What is Chordious?
Chordious is a free and open-source app for generating fretboard diagrams for fretted stringed instruments.
Why are you giving this away for free?
I enjoy making software. I especially enjoy making software that people find useful. I am also a strong supporter of the Free Culture Movement. All creative works are built on the shoulders of others, and no person can claim to have created anything without having been inspired, influenced, or taught by the work of those before them. My software benefits from my access to others’ code, and so that’s why I release all of my software for free and under Open Source Licenses.
Can I pay you something anyway?
I’m really not looking to make any money off of Chordious. But if you feel like spending some money, feel free to donate to a music-related charity like Hungry For Music.
Why can’t Chordious do XYZ?
If you have an idea for a feature that you’d like to see in Chordious, feel free to drop me a line. If it makes sense I’ll try to get it into the backlog.
2. Installation and Releases
Which installation option (Store, MSI, Portable) should I use?
First off, there are no functional differences between each option. You get the same features in each, and you can import and export your configurations between any of them.
The standard option is the MSI installer, and it works on all the versions of Windows that Chordious supports. Your configuration will be saved with your logged in user profile. As with most standard installs, you’ll need to be an administrator on your PC to install it. Also, you’ll be responsible for updates – Chordious can let you know when a new version is available, but you’ll have to download and install it yourself. Finally, you might get a security warning when you try to run the MSI, see Why do I get a security warning when trying to install Chordious? for details.
For Windows 10 users, the Microsoft Store version is the easiest way to get started with Chordious. Updates are handled automatically by the system, and you don’t need to be an administrator to install it. The one slight caveat is that if you completely uninstall Chordious, you may lose your user config.
The final version is Chordious Portable, which is provided as a single program within a ZIP file. This version of Chordious doesn’t get installed at all, so it can be used on machines where you are not an administrator. It is completely self-contained – meaning you can put it on say a USB flash drive and carry it with you, using it on any version of Windows that Chordious supports. You config will be saved not in your user profile, but in the same folder as the program itself.
Can I switch between the different versions?
Yes. The most reliable way to do so and keep your existing work is to export and import your config, see Can I backup my config? Can I move my work to another computer?
Now, if you’re a Windows 10 user of the MSI and want to switch to the Store version, simply install and run the Store version. It will automatically import your config from the MSI version (even if the MSI version was already uninstalled). Note: While you can in fact have both versions installed at the same time, be warned that after the first run they will each have their own separate config. It is highly recommended that you uninstall the old MSI version after you’ve confirmed that your old config has been successfully imported.
If you’re on the Store version and want to switch to another version, you’ll need to export your config first as mentioned above.
Will updating Chordious to a newer version keep my existing configuration?
Yes. Newer versions of Chordious are guaranteed to support loading older configuration files. However the reverse is not true. If for some reason you need to load a config file in an older version of Chordious, there’s no guarantee that it will work.
What’s the difference between “Official” and “Preview ” releases?
The primary goals for “Official” releases, or builds, of Chordious are stability and reliability. Official releases are meant for the general public and to be used confidently by all users. Official builds are updated infrequently, and then only:
- To fix major bugs (ones that cause app crashes or break functionality for most users)
- To add broad, new features (or make big changes to existing ones) after they’ve been through considerable testing in Preview
The primary goal for “Preview” releases is to get the latest code onto users’ hands as quickly as possible. Preview releases should be considered potentially unstable and only to be installed by users willing to risk things going wrong. New Preview builds may include:
- All kinds of new bugs 😦
- All kinds of new bug-fixes 🙂
- New features that are only partially-implemented (buttons that don’t do anything, etc)
- Major changes to how existing features work
Generally speaking, a series of Preview releases will need to be vetted by users in the wild before the new code will make it’s way into the Official builds.
Why do I get a security warning when trying to install Chordious?
If you’re running Windows 7 or greater, you may be blocked from installing Chordious by SmartScreen. If a dialog pops up about ChordiousSetup.msi not being safe, you have a couple options:
- Windows 7: Uncheck the box labeled “Always ask before opening this file” and click “Run”.
- Windows 8: Click on the “More Info” link and then click “Run anyway”.
- Windows 10: Check the box labeled “I understand the risk and want to run this app” and then click “Run anyway”.
Read more about SmartScreen here:
- HTG Explains: How the SmartScreen Filter Works in Windows 8
- How to Unblock a File to Stop “Open File – Security Warning” and “Windows 8 SmartScreen” Prompt
Why isn’t Chordious 2.0 available for Windows XP or Vista?
Unfortunately Windows XP and Vista don’t support .NET 4.6.2, which is what I’m using with Chordious 2.0.
Why isn’t Chordious 2.0 available for Mac OS X or Linux?
Developing in Windows, the quickest path to success was to build Chordious targeting Windows first. I do plan on eventually releasing Chordious on other platforms, including Mac OS X and Linux, but that isn’t the highest priority at the moment.
Can I backup my config? Can I move my work to another computer?
Yes, you can export (and later import) your config (diagram library, custom instruments / tunings / qualities / scales, etc.) by going to the Config tab in the Options window and using “Export Config” and “Import Config”.
Can I migrate my work from Classic Chordious into Chordious 2.0?
Yes, if you have old Classic Chordious “ChordLine” files, you can import them into Chordious 2.0 by going to the Config tab in the Options window.
4. Image Formats
What are SVG images?
Short answer: SVG images don’t get blurry when you resize them. You can take a single SVG, shrink it to a postage stamp, or blow it up to a poster, and the lines will be crisp, clean, and beautiful.
Long answer: SVG images are vector-graphics, unlike the raster image formats you’re probably used to dealing with like JPG, PNG, or GIF. The difference is in how they store a given picture: raster images save the picture as you see it, vector-graphics instead save the instructions for how to redraw it. JPGs are great for photos – SVGs are great for line-art, or really anything you could describe with simple shapes. In the case of Chordious, chord diagrams are very easy to describe in those terms – boxes with lines and circles on them with a little text.
That simplicity is really powerful, because it means if you want to scale an SVG, your computer can “do the math” and simply redraw the diagram at any size and still end up with a sharp, beautiful picture.
To see this in action, open one of the SVG chord diagrams with your favorite web browser. Now zoom in a ton, and you’ll see how sharp the lines remain, at any size. This makes it easy for you to say, use the images on a letter-sized handout, then blow those exact same images up to put on a wall poster and not have to worry about the images becoming all blurry.
Try that with your JPG, GIF, and PNGs!
And of course, if you really need your images in another format, Chordious can output to JPG and PNG too.
5. Common Issues
Why am I not getting any results in the Chord Finder?
Short answer: The Chord Finder only searches for the exact search parameters you’ve selected. Double-check your search parameters aren’t limiting your results and try again.
Long answer: There are two main reasons why you’re not getting any results:
First off, the Chord Finder does not support “partial” chords. The most common reason you’re not seeing any results is that you’re looking for a chord that cannot actually be played on the instrument you have selected. The instrument needs at least as many strings as there are notes in the chord quality.
For example, the 4-string ukulele cannot play a 5-note Major 9th chord. So why do diagrams exist for playing Major 9th chords on ukulele? Because those diagrams are only partial chords – the creator has selectively chosen to leave out certain notes, on the premise that it “sounds close enough” or, in a band setting, that other instruments will be filling in the missing notes. Technically however, the diagram is mislabeled – removing notes means you’re now playing a different chord.
The decision to leave out notes based on it sounding “close enough” is a very subjective thing – something that a simple computer program cannot do. Chordious uses the math of music theory to find chords, and while Chordious may eventually support partial chords, the default will always be to search for the complete fully-voiced chords.
However, the most common note to be left out is the root note (the C in a CM9). There’s a weird phenomenon in our brains, where we sometimes still “hear” the root note when it’s left out. Because dropping the root note is so common, Chordious does provides a “Allow Rootless Chords” option.
Now, if you’ve already addressed the issue above and are still not getting any results, then you’re probably performing too restrictive of a search. By default Chordious assumes that you’re okay with open and muted strings, that you’re not playing above the 12th fret, and that you’re not reaching your fingers across more than 4 frets. Playing with these options can drastically increase (or decrease) the number of results you get.
I’ve gotten a message that my configuration is corrupt. What can I do?
Send me a copy of your configuration file and I’ll take a look at it.
In the standard MSI version, the configuration is called Chordious.User.xml (or Chordious.WPF.xml in some older versions) and is located under %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Chordious\.
In the portable version, your configuration file should be located in the same folder as ChordiousPortable.exe.
Note: If you see multiple XML files please send them all. When Chordious detects a corrupt config, you will be given the option to reset your config and continue. Chordious will then save a backup of your config, which is why you’re seeing multiple files.
Why do I keep getting an error message?
If you’re seeing an error message that doesn’t make sense or isn’t addressed elsewhere on this page, drop me a line. It’ll be even more helpful if you include the error details (click on the little “Details” arrow in the error dialog) in your email.