chordbot — a songwriter’s sketchbook for android and ios

I do want to make one last seq24 video, covering MIDI routing and the JACK transport, but I haven’t found the time yet. I haven’t been completely slack, though — I’ve been working on a track, and once I have a starting point on paper, and an idea of the finished product in my head, I find it hard to focus on anything else.

It’s in that mindset that I stumbled across Chordbot, and Android (and iOS) app that I installed on my phone weeks ago, but neglected to try at the time. I’m glad I waited, though, because right now it’s really proving its usefulness as a mobile sketchbook for songwriting.

Chordbot describes itself as an auto-accompanyment app; it lets you build chord progressions, which it can play back to you in any of several dozen different musical styles. I’m not sure if I’d actually use it to accompany a performance, but for sketching out chord progressions on the go, it’s brilliant. Entering chords is a very simple process, and the selection of chords is it can play is quite comprehensive — you can enter just about any chord imaginable, including slash chords.

Chordbot's UI; chords play from top to bottom

The list of available performance styles is quite long, too — there’s a few dozen on offer, from solo piano and guitar (with several variations of each) through to different keyboard and synth sounds, many of which add bass and drums. Again, I don’t think I’d rock up to a gig and plug in my phone, but the sounds and arrangements are surprisingly good, and if you’re sketching out an idea, you’re bound to find something indicative of the feel you’re after. If you’re come up with something you’re happy with, you can export it as a WAV or MIDI file, ready to import in to your DAW.

Chordbot is on Android Market and the Apple App Store for about $5, which isn’t super-cheap, but I think it’s well worth it. There’s also a free version — it lacks export features, and includes only a few performance styles, but it’s more than enough to see if it’s useful for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *