This Manual is focused on the features and functions of ChordLab. It discusses the interface, some general and some advanced options. By the time you are done reading this user guide, you will have a solid understanding of how to use ChordLab. It has been written to be read from start to end, but jumping in at any point is fine as well. Please note that this documentation is still in the state of being assembled and you might not find everything you are looking for yet. We ask for a little patience while we work diligently to bring the rest of it online.
Chords and harmony in general make a late appearance in music history - much later than rhythm or melody. This is still reflected in today's terminology when we use terms like voicing or four-part harmony. Voices are in essence notes in a chord - each belonging to a different melody or voice. Four singers each producing one note at the same time create harmony and a specific slice of this harmony at a given time is what we know as a chord.
Four-part harmony refers to the number of notes maintained throughout a piece. This makes sense once we start thinking about singers again. With four singers a couple of considerations are quite obvious. We can't all of a sudden have a chord with 5 voices, because we only have four singers. At the same time, since we already have four singers and want to keep them employed, we usually strive to avoid large sections where only 3 of them have something to do.
At a minimum a chord requires three voices and while three-part harmony is quite common 5 or more parts tend to complicate things. Generally speaking a good understanding of 4-part harmony is a great foundation and also the focus of ChordLab.