LIQUID MUSIC USER MANUAL
Refers to raised notes (sharps) and lowered notes (flats) who are not a member of the scale.
Arpeggiator / Arpeggio
An arpeggio is a type of staggered–or broken–chord that rises and falls in a given fashion. If you have a sibling or friend who practices the piano, you’ve definitely heard these being played.
An arpeggiator is a type of MIDI effect that generates an arpeggio pattern.
A musical performance technique that affects how a note is attacked, sustained, and how a note transitions to another note.
Bar / Measure
A bar of music is a segment of time comprised of a specified number of beats. In Liquid Music, all bars are a whole note in length. This is the same as two half notes, four quarters, eight eighths, and so on.
A chord is any set of three or more pitches played harmonically (that is, at the same time). Actually, the notes don’t need to be played simultaneously and many people would consider two-note pairings–like power chords and dyads–totally acceptable as chords. The most basic form of a chord is a triad.
Unlike a chord tone, a chord degree is a (somewhat) colloquial term used to identify any note in a modern chord. For example, the 7th chord degree in Cmaj7 is B (C-E-G-B).
In Liquid Music, a chord modifier is any note added to a chord that isn’t part of the fundamental triad. So, anything beyond the Root, 3rd, and 5th of the chord.
Two or more chords played in sequence. Chord progressions are typically repeated and often mark a specific section within a song.
A chord tone is a pitch that is part of a functional chord; that is to say, the note is either the root, 3rd or 5th.
A scale with twelve pitches each separated by a semitone; all the notes are equally distributed within an octave typical of Western music. Other parts of the world divide the octave with more or less pitches.
To shift a collection of notes by a fixed number of semitones.
A scale with seven notes. Diatonic scales account for the majority of scales used in Western music.
Refers to the volume of a note.
The sense of rhythm feel in a track that makes you want to move. It’s kinda hard to pin this down, but when you hear something with groove, you generally just ‘feel’ it. In Liquid Music, groove refers to the rhythmically offset quality of a note.
The act of applying a certain degree of variance to the velocity, duration, and positioning of a note or group of notes in order to achieve a more life-like performance.
The combination of instruments used in a song / track and the qualities of each individual instrument. This is often synonymously referred to as Orchestration.
In music, the term interval is used in reference to the distance between two notes. For example, the interval from C to E is that of a major 3rd.
The key of a song is the note–commonly referred to as the tonic–that gives a sense of home and arrival in a given piece of music.
In Liquid Music, you will find four distinct scalar languages. They are:
- Jazz Minor
- Harmonic Minor
- Harmonic Major
Each of these scales has seven modes–or scales–built using the framework each lays down. In total, there are 28 modes. Some of them are familiar (like the major or minor scale), some of them extremely exotic (like the seventh mode of Jazz Minor). Use the various modes to create interesting moods and textures for the tracks you produce using Liquid Music.
A single line of melody. When used in synth-speak, this typically means that you can’t play more than one note at a time.
The distance between a note and itself in a higher or lower range. 1 octave = 12 semitones.
Depending on the key you are in, you will have a certain number of notes “in key”. If you chose the Major scale, for example, there are seven notes “in key” (given a tonic). The other five notes (the rest of the notes of the chromatic scale) would be considered out-of-key for that song. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stay away from out-of-key notes; that’s why we let you use them all!
Certain triad types will be out-of-key depending on the key and mode you are using. This is because of how triads are built. Basically put, the intervals between the notes in a given scale dictate the “in-key” triad type that will stem from a given note in that scale. For example, in the key of D harmonic minor, it just so happens that triad built on scale degree 1–that is, the note D–is a minor triad. This is because the other notes in the scale include F and A. If you measure the intervallic distances between these three chord tones, you end up with a minor triad.
Two or more simultaneous lines of melody. When used in synth-speak, this typically means that you can play multiple notes at a time.
When notes are snapped to a grid to remove any rhythmic irregularity.
We use roman numerals in music to represent notes in a given key and scale. For example, in the key of G Major, Roman Numeral ‘I’ is G, ‘ii’ is A, ‘iii’ is B, etc.
Basically, each roman numeral is a chord. Uppercase numerals are major chords, lowercase numerals are minor (and sometimes diminished, in our lists).
Since there are seven notes in most Western scales, you will only see seven roman numerals.
In this approach, each roman numeral is a function that can receive a letter name and still work properly, given any key. In other words, the benefit here is that you can use these chord progressions to create melodies that feel the same no matter what key you switch to.
This is a good resource if you want to research them further:
A repetitious movement of regular or irregular beats / accents.
A group of notes ordered by pitch or frequency. In Liquid Music, you’ll find various types: Pentatonic, diatonic, and chromatic scales.
To shift a collection of notes by a fixed interval relative to a scale.
Typically, the smallest distance between two notes in Western music *many guitarists and singers incorporate quarter tones in their playing and singing*. A semitone is the distance between any two adjacent keys on a piano.
Liquid Music lets you produce musical ideas in a modular (or one-at-a-time) way by separating music into five layers. In this way, you can make easy and non-destructive substitutions to specific elements of a performance. For example, you can insert a different rhythm pattern into something you’re working on without disrupting the chords or voicings. Or you can change the melody shape while maintaining the chord progressions. If you don’t like the changes you’ve made, you can always retrace your steps.
The suggester is a yellow brick road for laying down chord progressions. We transcribed hundreds of songs and noted common paths that chords took between each other. Since the songs we transcribed were streamed off mood-based sites, we used their mood labels to help democratically tag our own results. The end result is a vast network of charted paths between chords.
Of course, there is plenty more to consider regarding what makes a song feel objectively “sad” or “happy” than simply the chords; this is where your imagination comes in to fill the gaps. Some other factors include tempo, instrumentation, articulation,
Tonal Center / Tonic
The first scale degree of a diatonic scale. It’s the note that (subjectively) feels like “home”.
A triad is the fundamental basis of a chord. All the notes are stacked in 3rds. The members of a triad are called (from bottom to top): The Root, the 3rd and the 5th.
There are four triad types:
What makes one triad minor vs diminished, for example? First, a look at how triads are built:
- All triads are stacked in thirds; meaning, the root is laid down, the 3rd chord degree is placed a third above the root, and the 5th chord degree is placed a third above the 3rd chord degree.
- The interval of a third (the aforementioned space between the root, 3rd, and 5th) can have two qualities: major and minor.
Depending on the quality of third between each chord tone in a triad, the result is one of four triad types:
- Augmented: Two consecutive major third intervals.
- For example, C to E is a major third. E to G# is a major third. So C augmented is spelled C-E-G#.
- Major: A major third interval between the Root and 3rd, and a minor third interval between the 3rd and 5th.
- For example, C to E is a major third. E to G is a minor third. So C major is spelled C-E-G.
- Minor: A minor third interval between the Root and 3rd, and a major third interval between the 3rd and 5th.
- For example, C to Eb is a minor third. Eb to G is a major third. So C minor is spelled C-Eb-G.
- Diminished: Two consecutive minor third intervals.
- For example, C to Eb is a minor third. Eb to Gb is a minor third. So C diminished is spelled C-Eb-Gb.
The final point to consider is when each of these triad types occurs naturally and why. For a not-so- easy example, let’s look at the C Harmonic Minor scale. It is spelled as:
C – D – Eb – F – G – Ab – B.
To build any triad, all that is needed is to pick a note, skip one to get the third, and skip another to get the fifth. So, if the note I picked was Eb, then this would be my triad:
C – D – Eb – F – G – Ab – B.
Since we can measure the distance between these notes, we can easily determine the triad type it would spell: Eb to G is a major third, and G to B is a major third. So an augmented triad occurs naturally in the harmonic minor scale.
The measure of how forcefully a MIDI note is played / programmed. The resulting is often a volume-related or timbral change.