How to Use ChordAid for Mac
Editing the Chord List
ChordAid displays a sequence of chords, organised in columns. Each column corresponds to a token inside the Song chords field.
To add a chord do any of the following:
- Select the root note and chord nature from the tables. Double-click on the chord type or click on the '+' button to add the chord to the list.
- Start typing in the song chords field. A pop up menu will appear, suggesting chord names. The chord charts will appear as soon as you type a chord name.
To delete a chord do any of the following:
- Click on the chord token inside the 'Song chords' list. Hit Del or Backspace key.
- Click on the white arrow next to the chord name and select 'Remove' from the popup menu.
To rearrange the chords:
- Select one or more chord tokens and drag and drop them around.
To change a chord:
- Click on the white arrow next to the chord name and select 'Edit' from the popup menu.
To enter a slash chord (set the bass note) do any of the following:
- Select the root note, chord nature and a note inside the 'Bass' field. Click on the '+' button.
- Start typing in the song chords field and type / followed by a note after the chord name.
To set the highest note (melody) do any of the following:
- Select the root note, chord nature and a note inside the 'Highest' field. Click on the '+' button.
- Start typing in the song chords field and type ^ followed by a note after the chord name.
The bass and highest note can be combined. For example, C/G^E would mean a C major chord with bass G and highest note E. The bass and highest note may or may not belong to the chord.
To transpose the entire sequence:
- Click on the up and down arrows or type a number inside the 'Transpose' field.
To copy a shape to another application (e.g. Mail, text editor):
- Drag the shape with your mouse or trackpad and drop it inside the other application. The image format can be selected as either PDF or bitmap from the preferences panel.
Setting Up Your Instrument
To select one of the predefined instruments:
- Open the Instruments panel
- Select an instrument in the left column and then a tuning in the right column.
To define your own custom tuning:
- Select the 'Custom' instrument in the left column and then the number of strings in the right column.
- For each string, choose the corresponding note and octave using the popups below.
You can optionally select a capo position.
Changing the instrument or capo keeps the existing chord list. In this way the chords can be 'translated' from one instrument to another.
Limiting the Complexity of the Shapes
Each group of toolbar icons lets you choose among chord shapes with certain properties:
- The number of fingers used
- Without barre, small barre only, big barre or two barres
- No finger stretching, small (single fret) or big (two frets)
- Strumming and picking options: the chord shape must include all strings, all strings with possibly omitting few from the lowest, from the highest or allow any string combination (suitable for finger-picking)
You can sort the shapes by fret or by difficulty.
Listening to Chords
A chord can be played in three different styles: slow arpeggio, fast arpeggio or strum. The playback style used by the play button is configured in the preferences panel.
To play a chord do any of the following:
- Hover your pointer over a chord shape and a 'play' button will appear.
- Select a shape by clicking on it and then select 'Chord', 'Play as...' from the application menu.
- Select a shape and use the keyboard shortcuts ^⌘ A, ^⌘ S, ^⌘ Z for the three different styles
To display a tablature view of a chord:
- Hover your pointer over a chord shape and a 'TAB' button will appear.
Reverse Chord Finder
The reverse chord finder comes handy when you have played some notes on your instrument and you want to know the possible chord names for these notes.
In order to display the reverse chord finder window do any of the following:
- Tap the 'Find Chord' toolbar button
- Select 'View', 'Reverse Chord Finder' from the application menu (⌘ R)
In order to see different variations for some of the chords, drag and drop the chord names to the main song list.
You have the option to chose if only chords in the root inversion will be shown, or in others too (Slash chords).
The following options can be configured from the Preferences panel:
- German or English notation
- Righty / lefty player
- The playback style used when a chord is played using the shape play button (a chord can be played in any style using the Chord application menu)
- The number of muted strings in a shape
- The number of open strings in a shape. To see movable shapes only, select the number of open strings to be zero.
- Option to show chord shapes in any inversion. It is particularly useful for instruments with fewer strings like ukulele or mandolin
The following options can be configured from the Appearance panel:
- The legend below the shapes can show either note names or intervals
- The interval types can be shown by either accidentals or using letters
- The format of the images used when the chord shapes are copied into other applications - PDF or bitmap
The Chord configuration page inside the preferences panel gives you fine grained control over the structure of the chord shapes produced by the application.
It helps to deal with situations when:
- you want to play a chord with five or six notes (ninth or eleventh) on an instrument with four or five strings like ukulele
- common cases like omitting the fifth interval from a seventh chord on a guitar
Each chord category (triad, seventh, etc.) can have its own settings. You can specify:
- which intervals can be excluded from a shape
- how many of them can be excluded simultaneously
- how many times a tone may repeat
Note that when you mark a shape as a favorite, when you later change the chord configuration, the favorite will remain so that you won't 'lose' the shape.
There are four presets that can not be modified and a custom preset:
- The 'Default' preset allows for some flexibility e.g. the 5th note can be omitted from a seventh chord
- The 'Strict' preset forces all intervals to be present (except when the instrument does not have sufficient number of strings)
- The 'Leave out bass' preset includes chords with the bass note not present in the shape
- The 'Legacy' preset corresponds to versions prior to 1.7 that allowed the chord tones to repeat arbitrary number of times.
To mark a shape as a favorite:
- Hover your pointer over a chord shape. Press the little star button that appeara at the top left corner of the shape
To toggle between favorite shapes only and all shapes do any of the following:
- Press the favourites button on the toolbar
- Use the keyboard shortcuts ^⌘ F
Note that the favorites are not affected by the filtering and chord preset options.
Instruments Supported Out of the Box
ChordAid for Mac supports the following instruments and tunings out of the box:
- Guitar 6 strings
- Standard - E A D G B E
- Drop D - D A D G B E
- Drop C - C A D G B E
- Open C - C G C G C E
- Open D - D A D F# A D
- Open G - D G D G B D
- Open A - E A C# E A E
- Modal D - D A D G A D
- Open D Minor - D A D F A D
- Modal G - D G D G C D
- Open G Minor - D G D G A# D
- Open B - B F# B F# B D#
- Open C# - C# G# C# F G# C#
- Open E - E B E G# B E
- Bass Guitar 4 strings
- Standard - E A D G
- Drop D - D A D G
- Drop C - C A D G
- Bass Guitar 5 strings
- Standard - B E A D G
- Tenor - E A D G C
- Concert - G C E A
- Concert (Low G) - G C E A
- D - tuning - A D F# B
- Canadian - A D F# B
- Baritone - D G B E
- Bass - E A D G
- Standard - G D A E
- Tenor / Mandola - C G D A
- Bouzouki (μπουζούκι)
- Three-course (6 strings) - D A D
- Four-course (8 strings) - C F A D
- Irish bouzouki - G D A D
- Octave mandolin - G D A E
- Open D - A D A D
- Open G - G D G D
- Standard - A D G C E A