chord track, with chord pads and a chord assistant.
  • Cubase's affect of chord track on MIDI data is destructive, whereas Studio One, it is not.
  • Studio One's chord track affects polyphonic audio playback!  It can also extract chords from polyphonic audio.

Presonus and Celemony have been developing hand-in-hand, and the Chord Track there is built upon ARA2. IIRC, I tested their Chord Track prior to updating Melodyne and the Chord Track was fully functional in Studio One Pro even without the Melodyne counterpart in place. Although that functionality leverages ARA2, what is necessary to make it functional seemed baked into SOP. Someone might be able to clarify if this is an accurate assessment or not.

Working with groove clips is not quite the same IMO, since a piece (including all MIDI and audio) relinquishes "chord control" to the chord track. There can be a lot of editing going on in the piece without needing to worry about the clip structure  for the chord track to function. It is not the initial setup of a chord track that is the hurdle, it is inserting key changes into a nearly completed piece that is.

Edited by mettelus

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Yes, please!  Chord track, or layered markers with a smart key/chord layer!

And If this could be in the works, please decouple key from meter so that key editing/transposing isn't related to meter/time signature! Mixed meter does not pre-suppose mixed key, certainly not necessarily at the same points.

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16 minutes ago, winkpain said:

Yes, please!  Chord track, or layered markers with a smart key/chord layer!

And If this could be in the works, please decouple key from meter so that key editing/transposing isn't related to meter/time signature! Mixed meter does not pre-suppose mixed key, certainly not necessarily at the same points.

For an example, Studio One has several independent global tracks in their track view design. The arranger track, chords track, signature track, and the tempo track. . The time signature changes and the key signature changes do occur on a common track, but that doesn't appear to conflict. Those functions appear to be logically separate.

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22 hours ago, abacab said:

For an example, Studio One has several independent global tracks in their track view design. The arranger track, chords track, signature track, and the tempo track. . The time signature changes and the key signature changes do occur on a common track, but that doesn't appear to conflict. Those functions appear to be logically separate.

That all sounds smart. I've never used Studio One. I would love to have these layered auxiliary tracks in CW, especially for Chord, key, and time sig. (these last two separately editable, as I say). And all of them "smartly" behaving, of course, respecting transpositions of key and such. I particularly like the way the Time Signature strip works in Melodyne , smartly compensating existing meters if you add new changes in odd locations; allowing you to double-click an insert point and just type in the numerator (top) value if the bottom is to stay the same.

The meter and chord tracks then being able to be visible above Track and Piano Roll views as simple (colored, perhaps!) markers (as opposed to the current "Window" view style only) would be a huge boon for more music compositional oriented workflows.

I hope it is a possibility and a likely one here!

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1 hour ago, winkpain said:

That all sounds smart. I've never used Studio One. I would love to have these layered auxiliary tracks in CW, especially for Chord, key, and time sig. (these last two separately editable, as I say). And all of them "smartly" behaving, of course, respecting transpositions of key and such.

I just thought I would add this example of multiple chord, time signature, and tempo changes all within a few bars. Sent a copy of Claire De Lune from Notion's classical score library, and extracted the chords to the chord track.

The score view is presented by the new internal score feature in Studio One 5 Pro. You can freely send score and note info between Notion 6.8 and Studio One Pro 5 now. No need to use Rewire unless you want to sync transports.

 

Studio One_Chords -Signature -Tempo.PNG

Edited by abacab
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1 hour ago, abacab said:

I just thought I would add this example of multiple chord, time signature, and tempo changes all within a few bars. Sent a copy of Claire De Lune from Notion's classical score library, and extracted the chords to the chord track.

The score view is presented by the new internal score feature in Studio One 5 Pro. You can freely send score and note info between Notion 6.8 and Studio One Pro 5 now. No need to use Rewire unless you want to sync transports.

 

Studio One_Chords -Signature -Tempo.PNG

Well, that's mighty nice. But a bit of a flaunt as I'm using Cakewalk ;-) (and I use Sibelius for notation)

But it would be great if we had something like this here in CW !

 

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42 minutes ago, winkpain said:

Well, that's mighty nice. But a bit of a flaunt as I'm using Cakewalk 😉 (and I use Sibelius for notation)

But it would be great if we had something like this here in CW !

 

I'm supplying actual working use cases that will hopefully make their way into the Cakewalk development pipeline someday... not an intentional flaunt. I've been using Cakewalk since Cakewalk Professional 6 in the late 90's. And this is a feature request thread, one that the devs will hopefully read.

I still use Cakewalk CbB (as a former Sonar Platinum for lifer), but when Gibson shut them down I was forced to go looking for a replacement. Got a cheap crossgrade to Studio One 3 Pro, so I'm trying to keep up with that DAW as well. Nobody says you gotta use just one!

Bottom line is that I wish all the best for Cakewalk and its users. Especially after using it as my main DAW for over 20 years. Love watching the constant improvements since BandLab took over!

Edited by abacab
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48 minutes ago, winkpain said:

Well, that's mighty nice. But a bit of a flaunt as I'm using Cakewalk 😉 (and I use Sibelius for notation)

But it would be great if we had something like this here in CW !

 
 
 
 

What's more impressive is that Studio One seems to use the same playback engine as Notion.  For example, when sending a note that has a trill ornament on it to Studio One, the note is rendered as a straight note in the MIDI; but when Studio One plays it, it will generate a trill.  If you want to remove the trill, you simply remove the ornament in the score - like any score editor (Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, etc.).

That's far better than General MIDI, where many score editors will generate a trill and write that into the MIDI file.  As a result you end up having to do a lot of edits in the MIDI or remove all of these types of the Ornament if you want to use something like an Articulation Map to trigger them, instead.  They have to be removed from the Score before exporting the GM files (Trills, Mordents, Turns, etc.), since that's the "lower workload" alternative (to editing all of this in the MIDI files in the DAW).

The score editor looks really good, as well.  It's like Notion embedded in Studio One, but there is still good reason to use both in tandem, and they work very well together.

Wish they would add MusicXML import to Cakewalk, as this removes the issue with bringing MIDI over from notation software.

Studio One has had Notion integration since v3 or 4 (forget when exactly this was first implemented).  It's the score editor that is new.  They basically ported the notation engine over from Notion 6 to Studio One 5 Professional.

Edited by Maestro
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14 minutes ago, abacab said:

I'm supplying actual working use cases that will hopefully make their way into the Cakewalk development pipeline someday... not an intentional flaunt. I've been using Cakewalk since Cakewalk Professional 6 in the late 90's. And this is a feature request thread, one that the devs will hopefully read.

I still use Cakewalk CbB (as a former Sonar Platinum for lifer), but when Gibson shut them down I was forced to go looking for a replacement. Got a cheap crossgrade to Studio One 3 Pro, so I'm trying to keep up with that DAW as well. Nobody says you gotta use just one!

Bottom line is that I wish all the best for Cakewalk and its users. Especially after using it as my main DAW for over 20 years. Love watching the constant improvements since BandLab took over!

Totally agreed! I'm all for keeping this thread afloat in the mix. I'm right there with you with 20 years using Cakewalk. I have used others as well, not Studio One, however. But only have CW (and Ableton for very specific purposes) as a DAW now. And I have been absolutely delighted at the the care and attention the Bandlab parentage has brought into it.

Let's hope the momentum of the Arranger and Articulations additions will help push along these further additions!  Chord and Meter tracks!!! 

(and an improved Staff view!!)

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20 minutes ago, Maestro said:

The score editor looks really good, as well.  It's like Notion embedded in Studio One, but there is still good reason to use both in tandem, and they work very well together.

Wish they would add MusicXML import to Cakewalk, as this removes the issue with bringing MIDI over from notation software.

Studio One has had Notion integration since v3 or 4 (forget when exactly this was first implemented).  It's the score editor that is new.  They basically ported the notation engine over from Notion 6 to Studio One 5 Professional.

Yes, +1 for a MusicXML addition to Cakewalk. That would help a lot of folks workflow for getting notation into Cakewalk!

I just upgraded to Studio One Pro 5 last week (on sale), so was curious about the latest state of integration between Notion 6.8 and Studio One Pro 5.1.

It's as simple as having both of them open at the same time and either:

1. (Notion) File > Send to Studio One. If you choose to Send Score to S1 it will create instrument tracks and notation in S1, including any VST instruments you were using for the tracks in Notion, as well as any defined rules. Notion instruments will not cross over, but the assigned instrument names will. Notion instruments will only work in Notion. That's shame, and you would think PreSonus would find a way to make them compatible with their Presence sampler or something else in S1.

2. (S1) Song > Send to Notion - you can send note data of the entire song or selected tracks. Say for example that you made some manual changes to the note data in the DAW, and wanted to send it back and merge it with the original score in Notion. Done in a few clicks.

This was just a simple example, as there is actually much more that you can do, such as lead sheets, audio mixdowns, etc. And yes, that is the Notion engine that they bolted onto S1.

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I am familiar with the SO-Notion Integration.  I picked up the Studio One 5 Pro cross grade from Notion 6.  I got Notion for 60% off on Amazon, and then got the cross grade to Studio One 5 Pro for $169.00 flat.  Too cheap to pass up, really.  Initially got Notion for composing and then bringing the MIDI into CbB.

I really like using the Notion iPad app, though.  There is nothing better for using on the go (unless you use a Surface Pro, ofc.).

I do agree that they need to move Notion to Presence XT.  It has been a while since a full version upgrade, so my guess is that this will happen in Notion 7.

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I really didn't intend to take this "FR: Chord Track" thread so off-topic. 😉

My earlier post with the Notion/S1 score was intended to illustrate how the chord, time signature, and tempo changes appear in their respective Studio One chord, time signature, and tempo tracks. With hopes that something similar can work its way into Cakewalk!

OK, now that feature creep was intentional. It's not just a chord track that would be useful, but I do think all of those global tracks could work together nicely for Cakewalk! But I'll leave the score editor for the other FR. 😁

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I would like to amend my feature request for a chord track in Cakewalk.

Since there are powerful and reasonably priced composition and audio tools like Scaler 2 and Melodyne Essential 5x, I would submit that the primary base feature which provide the most bang for the buck would be the implementation of the Chord Track itself in Cakewalk.  Resembling the Arranger Track, the Chord Track would display the chord names and/or scale names at points along the project timeline. 

At the very least, MIDI data in selected tracks would "snap" to the corresponding chords / scales and audio in selected tracks would be transposed based on the root note of the chords / scales.  If the "snapping" would be destructive, it would be desireable to be able to undo or reset to the original state.

One key to the successful implementation of the Cakewalk Chord Track would be the its ability  to at least import chord data from tools like Scaler 2 and Melodyne, so that composition and audio analyisis features need not be present in the initial version of the Chord Track.

A Scaler 2 feature I requested to enable auditioning of chords in the Circle of Fifths tool has been implemented in the latest update.

Also, in all editions of Melodyne 5, there is the ability to extract chords by analyzing audio.

By reducing the scope of the initial effort by the Bakers, I'm hoping that the odds of implementation are more realistic.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of pbognar and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of BandLab or Cakewalk users. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything. 😉

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The Cubase facility looks very nice, and I'd be more than happy to have something  as capable. But by implementing it, the only reaction outside the existing user base would be something like, "Nice, but Cubase had that 10 years ago." 

What's developed really depends on the plans BL has for the product. I assume they want to attract new users, so they need to be building things that will... attract new users. I'm not product management for CW (I used to be PM at multiple big software companies) so I don't have the pulse of all new users, and I don't know what the BL business model is intended to be, but I can offer a few suggestions.

From my unscientific sample, most new users want to compose. They're new to music and hear something cool in their heads and want to make sounds. Even existing users have expressed an interest in a composition tool, so let's stick with that.

I'd consider separating composition from song development, in the sense that there's an initial phase characterized by generating and testing concepts, but at some point in time the composer has main themes worked out and a distinct phase of development begins. A DAW UI is great for development, but it's pretty heavy for composition, so I'd argue there should be a distinct composition UI. It would be building/managing tracks in a project behind the scenes, but would not necessarily offer all options when in use. 

For example, say it offered only CW instrument plugins during this phase, or automatically handles (say) routing. Defaults would be chosen, to be changed by the user later in the project. This lets the effort be directed to the composition capabilities.

As far as those capabilities, I'd look at Captain Chords and Scaler, probably others I don't know about. It needs to enable easy development of A/B comparisons of chords, melodies, and rhythms. 

As far as the UI itself I'd suggest that, at this late date, it's important to build something that can leapfrog current offerings. I think CW can take some cues from modern "code-free" software development environments, such as the Unreal engine.  Apps like that have been commonplace (at least in enterprise software) for at least 20 years, and libraries for building that kind of app are readily available.

So rather than work directly in the DAW's tracks, I'd ask the composer to work on a blank canvas and create sections ("Chorus", say, or "Verse Line 1") as  they write. Each section would be a clip, except it would be represented by (say) a rectangle. Initially it would just contain just the chords, using whatever chord selection assistance was developed. Compositional assistance tools would help the user fill in with as much detail as desired--melody, rhythms, samples, whatever was allowed.  

The rectangles (each containing a clip) would be connected with arrows leading from one to another. Pressing play would start at the "current" rectangle and proceed along the arrows to subsequent rectangles. You can imagine looping, "play along with", "vamp until" and other constructs so clips didn't need to be duplicated. Changing a chord could be done within a single clip, by stepping through clips serially, or in a single operation. 

Ideally it would be possible to switch between the composition UI and the track view, though there might need to be a "promotion" function to "compile" the current choices into a project , and the unchosen alternative clips would be saved somewhere.

Some of the capabilities (change key) would also available in track view  as a menu-based option.

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I have been a user of Cakewalk for decades, and have been very pleased with the Bandlab support of this application which in the Gibson shutdown set me into a bit of depression  - my tool of years was feeling dead to me.  

I came across the idea of a Chord Track from a YouTube Video yesterday. The antics of the guy are excusable - he does provide good info. He used Cubase - which the posts here have shown was first. It really sounded useful from the idea of improvising in the DAW software and making a visible outline of the harmony to use going forward - or reminding you on reopening what it was doing.  I went searching to see if we had this and found this thread - yes I would love to see this added.

I also read in the thread that there is not any Music XML support -  another thing that I would like to have included. The only XML import in the manual shows up ACT files only.  I have been looking at the scoring software area and the ability to export and import Music XML is standard.

 Musescore software is working on allowing plugins of VST for their next version  - version 4. That software is open source - which to me would mean that contributions to that code base might make it interchangeable with Cakewalk.  It might be challenging - however the interchange  of that Music XML might be one way of getting it started. 

I want to stay in the Cakewalk space - but without these contributions - it does make Cubase seem like a strong contender in pulling me into a new tool.

 

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