Written by Roland Trimmel | Categories: Getting Started
Today marks the start of a new category on our blog: "Getting Started". This category will feature articles and videos that serve as an easy entry point for working with Liquid Notes. The first video in this series is an introduction to the general musical functionalities of Liquid Notes.
Over the next weeks, more videos will be added to our YouTube channel. It is our aim to give you the best possible start with Liquid Notes. We regard videos as a method of communication that fulfills this task best.
A general overview of Liquid Notes
There are a lot of things we have packed into Liquid Notes. Yet, a minimalistic interface requires some explanations for you to get a better sense of the potential of our intelligent music production tool. Most of that is not visible to you directly on-screen.
Most importantly, Liquid Notes is built on complex algorithms ("artificial intelligence") that perform a deep harmonic analysis of your song. That enables it to read a song like a professional composer would go about it. And consequently, it is capable to assist with altering the harmonic movement of your arrangement.
Let's take a step back, though, and take a look at the welcome screen first.
The Welcome Screen in Liquid Notes
There's an area marked by the Liquid Notes logo into which you can drag and drop a file. And there are quick access links to demo music files for your sequencer, plus a link "Click here to start". The latter opens a demo song, performing above-mentioned harmony analysis, and opens the Quick Guide that gives an overview of the main functions of Liquid Notes in less than five minutes.
We recommend reading the Quick Guide!
The User Interface and its main control elements
Liquid Notes comes with a new and clean interface that takes the complexity out of changing harmonic movement in your arrangement. Any song is displayed as a succession of various chords, with each chord being represented by a chord region (rectangle areas) for which the chord symbol is displayed on the upper end of that region. A color code from green to red indicates the degree of tension - the degree of dissonance - of that particular chord.
No instruments are displayed on the screen, however you may find their names and routing information under settings.
Each chord has a controller that remains visible if the zoom level is high enough. This is a multi-function controller: you can slide it up and down, turn it, and click it. Executing any of these actions results in a short acoustic preview of the altered new chord.
Moving the controller up or down substitutes the chord for all instrumental tracks, with more unconventional chords available at the upper end of the chord region and more conventional chords at the lower end of it. Check the upper end of the chord region for the symbol of the new chord, which is indicated immediately.
Narrow gray areas indicate where to find chords which most likely sound best. Sliding controllers within these areas changes chords, but the respective scale remains the same for these chords. Think of these areas as "musically safe".
As chords are interconnected in the harmonic context, a substitution of a chord may change the position of the controller of a successor chord. The successor chord hasn't changed, though. Its shift is merely indicating that its conventionality in the context of the harmonic progression has resulted in a different display position on-screen. More musically conventional chords have become available for selection at the lower end of the chord region.
Liquid Notes uses a relative layout to display available chords. Any shift of a controller recalculates the harmonic context of your song immediately and provides a new set of available chords that fit the new harmonic context.
Turning controllers adds tension to your chords, i.e. adding extra notes to chords for a higher degree of dissonance and more color. To activate this feature hold down the Alt key (or select the tension selector button), move the mouse cursor over a controller, click on it, and move it up or down while holding it. Any alteration of the tension changes the chord symbol as well as the color code associated with that chord.
In case you’re not happy with the result of a particular reharmonization, double-clicking on the respective controller to recalculate that particular chord will most likely solve the problem.
Switching between entirely different sets of chord substitutions creates new musical effects and is done with the buttons T, S, and D. They represent chord functions, with T for tonic, S for subdominant, and D for dominant - the scale steps I, IV, and V of a basic cadence. When you change the function, you get a strong effect of tension and release to the harmonic movement of your song.
Clicking on the reset button restores the original instrumental arrangement within the respective chord region. This is done on a chord by chord basis.
More videos on the Liquid Notes YouTube channel!
We’ll add more videos to our YouTube channel over the next days and weeks. Already today, you can find a number of tutorials there that provide examples about how to use Liquid Notes best.
Do you have feedback for us? Comment on this article here, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.