I’ve always written my songs on the guitar, because that’s what I can play. But I’m getting into electronic music, and the biggest hurdle I’m facing is that I can’t write chord progressions (with anything other than first position triads) on the piano. I can figure out a chord, and I can play it, but I can’t transition over to other chords to try out different progressions. I can’t even take a hand off the keyboard to hit record and then know what keys to play back again. I just don’t have that mental model to be able to do it.
One thing that I do to make it easier is to shift the MIDI output from my keyboard so that I can just use the white keys, no matter what key I’m in. I have a possibly stupid question about this though: I would think that if I’m in the key of C# major, then I want the C# to be where the C normally is, and everything would line up right? But that doesn’t seem to always work. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
I’ve been thinking about buying a plugin such as Captain Chords or Scaler (or something else?) that will let me experiment with different chords and chord progressions in a bearable amount of time. Has anyone used something like this before? I’m concerned that it will be more trouble than its worth. And my second question is for the piano players: how hard would it be for me to learn to write chord progressions on a piano, using complex chords and voicings? It seems impossible to me at this point. There’s some kind of musical mental model that I just don’t have. I know a decent amount of music theory, but I don’t have it at my fingertips.