Hookpad: Please add individual chord octave shifts

I’ve been trying to figure out how to raise/lower a chord by an octave. After checking out the forums, I’m surprised that people have been asking for this feature for the last 5+ years, but it hasn’t been implemented.

So, I’ll chime in. Please add the ability to shift individual chords up or down an octave.

I understand that something can be done by adding another voicing and raising the octave in the Band/mix panel, but that workflow isn’t great (especially if all you want to do is have ONE chord raised or lowered an octave).

I also get that these events are dictated by your algorithm. But it seems that it would be an easy fix to add a manual override for chord/octave shifts, for us humans that may occasionally want to do things a bit differently than your algorithm.

You have a great product, and I don’t regret purchasing it, but the lack of this feature does limit its usefulness somewhat.

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Thanks for the feedback. You are correct that raising chords by an octave (for most voicings) can be accomplished using the octave slider in the band UI, but we don’t currently have any granular controls for individual notes and chords.

I know this is frustrating for certain use cases, but ultimately this is the direction we have chosen to go. Fundamentally, music requires granular adjustments to sound good. Voicing, dynamics, patches, FX, etc. are all critical for making a track come to life. But ultimately, this is exactly what a DAW is for, which is why many people transfer their Hookpad projects to their DAW to make these adjustments. Hookpad was designed to be a tool to allow you to quickly get your ideas down on paper, and to provide meaningful tools based on music theory and popular song data to help you write chord progressions and melodies, and we have chosen to focus our efforts on building out tooling that is aligned with this core vision.

Hope you understand!

Thanks for the quick reply - and happy holidays!

I do understand the thought process, even if I don’t agree with it. And yes, I understand taking your MIDI into a DAW to get it exactly how you want it. However, we’re talking about an over-the-top function that wouldn’t mess with your core vision at all.

Since this feature hasn’t been added by now, I can assume that it never will be, which is OK. I just have to make a mental note that anytime I use a secondary chord or inversion, I’m probably not hearing the chord as I want it.

Anyway, this really is the only feature that I would suggest, and I would definitely recommend Hookpad to others (albeit with a caveat).

I wouldn’t say never, it’s just that we’re hard at work right now on new features that we think you all will really love!

Happy holidays to you too!

I’ll chime in here as well, since I feel this is an important topic. At first I had similar frustrations with Hookpad, until I figured out that the whole thing is built around functional harmony. Looking at it through that lens, it’s actually a very well thought out tool for songwriting. The function of a chord doesn’t change with the form it’s played in, and I’ve learned to listen through these limitations. I actually find the simplicity of this system to be a powerful way to keep me focused on the basic idea of a song, and not get lost in details. Like in this case, which note of which chord goes where. Voicings etc. come later now, and I firmly believe that if a song idea works in Hookpad, it’ll work anywhere.

Everyone, thanks for chiming in. I’ve been playing around with Hookpad more and I’m starting to come around to ElSmurf’s line of thinking.

Admittedly, I don’t have a ton of experience writing music, so some of this is me just trying to understand what is going on in the application and why (musically speaking).

For instance, I don’t understand why a iii7 chord would have the 7 dropped an octave (under the root note) in one composition, but if I play the iii7 in a brand new composition, the 7 is above the triad.

I know I should just give in to the ‘smartness’, but is there any literature on methodology that would be helpful in understanding why the application behaves the way it does?

I found this forum post: Moving chords down an octave in Hookpad - #3 by jokull

I assume it has something to do with the determination of the “general range of chord tones” and the “octave break”, but why would that impact the placement of 7 for iii7?

One reason for the “general range of chord tones” is to prevent the highest chord tones from sticking out of the context too much. So we place a top limit where every chord note that is higher than that top limit is automatically put down by an octave. This limit is set by the octave slider in the band browser.

Let’s look at the progression C G C em7. Here a top limit of C seams natural and would look like this

As you can see the D of both the G and the em7 would exceed the limit and are brought down to form a more dense chord voicing. The limit is kind of fixed and stays more or less the same absolute note for different keys. So for example in a key of F the C would still be the top note.

So different keys might be the first reason for different top notes for a iii7 chord. Then there might be different octave settings and the third reason might be different instruments which use different voicing by default and sometimes might have different top notes for the same octave settings.

This is a complicated topic as the algorithm behind the scenes tries to get the most consistent chord voicing but there are of course some extrem cases where it will fail and do some stuff which might seam unreasonable at first.

Please let me know if this helped!


Yes, thanks, this explanation is very helpful.

In my case, I was using default octave settings, but I may have used different instruments in my iii7 example…

For me the big takeaway is that the top limit is not dependent on scale degrees, but absolute note position instead, so the top limit (in terms of scale degree) will change based on keynote selection. That and instrument choice can also impact the top limit (presumably to model behavior based on real world usage of those instruments).

Anyway, thanks again!

I find the octave slider isn’t very intuitive. Needing to export a MIDI file to know what chord voicings are used isn’t the best.
Much better would be an Instrument Properties section similar to Chord Properties that has options for Drop 2, Drop 3, Drop 2&3 etc. that work in conjunction with the existing octave slider.

The octave slider is not intended for that purpose. Additionally, its decimal system is not ideal since there are 12 semitones in an octave.

It would be beneficial to have options for various voicings, however, it is important to maintain the simplicity of Hookpad. The app is designed to make songwriting as straightforward as possible, without becoming overwhelmed with too many options. Nonetheless, we always welcome innovative ideas on how to incorporate features in a seamless manner.

I agree with keeping it simple, however I can’t really see anyone getting overwhelmed by an instrument properties sidebar that’s only visible when an instrument is selected and they choose to see it. :wink: It could also be a place to set the instrument’s MIDI channel for export.

The issue is indeed that a decimal system isn’t ideal, especially as instruments are affected differently. +1 and -1 make sense, but other than that I just move it by ear.

The advantage of drop voicings is it’s not reinventing the wheel, and it’s always clear what it does.
I think Scaler’s Dynamic voice option is similar to HookPad’s default, but I don’t know for sure.