If you read this blog you know I like song writing helper software. Cthulhu is a VST plug-in thats a simple/complex chord generator and arpeggiator. I would say it reminds me a little bit of the Max for Live Device Schwarzonator. Cthulhu is $39.
“Cthulhu is firstly a chord memorizer and player, allowing you to experiment with creating and reworking chord progressions with single-note presses. Included are over 150 factory chord presets allowing for a near-unlimited amount of possible musical-sounding chord progressions. Import MIDI or ‘record’ chords straight in, Cthulhu is able to analyze the chords you play and allow for various sorting options (Circle of 5ths, Chromatic, low note, etc) allowing for easy access over your chords! The other half of Cthulhu is a unique pattern-based arpeggiator, allowing incoming notes or chords to be manipulated in various rhythmic ways. The 8 tabs of the stepsequencer allow you to completely reshape the incoming MIDI notes, even a single note fed into the arp can become a unique and rhythmic riff! Even if you have other arpeggio software plug-ins, Cthulhu’s arp is unique and powerful with advanced features such as chord-arpeggio mode, ties, duration / velocity sequencing, intelligent transpose, harmony, and more!” – xferrecords.com
I love software that helps me create actual songs. Chord generators, lyric triggers and anything that can get me to a full arrangement quickly has my interest. I’ve been playing with an iOS app called SongSynth. Sitting on my couch I was able to knock out a few simple songs. I really like this app quite a lot and hope to see more apps like it. My only wish is MIDI export so I can bring my sketch into a pro-environment.
“At the heart of a pop song is a lyrical idea sung along to a collection of chords. SongSynth offers a unique, easy-to-use way of experimenting with chords, and a host of other features to help you write, store and record song ideas.” – atticsound.net/songsynth
Considering this video from Australian comedy band Axis of Awesome has almost 5 million views most of you have probably seen this. For those musicians who haven’t you have to admit is pretty interesting. It surely explains why everything on the radio sounds the same.
“Australian comedy group ‘Axis Of Awesome’ perform a sketch from the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Footage courtesy of Network Ten Australia. See http://www.axisofawesome.net/ for more details of the comedy trio including Jordan Raskopoulos, Lee Naimo, & Benny Davis.” – random804
I believe melody is hardwired into human’s brains in a way different than hearing just sounds. We remember notes as they hum up and down scales. Every time I leave The Gap I end up singing whatever song was playing over and over in my head for hours. So I always say piano lessons beat a new Apogee interface for making your tunes better. I really like helper applications like Harmony Navigator or even something like Microsoft SongSmith. Harmony Improvisator is a new plug-in from Germany in the same vain. The cochleor website says videos and a demo download are coming soon. It’s Mac/PC VST for 99 EUR.
Improvisator is a programmable chorder and sequencer VST plugin which outputs chords as MIDI data or sound from an internal synthesizer. It can be controlled via MIDI input or by clicking the harmonic functions of the graphical user interface. The first thing in the process of working with Improvisator is to click chords with the mouse which you hear immediately. – www.cochleor.de
Here is an interesting video from the UK containing a bunch of great Ableton Live tips. I never thought of setting up follow actions and after wards recording into cycling clips. Spending a little time setting triggers and MIDI mapping before you head into “Right Brain” mode will surely make your song a bit better.
“This video shows you how to use Ableton Live’s clips as chord banks and trigger them with one key. It also touches on the following features: Follow Action, Launch Modes, Midi Mapping & Routing, Pitch (midi plugin)” – flujo
I always say melody trumps the sounds you choose and I use a variety of helper software to find nice melodies. Harmony Navigator has been my favorite non-mobile application for this task. On my iPhone I’ve been using Star Guitar (iTunes link) to generate ideas and today I found another useful tool Simple Songwriter (iTunes link) from Hopefully Useful Software. It’s a simple chord selector/player/recorder and if you’re making lyric based songs it’s sure to give you a few ideas.
“Beginners to advanced musicians can use this app to leave thinking behind and bring the fun back into creating music. All the chords given sound great together and most pop/rock songs will use a combination of these chords. The touchscreen gives you the perfect environment to quickly and easily generate song ideas. When you have a great song idea, record it for later practice on your chosen instrument. List view allows you to browse your songs chords, while the song key section can transpose your idea to any key instantly.” – hopefullyuseful.com
This is a 20 minute Screencast showing Cognitone Software’s Harmony Navigator. You will get to see different “palettes” and accompaniments producing wonderful music. We show you how to create a verse and chorus and then export the midi into Ableton Live. Once inside Ableton Live you will see how to set up your imported data in a meaningful way. The video is nicely sized so be sure to click the TV icon under the player to view the show in full screen mode.