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Prime symbol at chord names in Liquid Notes, and differences to Chord Track in Cubase

With Steinberg having released Cubase 8 some days ago, a few of you have asked what the difference between the Chord Track function in Cubase and Liquid Notes is. Notably, there's been other people inquiring about the symbol (') sometimes added to chords in Liquid Notes for reharmonization.

Here is an attempt to shed more light on both topics.


Prime symbol (') for marking chords in Liquid Notes

In music theory, the prime symbol (') is used to distinguish between different sets of chord tensions for the same base chord. This may happen when the harmonic analysis of Liquid Notes detects that different scales are appropriate to be used to derive chord substitutions at certain places in your arrangement.

These different scales will produce different sets of substitutions. The prime symbol (') indicates the use of a different scale which has the same base chord as another entry in the substitution drop-down list. The base chords of those sets will sound the same, though the tensions will be different.

Find more information in this article in the FAQs of Liquid Notes.


Differences between Chord Track in Cubase and Liquid Notes

Chord Track is a feature that was introduced in Cubase 7 a little more than 1.5 years ago. The capabilities of the feature have been expanded in the recent release of Cubase 8 of some days ago.

The bottom line remains, it enables you to create chord successions from scratch by choosing chords from a list and placing them on a single MIDI track. New in Cubase 8 is that you can now also use a circle of fifths to better understand the proximity (aka, relationships) between chords, and similar as in Liquid Notes you can change multiple parameters of a chord in real-time through the main controls of the chord pads.

However, with Cubase not coming with a harmonic analysis it cannot detect the harmonic structure of your arrangement, and hence is unable to assist you with reharmonization. Each substitution of a chord needs to be done manually in Cubase, which may cost you significant time - it's a simple mouse click only in Liquid Notes.

Here is more information in an FAQ, too.

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