Device Details


Name | Version: AL9 Chordmaker 1.2
Author: alchemical9
Device Type: MIDI Effect
Description: The AL9 Chordmaker is a MIDI chord generator that makes it easy to add chords to your music. I've been using chord generators a lot in my generative music, but all the free ones have some shortcoming or didn't quite do the thing I needed. Many of them don't work well for generative music...but this one is designed for that.

Walkthrough video:

At its most basic, it will generate the selected chord on an incoming MIDI note, with that note as the root of the chord.

You can determine the inversion and voicing of the chord. Inversion determines which note of the chord is at the bottom. Voicing here controls the "openness" of the chord, so as the voicing value increases the span across the keyboard that the chord uses is widened.

If you can't decide which inversion or voicing to use, just dial in some random, there's a randomness control for each.

Pretty basic so far, but we have more features!

There is an "Add Octave" button that will add the bottom note an octave up. This nicely adds some top to the chord.

We also have a "Strum" control that will add a strum to the chord, either up or down, with a variable time for the strum. Strum also has a "Spray" button to randomly mix up the order of the strummed notes. Great for, you know, guitar-like sounds, but wait till you try it on some horns!

But the real breakthrough feature of this plugin is the Key Chord Map. What this does is assign a chord to each note so that instead of all the notes playing the same chord, you can determine which chord each note will play. Those of you with some knowledge of music theory will appreciate this because a scale can also be played as a series of chords, but not all the same chord, each degree of the scale has a chord that fits into the key.

This map also has a root note setting, so you can set up the note map in the key you're using or use the same map in a different key.

This feature lets your static chord generator bust out of it's confines and become way more interesting and musical.

Adding Your Own Chords

It is possible to edit the plugin and add your own chords to the devuce. This needs to happen in the Max patch editor, take a look at this video which explains how this can be done:

"AL9" stands for Alchemical 9, which is my artist name, head over to my Bandcamp page if you want to hear some of my music.

Version 1.1 fixes a couple of bugs:
* chordmap not initializing
* strum scrambled with voicings 2-4

Version 1.2 fixes some bugs:
* dropped notes when using strum
* "Add Octave" and "Spray" didn't look right in automation

Version 1.3 adds another chord voice so that extended chords like 11ths can be fully voiced.

Version 1.4 makes it easier to add custom chords.

Take a look at this video, it shows you how to add custom chords:


Live Version Used: 11.3.22
Max Version Used: 8.6.0
Date Added: Mar 20 2024 03:59:01
Date Last Updated: Apr 19 2024 17:37:06
Downloads: 4

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License: AttributionNonCommercialNoDerivatives
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Device File: Al9 Chordmaker.amxd


Will you put a video demo to see what it looks like?
That's a good idea., I want to do that this week.
For those who are wondering about compatibility, I have only tested this device on Live 11, I don't know about Live 10 or 12.
The list of chords available seems quite short? Does it have M11 chords? The ability to add custom chords with specific voicings would be a great feature!
Just bought it, 11th chords are there OK.

Wish I could assign a chord with any root note to any key e.g. C D E F G A B would trigger Cm, C, F#7, Dm, A, Asus etc. Or trigger those same chords with with C, C#, D, D# etc.

This way I could program in a song and play it with one finger. Custom voicings to match the original songwriter voicing would be good too.
So, yes, the number of chords is limited, I tried to get the most common ones in there without the list getting too long and breaking the UI.

It is possible to add your own custom chords, this video I just posted explains how. You will need to be using the 1.4 (or later) version of the device for this.
I like your suggestion about the chord map. I tried to keep it simple, but adding the ability to set the root and inversion for each key would be nice. This has been on my list of enhancements to add if people were interested.

The voicings are generated algorithmically, there are just WAY too many possibilities there to do it on a per-chord basis. The downside is that it doesn't work that well for extended chords and tends to make them more dissonant. I should probably work on that.
Very nice!
I am getting an odd behavior when in Chord Map mode, switching from one note to another. The first note I play using a different triggering note will play just that ONE new note (one time), then play the chord. I hope that makes sense.
@GiantEar: Can you say a little more about the conditions that produce this issue? Does it happen every time, or just sometimes...does it matter what device the chordmaker is playing? Does it matter what chord it is supposed to play?

I'm not running into this problem, and I'm not sure what would cause this, although it sounds like the device isn't switching in the new set of notes fast enough. I'd like to see if we can fix this.
After some more testing in Chord Map mode:
Same on various instruments. I’m getting consistent behavior, every time, but only when:
Using inversions 2 or 3.
If one of the chords being triggered is set to “none”.

A little clarification on the behavior:
I play four consecutive (triggering) notes on C3, then four consecutive notes on D3.
In the Chord Map, C is set to “none”, and D is set to “maj” (or any chord).
The first time I play my D trigger (note 5 of 8) it plays only one pitch, D4. Then the rest of the three notes play the inverted chord.

Please let me know if I can make this clearer, I’m not sure how to explain this. Thanks for your interest in fixing this.
[update] It happens when using any inversions, 1, 2, or 3.
@GiantEar thanks that's helpful, I'll look into this.
@GiantEar I'm sorry to say I haven't been able to duplicate the problem, so I don't know how to solve it.
Well, thanks for trying.
So now I'll just float this idea by you.
Currently I cannot get the new inversion until I release my note and play a new one. It would be nice if we could change the inversion setting while holding the trigger note.
Chordial MIDI 1.0 does this.
This is an interesting request, but I don't understand, how can it change the notes that are already playing?

The way this device works, the chord is generated when a note is played, a different chord can't happen until another note is played.
With Chordial you can hold a chord then change the inversion setting which changes the notes right then. With a knob mapped to the inversions it's great to be able to twist the knob and get new notes. Especially if the chord is going into an arpeggiator.

How Chordial accomplishes this, I have no idea. I'm not a builder of these magic devices.
I guess I'll have to check that out, thanks.

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