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This Free Ableton 11 Rack Writes Chords For You: PML Chord Generator

This second version of our free chord generator creates amazing chord progressions with a few clicks. All you need is to give it the root note and it’s going to do the rest. It always stays within your scale and plays advanced extensions for you. In this way you can easily create unexpected, elaborate progressions.

Download Chord Generator

In this article I go over what it can do. 

It still has basic functionalities:

  • Major and Minor scales
  • Drop Bass and Rootless functions
  • 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th extensions
  • Lowering extensions by an octave

6 NEW FUNCTIONS: (With Live 11’s updated Macro section)

  • “MODES” selector: Now the chord generator allows you to play six modes with one knob: Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian.
  • “SUS2 / SUS4” selector: You can now play Sus2 and Sus4 chords.
  • “Double Root” selector: You can now double the root above to create fuller chords.
  • Separate “Drop” and “Invert” controls for each extension to create complex inversions
  • “Raise 3rd” and “Raise 5th” controls to extend the basic triad into fuller shapes.
  • Built-in Velocity and Pitch controls for better dynamics and even more scales.

Let’s go over each knob. If you get lost at any point, information about each control is included in the Live’s Info View (accessible from the bottom left corner).

Major/Minor switch

This chord generator works with the white keys only. By default, it plays the C Major and C Minor scales. When you select a value over 64, it automatically transforms the C Major into C Minor scale. You still need to only press white keys - it lowers and raises notes for you automatically. For instance - when you play the E note in the C Minor scale, it is going to play the E Flat chord - the third degree of the C Minor scale.


Bear in mind that you don’t even need to switch this control - C Major chords are at the same time A Minor chords, so you can just start writing your chords with A as the tonic :)

Drop Bass switch

Doubles the root as a bass note below the chord. 

At 0 it’s OFF and at any other value it’s ON (applicable to other switches as well).

Double Root switch

Doubles the root above the basic triad:

Rootless switch

Skips the root of the chord:

7th and 9th extension switches

They play the 7th and 9th extensions:

“Drop 7th / Invert” and “Drop 9th / Invert” knobs

These controls are placed below the 7th and 9th switches.

At 0 they are OFF.

Between 1 and 64 they lower the extension by an octave.

Above 64 they raise the extension by an octave.

“11th / Drop” and “13th / Drop” knobs

These controls allow you to add the 11th and 13th extensions between 1 and 64. Above, they lower the extension by an octave. At 0 they are OFF.

Velocity and Pitch

The Velocity knob is off at 0 - allows you to add your own MIDI velocity, or play a dynamic keyboard. Above that it gives you a stable velocity value for all chords.

The Pitch knob allows you to shift the key of the generator by semitones. For instance when we use “-3 st” we’re pitching the generator three semitones down from C - which results in A. The notes you need to play are still the same - it’s white keys from C. 

“Major Modes” Control

This knob allows you to shift the mode of your scale. Here are the values for each scale (available in Info View at any time):

Ionian Mode: [1-20]

Dorian Mode: [21-41]

Phrygian Mode: [42-62]

Lydian Mode: [63-83]

Mixolydian Mode: [84-105]

Aeolian Mode: [106-127]

At the time it’s only possible to use this control when the Major/Minor switch is set to Major.

Check out our article about modes: Musical Modes and Their Emotions & Characteristics (for EDM)

“Sus2 / Sus4” switch

This one is simple - between 1 and 64 it changes your chord into Sus2 (suspended third and added second). Above it’s Sus4 (suspended third and added fourth).

“Raise 3rd” and “Raise 5th” switches

These knobs allow you to raise the third or fifth of your chord in order to create fuller shapes without the flavour of inversions.


You can always automate all parameters in order to create advanced shapes.

 

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