How is everyone doing? As we are spending more time at home, many people are looking to start something new. If you're a beginner but would like to try your hand at composing, this is how I would recommend you start! I would like to introduce some useful functions of CUBASE music production software series from STEINBERG.
■ Is it difficult to make a song?
Many of the people around me are also interested in composing: “I like songs, so I want to make songs that I can sing myself!”. However, there are those who gave up because they have no knowledge of music theory, which makes composing difficult. Being able to come up with a melody, but not understanding how to translate that into chords is a bottleneck. For those of you who feel this way, I would like you to try the CUBASE series chord track and chord pad functions!
CUBASE is music production software chosen by people all over the world. As of June 2020, the latest version is 10.5
■ Make chord progressions for songs using chord tracks
First, let me introduce how to use the chord track function. Below is a screen of a new project launched in CUBASE. From here we will actually create the chord progression for the song.
Select "Add Chord Track" from the project tab or right-click on this screen.
You can actually enter the chord in the chord track by using the pencil tool.
So, I have entered the chords. However, at this stage, there is still no sound, so let's set the sound. Just like when playing a chord track, select "Add Instrument Track" from the project tab or right-click and select the sound source for playing the chord sound. It’s easy to check the HALion Sonic SE piano, or so on, as they are pre-recorded in CUBASE.
After selecting the sound source, click on the "Monitoring track is ~" part of the chord track to set the selected sound source.
At this point, you can play and hear the chords you arranged with the sound source you have selected!
■ How do I choose a chord in the first place? Using Code Assistant and Code Pad
Let me say in advance, that I won't touch on music theory in this article. When you have only a little musical knowledge, and especially if you are conscious of theory, you tend to get caught up in the theory and you might get stuck. There is no one correct answer in music. If you are just starting out with composing, you may want to check the chord progressions of songs you like and try these chords, or you may want to blindly arrange chords to find a flow you like. But sometimes you may choke. In such a case, CUBASE has functions that can give you hints for chord selection. These are Chord Assistant, and Chord Pad.
Chord Assistance is a feature that typically tells you what chords are most likely to follow your chosen chord. You can check this by selecting "Chord Assistant" from the chord selection screen display.
If you're wondering about the chord that follows, you might be inspired by what you see here.
The Chord Pad displays chords that can be used generally by selecting the key and scale of the song.
You can also drag and drop from the pad and place it on a chord track, or keep MIDI data directly on an instrument track or MIDI track.
So how was it? This time, I introduced Chord Track and Chord Pad by choosing chords for beginners. Chord Track and Chord Pad have many more useful things to create music that I couldn't cover at this time. But next time, if there is an opportunity, I will introduce these again.
（*The images used in this article are from CUBASE version 10.）