I will be shortly launching a new Membership Area. This will be a monthly paid subscription section with contents constantly being updated. It will feature Chord Progressions, Learning Videos, Backing Video, Track kits, Chord PADs and many more. This will be all new fresh content.
I will update you again with the costs once I have enough content to make it go live.
I have had Ableton Live and (MAX for Live) for some time now but never considered creating my own applications with it.
MAX for LIVE is a very powerful audio creation tool. Devices can be created with no coding required.
The MAX Chord Machine
I have decided to create a new chords machine based on MAX for Live. I will also do a standalone version for people who do not have Ableton Live. I am primarily a PC user but I will also be creating the device on the MAC so the standalone version can be used on the MAC too.
It will be based of similar principals as the “Soulful Chord Machine” for N.I. Kontakt. You simply select the chord to play and indicators act as colour guides as to which chords are best to use.
This will be a MIDI effect only i.e. no sound output, only MIDI signals. However extremely easy to implement inside Ableton Live. It will trigger whatever MIDI instrument is in the track.
I hardly every touch the guitar these days. I know a handful of chords but not really enough to play properly. I other day I picked up the guitar, the first time in around a year. Randomly playing, I found two simple chords Amaj7 and Dmin7. Quite a different vibe when playing on the guitar and even better when I added keys to it.
Just to explain a little more about the red bass notes.
Normally you would the bass with the root key. E.g. Cmaj, would have the bass at the Key “C”.
However in order to add some more depth to a chord you can use other keys in the scale e.g. the 9th or 11th and use that as a bass note. I have many such chord progressions in my charts in the package.
A simple one below.
If we play using the scale of C then the Bass would be “A” and “F”. However the red indicated play “D” and “G”.
I am creating a new never seen before, chord progression building system. What makes this method useful is how it encourages you the bend the rules a little. Sticking to the one key will always limit your creations, however finding other chords from difference scales can be rather difficult.
See the below example of a chart which uses a colour code system to indicate where alternative chords can be use.
The top chart shows the famous 2-5-1 progression, being Minor, Dominant, and Major.
Underneath that you can see the same progression but the “1” chord is green. Why green this time?
The green shows you that same chord note is used however it is a different chord type from the regular scale. In other words, instead of playing the Major, you simply play a Minor instead. Just by doing that you will get an interesting sound. A little bit more soulful if you play the 7ths or 9ths.
The whole pack will have many chord progressions using various colours (explained later), also with videos to show how I play the chords, especially with the inversions (very import).
These of course can be applied in any keys.
The next write up will discuss non-diatonic or borrow chords.
Just to explain this chord progression in more detail.
It starts off in the Ebmaj7, then straight away go into some non-diatonic chords. These are Abmin9, Dbmin7, Gbmaj7.
This works because Even though Ebmaj and Abmin or in different keys they share many of the same notes. Abmin, Dbmin and Gbmaj are also not all in the same key but they all share the majority of the black keys.
Playing inversions such as the Dbmin7 with the root at Ab help give that soulful sound. Having the C directly next to the C# resonates differently than having the chord at the standard position.
The Akai APC 40 is not exactly new however I have had my eye on it for some time since I use Ableton Live. I also intend to use it for live performances. I have been playing around with TouchAble on the tablet, which is fine at home. However since I use an Android, the only way to connect is via Ad-Hoc which I don’t think is 100% reliable.
The APC 40 allows me to easily record and play back clips since I have it just to the left of my keyboard. I would love to be able to record and play back clips live on stage. I would have pre-recorded clips also just in case. It may be difficult to see from the pictures but the button light up with the same colours and the Ableton Live session view. The only thing is, you can’t see the names of each track, you will need to check your laptop for that. But colour coding and memorizing is what most people are fine with.
Check out the little session I did below. Recording my Nord Electro into Ableton and controlling the clips with the APC 40.
Just an explanation about what’s going on in the YouTube video. The keyboard is a CASIO LK-121 which I bought for my daughter a few years ago. It cost around $200 at the time, however I am obviously not using the sounds from there. The volume is turned all the way down to zero.
The Casio is connected to my Laptop via USB and running Ableton Live (filming this using the Laptop camera and recording audio internally via my Steinberg audio interface).
I am using the tablet as a control surface for Ableton Live. The app I am using is Touchable Pro, available for both iOS and Android.
The chord progression is below.
Ebmin9, Fmin9, Abmin9, Bbmin9 – You can base the whole progression in the key of Eb minor, however the Fmin9 is a borrowed chord.
I love using Touchable so much I have been recording more and more sessions. I noticed that Androids can only connect via WiFi and not USB unlike the iPad. Having a wireless connection in a live performance didn’t seem like a safe option so I considered buying an iPad. However I managed to setup my laptop with a WiFi Direct / Adhoc connection and the connection seems stable. No connection drop outs like the WiFi connection.
I intend to do some performances on stage with a singer however we do not have too many ideas as of yet. Incidentally though I discovered a site https://www.vocaldownloads.com/ this site has 1000’s of vocal phrases sung in different keys by professional singers. I won’t use them in performances but will use them as a guide for the singer. Check out the below video using some of those vocal clips.
I have been using Ableton Live for a number of years now, however I have never really taken advantage of the session view. It is actually the TouchAble App which encouraged me to start using the Ableton Live Session view. Until now I have been mainly using the arrangement view to make R&B or Neo Soul beats. TouchAble allows you to easily punch in and out of recording tracks on the session view. You don’t even have to mess around stopping and starting and setting loop points, just record your loop and press the record button again. It will loop to the closest number of beats. Normally 4, 8 or 16.
Keep and drums and bass etc. looping and then re-record another loop until you are happy. You just need to be careful of the timing, which is where the TouchAble comes handy. Keep your tablet close to your keyboard so you can quickly stop recording after playing. The rest of the loops keep running though which is extremely handy.
Once you have a collection of nice clips you can drag them over to the arrangement view for finalizing.