ChordPotion is a MIDI plug-in that transforms incoming chord notes into entirely new phrases, rhythmic chords, and melodies. Build your own creations by mixing different rhythmic patterns with each other. Choose separate patterns for different transformer rows to build complex pieces easily.
You can export the generated output as standard MIDI files as well. This way you can build new songs quickly and efficiently while experimenting with new playing styles.
Depending on your DAW and your operating system you will need to copy the plug-in to a different location. The most common locations are:
Windows (32 bit DAW): Copy the file ChordPotion32.dll to the folder "c:/program files (x86)/Steinberg/VstPlugins/" (this is the default for most 32 bit DAWs).
Windows (64 bit DAW): Copy the file ChordPotion_x64.dll to the folder "c:/program files/Steinberg/VstPlugins/" (this is the default for most 64 bit DAWs).
macOS: Copy the file ChordPotion.vst to the folder "/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST/". Copy the file ChordPotion.component to the folder "/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components/". Please note: The AU version (ChordPotion.component) is only needed for Logic Pro X. Most other hosts (e.g. Ableton Live) will need the VST version instead.
ChordPotion acts as a VST instrument or AU MIDI effect inside your DAW. It receives notes like any other instrument and can send the newly created notes to other plug-ins. The VST version also includes a built-in piano module that can be used to work with ChordPotion without connecting it to other instruments.
Please consult the manual of your DAW to find out how you can pass the MIDI note output from one plug-in to another plug-in. Some pointers:
The top bar contains several different areas:
The bottom bar:
The main section of ChordPotion contains four different rows that can be used to transform the incoming chord notes.
Basically it works like this: Pick a "Pattern" for at least one row. You can do this for as many rows as you like. ChordPotion uses these pattern rhythms to build new output from the input notes then. The output notes of all rows will get merged together and create the final output.
It is possible to send the generated notes to different MIDI channels. Please read the separate section of this manual for more information.
The solo (S) and mute (M) buttons can be used to listen to the four rows independently.
You can change the velocity, the speed, and the octave pitch for each row. You can also decide whether the patterns should only run once (Repeat: Off) or run forever (Repeat: On).
Click on a label to reset the corresponding field to its default state. For example, when you click on the "Octave" label, the octave setting will revert to "0".
There are two types of rows:
The pattern names always contain some information about the pattern length. "16s" corresponds to a length of 16 steps, "06s" means "6 steps".
Use the "Mode" box to switch between two different run modes.
The "Tripletize" mode can be used to convert all melodic patterns into a "triplet version". Please note that the swing settings won't get applied then, because a triplet rhythm is already a kind of "swing rhythm".
There are different FX boxes available that can be used to transform the patterns. Two of these boxes are available per row. Two additional boxes can be found below the rows. They affect all rows combined. Some effect names end with an "S", "M", "L", "XL", or "XXL". These indicate the effect strength ("S" is "a little bit", "XXL" is "a lot"). You can work with the following effects:
Click on the "CFX" and "Page CFX" buttons to change the "Input Chord Effects" settings. "Input Chord Effects" are algorithms that transform the incoming chords before the sequencers react to them.
Example: Let's say you alternate between two chords. The first chord uses a bass note that sits one octave below the other notes (e.g. C2-C3-E3-G3). The second chord is a standard triad without added bass (e.g. E3-G3-B3).
Your problem: You want to generate an arpeggio that only plays on the main chord notes, but not on the added bass note of the first chord.
The solution: Click on "CFX". Then change the first box from "No action" to "Remove bass if needed". Click on "OK". Now ChordPotion will take a look at the incoming chords and remove the lowest note if it is more than five semitones apart from the second lowest note.
You can set "CFX" for each row separately, but you can also set "Page CFX" to cover all rows at once. If you set both "Page CFX" and row "CFX", the row settings will overwrite the page settings for this row.
There are different algorithms available:
Some algorithms refer to a "tonic" or display a "(3rd oct.)" hint. When you use one of these algorithms, ChordPotion will show you a scale selector at the side of the octave and swing settings. Set this selector to the tonic note of your chosen scale (e.g. "A" for "A Minor" or "A Major"). Some algorithms will move certain notes close to the chosen tonic then:
Finally, there is another area called "Do this on chord change". This area is only visible if the page mode is set to "Keep on running". Here you can specify what happens when a chord change occurs. This action will only be executed if the currently active step is empty ("-").
The three melody rows can operate in different sequencer modes.
Use the "Arp" box to switch between them. This setting is especially interesting when you work with chords that cover more than one octave (open chords etc).
If a pattern is not too complex ("MultiPlay", "Random [...]"), it is possible to edit the pattern. When the "Edit" button is enabled, you can click on it to display a special type of step sequencer.
As soon as the pattern is triggered, a step light moves from left to right. Each step can contain either a numerical value, a "#", or a "-".
Numerical values trigger a note ("Melody" rows) or a chord ("Chords" row). In the first scenario, a 0 triggers the bass note of the currently active chord. A value of 1 triggers the second note of the chord, and a value of 2 triggers the third note. In the second scenario, a 0 triggers all the notes of the currently active chord. A 1 triggers the first inversion, a 2 triggers the second inversion, and so on.
A "#" means that the currently played note(s) will get stopped. A blank field ("-") does nothing.
Click on the steps to switch between the different states. Click on a "-" step to turn it into a numerical value, click on a numerical value to turn it into a "#".
Use the "step effect" field to add randomization effects. Click on the field and a new window will appear. You can work with different step modifiers now. On the left, you can see various "probability" sliders. They indicate how likely the effects on the right will occur. The sliders can go from 0% (= will never happen) to 100% (= will always happen).
There are various effects that will only modify the step if the final step type is a note trigger. If "Resume playing notes" becomes active, the sequencer won't stop already playing notes of this sequence. This is contrary to the normal behavior where the sequencer stops all playing notes before a new note becomes active.
You can click on "OK" if you want to keep the changes that you made to this step or simply click outside the dialog window.
Attention: When you set "Randomize octave" to "+1" and use a probability of 100%, ChordPotion will always add "+1" to the normal octave settings. This is not really random anymore, because the final result will always sound the same. Use a probability of e.g. 50% to change the octave only from time to time. When you set "Randomize octave" to "+2" and the probability to 100%, ChordPotion will randomly add +1 octave or +2 octaves to the step each time. The same concept applies to the other effect types and their settings.
Most step effects are self-explanatory. However, here are some tips for the more complex ones:
Click on the "Oct" field to pitch the note(s) by one octave. Click a second time for two octaves. A third click resets the pitch to the default. Use the right mouse button to pitch the notes down by one or two octaves.
You can set the velocity level per step by changing the value of the velocity slider. If you edit a "Chord" row pattern, you can also change the strum direction and strum duration per step.
Use the field at the bottom right of the pattern to change the pattern length.
You can drag and drop both steps and step effects. Simply drag them to a new slot. Hold down Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) to create a copy.
You can use the "Channel" setting to pick a different MIDI channel for each row. Rows that share the same channel number will get merged together. When you work with different MIDI channels, it is possible to send the "Melody 1" row notes to a different synthesizer than those of the "Melody 2" row. This way ChordPotion can trigger several instruments at once.
This setting also affects the MIDI drag and drop feature, because ChordPotion will create a new data section for each channel. This way you can drag and drop the recorded notes to multiple DAW strips right away.
When you load a preset where all channels are set to "1", ChordPotion will keep the channel settings as they were before you opened the new preset. This way you can test different presets without setting up a more complex channel routing each time. If the new preset contains a more complex routing itself, the preset routing will overwrite the current routing.
Please note: The "channel" feature is pretty easy to set up inside ChordPotion. However, routing the output notes to different synthesizers might require some advanced knowledge of your DAW. Please consult the manual of your DAW to find out how you can achieve this.
FeelYourSound also maintains a page where you can find setup tips for different DAWs.
You can find it here: https://feelyoursound.com/multi-channel-daw-setup/
Click on the different page buttons to switch pages. You can also use the lowest notes of your MIDI keyboard for that: lowest C -> page 1, lowest C# -> page 2, lowest D -> page 3, lowest D# -> page 4, and so on.
As soon as ChordPotion receives MIDI notes, it will start to transform them. The generated output notes are automatically recorded. When you stop your DAW, you can drag and drop the generated MIDI file to your DAW.
One of the best ways to work with ChordPotion goes like this:
If you use different MIDI channels for the various rows, ChordPotion will create a multi-channel MIDI file for you.
MultiPlay patterns are an advanced concept that might be difficult to understand first. However, once you get a hold on it, you will be able to create even more complex and nuanced presets.
There are some patterns in the "Chords" section that start with the word "MultiPlay". MultiPlay patterns work like this:
There is an option to turn on MultiPlay for other patterns as well. Simply choose one of the "Make it MultiPlay" options in the FX1 or FX2 section of the "Chords" row. Please note that these options will overwrite the "Repeat" setting of the Chords row.
The "Make it MultiPlay" option is only interesting when you use other FX in your preset as well. If you don't use other FX, the resulting pattern combinations will always sound the same.
Another nice trick: Use "Make it MultiPlay (play once)" in combination with the global FX option "Pick only one melody row". This way you can create combinations of rhythmic chords and monophonic melodies. You can use the different Melody rows to create melody fragments that are picked randomly each time a new MultiPlay cycle begins.
The following video explains the MultiPlay mode in more detail:
It is possible to add some extra randomization to your creations:
Some patterns start with the word "Random". Pick such a pattern (e.g. "Random arp multi up") and ChordPotion will choose a different rhythm each time you click on "Generate new variation" (in this example different arpeggios that go up).
You can combine this method with the MultiPattern concept to create even more complex sequences.
Whenever a parameter is changed, ChordPotion generates a new "note trigger data model" from scratch. As long as you don't use randomization (e.g. by working with "FX 1" and "FX 2"), this data model will always sound the same. However, as soon as you add a randomization source, "Generate new variation" will result in new melodies.
If you don't use randomization elements on your page, the "Generate" button will be shown grayed out. Please note that "step effects" don't count as randomization elements here, because they get applied each time the sequencer reaches the step.
You can use the clipboard button to copy the current pattern to the system clipboard. You can paste this text anywhere you like, for example in a forum or in an e-mail.
Anybody who copies this pattern data can import it into ChordPotion again. Simply click on the clipboard button and choose "Paste from clipboard".
When the clipboard contains more than one pattern string, ChordPotion will ask you whether it should save the data to separate files on your hard drive.
It is possible to create own packages and to share them with other users. These packages end on ".fys". They are plain text files that contain data which was previously copied to the clipboard with the "Copy to clipboard" feature.
To create an own package, follow these steps:
This is an example file:
This example file contains two presets called "Arp up 1.pge" and "Arp down 1.pge". They are stored inside a folder called "Simple arpeggios". Simply save this text section to a file called "arpeggios.fys" and you can import it into ChordPotion (click on the "Load" button next to the preset list, then choose "arpeggios.fys").
You can also copy this text section to the clipboard and then import it into ChordPotion via "Clipboard button -> Paste from clipboard".