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Studio One: Focal Chords

PreSonus Studio One Tips & Techniques
By Robin Vincent

To make audio parts follow the Chord track, you'll need to detect the chords within them. This process often requires a  little help from the user!To make audio parts follow the Chord track, you'll need to detect the chords within them. This process often requires a little help from the user!

Studio One's Chord track is much more than just an auto-arrangement device.

Introduced in Studio One 4, the Chord track has since taken on a life of its own. It's gone from being a convenient way to audition different chord progressions to a means of transforming arrangements, kicking out music sheets, easing post-production key finding, generating bass lines and melodies, experimental audio processing, adding unexpected key changes and — my favourite — bending free–form Eurorack performances into musically interesting songs. This month, I'm going to explore the Chord track, as it's a surprisingly exciting place to spend your time.

Follow That Chord!

The Chord track runs along the top of your project, underneath the timeline. It's revealed by clicking the little 'note with trailing blocks' button, and double-clicking or clicking with the pen tool will create chord blocks on it. These default to being a bar long, in the key of C. Double-click a chord block and you can select any chord you want from the Chord Selector wheel. You can choose from a list or form the chord by clicking the notes on the virtual keyboard. It's really very easy. It's also possible to take an existing MIDI or audio part and extract Chord track information from that.

With a Chord track and chord blocks in place, your MIDI arrangement will follow those chords, visibly changing the MIDI notes fed to both internal and external instruments. Audio can be made to follow as well, but that takes a bit more work which we'll come to in a moment. It's all wholly non-destructive so if you don't like how it's turning out you can switch the Chord track off and all the notes will return to their original position.

The Chord track acts globally on your project, although you do have to instruct individual tracks to follow it. The option Follow Chords...

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Published July 2019