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Written by Omari
A great song consists of many elements that go seamlessly together: lyrics, melody, rhythm, hook, arrangement, and more. And arguably, the foundation of any good song is the chord progressions. If you come up with a good group of chords, you can easily build the rest of the song over it.
Unfortunately, no matter how much experience you have as a songwriter, looking for chords that go together can be a frustrating process. AI chord progression generators might be just what you need.
In this guide, we look at some of the best chord progression generators for guitar, piano, VST, and more. Stay tuned to learn which ones will suit your needs best.
Scaler 2 is a full-feature music theory workstation with a wide range of composition-aiding tools that are great for beginners and experienced composers.
The plugin allows you to load preset progressions and detect, build, and edit your own chord sets. It features a powerful MIDI/audio detection software that detects the scale and key used and makes chord suggestions compatible with your existing chord progressions.
Scaler 2 promotes an intuitive chord creation journey with its 400 song- and genre-based chord sets and 200+ artist chord sets. The Edit Mode on Scaler 2 enables adjustments in length, inversion, velocity, octave, timing, and other parameters per chord.
And best of all, its interface is one of the more beginner-friendly ones on this list.
Scaler 2 is easily one of the best tools for composing an original chord progression. It’s also an excellent tool for anyone stuck with the process and is in need of inspiration.
Forager is great for expert musicians and beginners. Its best use is for generating unique and creative chord progressions.
The plugins are usable with any sound type (instruments and synths) and compatible with most DAWs. However, there are no pre-built packs or MIDI patterns, so it's the perfect plugin for chord progression generator piano.
Forager works by scale while users work with a list of possible chord combinations. There’s also a Loose Matches feature where you can use chords off the scale (up to four notes off). Both features allow for greater personalization and innovation in the process.
The interface is simplistic and intuitive, so you can get to writing without studying the software too much.
Chordjam has a unique process: it is a scale-based chord generator that randomizes full chords with a single key. Users can set transposition, velocity, and time delay range along with voicing parameters. It also comes with chord progression and pattern presets.
Chordjam also features a sequencer engine that decides how those chords are played.
Once complete, you can store the plugin as a MIDI effect or drag and modify it further in your DAW.
Overall, Chordjam makes one of the best contenders for chord progression generators that will help you get out of a musical rut.
Chordprism is an excellent melody writer and chord generator in one, a great option if you’re looking for chord progression generator piano. It is especially helpful if your skills with instruments are lacking.
It produces a full chord based on the scale selected and the note played. It also comes with a wide range of genre-based presets.
With its Editor tool, you can create inversion, voicing, extended/altered chords, and adjust notes for each chord. The Step Sequencer function enables you to apply rhythmic patterns.
The Smart Scale section assigns scale notes over the white notes on the keyboard. An additional benefit is the Multi Arp feature that creates arpeggios for your chosen chords, further reducing the effort of coming up with something from scratch.
Once you’re done, you can simply drag and drop to export MIDI notes for an instrument track into your DAW.
Chordprism also supports multi-instrument performances—you can assign specific roles for each instance.
Chord progression generators offering this level of performance are best suited for professional harmony and melody-related work.
Chordz is the best choice for a free chord progression generator VST. It is also a valuable free chord progression generator piano.
It only requires single-note inputs and triggers full chords. The plugin accepts custom templates, allows edits to existing ones, and comes with a library of 50 chord types and 40 scale/chord templates.
Chordz enables velocity scaling and randomization for every note of the chord.
Playing complex chord progressions is also easy with a single finger on a MID keyboard or drum pad. Alternatively, you can trigger full chords by assigning them to a single note on the piano roll.
The interface is one of the easiest ones to navigate on this list. If you're looking for a free tool to practice music theory and composition, then Chordz is the best choice for you.
Captain Chords is one of the best chord generator VST plugins with which to learn and develop your composing skills. It is a part of the Captain Plugins series from Mixed in Key.
Captain Chords comes with a built-in piano roll—it is one of the more sophisticated features you'll see on this list. It's the most helpful tool for users who wish to create chord progressions step-by-step.
It makes assembling MIDI chord progressions a fun activity. Its library of 100 rhythms and 249 built-in sounds is a great starting point to give shape to your song ideas.
While it does allow progression customization and comes with rhythm presets, it doesn't offer much flexibility for individual chords. There's no note editing, either. However, Mixed in Key has other plugins that cover these missing features.
Another valuable feature of the plugin is that it can identify anything playing on a MIDI controller. It also has a strum option that plays back notes like a guitar.
The interface is easy to adapt to and relatively fuss-free. The MIDI exporting process is done through simple drag-and-drop.
Captain Chords won't disappoint users when it comes to its basic functionality—it packs quite an impressive package of features. However, without the complete plugins, it's not the best deal.
If you’re looking for chord progression generators that you can use without delving into any music theory, then Auto Chord might be perfect for you.
It helps you write chord progressions for piano and guitar by simply adding the key you want. You get the main progression and alternative progressions that will sound good with your main and can be used to mix a new chorus or bridge.
The program even allows you to switch the progression’s tempo with the click of a button.
The interface is barebone and easiest in chord progression generators for beginners.
It’s a good chord progression generator to get inspiration when writing music or practicing composing. You can also use it to hear how your progressions might sound on a particular instrument.
InstaChord 2 is a chord progression generator VST with a full-fledged chord creator and mini-sequencer. It comes with 60 chord shapes and multiple voicings and allows you to customize your own.
To generate a progression, you only need to select one key.
The MIDI processing plugin also features a new AI-powered chord sequencing tool and pattern generation features. These make pattern creation and sequencing quite similar to how you would do it on your DAW.
The presets for chord sequences and patterns are also great if you’re looking for new ideas.
The new update also has a Pattern Editor that gives you control of strums and chord playback along with the time signature, play mode, velocity, and some creative editing controls for strum programming.
InstaChord 2 has top-notch functionalities for those who have experience and practice in music-making and would like to improve their skills.
Another tool from Audiomodern to make it to our list is the creative MIDI sequencer, Riffer.
Riffer is one of the few tools loaded with features to generate randomized riffs and compose patterns. It generates full chords with a single note that can be modified by combining pitch, velocity, density, and duration.
You can lock the parameters you like while experimenting with everything else. You can also save your scales and patterns and transfer MIDI to any software, hardware, or device.
It has 53 scales from western to eastern, motion settings, sequence range customizations, and more. Its advanced MIDI connectivity allows you to feed it anything that accepts MIDI.
The latest version’s Polyphonic Mode can generate notes with up to 4 notes playing at once.
Riffer is quite a lightweight plugin, but it can easily take the top spot in terms of features. It is one of the most reliable programs you can trust to deliver quick, high-quality results.
Chord progressions make up the skeleton of a great song—they have the power to uplift your work and take it to the next level. With these tools in your arsenal, creating chord progressions will become a cakewalk.
For more tips on songwriting, chord progressions, music making, and marketing, check out the complete Omar MC blog.
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© 2023 Omari MC, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
© 2023 Omari MC, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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