need a software to add guitar chords to a vocal track

mkramer777
mkramer777 used Ask the Experts™
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Is there any software out there (preferrably free, maybe garage band)  that I could use to put together some acoustic guitar chords to go along with singning?  I am using a MAC
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David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
GarageBand works well.

Audacity is another great choice.

Author

Commented:
does anyone know of a free loops (in this case guitar chord loops) site on the internet?

Author

Commented:
anyone know of any acoustic guitar loops that can be downloaded for free?  I need something that would have a chord of c, a, etc... and sound like they are from the same guitar.
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There are various applications that can simulate the sound of a chord being strummed on the guitar in various keys.  I saw my teenage neice using a guitar application on her iPad.  I have used guitar tuning programs and guitarist "toolbox" programs on my various Windows computers that allow you to enter a key and hear a simulated guitar strum.  It is probable that somebody has also recorded MP3s of acoustic guitar strums in every key and uploaded them somewhere.

I have looked at website that show "guitar tabs" (tablature - alternative way of notating guitar music without using the traditional music staff/stave) for popular songs.  I believe that some of them allow you to sign up (and probably pay) to enable an extra feature where you can have the tablature play back the audio.  I have no idea how good this might sound.

There are probably a number of online applications available now that use a "sampled" guitar strum now rather than a completely synthesised and quite artificial sounding offerings that will be a vast improvement on an old Casio keyboard simulating an "acoustic guitar" sound, but no matter how realistic the strummed strings sound, you are going to end up with an artificial sounding and "blocky" end result by simply taking chord strums and adding them to a vocal line in an audio editor.

You may or may not already be a guitar player and understand some of the principles that make different instruments sound as they do, and of basic music theory that relates to time signatures (number of beats per bar) and rhythm (how the notes in the bar are accented).  An acoustic guitar can be strummed in so many different ways, from a slow downward strum where you hear individual strings (arpeggio) to a fast downward or upward strum that sounds like a "chunk" or a ska strum from "skank" music.  Muting, by partially lifting the fingers of the fretting hand or by dampening the strings with the strumming hand,  is often used to kill the ringing sound of a chord shortly after it is played.  Up-strums are most often played deliberately more softly than the down-strums because they are generally used to create the "&" beat in guitar accompaniment.  For example, you may have a song in 4/4 time, which is to say that there are 4 beats to the bar - 1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3, 4 - etc.  Playing 4 equally spaced down-strums on chords in each measure sounds really blocky and boring, so guitarists will usually fill in with soft up-strums on some or all of the spaces between those beats, depending on the feel of the song, for example (where the & is a soft and quieter up-strum) you might have 1, 2, &, 3, 4, & - 1, 2, &, 3, 4, & - etc or 1, &, 2, 3, &, 4 - 1, &, 2, 3, &, 4 - etc.  You would also generally find that a 1 and 3 or a 2 and 4 strum would be accentuated.

These are some of the qualities of guitar playing that take absolute beginners beyond the stage of steadily down-strumming chords with no accenting while learning to move between chord shapes, like:
G, G, G, G -- G, G, G, G -- C, C, C, C -- C, C, C, C -- G, G, G, G -- D7, D7, D7, D7 -- C, C, C, C -- G, G, G, G
Without the nuances of accenting beats, having the odd note ring out while changing chord, and other subtle colourations like the attack speed and the decay time of a strummed chord, all you would have is a steady chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk in different keys.

If you are only looking for a basic skeleton outline as a tool to convey the essence of a guitar accompaniment to a learner or something similar, then it would be pretty easy to take MP3 files of chord strums in different keys and insert them on a new track below your existing audio track in even the simplest multi-track audio editor.  I have never used a Mac, so I am not really familiar with what audio editors are available.  If you already have Garage Band then you have more than enough capability, however Audacity (mentioned by David) https://www.audacityteam.org is available for the Mac platform and there are extensive online help articles.

I see one named Ocenaudio being mentioned for Mac:
http://www.ocenaudio.com/features

I have used the free Windows version of WavePad by NCH software before.  They have a version for Mac also.
https://www.nch.com.au/wavepad/
It's a simple tool and the free version is delimited.  Additionally it may show you some nag screens to buy and register it or some of their other software and it may also integrate itself into your "open with" lift of applications if Mac has such a thing.

You may find some samples in this online audio editor:
https://soundation.com/

If you have ever downloaded any drivers for Creative hardware you may also have seen the free and fairly simple audio editor named Creative WaveStudio amongst the available downloads, but I have no idea whether thay support anything other than Windows.

Most CD/DVD Burning applications also have a built-in audio editor that can be used to add extra tracks from audio files or by recording them from input and to merge them all into one audio file once done.

If you can find some audio files of a guitar strumming chords in different keys, then most audio editors will have some built-in "effects" that would allow you to apply a tempo change to them.  A tempo change in an audio editor refers to changing the speed of a section of the audio without changing the pitch.  If you inserted an MP3 of say a C chord being strummed but it was too slow and you wanted a faster strum, you could probably increase the tempo of that audio part only, and (depending on the quality of the recording that made up the MP3) you might be able to elongate the length of strum by slowing down the tempo. There is usually also a reverberation effect in audio editors that might make the chord sounds more "acoustic".

It's easy for me to say, because I play the guitar and would be able to record my own guitar strumming, but don't you know somebody who could do this for you?  Perhaps even somebody who is learning guitar could strum one chord in every key at different speeds while you record them with a microphone into a simple audio editor and give the files logical names like C, Aminor, F, G7, etc.  If I had the time, if any of my acoustic guitars weren't packed away in a closet, and if I had an audio recorder on this PC I would be inclined to do this for you and upload them somewhere, but unfortunately I am pretty pressed for time at the moment.
Thank you mkramer777
Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic design
Top Expert 2004

Commented:
years ago we enjoyed creating our own music using Adobe Audition with tons of loops from many instruments and acoustics.

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