Project Type

University Project


No Client



My Role

UX Design, Allround

About the Project

SongBlocks is an audio plugin designed to work inside of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Users can create small compositions & loops inside of the plugin, which can be exported and arranged further inside the DAW.

Creating Chords

The plugin simplifies the process by treating chords as “blocks” that can be arranged via drag-and-drop. The boxes at the bottom contain triad-chords for the selected key, that can be dragged into the composition.

The chord-length can be adjusted by dragging the edges, while the middle handle of the chord is used to set the inversion & position of the chord. When selected, notes can be added or deleted from the chord. The system highlights notes that might fit (chord extensions).

Chords can be easily replaced by dragging other chords over them. The new chord automatically takes on the length and position of the old one.

Key Select

Selecting a new key affects the composition:

1. The available chords in the chord area change according to which key is selected.
2. The composition is transposed to fit the selected key.
3. The tonic note of the selected key is shown in the piano roll on the left.


Melody notes can be drawn in by using the mouse and double-clicking inside of a grid field, or by using the pen tool (single click).

The interval of the note in relation to the chord below is shown inside the note.

Avoid Notes

The system helps users by marking notes that are possibly dissonant: Out-of-key notes that are not in the selected key are highlighted with a red interval number.

Avoid notes, that are in the selected key, but still cause a dissonant interval with the underlying chord are highlighted with a (!).

By hovering over the icon, the two notes that cause the dissonance are highlighted. In the general settings users can select, which intervals the system should count as dissonant.

Advanced Mode

For users who want to access a wider range of chords, there’s the advanced mode:

Here, users have access to all the triads that are not in the selected key. The type of triad (major, minor, diminished, augmented) can be set by clicking the chord box.

In this mode, chords can be dragged in with extensions already present. These can be set in the extensions panel on the bottom left.

Project Team

SongBlocks was done together with a fellow student as our bachelor project for our interaction design studies:

Janik Freisinger
Paul Schänzlin

Let’s create something great together.