American songwriter Harlan Howard once said, “all you need is three chords and the truth.”
Howard was right, but sometimes a song calls for more than three chords, in addition to the truth. If you have trouble putting together interesting harmonic progressions, here’s a list of four apps out there that will help you do just that. Several of these recommendations will work as complementary writing tools when using Spire Studio app and hardware. No more getting stumped in a writing session, no matter where you are or who you’re with.
1) Liquid Notes
Liquid Notes is a desktop app that takes a look at the MIDI clips in your session or clips that you provide it, deduces what the chord progression is and then reharmonizes it for you on the fly. It’s a lot like using Logic’s Drummer device, but for chords.
Each chord is represented horizontally, and you have three main functions that you can tweak: chord, tension, and function.
If you move the Chord knob, it will give you logical options of other chords to swap out. Move the Tension knob and it will add things like suspended and add notes. When adjusting both of these knobs, they will turn from green to red, moving further away from the harmonic starting point. Adjusting the Function results in even more of a pronounced shift.
It’s not the easiest app to use, but once you get it rocking, it’s very cool.
Who’s it for: Liquid notes is for the writer who likes to do things in a DAW or who has the skill set to take their ideas and put them into a MIDI sequence. It has a lot more bells and whistles than just a chord choosing tool, but for this particular purpose it packs a lot of punch.
Cost: This is a professional piece of software and comes at a premium price of $89 for the Live MIDI Effect or $149 for the stand alone application.