How to generate chords from a DAW bass line?

I’m trying to find if it’s possible to generate in Scaler a chord progression so I can use Scaler to “perform” chords from a DAW bass line. I thought I might be able to:

  • create a (simple) MIDI bass line in my DAW (Studio 1), with Scaler set as the instrument.
  • in Scaler, set the “scale” and “build” the chord progression
    …but I can’t find any way to use the root notes to trigger the respective chords.
    Example: D major scale, MIDI note input is G, Scaler “performs” GMaj chord using perform settings

I can get this output if:

  • in Scaler, I set the “scale” and “build” the chord progression (as above)
  • “bind keys”
  • in DAW MIDI track , use the nominal notes of the bound keys from Scaler
    …but this method complicates setting up and editing the MIDI sequence in the DAW, which is used for other parts in the mix

I’ve watched Davide’s youtube video’s but haven’t spotted a way to do this. Thanks for any help.

Hey John

I can’t tell if you want Scaler to automatically create a progression or if you want to create a progression w/in Scaler and then have Scaler play that progression based on you bass line.

Scaler can’t dynamically create chord progressions, so if that is your hope, no joy.

If you are trying to trigger progressions via your bass line notes and they don’t match up with the default bind area, you might look at shifting the bound keys using the setting here:

If your bass line spans multiple octaves, you can duplicate your chords across multiple patterns and then lasso those patterns (or control click) to spread the bound area out over a wider range of notes.

Not exactly sure if that is what you are after, but hope it helps.

Thanks for your quick reply TMacD. What I was trying to do falls under “no joy” I think, but with your input, I’ve figured out a work-around so thought it might be of use if anybody else is trying to do the same thing.

Re-reading my question, I was mixing what I wanted and what I’d tried. So to to try to explain more clearly I’ve put a screen shot from the DAW (Studio1), and my intention was:

  • bass line is starting point - add as first MIDI track
  • copy bass line to second track which will be the chord track, with Scaler as the instrument
  • Scaler receives each MIDI note and plays the triad in the key with that note as root (eg, note D, play D major). Or even more colourful variants/voicings of the core triads
  • then in Scaler, explore the different “perform” options

As TMacD says, no joy, but a simple tweak works. Using my example in key D:

  • in the DAW chords track, transpose the track -2 (down from D to C) to set the tonic note of the key to the lowest note of Scaler’s “bound keys”, which is always C.
  • in Scaler “scales”, select D Major then pull the chords into a “pattern” without changing the progression - I added a second D major as the 8th chord in the progression because the bass line has a low and a high D so I needed the extra trigger note (you can extend onto a second pattern if needed, using TMacD’s explanation)
  • “Bind” the pattern(s)
  • the DAW track then plays the required chords from Scaler with “perform” options (you can also use the variants/voicing options for the chords when you set up the pattern)


Great that you found solution and appreciate your effort to document your work around. There are so many creative ways to work with Scaler, and sharing our “discoveries” accelerates the creative process for all.

I hope you don’t mind that I tagged your post as Studio One. I think we are in the minority here and I’d love to get more S1 specific info into the mix.

Speaking of Studio One, I stumbled onto this the other day. If you ever get a latency issue when triggering Scaler from a midi device (that annoying slight delay), using direct input w/in the Scaler VST wrapper and bypassing track input will let you toggle low latency monitoring (in certain situations). I don’t fully understand all the variables so I’ve not written it up yet, but it worked like a charm on a couple of my slower machines. If you look into it and hit a dead end, let me know and I’ll pull out some more details.