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Cubase 11 Scale Assistant

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques By John Walden
Published May 2021

Having used Chord Pads to create an initial chord sequence, the Chord Editing panel allows you to easily add further interest via the Inversions and Drop Notes options without changing the actual chords.Having used Chord Pads to create an initial chord sequence, the Chord Editing panel allows you to easily add further interest via the Inversions and Drop Notes options without changing the actual chords.

In need of melodic inspiration? Cubase 11's Scale Assistant can help.

In the Pro, Artist and Elements versions of Cubase 11, the already impressive suite of compositional aids was joined by the new Scale Assistant. This is potentially very useful as a corrective tool — if the piano keyboard isn’t your primary instrument, for example, or your music theory is a bit rusty — but it can also be great when you need a little melodic inspiration.

For our example this month, I’ll construct the bare chordal and melodic bones of an eight‑bar musical ‘chunk’, highlighting some easy ways to play with repetition and variation, and then use Cubase’s Scale Assistant to lend a creative hand when developing a melody to sit within this chunk.

Strike The Right Chord Sequence

We’ll start with two instances of HALion Sonic SE, one with a simple electric piano (for the chord sequence) and the other a synth lead patch (for the melody). You can also add a basic drumbeat or loop to provide a rhythmic bed if you find that helps.

I generally like to start songwriting with a chord sequence and, as my own piano skills tend towards the ‘one hand, three fingers’ level, I’m a big fan of using Cubase’s Chord Pad and Chord Editing features to experiment. I discussed the Chord Pads back in SOS May 2015 and for this example I followed the same basic methodology, populating the pads with some basic chords in D major (D, G, A and Bmin), with two different voicings...

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Published May 2021

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