Editing Harmony (Progressions)

Video Tutorial

Harmony is a powerful parameter with unique editing options. This section is about the things that are different with this parameter. For general parameter editing, please refer to the section Phrase Editor.

Chord Selection:
  • Click to select a chord.

  • Click on another chord while holding down Shift to extend a selection.

  • Click into the gap between two chords to paste something in between them.

  • Drag at the right edge of a chord to change its length. Hold down Control if you want to make room while stretching or close the gap while shrinking.

  • Use Arrow Keys to move or extend a selection like you would do in a word processor.

Span Selection: Select and edit arbitrary spans independently.
Drag a selection to move it. Hold down Alt to copy. You can drop it also on any Harmony outlet, Container or Phrase.
Drop a chord from a Palette to insert.
Drop a (partial) Progression from elsewhere to replace, or hold down Control to insert.


Each context shows a background color that hints at the Relation Key, using the colors also seen on the Circle Of Fifths. With a little getting used to, this can help you see at a glance what's going on in a progression, especially where the scale material changes more dramatically.

Tip: To clean up a progression with excessively many different colors (which is not a good sign in most cases), do a Transform > Estimate Key, Relations and Scales. Using the Alternative option for Scale Selection Preferences often smoothes out the edges very well.

Pace & Rhythm

The pace and rhythm of chord changes is an important factor. A change at every measure can be boring. A change at every quarter note is often too fast to be noticeable and will muddy the overall experience. A good place to start is a change every two quarter notes, or roughly in the middle of a measure. It keeps harmony moving and is slow enough for instruments to pick up enough notes to make a chord noticeable.

Tip: Try a progression at half or double speed (by stretching it) to find the pace that best matches your song. Also try different durations for each chord.
Tip: You need not nudge the onset of a chord change to the left in order to meet an instrument's rhythm. Instead, adjust the Look Ahead setting of the Interpretation parameter.

Inspector Tabs

Edit all components of the selected Harmonic Context (hover over widgets for help).

The metric scheme edited here is saved to the Harmony parameter of the current container. The length of the progression is automatically calculated based on your input.

A certain column layout results from applying the metric scheme, which breaks the progression down into rows. Use the Transform > Column menu to split or cleanup the columns where needed.

Use the Transform > Layer menu to create or remove layers that you can select on the Layer tabs at the top and edit here.
Scale Selection Preferences
These preferences are used when you do Transform > Estimate Key, Relations and Scales or by pressing the Estimate button.

Details Shown

On the View menu, you can hide or show individual components of a harmonic context to show up in the progression or not. There is only limited space, so not all components can be shown at the same time.

Transform Menu

Estimate Key, Relations and Scales ...
Apply key detection and scale selection to the current selection according to current Scale Selection Preferences.
Estimate Scales Only
Apply only automatic scale selection according to current Scale Selection Preferences.
Replace Key ...
Set a specific key for all selected contexts.
Replace Relation ...
Set a specific relation for all selected contexts.
Automatic Bass
Reset bass to automatic selection.
Bass: Prime (Root), 2nd, … 9th
Demand a specific bass interval.
Toggle Alignment
Enable or disable pitch alignment between chords.
Reset Hints
Remove all hints regarding inversion, voicing and alignment.
Jazz Up / Down
Add or remove chord extensions.
Transpose current selection to absolute pitches or by a relative amount.
Split or cleanup the column grid of the progression according to the metric scheme.
Add or remove polytonal layers.
Reverses all chords as if a tape was played in opposite direction.
Reverse Values
Reverses the ordering of chords, but keeps transition positions unchanged.
Experimental inversion of harmony.
Drop Repetitions
Removes repeated contexts, provided all their components are equal.
Open Suitable Palette ...
Open a Palette on the current key (or: Scale Set).


The standalone Progression Editor window allows for multiple progressions to be saved under different section names. Use the Section menu to add, select, rename or remove sections of a file.

Tip: Don't use the sections for collecting progressions. A Library is a much better tool for the task.

Controlling Inversion, Voicing and Octave

Harmony provides the rules for all instruments. Each instrument may interpret them in different ways. What you hear in the progression editor is how the global instrument Chords interprets them. In order to control inversion, voicing and pitch range for a phrase in your arrangement, you need to edit its Figure and Interpretation parameters.

  1. Draw chords with Chord type symbols by dragging a vertical line with the Line tool.

  2. Transpose symbols up or down to control inversion.

  3. Edit the properties of a Figure segment on the Parameter Inspector to control voicing, bass and alignment with the previous chord.
  4. Edit the middle Playing Range of the instrument to control the general pitch range, e.g. the octave.

Combining Multiple Progressions

Unlike audio or static MIDI clips, the Harmony parameter can be easily transposed in order to work in every key. Just transpose a progression (or a part of it) up or down until the global key setting matches the key you need. Once they are transposed into key, partial progressions can be combined freely.