Take Your Chords To The Next Level

There is absolutely no issue with a basic triad. They are the backbone of every chord, and are super useful in almost every genre, holding down the harmony while the melody moves around them.

But! One of the main areas I find a lot of producers can improve is their chords. When you're producing, you aren't restricted by how many fingers you have like on piano or guitar, and you have the freedom of being able to experiment with different voicings and arrangements really quickly and easily.

In this lesson we look at doing just that.

We're going to start by learning how to record chords into a DAW using a MIDI keyboard, or even just your computer keyboard. Once we have the chords in the program, I'll show you how to make sure they're perfectly in time, and how to manipulate the notes to create larger extended chords and sus chords. 

The Tech Advantage

This knowledge with instantly elevate the sound of your songs. The brilliance of working in a modern DAW is how creatively free you can be. Just because a chord isn't playable by a real musician doesn't mean you can't include it in your production. The ability to audition different ideas and chords so quickly is incredibly exciting, and hopefully, by the end of this video, you'll have the skills to manipulate MIDI notes however you can imagine. This includes changing the volume, velocity, timing and notes.

Get The File

The MIDI file with the plucks is accessible on this lesson page - see the downloads tab! Feel free to drop it into your own projects.

[note from J, the file is labelled as a pdf in the downloads tab, but it's a midi file, just I didn't have a midi icon set up, will fix it asap!]

For Next Time...

If you want to get some practice in before the next lesson, take some of the chord progressions below, play them into your DAW, and try and make three different versions of each progression. Drag the notes around, add suspensions and 7s/9s/11s and make them sound cool! 

C-G-Am-F

Cm-A-E-B

G - C - Am - D

G-B-C-Cm