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[Sticky] How to use Navichord grid

 

DenisKutuzov
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Navichord uses a transposed version of Euler’s Tonnetz grid ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonnetz ) or Harmonic table note layout ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic_table_note_layout ).

The grid consists of circle buttons representing musical notes arranged in a special order useful for making chords. The order makes harmonically related (“good sounding”) notes be geometrically close together.
Each three neighbour notes form a triangle corresponding to major or minor triad. Major(triangle up) or minor(triangle down) triads can be played by a single touch in the center of the triangle. Chord root is colored yellow, other chord notes are highlighted white. Active notes are highlighted for all octaves on the grid and on the keyboard below.

Notes from the selected scale are brighter, out-of-scale notes are darker. See Scales for scale selection.

Details (partially borrowed from Wikipedia):

  • Note-values ascend by the musical interval of a perfect fifth along the horizontal axis.

  • On one diagonal axis notes ascend by four semitones (a major third or diminished fourth).

  • On the remaining diagonal axis notes ascend by three semitones (a minor third or augmented second).

  • The notes of commonly played chords are clustered close together.

  • Any major triad and minor triad can be played with a single finger.

  • More complex chords can be played by a combination of a triad with surrounding notes.

  • Ergonomically, the harmonic table format is exceptionally compact: all notes of the major and minor scales fall under the fingers, and all common chords can be played with one or two fingers.

  • Harmonic table is isomorphic, meaning a single chord shape can be used for any root.
  • [TIP] Pan with a single finger in between the circles to create a smooth chord progression.
    [TIP] Two chords sharing notes will sound harmonically close. Single finger panning from the tip above will create chord progression where each consequent chord shares two notes with the previous one. Smooth progressions are generally useful for verses.
    [TIP] Two chords without shared notes will sound harmonically distant. Use distant chords for dramatic harmony changes (generally useful for choruses).
    [TIP] Tired of major or minor? Hit a triad, then spice it up by adding one of the surrounding notes.
    [TIP] (Almost) any combination of notes close to each other would produce a valid chord.

    Common chord shapes

    Further reading

  • "This Diagram Turns Music Theory Into A Breeze"
    https://www.adsrsounds.com/news/this-diagram-turns-music-theory-into-a-breeze/

    "Navichord 2.0 Review – Navigating The Oceans Of Music"
    http://audionewsroom.net/2016/04/navichord-2-0-review-navigating-the-oceans-of-music.html

    "Navichord review – beautiful chord and harmony exploration app"
    http://musicappblog.com/navichord-review/

    The Soundtestroom - Navichord Demo and Tutorial for iPad


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    DenisKutuzov
    (@deniskutuzov)
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    Thank you Chris, looks interesting! I need to spend some time to digest these diagrams though 😉


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    DenisKutuzov
    (@deniskutuzov)
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    Great article about Beatles' harmony, added to my bookmarks for good slow reading 🙂

    Navichord can show the diagonal grid with Roman chord numbers as in the article. The yellow box is my drawing on top of the screenshot. Current context (scale) is shown by light/dark note circles, chord Roman numbers are linked to the scale. Is that what you mean?

    I'm investigating automatic chord generation, will try to bring it to the next versions.

    By the way, some time ago I did harmony analysis with Navichord by sending a MIDI file and synchronizing audio in the video editor. Note, this is an old version of the app, doesn't show much except moving on the grid.


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    DenisKutuzov
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    Thanks for you suggestions!
    You are looking from the playback and analysis perspective, but Navichord is mainly an input instrument and the grid was designed to be touched. Let me explain in details below.

    1/ Only display actual played notes
    Played notesmay be coming from touching the grid, so it is not known what is going to be played and what is the "actual note"

    2/ Display only chords (no circles)
    The grid has note circles by design to allow user input, they allow playing more complex chords, not just major/minor triads.

    3/ Colour palette (with presets) for chord only modes which alludes to tension and other crazy stuff like semantics of the lyrics in two dimensional public/private space
    I have no a quick answer for this, need to spend more time with the article!

    4/ Ability to colour highlight diagonal grids (in any display mode) and set the bounds (like in your graphic)
    In my view there is enough information on screen to mentally focus on certain areas. What is someone if working on a different space? The diagonal space is just one of the options.

    5/ Constrain display to only those notes contained in a song (with presets) ala that Muse video
    I like this idea the most, but it needs adaptation. Again, the notes may be coming from the grid itself. I'm thinking of highlighting the last few chords and "forget" them as the new ones come in.

    Sorry for the video, just noticed it was blocked because I used a copyrighted track (Beatles,If I needed someone). I'll make a new video in coming days.


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    DenisKutuzov
    (@deniskutuzov)
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    Thank you, Chris. Do you personally use Lemur and the templates? I was interested in Lemur as a prototyping device for new apps, but was never convinced enough to actually try it.

    Before arriving to the grid as it is now I've tried multiple chord input scenarios, including the one in your video. For me it was important not just to just see the chord names, but understand chord voices relation. Chord naming system in my opinion is not intuitive for a novice musician, there many flows that distract rather than help - for example same sequence of tones can have different names depending on the scale context! Making a chord progression from chord names is not the most intuitive way as it assumes the person already have knowledge on what to pick next. Tonnetz system is the best representation I was able to find to allow beginners make sensible chord progressions fast.


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    DenisKutuzov
    (@deniskutuzov)
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    I've yet to really dig into NaviChord...but having non played notes displayed is really annoying for me, but it does seem to be the convention in tonnetz software for some reason.

    Do you play external keyboard and want to see only the notes played externally? Or from the onscreen keyboard?
    If there were no circle notes, the only option to play from the grid is by triads, which quickly becomes limiting.

    Interesting links, thanks.
    There is also Harmony Navigator, a smaller brother of Synfire. I had some good time with it, but it is not very well organized in my opinion.

    I've discovered recently SunDog, http://feelyoursound.com/sundog/ . Looks interesting from the first sight.


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