Harmonizing a Melody with given Chords - possible or feature request?


I do a lot of arrangement work. Part of this includes to write instrumentation for given songs, i.e. you have a given Melody and a given underlying chord progression. From this start point I need to set the given chords “underneath” the melody. There are clear rules how this can be accomplished (e.g. start with a block chord of the given harmony - taking the given melody note as the top note and then distributing the remaining chord notes below that - initially eg. as block harmonies - with the option to modify this voicing by various dropping “logics” - all well known to arrangers).

Is there a way to do that in cubase using e.g. a midi track plus a chord track - and then let cubase automatically create a voicing of the chord progression that has the melody as the top note and lets the chords follow the melody also rhythmically?

You know, the way you would for example take a lead sheet of a Jazz standard and use the given chord progression to write an arrangement for a 4 or 5 saxes, etc.

Well, it certainly is possible to use the chord track to generate a sort of auto-accompaniment, but I don’t know where to start to describe it in words and give a list of actions you could follow to accomplish it.

There are many cases. For example: Have a single piano accompany the melody. You could draw 2 measures of accompaniment (rhythm included if you wish, not just whole notes), and then duplicate those. Then you should make this track follow the chord track from the corresponding Chords section in the Inspector, and fiddle with the settings. (Voicings, Follow Chords, Scales, Chords & Scales, etc)

Maybe you want each track to be a different voice? Again you have to fiddle with the settings, but it’s possible.

I can’t say I have complete mastery over how this works, meaning I have to fiddle a lot until it works most of the time, but it is certainly doable, and I use it a lot for quickly fleshing out an idea.

Write chord track->Two measures with basic rythmic groove->Spit and curse fiddling with follow chord track settings->accompaniment complete!

Thank you, ggmanestraki, for your hints and tipps. This is exactly what I am doing :slight_smile:

I still would love to see a “harmonizer”-Algorithm implemented in cubase. The current chord-functions are excellent and obviously targeted at certain ways of working - great for composing and creative ideas. What I am talking about is, though, not about auto accompaniment, but about harmonization. Something you need when arranging - which is a strict set of algorithms that could be implemented - have a given melody plus a given chord progression - and do the voicing with a defined number of voices and a given set of instruments (e.g. saxes, stirngs, etc.). This is “mechanical” work for arrangers which could easiliy be implemented in cubase and would be a great help. Again: Puropse of this would be to harmonize a given melody for a given set of voices/instruments in a defined way (block chords, open harmonies, number of voices, type of voicing, etc.). This would not even require a lot of artificial intelligence.

Well, that’s the thing though.

“Voicings” setting I think, makes Cubase use the voicing defined in the chord track. So… in theory:

-If you could set-up your own custom voicings (many positions! 8va on top?, the 3rd, the 5th? Closed position? Open? Extended? Semi-open?)

  • and then make a chord track that references each one of these voicings (a position change would need to be entered, for example Amaj:A, C#, E, A and Amaj: A, E, A, C#, would be different “events” that would need to be entered for the thing to work)
  • and then make for example 3 more midi tracks (Alto, Tenor, Bass)
  • and then assign the voices from Follow Chord track settings as Alto Tenor and Bass respectively

…it should work, I think.

But I respectfully disagree about the stiffness of harmonization. Give 5 people the same melody and the same progression, they will harmonize differently! A position change here or there could make the internal voices move very differently in some cases.

OH, there is also Auto generate harmony voices for AUDIO tracks! And… It follows the chord track :wink: Try it!

Hi, thank you :slight_smile:

I respectfully disagree with your respectful disagreement :oD… just kidding. you are of course right, that people might harmonize differently, but this involves reharmonizing. There are strict harmonizing techniques and it would be great if those were automated. The creative freedom could be applied after the machine has delivered a “standardized” result.

Thank you for your many suggestions!