Are you running out of ideas or always playing the same chords over and over? Songwriting Inspiration is the best songwriting app for Mac and iOS (available in the App Store on iPhone and iPad) that breaks you out of your same old routines. And you don’t have to know much theory … it does that part for you. (It’s essentially a song generator.) It also has a nice little importer for Logic Pro X, saving you a fair amount of time.
You start by picking which key you want the song to be in, and the number of chords. (It supports up to 32 chords.) It picks chords that should follow one another rather well, so while it’s somewhat random, it won’t pick a chord that sounds really bad following another chord.
Next you pick how you want the progression to end, on the tonic I, or a perfect Cadence V-I for example. There are also a few typical progressions like the 12 bar blues and the old jazz ii-V7-I standard.
Don’t know C Phrygian, not a problem, just select it, and it’ll pick the right chords for you. Kind of neat to be able to try a 12 bar blues progression in a F# Lydian.
You can play the progression to get a sense of what it sounds like, and if you don’t like it, just generate a new progression, or try a new key. I’ve found it kind of useful to just spit out 32 chords in a key, and strum them on a guitar. While the entire 32 progression isn’t great (unless you are going for some kind of Spinal Tap freeform Jazz thing) I’ve found there are a few 3 or 4 chord sequences in there that are real gems that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of playing.
Say you are composing your song, and trying to figure out how to write a song verse. Pick the progression that ends on a IV-I. Then for the chorus, select the ending for V-I. You can essentially repeat those two progressions, and voila, you have your first verse, first chorus, second verse, second chorus. Now pick something random that ends on the I for the bridge, and reuse the chorus for one final time.
One of the coolest features is it’s ability to save to MusicXML format and import it into Logic Pro X. (Sibelius also supports MusicXML format.) If you have no idea how to make chords in Logic Pro X, what it does is create a Chords track, which you can assign to your favorite synth or piano patch. Additionally, it takes the root note of each chord, drops it an octave, and puts it on another track called Bass, that you can assign something like an upright bass patch to. This is quite a time saver!!! It’s like you now have a chord generator in Logic Pro X. And you don’t even need to know how to write a song!
Create an Apple Drummer track, and you won’t believe how quickly you’ll be rocking out to your new song.
Check out the Logic Fiends’ top 10 songwriting tips.
It has guitar chord charts if you are trying to figure out how to write a song on guitar. There’s also charts for piano chords if you’re trying to figure out how to write a song on keyboard. This is great if your staff reading skills aren’t up to snuff.
You can print out the progression as well, which could be useful if you wanted to share it with band members, or if you have students that you teach.