The 10 Best Chord Generator Plugins (VST, AU) – Free and Paid Options
When it comes to creating a stunning music piece, many factors contribute to the process, such as sound quality, pitch, rhythm, sound texture, and melody. Among those many elements, creating a perfect chord progression for your track is one of the most important factors to success.
As much as chord progression is an essential aspect of music production, it can be a tricky and complicated process at first. However, that shouldn’t deter you from creating great music. That’s where chord-generating plugins come to the rescue.
Even if you have a lot of music theory knowledge, chord generator plugins are great for quickly coming up with chord structures, which can allow you to focus on finishing your tracks.
1. Scaler 2
Scaler 2 is the second release of the award-winning MIDI effect plugin that can substantially ease your woes related to chords and scales. It works on Windows and MAC, and it’s considered one of the best in the industry.
It can discover your music’s key and explore scales and chord sets. It has a large number of chord sets based on artist, genre, and mood. You can also browse chord variations to come up with more advanced chords.
Check out our Scaler 2 review to learn more about this great plugin.
Scaler 2 is a plugin that is loved by a wide range of music producers. Beginners and novice music composers who are not highly adept with the technicality of music theory for scale and chord find Scaler 2 a great tool to compose and explore chords. Pro music composers can also go for this plugin to get the creative juices flowing or to kick-start their ideas.
It has a sophisticated detection system where you punch in a few notes from your instrument, and Scaler 2 comes up with a bunch of intelligent chord suggestions based on the inputs categorized by modes, styles, scales, and chords. Similarly, with available presets and chord detection features, creating engaging chords & progression becomes flexible.
- Free demo available
- Sophisticated and easy-to-use GUI
- Applicable to most genres & styles with recent updates
- Drag and drop audio clip functionality in conjunction with DAWs
Check it out: Scaler 2
2. InstaChord 2
InstaChord 2 is a powerful time-saving plugin that can easily create chord sets and progressions for you. An intuitive interface and a wide range of available presets make it a great starter pack for those who are not too comfortable with music theory.
The plugin allows amazing creativity since you can easily assign a key that will generate multiple chords in a matter of a few seconds. The second version comes packed with upgrades such as more playback options, a new pattern editor, AI generation, modes, and custom chords.
InstaChord customizes your chord progression with a wide range of available action key features and voicing options attuned to chords. Henceforth, InstaChord is a fantastic paid plugin that uplifts the chord foundation of your tracks.
- Great features
- Hassle-free option for producing chord progression
- Compatible with many preferred DAWs (Ableton Live, FL Studio, Cubase, etc.)
Check it out: InstaChord 2
3. Captain Chords
Captain Chords, like many plugins, offers excellent flexibility and effortless chord generation. However, what makes this nifty software stand apart from its counterparts is the unique “Jamming Mode” option.
You can turn your typical computer keyboard into a full-fledged instrument to write your chords efficiently, which is a pretty cool feature.
In addition, the plugin makes it easy to create your desired chord progression with the help of scale selection, an adjustable knob, and a familiar piano roll view, and it can also be modified in terms of harmony and chord length. Captain Chords is a paid plugin.
- Supported by MAC & Windows both as AU & VST
- Offers a month-long money-back guarantee
- Delay, reverb & other effects can also be applied to enhance chords
Check it out: Captain Chords
Tonespace is a free-of-cost chord-generating plugin that also acts as a visualizer. Explicitly not designed to educate beginners on music theory, Tonespace is an exceptional tool for understanding the scales and chord relationship due to its grid-like structure and fit-to-scale feature.
Tonespace is a phenomenal plugin that allows functionality and editing with a MIDI keyboard and with a mouse as well. With tons of inversions, scales, and chord types, the potential for creating incredible chord progressions is endless.
- Free plugin
- Supported as VST, AU, and standalone application
Check it out: Tonespace
Another free-of-cost option added to the list is the Chordz plugin, much admired for its high functionality and performance.
The plugin is only compatible with the Windows operating system in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The plugin rolls off a full range of chords, followed by a single note from your drum, keyboard, or synths.
There is even an “easy mode” to simplify the process and trigger chord progressions.
- Free to use
- Allows a randomization feature to generate unique chords
- Features “easy mode”
Check it out: Chordz
Here is a free plugin that entertains a simple interface but packs a punch when it comes to creating fantastic chord progressions. Extremely easy to set up, this plugin has a well-sourced library of presets that can be tweaked to create your own chord progressions.
It also allows you to create and save your own presets. Ripchord is particularly significant for musicians who might struggle with keyboard skills or need a starting point to build chords.
- Easy to set up
- Good range of presets
- Note: Available only as VST3, which is only available with some more recently updated DAWs
Check it out: Ripchord
Cthulhu is a paid, MIDI-generated plugin that acts both as a chord and an ARP generator. The plugin requires routing to an instrument to function. The interface is straightforward, with an arpeggiator on top and a chord generator in the bottom section.
The chord generator has more than 150 presets, giving musicians so much room to play with. A single note generates a bunch of chords, also taking into account the velocity of the input within the scales.
So, Cthulhu is a highly sophisticated chord generator that allows musicians to experiment with the chord generation and memorization process with its amazing editing features. It also, at times, serves as inspiration for ideas given its vast availability of presets.
- Supports both Windows & Mac OS
- Wide range of presets
Check it out: Cthulhu
Chordjam is a very intuitive, paid, and user-friendly chord generator VST plugin. It features user-guided randomization, meaning that it will belt out unique progressions and patterns. It’s a great plugin for inspiration and higher expression.
This chord generator is multi-applicable, supporting Mac, PC, and iOS devices, and comes in VST / VST3 / AU / AAX formats. Among the many things this plugin offers, it also features unique voicing parameters, a sequencer engine, and various modes for added versatility.
- Highly intuitive, user-friendly plugin
- Supports Mac, PC, and iOS
- Comes in VST / VST3 / AU / AAX formats
- Wide variety of features and modes
Check it out: Chordjam
9. Harvest Mini
Harvest Mini is a free MIDI loop-generating plugin with scales, rhythms, melodies, and tons of chord-generating possibilities. It features a highly user-friendly interface and functionality that can conjure up endless variations and serve as great inspiration.
You can choose a scale, select a preset rhythm, raise or lower the octave, choose the note length, and generate a chord progression. It even has drum loops for extra creativity.
- Free plugin
- Easy-to-use interface
- Chord progressions, melodies, and drum loops
Check it out: Harvest Mini
Chordprism is a paid chord and melody generator. With a single key, the plugin will generate a chord and you can create melodies, basslines, and arpeggios over any chord progression.
It features step sequencers with genre-based presets and even has a chord editor function for inversions, voicings, and altered chords.
This plugin is one-finger-friendly, meaning that without changing your hand position, you can generate in-key melodies and one-finger arpeggios that can be applied to any chord progression. The possibilities and results are more than satisfying.
- Versatile chord-generating abilities
- One-finger Smart Scale functionality
- Chord Editor and Chord Shifters
- Comes in VST and AU formats
Check it out: Chordprism
Why go for chord generator plugins?
If you struggle with building the right chord progression, then chord plugins can help you. Using chord VST plugins can also aid in learning your music theory over an extended period. Additionally, you can easily edit and tweak your chords with these plugins and customize them.
If creating chord progressions is confusing or very time-consuming for you, but you need a great-sounding track, then chord generator plugins are your saviors. These plugins can also serve as a source of inspiration for composers stuck in a musician’s block, given their presets and chord generation based on random notes.