By Bob Patterson - There are more and more software titles out there for musicians. Band in a Box, The Jazz Guitarist and many others have proven indespensible to those of us in the guitar playing/computer using crowd. Another one has added itself to the pile, an offering from Australia called ChordWizard.

Intended as a learning and teaching tool, ChordWizard is an interactive fretted instrument chord finder and editor. The fretboard can be that of a guitar, banjo, ukelele, or bass. Alternate tunings are easily selectable as well (A 7 string option would be a great idea). The user can adjust the look and colors of the program and even decide to put the 6th string on the top or bottom of the fretboard.

The programs' MIDI output allows you to hear the chords that you select, create or edit. There is also a Print function, and I must say that the print output is excellent. This program would make it a simple task to assemble a professional looking chord voicing booklet for your next guitar class.

In Design mode you can create and edit chord voicings. It's just a matter of clicking on the fretboard. You hear the note that you clicked, and upon clicking two or more locations, hear the chord you created. It's easy and intuitive. If you want to add your new voicing to an existing file, ChordWizard will know if your voicing is movable and can transpose it into all keys if you wish. You don't have to include every note of a chord, either. For example, I created a R,3,7 voicing for G7 and ChordWizard knew that the D(5) was missing.

Compound chord suffixes like 7(b9) or 13(#5 b9) are easily chosen from the Formula window. There is also a list of scales you can listen to and compare to chord voicings that you see. If you want to find new voicings for an existing chord, ChordWizard will suggest several, letting you hear them all.

I think that ChordWizard is a fun, useful program, especially for teachers who want to prepare good looking lesson material. I would love to see a 7 string option, and would like to be able to edit the fonts used for printout. Those are minor gripes, however. This is a demo, the full version costing about US$50.00. For more info and to download a free copy, go the the website at: www.chordwizard.com.


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