Learn How To Build Chord Sounds in Massive

Kicking off this month’s featured series is a tutorial on how to build chord sounds and stack different pitches to make playable chords.

Chords are the staple of music. Without them you just have intervals and notes. In electronic music, chords are a powerful way to add depth to a production and luckily you don’t have to be a music theory guru to build chord sounds in Massive.

Without getting too much into the theory of what makes a chord a chord, lets just say there are different intervals between pitches that need to occur to generate what our ears perceive to be a chord. A chord needs at least three notes. Two is just considered an interval. Hopefully now you can see how having three oscillators will help you build chord sounds in Massive.

The video tutorial gives you a quick text run down of the structure for making simple major and minor chords, but here they are again.

A MAJOR CHORD:  OSC 1  0  OSC2   +4    OSC3   +7

A MINOR CHORD:  OSC 1  0    OSC2   +3    OSC3   +7

So if you tune the oscillators to 0, 4, and 7, and play a C note on the keyboard, you are actually playing a C Major chord. These amounts are ratios so they can be used from any starting point as well as be used in any oscillator. You could pitch up OSC 1 to +7 and then OSC 2 to 0 and OSC 3 to 4 and still wind up with a major chord sound.

Watch the video above to see everything you need to know to build chord sounds in Massive.


  • Mauro D Mejia

    Interesting tutorial on chords and pitches, which I’ve been meaning to find out to make chord stabs and learn more about synthesis tuning since I relate it to the fm8 tutorial on better understanding frequency modulation and knowing ratios to hertz

  • leo anifowose

    Gr8 tutorial, using this to build some simple chord progressions in Massive.