Quick tip: taming Chord Track playback using Cubase

Sharing this as it might be useful to people who do a lot of lead sheets. It’s also an example of a simple Dorico/Cubase use case that would work with other DAWs too.

The Chord Track is great tool for proofing lead sheets, but currently has two shortcomings which make it a little hard on the ears: all chords are sent with a velocity of 100, all chords follow the symbols literally, e.g., root position symbol will always play back a root position chord. Here’s what I’ve done to quickly make the sound a little more pleasing:

  1. Send the Chord Track to Cubase using loopMIDI.
  2. In Cubase, set up a MIDI transformer insert. Any notes of G3 or higher are transposed down an octave.
  3. Set the velocity to something that sounds nice, I’m using The Grandeur and a velocity of 48.

Now during playback, it sounds like I have a polite (if unimaginative) pianist, who does some voice leading. (It’s true that you can just turn down the Chord Track mixer channel in Dorico, but the velocity 100 will still probably trigger a harsher tone, and that doesn’t address the voice leading issue.)

It would be even better (and I’ve said this before, of course…) if they would just graft Cubases’ chord playback functionality onto Dorico…


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Thank you, that’s a good point, but my guess is that revamping the Dorico chord track won’t happen soon. So for the time being, I’m looking at ways to use Dorico and Cubase together as they are now to improve my workflow. You have also made me curious to take another look at Cubase’s chord functionality to see what it can do in realtime with chords from Dorico.