A song consists of a prearranged chord progression (i.e. a series of chords), along with a time signature and a key signature. A song may also include optional properties such as a tempo or a transposition, and the chord progression may be separated into repeating sections.
Normally a song is played at a specified tempo, and the performer is expected to stay in sync with ChordEase. A built-in metronome is provided to facilitate this. It's also possible to use ChordEase in free-time mode, in which case the performer manually steps through the song's chords, usually via a continuous controller assigned to the Next Chord command. Note that harmonic anticipation is not supported in free-time mode.
Songs can be entered and edited using the chart view, or via text editor. In the chart view, chords can be inserted, deleted, cut, copied, pasted, and renamed via standard editing commands. Chords can also be edited via context menu, and reordered via dragging and dropping. The chart view is easier for beginners, but once the song syntax is learned, editing the song as text may be preferable. A song is stored as a plain text file, usually having the .ces file extension.
The song is the primary document type in ChordEase. The File menu operates on songs, and contains commands to create a new song, open an existing song, save the current song, etc. The secondary document type is the patch, and patches have their own menu (the Patch menu) that behaves like a second file menu. Note that ChordEase also has two undo histories, one for the current song and one for the current patch.
The current position within the song is indicated by the chart view's cursor. The song position can be changed at any time by left-clicking a chord within the chart view. If the chart view has focus, the song position can also be changed via the arrow keys, Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End. To skip to the next or previous chord, use the Next Chord and Previous Chord commands. To jump to a specific numeric song position, use the Go To command. The song position is updated automatically while the song is playing. The status bar shows the song position numerically in measures, beats, and ticks. Note that measures and beats are one-origin, i.e. the beginning of the song is 1:1:0.
In addition to its native song file format, ChordEase also supports the file format of a free music notation program called Impro-Visor (Improvisation Advisor). Impro-Visor files are known as lead sheet (.ls) files. A lead sheet is opened in the same manner as a ChordEase song file, e.g. via the File/Open command, drag/drop from Windows Explorer, or the command line. ChordEase reads lead sheets, but doesn't write them, so when you open a lead sheet, it's automatically converted to ChordEase song file format. Not all the data in a lead sheet is useful to ChordEase. ChordEase imports the chord changes, along with a subset of the metadata, including the time signature, key signature, tempo, title, and composer. The melody track is ignored. The import has been tested against all of the files in the Impro-Visor lead sheet download, and opens about 97% of them. The most common failures are listed below.
The Impro-Visor lead sheet download is available from the Impro-Visor web site. For the details of lead sheet format, see Impro-Visor Leadsheet Notation.