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The write stuff: How assistive melody writing helps you make music like a pro

Can’t play a note? Assistive melody writing technology is here to save you

  • In association with Mixed In Key
  • 17 January 2020

Just because you didn’t sit out those stuffy piano lessons or master the recorder as a kid no longer means you can’t write killer hooks. Assistive melody writing technology has leaped forwards in recent years and the latest update to Mixed In Key’s ‘Captain Plugins’ series is designed to help you write complex midi sequences like a pro. Captain Melody 3.0 is the flagship device in the Captain Plugins suite for writing leads, pads, beats or basslines.

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Start by opening the software as an instrument or a midi plugin in your DAW. You can draw from Melody 3.0’s own palette of sounds or use it as a midi writing device that bends to your chosen software or hardware instrument. Set your desired key and scale and then tap in a rhythm for your melody or use the software’s Randomise tool to generate and perfect the midi sequence.

Six new features have been added in the latest update. The Idea Box lets you hammer in a rhythm and tweak an array of parameters to find the melody that works for your taste. Use it to create arpeggios, add randomness and experiment with variations of notes that are all designed to stay in your chosen key. Pencil and Paintbrush for Midi allow you to draw in midi notes. First Notes sets the first note of your melody and you can change the probability of a note occuring in the sequence using Lanes.

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Importing midi files allows you to enhance ideas from elsewhere using Melody’s array of tools. A Random Dice button lets you generate random pattern variation, while Magic Record lets you jam in rhythms which can then be manipulated into more complex melodies. A flexible plug-in that can meet all your melody-writing needs, it’s great for when you’re stuck for ideas or have melodies that could do with enhancing.

Captain Plugins Suite $79 (£62), mixedinkey.com/captain

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