Chord Track confusion?

Yesterday I had a instrument track with some MIDI keyboard in it. I had a chord track with chords typed in that matched the MIDI. I had a group of drum kit tracks too.

The MIDI and the chord track were quantized and I liked what I heard and saw.

I used the drum tracks, actually the kick drum track, to create a custom tempo map. It was very close but the drums had a feel that I wanted to keep.

After I had a new tempo map I attempted to quantize the MIDI and the chord track to the new tempo map.

The timing was very, very close but every time I quantized the MIDI, the chord track, or both at once, the chords in my MIDI track would be revoiced and it spoiled everything.

I finally turned off the follow chord track and was able to move the MIDI and the chord symbols to the grid.

I am writing here to ask for help with understanding what I was doing wrong and what a preferred work flow will be. I hope to get a better understanding of how Cubase “thinks” so I can work with it more effectively.

I guess, once I have the MIDI and the chord track matched that turning off follow chord track makes sense but it also seems to preclude making any further exploration into detailed voicing etc.

I suspect that the chords and the voicings in the MIDI track changed so much because the quantize process occurs in a serial fashion and so for brief moments the chord symbols and the MIDI events do not line up and the chords, and their voicing, get influenced by adjacent chord symbols, or something like that.

I’m a little hesitant to re instantiate the “follow chord track” on this MIDI because in some instances the change was too subtle to see visually and it took a while to hear that a note had gone sour during playback.

I’d like to feel more confident while using it and hope to learn how to make best use of it.

Thank You!

I use the chord track a fair amount but just to create pad chords so I’m not really an expert in making other tracks follow it… But, are you using Iterative Quantize I wonder? The non-iterative version should line up the chords line with the midi I’d have thought…


I wasn’t using the Iterative Quantize function.

Thank you for suggesting that this might have been the cause.

I’m wondering what your intention is in turning on Follow Chord Track in the first place. I use the Chord Track on almost everything but rarely turn on the Follow Chord Track function. I mostly use it if I want to thrash around on a keyboard without trying to hit the right notes (being a guitarist missed notes are the norm rather than the exception for me on keys). Not to say there aren’t other reasons to use it, but what issue are you trying to resolve by using it?

If you are hand entering notes and chords via the Key Editor, you can do that fine with it off. Although I do recommend setting the Event Color to the Chord Track (upper left of Key Ed).

Also you can quickly create midi parts by by selecting and dragging a bunch of Chords down onto a MIDI or Instrument Track. It will create one part for each chord so I usually glue them together into one par for ease of editing.

Also if you have Follow Chord Track turned on it will restrict how you can edit in the Key Ed to only the notes in the chord. So if you decide to move a note to a non-chord tone, as a passing note for example, it won’t let you.

My initial reason for turning on the Chord Track Follow was that I was using the keyboard part as a foundation to the arrangement and it had some passing notes that I wanted to eliminate and/or conform to the chord progression as I had written it so as to leave more options for the other instruments.

Gottcha. For that all you really need to do is turn on the Follow Chord Track function, let it move the notes, and then turn it off.

Thank You.

Yesterday I had a instrument track with some MIDI keyboard in it. I had a chord track with chords typed in that matched the MIDI. I had a group of drum kit tracks too.

The MIDI and the chord track were quantized and I liked what I heard and saw.


I think what we’re trying to talk about is how Chord Pads and Chord Track deal with Harmonic Rhythm.

i’m a new Cubase User, but worked with Sonar for a long time and before that, Voyetra Sequencer+ and so find the idea of Chord Track very appealing for a whole host of reasons. What I’d like to discuss are best methods and practices for creating chords that follow specific harmonic rhythm. For example, working in 4/4 time, I often want the next chord in a progression to begin on the last 8th note of the previous measure; I also sometimes want three chords in a measure with the second chord starting on the upbeat (2nd 8th note) of the 2nd beat of the measure or similar – could be as simple as doing say G, G/D, G (with different voicing) or a similar harmonic rhythm.

When I Drag a Chord from Chord Pad into a measure, the Chord fills the full measure (in 4/4, whole note chords) and does not follow the Quantize Snap Length. The Chord will Drop to the position within the measure I want it to, but the lengths are fixed to Whole Notes. If I Drag a Chord from a Chord Pad to, e.g., the upbeat of, Beat Two of a measure, again, I get a Whole Note chords even if my Snap length and Grid are set to Quarter Notes or Eighth notes.

So, how can I make Chords dragged from the Chord Pads follow the Quantize settings? I think they just should, but they don’t seem to. Am I doing something wrong? Missing something? Also, if I reduce the length of any of these Dragged in Whole Tone-length Chords by Moving the clip’s Handles in Project View, i wind up with MIDI overlaps which are not corrected by the Midi Functions (again, unless I’m not doing this correctly). To obtain the harmonic rhythm I want, the only thing I’ve so been able to do is 1) tedious, hand editing of the chords note lengths in the Key Editor, or 2) using the Trim Tool, cutting the chord at point in the measure where the next chord will go and deleting the excess, however both of these methods are feel finicky and tend to interrupt my creative process and fun.

As far as Chord Track itself goes. I have found one little useful “trick” Since the “X” stops the chord from playing, I place X’s in the Chord Track to create Rests This allows me to create the harmonic rhythms I like, but makes the Chord Track more complex visually.

This may not be the best way to go about this. I’m still getting into Cubase and would appreciate any suggestions, or references to help me understand Chord Pad and Chord Track better.

This is how I think of the chord track… Like writing the chords down on a piece of paper so someone can play along. It just gives the chords, not the rhythm, melody, inversion or anything else. So, the chord length is always until the next chord, as it would be on the piece of paper, or to the X (which I think of as like a ‘rest’ in the notation).

To get rhythm then you need something which creates that rhythm, e.g. a guitar strum VSTi, which will then follow the chords and strum rhythms. Or, maybe some midi loops which play rhythms, then get that track to follow the chord track, and the midi notes will then be changed to follow the chords, thus giving you your rhythms played in the right key/chords.

Carrying on this idea you could even play in some random/easy chords live with whatever notes you like, then when this track follows the chord track the chords will be correct.

So, I would say that the chord track is not really intended to ‘play’ a synth directly, but rather make other synth midi tracks follow specific chords through the song.

However, I reckon a good couple of extra features would be 1) to limit the max length of the chords when you drag the chords to a midi track… And 2) to repeat chords periodically. E.g. 1 bar of Aminor chord becomes an Aminor chord played on each beat of the bar (i.e. crotchet), and the chord lengths are quavers (for example). This would definitely be useful to me.



Thanks for explaining some of your methods for working with Chord Track. I also use the X’s as rests which is fine for “chord track” and I do really like using MIDI loops in conjunction with that – very powerful and cool technique. That’s all very good for projects using a Monitored and Active Chord Track.

For purposes of Harmonic Rhythm, chords dragged from Chord Pads and dropped into measures on an instrument or midi tracks should follow the current Quantize length and step settings. If that were the case (and being new, i may still not be setting this correctly but i don’t think I am, :question: unless, :blush: ), creating the harmonic rhythms I hear would be so much more musical and simple.

Working with Fake Books and playing familiar songs, we know that even if the chords are written as, say, two chords per measure (4/4), we know the second chord comes in on the up-beat of beat two of the measure and so on – some lead sheets and books even show a progression’s harmonic rhythm.

What I want is to have Chord Pad chords, Dragged and Dropped on to Instrument or MIDI Tracks, to conform to the Quantize Length and Step settings. :nerd: I’ll have to work up a post on this topic.

Thanks for any suggestions, references or tips. :slight_smile:

I like that the chord plays until the next event.
I also use Xs as rests.
I also just place the same cord again to create my rhythm.
So, I might put a C on beat 1, beat 2 and the upbeat of 4.
If it followed the quantize settings, all chords would be the same length and sound quite mechanical.