Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Latest version can show chord tones on piano keys

ChordEase 1.0.3 was released today. It adds new features, and also fixes some bugs. The piano keys can now be configured to show the chord tones and tensions for each chord, dynamically updated as the song plays. This is done using the piano dialog's context menu. The MIDI Device bar now includes the state (open or closed) of each device, and a MIDI Note Mappings dialog was added, which summarizes how input notes are mapped to output notes. The song file extension was changed from .txt to .ces to avoid conflicts with other applications, but unfortunately this means existing users must uninstall their older version before installing 1.0.3.

The screen shot below shows the chord tones on the piano keys. This is in Lead mode, in which the output notes stay as close as possible to the input notes, only adding accidentals as needed. The chord happens to be Bb (Lydian), so in this case all white keys are as usual except B maps to Bb.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Latest ChordEase includes virtual piano

ChordEase 1.0.2 was released today. This version includes a virtual piano, which allows people to try the software even if they don't have a MIDI keyboard. The piano also shows what notes are being played, and what notes they're being mapped to. There's also a demo command (Help/Demo), which makes it much easier to understand what the software does and why it's useful.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Virtual piano interface

It dawned on me yesterday that ChordEase needs a virtual piano interface that you can play via the mouse and/or the PC keyboard. This would allow people who haven't got a MIDI instrument to try out ChordEase, using the Microsoft software synth that's built in to Windows. This feature would also be very handy for debugging in cafes. :) And, it should be possible for the virtual piano's keys to show which notes they're mapped to at any given moment, which would allow you to see how the chord scale is changing as you proceed through the song.

The virtual piano would need a drop list for selecting which part you want to play. It would be nice if it also had a slider or two, for testing controllers that you've assigned to parameters. It's not that much work and it's high value, compared to many other items on the list, though documentation is still the top priority. The list is growing exponentially at the moment, but that's normal at this stage of a project.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

ChordEase: play music with challenging chords easily on any MIDI instrument

ChordEase lets you play music with difficult chords easily on any MIDI instrument. It's primarily intended for jazz, but it can be also useful for any type of music that modulates frequently. ChordEase ensures that all your notes are harmonically correct, but their sequence and rhythm are up to you. In other words, ChordEase handles the rapid music theory calculations, so you can relax and concentrate on groove, feel, and aesthetics. If (like me) you're a musician who struggles with improvising to jazz or similarly harmonically challenging music, you owe it to yourself to try ChordEase.

ChordEase plays songs, which are set up beforehand. You're expected to stay in sync with ChordEase, and it provides a metronome to facilitate this. Normally you play only in the key of C major, and your notes are then adjusted in real time to fit the song's harmony, using various schemes. Any number of performers can perform through a single instance of ChordEase, using any number of MIDI instruments. Any number of parts can be defined, splits and layers can be set up, etc. Parameters can be changed in real time via MIDI controllers, and the output can be recorded and exported as a standard MIDI file.

ChordEase is certainly a work in progress but the version available today is fully functional. Download it HERE.