In version 3.0 the Idea Tool was redesigned to be more flexible. Now it supports different workflows and several ways to generate the master track chords. In addition individual tracks can be generated, or just the master track chords.

Overview (click for larger screenshot)

Entering Idea Editing Mode

Click on the editing mode menu, and select 'Idea Tool':

RapidComposer’s Idea Tool can easily create a new composition with the following: a random or key-specific or rule-based Chord Progression, any number of Phrases or Phrase generators arranged in a fixed or random pattern, with optional rhythm patterns and phrase variations… in basically seconds!

Workflow

Three different types of workflow are offered:

  • Generate Master Track And Independent Tracks
    All tracks are independent, and the master track is created first
  • Use Existing Melody Track '…' Then Harmonize Melody Then Render Other Tracks
    There is a dedicated melody track with an existing melody in it. First the melody is harmonized to set up the master track chords, then all other tracks are generated. The melody track is untouched.
  • Generate Melody Track '…' Then Harmonize Melody Then Render Other Tracks
    A melody track is generated first based on the current master track. Then the new melody is harmonized which will possibly result slightly different chords on the master track. All other tracks are generated afterwards.

Master Track Options

There are several methods to choose from to add chords to the master track:

  • Select scale and (relative) random progression from browser for that scale
    Provide a scale, and the program will find a progression for that scale
  • Select scale and choose from specified list of (relative) progressions randomly
    Provide a scale and a list of possible progressions of which one is selected randomly
  • Select scale and generate progression based on rule
    Provide a scale and a chord progression rule, and a new progression is generated. Chord count and diversity (from expected to unexpected) can be selected.
  • Select from specified progressions with absolute chords, then find a scale
    The program will choose one of the provided progressions, and finds a suitable scale for it
  • Select random progression with absolute chords, then find a scale
    Same as the previous option, but any 'absolute' progression can be used from the browser

Additional Chord Options:

  • Use roman numerals for chords
    Roman numerals will be displayed for chord degrees instead of note names
  • Automatically transpose and invert chords for optimal voice leading
    Apply 'Chord Magnet' which guarantees smooth voice leading. Use with care because it affects all tracks. Typically voice leading is handled in tracks.

Track Options

The only mandatory input for creating a track is adding a few phrases in the 'Phrases' list.

You can add one or more phrases or phrase generators, or even many. Clicking inside the 'Phrases' list will open the Phrase library where you can drag and drop phrases in the list, or pressing the 'Add Selection' button will add the selected phrases from the library.

It is important to set the actual number of phrases that will be used from this list. Click on the 'Use:' menu, and make your choice (1 to 4). The arrangement menu is set up based on your choice in the 'Use' menu. It offers various ways phrases can be arranged. E.g. if you plan to use 2 phrases (A and B), you can choose from ABAB…, AAAB, AABA, AABB, etc, but for 4 phrases used patterns like ABCD, ABACAD, AABBCD, etc is offered.

Optional Track Settings

You can provide rhythm patterns to use in the 'Rhythm Patterns' list:

The rhythm patterns in the list will be used for the phrases. For phrase generators, the rhythm is used the original rhythm, ignoring any rhythm generators. For ordinary phrases the rhythm patterns will be applied to the phrase using the 'Apply Rhythm' variation.

It is possible to add variations to phrases. Variations are transformations applied to one of more phrases. They may add or remove notes, change the timing or rhythm of notes, mirror the phrase, add chord notes or a fixed interval, the possibilities are endless. RapidComposer users come up with interesting new ideas from time to time, so the list is growing.

The 'Variations/Phrase' slider controls the average number of variations applied to a phrase. 0.5 means every second phrase will have a variation, 1.0 means every phrase has exactly one variation, 2.0 means every phrase will have 2 variations, etc.

Load/Save/Copy/Paste Track Settings

You can copy and paste track settings if you click on the transfer icon

You can choose from the following menu:

Generating Tracks!

Finally after you decided your workflow, added tracks and set instruments for them, and when you set up how the master track chords are filled, a dropped a few phrases in the phrase list, you are ready to make a composition, just press the 'Generate' button:

If you are not satisfied with a single track, you can regenerate the track only, by pressing the red lightning icon in the track header:

You can exclude any tracks from the idea tool by click on the blue lightbulb icon:

Possibilities of Idea Tool

The Idea Tool can easily be used to great effect for electronic and dance-based music. Set your tempo to something medium-fast or above that (anything between 130 and 180 usually work pretty well for most electronic styles), pick some common dance-type chords (usually the vi-IV is a common chord sequence, such as Am to F in the key of C major)… and use some of your favorite VSTs that do the sound of dance music well and just experiment!

You can get a lot of good results when RC is a VST inside your favorite DAW, too… as you’ll be able to run RC right alongside some audio drumloops, or a sequenced beat you made…. to easily come up with some synth melodies or dancestyle chord rhythms.

(Dance Music/Techno Phrase Editing Hint:)

  1. Drop a Generic Generator onto a track, right-click it to bring up the Phrase Inspector window.
  2. Change the Rhythm Type to Subdivision and increase the number of Subdivisions
  3. Slide the “Full Polyphony” slider a bit to the right
  4. Hit “Generate“ then Apply” and voila… a nice-sounding dance rhythm over your favorite chord sequence!

The possibilities are truly endless with RapidComposer, and especially the Idea Tool.