Computer Music issue 234 – The Producer's Guide to CHORDS & SCALES

This month, we lift the lid on music theory with a huge no-BS guide to chords and scales, give away two very special free plugins, and show you how to get creative with compressors. Elsewhere, we take a look at some classic Moog emulations, talk to Oliver Heldens about his skyrocketing career, and loads, loads more.

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The Producer's Guide to Chords & Scales

Think music theory is full of ridiculous words and boring concepts? Well so do we! So we've decided to put together our own definitive crash course in music theory to give your tracks the ultimate musical power-up. There's no notation, no counting on fingers, and no huge words dropped in just to mess with your brain.

We'll get you making better music right away with our step-by-step guides - all with video versions if that's how you learn best - showing you real applications for everything we walk through. We've also prepared a MIDI Construction Kit, flush with almost 2000 ready-made chord and scale templates in every key; and for when you're not sitting in front of the screen, we've also included charts of common chords and scales, plus a list of demystified jargon that'll keep the knowledge at the tips of your fingers.

This massive feature comes with 17 videos - here's one of them to whet your appetite…

Free Stuff Inside

Regular readers know that we go above and beyond in bringing you the best software and samples every single month, and this issue of Computer Music continues this fine tradition. As well as our CM Plugins suite of 60 VST/AU instruments and effects, this issue brings you two fresh plugins and a hefty sample pack.

You can get all this stuff with any edition of CM - grab it on the DVD that comes with the print edition, or download it from the Vault if you're rocking a digital edition or if you're too futuristic and cool to have a DVD drive.

Tone2 Warmverb - full version worth £50

For this issue only, we're giving away the full version of this awesome multieffects plugin, usually sold for £50. Warmverb lets you dial in your choice of 31 processes, including delays, distortions, stereo tricks, modulation and reverb. Choose four effects from the huge list, switch the signal routing, add delay and EQ and tweak your heart out. Find out more by reading Warmverb's full spec.

Warmverb installs as a 32-bit or 64-bit plugin for PC, or a 32-bit plugin for Mac. We show Mac users how to use the software in a 64-bit DAW as part of the Warmverb tutorials inside the mag.

Monoplugs B-Step CM

This step sequencer makes crafting melodies, riffs, chords and beats super-easy. Use four sequence lanes at a time to program in patterns as simple or complicated as you please, and dial in duration, velocity, octave, chord and loads more controls for each step. There are many more options to discover in B-Step CM's interface. Grab your installer in the latest copy of CM, and check the plugin out in depth with its full spec and in the video below…

1GB of Loopmasters Samples

Stalwart sample kings Loopmasters are the purveyors of some of the world's finest soundware, and have one of the largest ranges of sounds that you'll ever see. Case in point: the Loopmasters CM Collection. This behemoth 1GB pack showcases the best of the huge Loopmasters range, and we're putting it in the hands of all CM readers this issue. This epic collection is cut from the cloth of 22 commercial Loopmasters packs, giving you a huge palette of flavours to draw from in your own productions. Check out our demo track showcasing these powerful samples below, and get the pack now as part of CM234!

Creative Compression

Compressors are usually clinical level control tools, but they don't have to be. Find out how to use them to squeeze new life into your sounds with these tutorials and accompanying video versions. You'll see us punish audio tracks into a filthy distorting mess, inject pump and personality with forceful parallel compression, magnify artefacts for a glitched-out feel, and crush groups to create powerful interactions.

Oh look, here's one of the videos from this feature right now…

Virtual Moog Session

The most famous name in synthesisers is still making waves. In this feature, we examine the brand's most important instruments, find out what made them so great, and see how to get their legendary sounds in software form. Across six pages, we'll emulate the machines that started the synth revolution, and we'll get to grips with the techniques that brought out their sonic personalities.

Producer Masterclass - Russ Yallop

Underground tech and deep house hero Russ has is a veteran of computer-based production - when it comes to software, he's seen it all and has the skills to prove it. We talked our way into his Shoreditch studio for this huge video tutorial, in which you'll see Russ deconstructing his wAFF collaboration Mike The Swamp in Ableton Live, dispensing some hard-won production advice along the way.

Get the first half of this in-studio masterclass video below, and check out how Russ deals with beat layering, bassline creation, vocal treatment, lead synthesis and mixing in the full version of the video when you grab your print or digital copy of Computer Music 234.

Also in this issue:

We grill Oliver Heldens on how he creates his music over five and a half pages

Get our opinion on Propellerhead Reason 9 as we give you the definitive CM review and opinion

Get Owen Palmer's quick formulas to get a better low-end response in Geek Technique

We catch you up with the month's best free plugin releases in Freeware News

Find out what software makes Andy Meecham's studio tick

Add an air of class to your drum lines with a look at programming Jazz Brushes

Relive the days of the Commodore 64, and see how its famed SID 6581 sound chip made its impact on music


  • Propellerhead Reason 9
  • iZotope VocalSynth
  • Positive Grid Pro Series Studio EQ
  • Output Movement
  • Acustica Audio Pink
  • Native Instruments Replika XT

Get this issue now

All formats include our 60+ CM plugins, thousands of samples, and tutorial videos/files via Vault download

Subscribe and Save

Never miss an issue with a CM subscription, print or digital!

Computer Music

Computer Music magazine is the world’s best selling publication dedicated solely to making great music with your Mac or PC computer. Each issue it brings its lucky readers the best in cutting-edge tutorials, need-to-know, expert software reviews and even all the tools you actually need to make great music today, courtesy of our legendary CM Plugin Suite.