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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Oct 2019 > USING SCALES & CHORDS IN REASON 10


Reason might well be known for its Devices, instruments, effects and rack, but beneath these flashy headlines lies a great tool for songwriting – and one that needs no previous musical experience to enjoy. Welcome to Scales & Chords

There are so many bonuses to using DAWs in music production that sometimes it can get overwhelming and you end up just focusing on certain key elements. With Reason, it’s the rack that we often get sidetracked by, with the sheer number of instruments and effects that we can have plumbed into our mixer for the ultimate virtual studio. With most DAWs, there is also the very basic fact that it is so easy to copy and paste parts to create songs that you can come up with arrangements very quickly.

However, most sequencers also have very specific components for songwriting, many of which often get ignored as we focus on the headline acts. And as it’s a songwriting special this issue, we’re going to focus on one key Reason feature that will help you create great songs without needing to know anything about, well, creating great songs! This time, then, we are talking about the mighty Scales & Chords player.


The Scales & Chords player was introduced as one of three Player Devices in Reason 9 (the others being Note Echo and Dual Arpeggio). It sits in front of any noise maker, taking the MIDI notes you play, acting on them and sending the results into your chosen instrument. Essentially, what Scales & Chords allows you to do is experiment with chord progressions and play and record notes within certain keys, without hitting bum notes. As we’ve hinted at, though, the best thing about Scales & Chords is that you don’t need to know your scales from your chords! In fact, that is (kind of) the point!

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About MusicTech

The art of writing songs is something that is all too often ascribed to some mythical gift that manifests itself within people at a certain age, with little thought given to the long periods of trial and error, dedication to the craft and persistence to forge a career in the industry that mark out many successful songwriters. In this issue, we have a thorough exploration of the topic, featuring a dissection of the building blocks of every hit song, as well as industry insight from a range of experts who illuminate the professional songwriting world of 2019. We discuss maintaining a career balancing writing with being an artist in your own right with Ed Harcourt and learn from Bernard Butler, Paul Statham and others about their approaches to educating the next generation of hit-makers. Elsewhere in the issue, we continue our journey through the world of synthesis. This time, we focus on wavetable and vector synthesis as well as a foray into the birth of drum machines and their intrinsic relationship with the synth world. We also put several of our go-to budget small-diaphragm condensers to the test in our very first microphone shootout. In our review section this month, we get rhythmic with IK Multimedia’s UNO Drum and wallow in the sonic delights of the Dreadbox Nyx V2 among many other new pieces of kit. Of course, we also have a range of tutorials and tips, too. I hope you enjoy the issue.