Chris Mendez in Recording

Helpful Tools for Music Producers and Songwriters

As a music producer, oftentimes bands will send me their MP3 demos and I'll need to either help them transcribe their songs or maybe provide them with creative ideas. Here are a few tools I use.

Technical Music Tools

KeyFinder

This tool was designed for DJ's to quickly figure out what key a song is in but it can be used for many more things. For example, if you are pitch correcting a song using WavesTune or Melodyne, KeyFinder (Github) can come in handy.

Oolimo Chord Finder

I play a lot of bossa nova which uses a lot of suspended 4ths and other "jazzy-sounding chords". I also plug a lot with my fingers so sometimes I don't strum at all. This makes it difficult to sometimes figure out what chord I'm playing which is why I love Oolimo chord analyzer.

Transposing Guitar to Piano

Suppose I'm playing a Gbm sus2 chord on guitar and I quickly want to play it on a MIDI keyboard, then I use Virtual Piano Chords Chart to help me figure out where to place my keys. If I later want to figure out the inversions of each chord, I use 8notes.

Tempo Finder

MetroTimer

MetroTimer is pretty much all I need to find a beat.

Glossaries

The glossary of recording terms is handy when you're trying to figure out how to work with plug-ins that simulate vintage gear.


Artistic Tools

Open Source Recordings

I use a lot of open source sounds to layer my music. A few great resources include:

Open Source Programmable Music

  • Mutopia is great if you're looking for some inspiration found in PDF, MIDI, and editable LilyPond format.