Introduce chords as musical units

Possibility to work with chords as musical units in note clips and in the Detail Editor Panel. A Chord view of instrument and hybrid tracks would allow to:

  • Use chord values in devices and modulators just like note values.
  • Create chords by their name or through a friendly interface.
  • Automatically detect chords in note clips, and name them.
  • Render note clips using chord units that can be selected and manipulated.

The possibility to work with chords would allow a more modular and efficient workflow. It would make visibly identifying melodies easier and with e.g. basslines automatically following the main lead melody’s root note, it would permit more automation. Creating melodies would be significantly easier for users who could use a hand with music theory.

What problem(s) would this feature resolve?

Currently, Bitwig understand only notes. Users need to bring their own knowledge of music theory to work easily with chords and harmony.

How does this feature fit in Bitwig as a product?

Bitwig is all about modular and automated production, so this fits right in.

Is there already an alternative way to achieve this on Bitwig?

Some Note FX devices produce chords out of notes or can keep different notes in key. That’s it. The piano roll has no idea about chords or scales.

Could it be implemented using Bitwig components or APIs, without Bitwig team’s support?

No.

Could it be provided by an STV or something else reasonably integrated with Bitwig?

No.

Are there other products that offer this feature?

e.g. Cakewalk, Ableton

Relevant links (optional)

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12 posts were split to a new topic: [Draft discussion] Introduce chords as musical units

Polarity has created a “Circle of Chords” preset that is no substitution to this request at all, but might make the work with chords easier for some of us.

Polarity Music - easy chord progressions?

Another interesting workaround, a free and open source chords pack for Bitwig by @Fannon.

Thanks for mentioning it @icaria36 ,

It’s really just a workaround for the feature requested here.
But if you have a chord track (and maybe also a “scale” track), you can use this in Bitwig to narrow down your note range, e.g. through the Bitwig Note Grid > Pitch Quantize Module.
This way you could quantize the allowed notes dynamically based on the input of the chord track.

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I would like to see it in the way it is implemented in Waveform 12. Very easy to use, with global Scale and a Chord track with a lot of progressions and the possibility to include melodies and bass lines based on the global chord track. In this feature set you can auto pitch every audiofile to the song Scale if you know the scale of the audio file is in.
In the piano roll you can choose between show all notes, show scale notes, show only notes used in the chord progression.

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Being able to see the chords that you can specify in a chord track, and the key that can be specified in a key track (also allowing for key changes) as background colouring in the piano roll would really be a great compositional device. Today I usually build a chord track and a key track manually and I display them together with the track I am working on in the piano roll (see screenshot), but having this as a standard feature in Bitwig would be brilliant and a big time-saver.
Also, if you implement it: please make it available both in the clip launcher and in arrangement view. :slight_smile:

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I find that the BWS version could be an improvement over Tracktion Waveform’s.
For instance, Grid modules could become scale- and chord-aware. Particularly useful since some of these help for (semi-)generative music. Plus it could work well with tuning systems. Not to mention that there could be greater flexibility in scale and chord types.
As for Waveform… I’ve been purchasing licenses to Tracktion’s DAW since T7 or so and I still can’t wrap my head around it. It just doesn’t stick with me. Including in its support for chord tracks.
So, if you have any suggestion for learning content about chord-based “playflows“ in Waveform, I’m all ears!

Since we talk about workarounds to a first-party implementation of chord tracks…