The Chords

The Chord Selection

  • Each of the 12 Key Instruments in FingerpickPro has 36 chords. You can find out which chords are in each instrument by referring to the Keyswitch Chart* for that Instrument, which tells you which key to press/trigger to select each chord.
  • Please note that the Sharp Instruments, i.e. the Key of C#, D#, F#, G# and A# instruments, are arranged as if you are playing the C, D, F, G and A instruments with a capo on the first fret. So all the chord voicings are the same (though up one fret) and you simply use the C, D, F, G and A Keyswitch Charts and Chord Charts.
  • The chords in each Key Instrument correspond to each other, so that for example, the II minor chord, or the IV sus4 chord will have the same keyswitch key regardless of which Key Instrument you are using. This means you can create a midi file in one instrument (not including the Chromatic Keys layout) and it will 'transpose' to any other instrument.
  • The Keyswitch Charts include one which uses the Roman Numeral System of chord reference so that if you are familiar with that you can just use the one chart for all the Key Instruments. There are some different conventions on the use of Roman numerals for chords, so the chart included here simply uses upper case for all chords.
  • Most of the selected chords are those that 'belong' to the particular key, that is, they only include notes that are natural to that key. However, there is also a selection of chords that include notes that are 'accidental' to that key.
  • You can also use chords from any other Key Instrument by loading another Key Instrument into a second track in your DAW, and using them to fill in the spaces where you want to use them. If you do this, however, you need to be mindful that the Hammer-On and Pull-Off notes will not necessarily belong to the key of the piece you are composing.
  • You will find that the highest of the three octaves of keyswitches (from C0 - B0) includes the most commonly used chords in that key, that is, the I, IV and V major chords, the II, III and VI minor and minor seventh chords, and the V7 chord.
  • When you select a Keyswitch, the name of the chord is displayed on the Sforzando GUI beside the line that says K-SWITCH:, for example K-SWITCH: 12 Asus4. In the Sharp instruments, the same chord name is used, but after it will be (Capo 1). So in the Key of A# Instrument the Asus4 chord will appear as K-SWITCH: 12 Asus4 (Capo 1). Note that the number before the chord name is the MIDI note number of the key used for the keyswitch, in this case 12 is the midi note number for the C-1 key on the keyboard.

    *The Chord Charts and Keyswitch Charts also serve for the Sharp Key Instruments because the exact same keyswitch layout and chord voicings are used, but as if played with a capo on the first fret.

The Chord Voicings

  • One chord voicing has been chosen for each chord, and they are all in the open string/lower frets position. In most cases they are the most commonly played basic voicings of the chord. A Chord Chart is provided for each Key Instrument so you know exactly what notes are mapped to the String Keys.
  • You will also be able to work out from that what the Hammer-On and Pull-Off notes are. Apart from some possible rare exceptions, the Hammer-On note is the next scale note at least two semitones below the chord note on the relevant string. And the Pull-Off note will be the next scale note at least two semitones above the chord note.

Implications of the Auto-Bass Notes

  • The chord voicings also take into account the requirements of the Auto-Bass Notes system. That system is explained on the Auto-Bass Keys page, but we need to note here the implications for the chord voicings.
  • Where at all possible a chord voicing has been chosen that makes possible a root note/fifth note combination on the 6th and 5th strings, and another on the 5th and 4th strings.
  • This means that some of the chord voicings would be a bit different from the simplest ordinary chord voicing. In some cases this has also meant assigning notes to the Auto-Bass Notes keys that are not in the six String Key notes.

The Playability of the Chord Voicings

  • Wherever possible the selected chord voicings are literally playable on a real guitar, however there are some caveats to that.
  • Every chord uses all six strings. This is to ensure that the All-Chord Midi File system will always play something, and not leave any blank notes. It is also done so that any of the six strings can be chosen at any time, since the notes mapped to the String Keys are those that can potentially be played. You don't have to play them all.
  • Now it is common for many chords to have only four or five strings in their most common basic form. But they could also be played differently. Having all six strings always available to play a chord note gives you more options. It's up to you how you use them.
  • If you are composing an arrangement and you want to make sure it is literally playable, including for beginners, say, then you need to refer to the chord charts and make your own judgements on this.

Higher Chord Voicings

  • The chord charts show the standard chord voicings, however, it is possible to create higher chords by using the Extra Notes. The keyboard layout includes six String Keys which correspond to the six strings of the guitar using the chord notes from the standard chords - as shown in the Chord Charts.
  • However, it also includes two Extra Notes which can be thought of like two extra String Keys. This is not in the sense of having an eight string guitar, but rather, that instead of using the two string keys normally used for the 6th and 5th strings, you 'shift everything up' so that the note on the 4th string (or the 5th string) becomes the 6th string. For example, say you were playing the C major chord, by using the extra notes you could play a voicing that was the pitch equivalent of 6th string = E (12th fret), 5th string = G (10th fret), 4th string= C (10th fret), 3rd string = E (9th fret), 2nd string = G (8th fret) and 1st string = C (8th fret).
  • In a similar way you can use any selection of the 8 'string keys' to create different chord voicings. No attempt is made in the documentation to profile these.

Chords Using the Chromatic Keys

  • As well as the chords provided through the Keyswitch system, you can use the Chromatic Keys (C5 - G8) to create any chord you like. Of course these will not adjust like the keyswitch chords, but it does make possible any chord that is not provided for there.

Chord Names

  • Just a note about chord names. You are probably aware that it is common in naming chords to show a chord voicing with the lowest note being the root note of the chord, so a C major chord in the open position would show the lowest note as the third fret on the 5th string. If the G note on the sixth string, third fret was included it would be shown as C/G, (‘C slash G’) meaning that the lowest note to be included when playing the chord is to be, not the root note, but the G.
  • The chord charts provided with FingerpickPro make no distinctions like this. All chords are shown with notes on all six strings. This is to show the layout of notes ‘mapped’ to the String Keys. So the chord charts show all the possible chord notes you could play for that chord voicing. On any given occasion you might play any selection of these six notes – that is up to you.
  • Each Key Instrument includes a Diminished and a Half Diminished Chord. The Half Diminished chord is here given its other name m7b5 (minor seven flat five).

A Note about the Samples

  • FingerpickPro is not designed to provide separate samples for every fret on every string. So there is only one sample-set (i.e. set of round robin samples) from one string-fret for each note on the guitar. The chords are then made up of these notes, and the fact that there are chord charts representing a particular voicing of each chord does not imply that the samples are of notes sampled in every case from each specific string-fret position, though in practice they mostly will be.
  • For example, the samples for the B note on the open second string are indeed of that string and fret, but if you come across a chord voicing where that B note is represented on the third string it will still trigger that same sample from the second string. The detail of the chord voicings is provided for musical reasons rather than as a reference to samples.

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