Chord Inversion Transform - Version 1.0 by Neil Radisch

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This technique was taught to me by Ray Lustig at the Juilliard School. It uses a series of chord inversions and transpositions to create a collection of melodic and harmonic ideas to use as a compositional launching point. It’s in the same camp with techniques like Stravinsky Verticals, or Fractals (though it's not particularly math intense). The transformations required are not difficult, but can become tedious and are prone to error. I wrote a plugin to relieve the tedium.

Explanation of the technique

You start with any chord with any number of notes. For this example I’ll use a C major triad.

Then you take every inversion of the chord.

Take these inversions, and transpose them so the first voice is the same. Then transpose them so the second voice is the same, and finally the third (if your chord has more than three notes you just keep going).

This gives you:

This harmonic material can be used whole or in part in your composition.
You can also extract melodic material by looking at the motion of each voice across all the transforms.

Voice 1

Voice 2

Voice 3

Using the plugin.

The Chord Transform Plugin takes care of all this work for you. To use, create your initial chord in an empty bar.

Highlight the chord or bar and run the plugin. All the transforms will be created and appended to the music.