[Draft discussion] Introduce chords as musical units

This request is orphan. Does anyone want to adopt it?

I can take it.

1 Like

Thank you! :white_check_mark: Done.

When you say “chord track” do you mean this? (Chord tracks in Studio One). Sorry, I’m not very experienced and I am getting confused by the description as it is now.

Exactly, thanks for this example.

Having the piano roll know about chords and root notes is the foundation for great automation abilities that don’t currently exist as far as I’m aware. Being able to manually label them is good but the icing on the cake would be to see bitwig do it automatically.

1 Like

Having the option of picking the chords from a list of chord possibilities for a given scale would be a nice addition to a chord track. I also like how Ableton 11 added the option of folding the piano roll to scales. I think all of these help with “cheating” music theory. So, I think the easiest implementation of a chord track would be menus next to the piano roll with the option of scale and chords.


I can imagine that implementing this request from beginning to end on Bitwig just like it is shown in the Studio One video would be a major undertaking. There are separate pieces involved.

  • Naming chords in an instrument track.
  • Creating a chord in an instrument track with that beautiful circle of fifths UI.
  • Modifying the notes of other instrument tracks based on the chord track (I wonder whether something like this can be done already with Bitwig’s Note FX devices).
  • Then there are the audio track features that look… way more complex / proprietary? (I have no idea about music software development, could be totally wrong)

Anything else? I’d suggest we focus on the MIDI parts here, and leave the audio for a separate request. Maybe even separate the three first points in separate requests that we can link with each other.

Agreed, audio is not in scope for this request - it’s MIDI only.

1 Like

Looking at this feature from a Bitwig perspective, why does it need to be a new type of track instead of an alternative view of instrument (midi) tracks?

Exactly, this is the first and main change: a way to get chord names from notes in the piano roll and vice versa, a way to input chord names and get notes in the piano roll. Once Bitwig identifies chords, then many things can be done with this data.

One Bitwig way to use this data in other tracks would be to have a device for chord manipulation. Imagine that you could select the source track with the chords and then be able to use just the root note (or any other), apply chord inversions and whatever else music theory tells us that are "safe"progressions. Then you could use modulators to change selection every bar, random, whatever.

I suggest we separate this in two feature requests: one for the chord data available in the arranger and the piano roll, and then the device to manipulate chords from another source.

I have rewritten the title and the description. I have tried to put it in Bitwig terms. I have left out the folding of the piano roll by keys because this is a different feature that makes sense on its own, even now without any support for chords.

@abraxa since this request is “signed” by you, it would be good that you have a look at it before it is promoted to #features .

I’ll promote it, and if there is anything we can always keep editing or working on the other features.