When you first start using AutoTheory, your inclination will probably be to overuse it. You might be changing chords multiple times within a bar, and you likely will be pushing the Melody Lock capabilities to the max. Once you get beyond that phase, you will realize that the music you are trying to make probably doesn’t require the level of musicality that you are now capable of. You can then focus on being much more efficient and diverse with your workflow, while always creating chords and melodies that work well. That’s not to say that you can’t make some really quality stuff that utilizes highly musical concepts, because you definitely can. In many cases with today’s popular music genres (hip hop / pop / edm) however, the rhythm (drums & bass) is the element that is front and center with a melody and chord progression working around it. AutoTheory empowers you to make sure that you are always getting the chord progression and melody right, and that you are doing this in as diverse of a manner as you choose.
Key – The key that you choose is a foundational element of your track. It serves as an anchor and establishes the “home” position of what you are doing harmonically. Due to the unique layout of a keyboard, it is extremely hard for musicians to become equally proficient from every key. Consequently, many people gravitate towards certain keys because of easier hand placement positions. With AutoTheory, hand placement is the same easy alignment for every key. This allows you to play from every key with ease, and presents you with the ability to be more diverse than people who have been playing for years.
Scale – The Scale that you choose is also a very important element to your track. It will determine the types of chords that are most effectively used, and will also determine the spacing for melody tones. As with playing from multiple keys, it is extremely hard for people to learn how to play multiple scales in a traditional manner. This requires even more diverse hand alignments that change dependent upon the key that you are in. Very few people are able to effectively play multiple scales out of multiple keys. As with the key selection, AutoTheory allows you to keep your hand in the same position with all available scales. Dependent upon the style of music you are making, you will want to choose an appropriate scale. The most defining factor of each scale is the chord that is in the I(i) position. If it is a minor chord (i), then the scale will have more of a darker feel to it. If it is a major chord (I), then it will have more of a bright and happy feel to it. If you are into a darker feel, you should experiment with the Dorian, Phrygian and Minor Scales. If you are into more of a happy feel, you should experiment with the Major, Lydian and Mixolydian scales. It is probably in your best interest to experiment with different scales until you find the ones that work best for you. There is a lot that can be done out of one scale.
Instrumentation and Octaves – The Device Output section of AutoTheory operates as a great way of organizing your track. It does this by keeping you aware of which octaves different instruments are playing at. When you have different instruments playing at the same octave, they become harder to mix together as they are hitting on the same frequencies. Consequently it might be a good idea to have somewhat of a plan going in, instead of just loading up presets without having any idea about what role (chords or melodies) they will play and where they will be located (octave). Almost all music is defined by the elements of rhythm, harmony and melody. Regardless of your creative process or where you start your track from, the end destination remains the same for pretty much everyone. AutoTheory’s device output routing matrix allows you to design a winning formula every time with ease. A common output layout might look like this:
Bass Instrument – Melody Lock output (octave 1 or 2)
Low Chords – Chord Generator output (octave 2 or 3)
Higher Melody – Melody Lock output (octave 3 or 4)
Higher Chords – Chord Generator output (octave 4 or 5)
Without trying to be Beethoven, anyone can get a lot out of AutoTheory by consciously playing from multiple keys and scales while properly organizing your instrumentation across the frequency spectrum. When your music is compositionally sound, you will be amazed at how easy it is to mix as well.