ChordLab started its life in the late 90s as a simple chord calculator for Jazz students. A main component of the Macintosh program before so many bells and whistles were added was to address the conundrum of chord spelling. The latter is a task faced by composers, arrangers and instrumentalists on a regular basis and still a main component of many harmony exams. So what exactly is chord spelling and why is it important?
Many instrumentalists - in particular guitarists - come from a visual background. Fingerings, patterns and chord books with thousands of diagrams. When faced with the task to write a chord in music notation these diagrams may indicate what notes are to be included but players often don't know how to identify them correctly and music notation doesn't allow for ambiguity. A Gbm9 chord for example uses Ab, Bbb, Db and Fb. There is no A in it and no E. Common mistakes. Chords are spelled based on thirds (Tertian principle) and so the task of spelling them correctly in essence involves two steps: First write the chord in thirds and secondly apply the necessary accidentals. Things then get messy when extensions or alterations are applied and four-part harmony is required with root and fifth substitutions. Enter ChordLab the first chord spelling calculator of its kind. That functionality is now available on your Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch doesn't allow for much processing or interface and this is our first forray into watch apps, but what better functionality to introduce than the chord spelling calculator that brought forth ChordLab As all watch apps ChordLab for Apple Watch is an extension of the iOS app that hosts it. If you own ChordLab and an Apple Watch you get the watch app for free. ChordLab for Apple Watch is very simple to operate. You dial in your chord's root and qualifier (i.e. Fb maj7) and viola it shows you Fb, Ab, Cb and Eb as the chord tones (no B in this chord, my man).
We are working on additional features and watch apps for our other apps. So stay tuned. ChordLab is available for iOS and also part of our awesome Music Study Bundle.