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ChordPotion Manual

Contents

Introduction: The ChordPotion concept

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 bass, mid, and top sections 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.


Setup

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:

  • Ableton Live: How to access the MIDI output of a VST plug-in? You can find an image with a MelodicFlow example routing here: *click* (ChordPotion uses the same routing).
  • Bitwig: Add ChordPotion to an instrument track. Then add another instrument to the same track (after ChordPotion in the device chain).
  • Cubase: Add ChordPotion to one track, and another instrument to a different track. From the Input Routing list on the instrument track, select ChordPotion - MIDI Out. Turn on monitor input on the instrument track by clicking the monitor button.
  • FL Studio: Add ChordPotion to a new channel. Click the Wrapping Settings button. Set Output port to 1 in the settings panel. Add another instrument to a different channel. Click the Wrapping Settings button. Set Input port to 1. You can use any port number you like, but the output and input port number must be the same.
  • Logic Pro X: Insert ChordPotion in the MIDI Effect slot of a track. Then add an instrument in the Instrument slot.
  • Reaper: Add ChordPotion to a track. Then add another instrument to the same track (after ChordPotion in the device chain).
  • Sonar: Add ChordPotion to a new instrument track. The "MIDI Output setting" must be checked in the "Insert Soft Synth Options" window. Then add another instrument to a second track, open the "Track Inspector" and set "MIDI Input" to "ChordPotion -> MIDI Omni". You also have to activate the "Input Echo" button on the second instrument track.
  • Studio One: Add ChordPotion to one track (A) and another instrument to a different track (B). Click on the Instrument Input list of the B-track and select ChordPotion (maybe you need to change the track height to make the instrument input box visible). Turn on input monitoring on track A and B (click on the Monitor button). You can find an image with a MelodicFlow example routing here: *click* (ChordPotion uses the same routing).


Main user interface elements 1 (top bar, bottom bar)

The top bar contains several different areas:

  • Twelve page buttons: Use the different pages to work with different ideas or switch between presets that you want to use in your song.
  • Sound button: This button is only available in the VST version of ChordPotion. Activate the button to use the built-in piano sound. This is especially useful if you don't want to connect ChordPotion to a different plug-in first.
  • MIDI drag and drop button: This button will only appear when you start to feed ChordPotion with input notes. ChordPotion will record all the output notes then (button colour: grey). As soon as you stop playback, the button will change its colour and display a note symbol. You can drag the generated MIDI file to your DAW then.

The bottom bar:

  • Swing: There are two different swing modes available. The 16th note swing is the default mode and is especially common in electronic music genres. The 8th note swing is your second option to add some shuffle to your songs.
  • Octave: Transposes the output notes up or down.
  • Presets box: Pick one of the included presets to get started quickly.
  • Copy, paste, save: Use these buttons to.. errrr.. copy, paste, or save your page ;).


Main user interface elements 2 (everything else)

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 and the octave pitch for each row. The default for the "Top" row is a pitch of one octave, the default for the "Bass" row is a pitch of -1. You can change the speed of each row separately. You can also decide whether the patterns should only run once (Repeat: Off) or run forever (Repeat: On).

Each row has a special purpose:

  • "Chords": The patterns that you choose here will get applied to all input notes at once. This is especially useful if you want to create rhythmic chord sections.
  • "Top" and "Extra": The patterns here contain some melodic variations that can be used to add arpeggios and other ornaments to your chords.
  • "Bass": The bass patterns usually work on the lowest note (bass note) of the input chords.

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.

  • "Restart on chord change": The internal sequencer starts again whenever a new chord begins. This happens when all old input notes stop and a new set of input notes comes in.
  • "Keep on running": The internal sequencer starts when the DAW starts to play. It keeps on running until the DAW stops or until the DAW loops.

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. Please note that 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:

  • "Add notes": Will add some new notes to the pattern.
    Please note: Some of the original patterns contain only notes that sit on beat and offbeat positions. The "Add notes" variations S, M, and L will only add new notes that sit on beats and offbeats as well. The XL and XXL versions will also inject notes at other positions.
  • "Pattern length * X": Use this effect to duplicate a pattern several times. Useful in combination with other effects that randomize the new pattern then.
  • "Randomize note length": Changes the note lengthes to a certain amount of steps.
  • "Randomize notes": Replaces some of the notes with other notes.
  • "Randomize velocity": Randomizes the velocity of each note.
  • "Remove note stops": Replaces short notes with longer notes that run until the next note of the pattern is reached.
  • "Remove notes": Removes some of the notes.
The global FX boxes also contain separate sections that start with "Non-chords: ...". These effects will only change the "Top", "Bass", and "Extra" rows then.


Working with different MIDI channels

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 "Top" row notes to a different synthesizer than that of the "Bass" 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 used 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 setup 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/


Switching between pages

Click on the different page buttons to switch pages. You can also use the lowest notes of your MIDI keyboard for that: C-0 -> page 1, C#0 -> page 2, D-0 -> page 3, D#0 -> page 4, and so on.


MIDI export

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:

  • Write down some input chords in your DAW.
  • Choose a nice ChordPotion preset or create a potion on your own.
  • Start the playback in your DAW.
  • Wait until the output notes have been generated.
  • Stop playback in your DAW.
    PS: You don't need to match the end of your chords sequence perfectly. ChordPotion will shorten the generated MIDI file a bit when it detects that you stopped the DAW a bit behind a new bar.
  • Did you like the generated output? Then drag and drop the MIDI button from ChordPotion to your DAW.

If you use different MIDI channels for the various rows, ChordPotion will create a multi-channel MIDI file for you.


Working with random patterns

To a certain extent it's possible to add some extra randomization to your creations:

Method 1: 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).

Method 2: There are some patterns in the "Chords" section that start with the word "MultiPlay". MultiPlay patterns are a special type of pattern that work like this:

  • Each MultiPlay pattern contains different melodic rhythms.
  • When ChordPotion starts to play, it picks one of these rhythms, adds the other sections (bass, top, extra), and creates the output.
  • When "Repeat" is "On" and the rhythm ends, ChordPotion picks another rhyhtm, adds the other sections, and continues.

You can combine the methods 2 and 1 to create even more complex sequences.


What happens when you press "Generate new variation"?

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.


Is it possible to edit the patterns?

No, this is not possible. ChordPotion is meant to be a "plug and play" plugin. Some of the patterns have a quite complex internal representation (especially the MultiPatterns). This would require a rather sophisticated editor.

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