I’ve been writing code that generates guitar chords for over a year now, in various languages and with varying degrees of success. My newest addition to this family of chord-creating programs is Glorious Voice Leader!

Glorious Voice Leader is an enigmatic leader tool who’s mission is to help you voice lead smoothly between chords. It does this by generating all possible (and some impossible) voicings of a given chord, and sorting them based on the chromatic distance from the previous chord in the progression.

Glorious Voice Leader says, “the less you move, the more you groove!”

Obviously, this robotic “rule” needs to be tempered by human taste and aesthetic, so the various choices are presented to you, the user, in the form of a heat map laid over a guitar fretboard. The notes in the voicings that Glorious Voice Leader think lead better from the previous chord are darkened, and notes that don’t lead as well are lightened.

To get a grasp on this, let’s consider an example.

Let’s pretend we’re trying to play a ii-V-I progression on the guitar in the key of C. When we tell Glorious Voice Leader that our first chord will be a Dm7, it gives us a heat map of the various initial voicings to choose from:

With this initial chord, darker notes in the heat map are used more frequently by the generated voicings, and lighter notes are used more rarely. Click on the notes of the Dm7 voicing you want to start with.

Once we’ve told Glorious Voice Leader where to start, we can tell it where we want to go next. In our case, our next chord will be a G7. Here’s where things get interesting. Glorious Voice Leader generates all possible G7 voicings, and ranks them according to how well they lead from the Dm7 we just picked out.

Pick out a G7 voicing with darkened notes:

Now we tell Glorious Voice Leader that we want to end our progression with a Cmaj7 chord.

Choose your Cmaj7 voicing:

That’s it! With Glorious Voice Leader’s help, we’ve come up with an entire ii-V-I chord progression. Grab yourself a guitar and play through the whole progression. I’m willing to bet it sounds pretty nice.

For this example, we’ve embedded a small, reluctant version of Glorious Voice Leader directly into this page. Check out the above example in its full-fledged glory at the Glorious Voice Leader website. If you’re eager for another example, here’s the entire series of diatonic seventh chords descending in fourths, as suggested by Glorious Voice Leader.

If you find this interesting, be sure to give Glorious Voice Leader a try and let me know what you think! Expect more features and write-ups in the near future.