Chord inversions in chord track

Hi all, looking for a decent tutorial and a bit of advice regarding the chord track.
I’ve been using chord track to sketch out some songs and some of the chords although correct don’t sound right so I’m wondering if there’s a way to use inversions of the chords? If so, how do I do this?
I’m using elements 9 if that makes a difference.


I’m using Artist 9 so it might be a bit different. I sketch out songs by opening the editor for an instrument track, and then using the Chord Editing controls in the Inspector to enter chords and select inversions. You can also access the Chord Pads to try out different chord sequences before entering them.
I do use the Chord track though sometimes to find out what chords are after I’ve created them. (Inspector, Add to Chord Track)
Remember too that the chord track tries to ‘drive’ your other tracks to use the chord track sequence, soI’ve found that if I don’t mute the chord track, when I have other tracks in place, then there can be conflicts and weird sounding chords.

Hi, thanks for the reply. I don’t think there are any conflicts as the project in question is all audio apart from a piano part which I’ve partly sketched out with the chord track.
Good shout with the inspector, it’s the place where pretty much everything can be done yet I forget to look there every time.
I’m back to cubase since last using sx3 and so much has changed!

Ok, sure.

The Operations Manual is actually not bad on Chord Track, but I’ll tell you some of the things I like about. I use it all the time.

  1. Inversions – If you have “adaptive voicing” on, then Cubase will play inversions, experiment with the different player types and styles. Add tensions to your chords – 9ths, 11ths, 13ths. If you turn off adaptive voicing (Chord Track Inspector, check box off), then the track will play the voicing you have assigned to the chords. It’s easy to change chord voicing via the Info Line which is just above the Main Project Window. Use the mouse scroll wheel to change voicings. Cubase provides a set of some of the most common voicings.

  2. Chord track can play either “all monitored tracks” or the single track you assign it to. Work with that and you’ll see how it goes. Sometimes you want to have to chord track play many tracks, other times not. One possible workflow is to start with “all monitored tracks” and then go to a single track as your parts and tracks develop. If a project gets to a point where all the parts are fleshed out and don’t need the chord track, just mute it.
    Remember to turn off Monitor and Record Enable (red button) if you don’t want chord track to, for example, play a drums track.

  3. Use Chords to Midi: Select track and Shift+Right Click, Chords (menu), Chords to Midi. Bang! You have all the chords in the chord track on your instrument track. Take it from there.

  4. If you use Chord Pads, you can “assign chord pads” from the chord track. Go to Chord Pads, then, on the left, the downward triangle on the bottom, and use “assign pads from chord track.” You can also drag chords from the CT to the pads. Inversions can be changed on the pads and dragged back up to the project (if you do that, make sure Adaptive Voicing is off, and Follow Chord Track is off)…you’ll have to work with that, but there a ways to change inversions and add tensions from the Pads that is very good.

  5. Drag Chords and inversions from the CT to Project Tracks

  6. Go to the Chords Tab on an instrument track inspector and try out the different Chord Track and Follow options.

Hope this helps, have fun.

I really wish they had made it so the Chord Track was available as just another MIDI Input source instead of the current behavior - would be much more flexible. A workaround is to send the output of the Chord Track to a MIDI (not Instrument) Track & use its MIDI Sends to then route it to multiple Instrument Tracks. Depending on how many VSTi’s you want it to play you might need to daisy-chain several MIDI Tracks.

I use the Chord Track on almost everything, even if it’s just to document the progression. Another thing I find really useful is in the Key Ed you can color code the notes based on the Chord Track.

Great replies guys, thanks for the info!
Hopefully I’ll get some time tonight to get my hands dirty with some of this!

Thanks for that first pro-tip :bulb: – that is a great idea about using a MIDI Track and MIDI sends like that! I’m going to try that today. It might have taken me months or years for that to dawn on me.

I do use multiple versions of Chord Tracks at times, some versions may have just long-tone chords (pads, backgrounds, the initial progression), others get move involved with chromatic passing chords and more rhythmic patterns, for, say, horn parts or guitar parts.

I do use the Color by Chord Track and that is a great feature. I do wish we had more access to the Chord Track from within the Key Editor – like a ribbon on top or something.

Anyway, again, thanks for the MIDI Track > MIDI Sends for Chord Track playing tip.

Yeah, the ability to have the chords shown in the Key Ed would be great. I used to carefully position the un-maximized editor window over the lower left of the Project window sized so the Chord Track was visible and aligned with the Key Editor. The Lower Zone can now do basically the same thing - so there’s that.

That’s how I’m working as well, but at times I just want that full screen editor.

Getting back to the Chord Track to MIDI Track to MIDI Sends. I tried it and it’s a very interesting method. I have a couple of question (apologies to OP for thread hijack) :

  1. I notice that when I select a chord on the Chord Track it is not played by the instruments the MIDI Track has active MIDI Sends on. I’ll have to work more with it some more, but have you noticed that?

  2. I can’t work out how to add a second MIDI Track to the chain, so it seems limited to the original Midi Track and the Four MIDI Sends. Could you speak to that part of this technique? I could easily go back to using “monitored track” in conjunction with MIDI Sends and that opens up ideas.

Thanks for the good idea about MIDI send use; and, to the OP, I hope your inversions question has been addressed, but, please post any further questions or comments on that and excuse this digression.

For 1 - double check the MIDI Channel assignments through the path. When adding MIDI Tracks Cubase sets the channel to what it thinks you’ll want to use.

For 2 - You’re right, the send destinations don’t offer the choice of another MIDI Track. I must have used a virtual MIDI cable like LoopBe. But checking now I couldn’t get it to work - even without involving the Chord Track. I put a Part on MIDI Track A, so it was playing real notes. Then sent the output to LoopBe. On MIDI Track B I set its input to LoopBe. But Track B still wouldn’t play anything. Using several MIDI Monitor inserts I could see the chords’ notes (playing real notes not from the Chord Track) on Track A. On Track B I expected its Monitor to show the same notes, but instead it showed “Chord Sym #” events - one for each real chord. I’ve no idea where these events are coming from since the Chord Track is both muted and routed to a dummy track. :question:

Hey man, no worries, my question was answered and in the process I got way more useful information than expected!
I’m still getting stuck into the inversions but will try the more advanced stuff once I reach that level!

Hey man, no worries, my question was answered and in the process I got way more useful information than expected!
I’m still getting stuck into the inversions but will try the more advanced stuff once I reach that level!

Turn off “automatic voicings” in the chord track inspector and then select the chord you want to change. Look in the info line for “Voicing” and click on it.

Re 1: Right, when I add a new MIDI track Cubase assigns the next MIDI Channel and it’s easy to re-assign to 1-16 or All. My previous midi set-up was an eight port MIDI Interface and had a very useful midi router, I miss that. I’ll look again at all this.

Re 2: “Chord Sym #” hmmm, I have never seen that and why when CT is muted? Also, I’m sorry the MIDI looper didn’t operate as we might have hoped, but I’m glad you looked at that. Was the midi track, perhaps, set to “follow chord track (FCT)?” By default, for newly created MIDI tracks, FCT is off off. Cue 101: X-Files theme

The OP’s post does open up discussion of one of Cubase’s very useful features, the voicing features, but perhaps that discussion is too far off topic to address here – best left for another topic, I think. The OP was asking about inversions and the subject of “voicings” goes well beyond that.

Inversions are “sounds” and if you just go to the Info Line you can use the drop-down menu or use the mouse wheel to scroll through a whole set of the most common inversions.

Big thing to remember, as was mentioned: Is adaptive voicing on or off. If it’s “off,” then the inversions you assign to the chords will play, if it is “on” then the inversions used will change per Cubase’s system of voice leading and style (good and bad points about using it). Also, another thing to work with is that entering an “X” will stop chords from playing (check preferences on that under Preferences > Editing > Chords).

Carry on. :slight_smile:

Follow Chord Track was off.

Going deeper down the off-topic rabbit hole… One fun thing to do is insert an arpeggiator on an Instrument Track playing the Chord Track.

That, I was doing from day one. It’s a great way to hear things you might not have otherwise. Retrolgoue /2 with the chord track for bass lines using its excellent arpeggiator. :slight_smile:

I’ve not really explored Retrolgoue (too many VSTi’s for several lifetimes :unamused: ) but this sounds like a great reason spend some time getting acquainted.

Don’t tell anyone I told you about this. :slight_smile: heh

This has been a very creative and stimulating discussion and I do applaud you all for these very cool ideas…

By the way, lifetimes hits the nail on the head !

Great thread!