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Sundog FAQ & Tips

General Sundog questions
Demo, full version, updates, license
Operating system specific questions

General Sundog Questions

How do I install Sundog?

Simply download it from the Download Page and run the Installer.


Where can I find the manual?

You can find the manual at http://feelyoursound.com/sundog-manual/. A highly recommended quickstart tutorial is available at http://feelyoursound.com/sundog-quickstart/.


I can't hear any audio, is Sundog broken?

Sundog doesn't create audio on its own, you have to connect it to another synthesizer or DAW via MIDI! Please take a look at the following answer.


How can I connect Sundog to my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) / other MIDI software?

If you use Ableton Live: How to use Sundog with Ableton Live
If you use Bitwig: How to use Sundog with Bitwig
If you use Logic Pro X: How to use Sundog with Logic Pro X
If you use FL Studio: How to use Sundog with FL Studio
If you use Propellerhead Reason: How to use Sundog with Reason
If you use Presonus Studio One 2 or 3: How to use Sundog with Studio One 2 or 3
If you use Cakewalk Sonar: How to use Sundog with Cakewalk Sonar
If you use a different DAW: How to use Sundog with a DAW


Will there be a VST version?

I will see what I can do. However, I'm not sure if the Sundog concept can get ported to a MIDI VST one-to-one.


I think I found a Bug / Error

Bummers. Please contact me and tell me what happened. This will make both you and me very happy, as I can only fix issues that I am aware of ;). Thanks in advance for reporting!


How can I become an affiliate?

Please join the Share-it affiliate program for Sundog.

Sundog songwriting tips and tricks

The quickest way to get started with Sundog.

The basics of Sundog are very easy to learn. A highly recommended quickstart tutorial is available at http://feelyoursound.com/sundog-quickstart/. Learn the essentials in seven minutes! After that you may want to take a look at the manual and the tricks in this section.


Finding great chords by ear.

A very important part of Sundog is the Chords page. Basically you only need to click on chord buttons and then decide if you want to include them in your chord progression or not.

The video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOxHpDmc1vM goes even further and explains all the other functions that are available.

Main topics of the video:

  • Find standard chords for Major and Minor scales (00:35)
  • Ceate chord progressions easily (02:00)
  • Export progressions to your DAW (02:45)
  • Quickly create arpeggios and basslines (03:35)
  • Play chords with one finger (04:52)
  • Invert chords (06:00)
  • Quickly find out the tension of a chord (06:24)
  • Create own chords and chord collections (07:35)
  • Experiment with voicings / chord variations (10:00)


Some tricks to come up with new melodies.

Here are a few tricks to come up with new melodies when you are stuck:

  • Stay on the chord notes if you want to create "background melodies".
  • Work with your whole set of scale notes to create lead melodies (you don't need to use all possible notes, but you also don't have to stick just to the chord notes).
  • Try this: Create a rhythm first, then change the notes until it sounds good. In Sundog this is very easy: Create or load a pattern that only consists of base notes ("0"), then draw in a "melody contour" in the Pattern Trigger editor.
  • Melody contour
  • Slow, long notes that don't cover a wide range of notes -> calm melodies, epic melodies.
  • Quick notes that change often and maybe use two or more octaves -> happy melodies, energetic melodies.
  • Do you need more tension in your song? Write melodies where you also use notes that are just one semitone apart. Example: The little four-note-hook "C -> C# -> C -> C#" sounds quite scary. All the classic Western scales contain some notes that are only one semitone away from each other.
  • A common technique is called "call and response": Create a little melody, then "answer" with another little melody. Example: Create a small arpeggio that is going up... wait a bit.. answer with a small arpeggio that is going down.
  • A good way to create memorable melodies that aren't too annoying: Create a small melody. Double the number of steps, copy the melody to the second part. Now do a little twist at the end of the second part.
  • In most cases it's a good idea to use a simple base rhythm + melody and then throw in some more complex parts. This way the melody can be memorable while not being overly simplistic.


Which chords are good for which mood?

Each type of chord has a certain feeling or mood. If you are working on a chord progression, you may want to take a look at the following list to get some inspiration. But please keep in mind that the feeling of a chord can change - the chords that are used in the rest of the progression are influential as well.

Triads:

  • Major (like "Cmaj"): Happy, bright, satisfied.
  • Minor (like "Cmin"): Sad, dark, melancholic, mysterious, serious.
  • Diminished (like "Cdim"): Spooky, fearful, doomed.
  • Augmented (like "Caug"): Disharmonic, suspenseful.
  • Suspended (like "Csus4"): Tension, majestic.
  • Powerchords (like "C5"): Powerful, forceful

Four note chords:

  • (Dominant) Seventh (like "Cdom7"): Funky, soulful, strong.
  • Major Seventh (like "Cmaj7"): Smooth, soft, jazzy, calm, thoughtful.
  • Minor Seventh (like "Cmin7"): Smooth, jazzy, mellow, contemplative.
  • Added Ninth (like "Cadd9"): Energetic, bright.
  • Major Sixth (like "C6"): Fun, Playful.
  • Minor Sixth (like "Cmin6"): Dark, mysterious.
  • Suspended Fourth (like "C7sus4"): Tension.

Turn on "Show chord tension" in Sundog to get some additional help. Harmonic chord buttons will have an empty background, disharmonic chord buttons will have strong stripes in the background.


The built-in chord progression search: Over 500 progressions for your victory!

If you are struggling to come up with good chords, you can use the included chord progression search page to kickstart your tracks. Over 500 progressions are included in Sundog, and the search page will help you to find the right ones immediately.

The video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEC6SgeIopg shows you an example for a song part that was created with this method. There is also a detailed text description in the manual that explains the search options in detail.

If you want to save your own chord progressions, you can do this via "Chords -> Save chord progression". Your saved progressions will get scanned by the Progression Search tool as well.


A quick way to play any scale without training.

Sundog includes a special Jam page that makes it easy to play any scale at once. You can use your mouse, your computer keyboard, or your MIDI keyboard (white keys) to trigger notes inside your DAW.

You only need to follow these steps:

  1. Pick an instrument in the Main View.
  2. Go on "Tools -> Jam with current instrument" or press J on your keyboard.
  3. Choose a base note and a scale.
  4. Use the mouse, the computer keyboard, or your MIDI keyboard to play polyphonic melodies.
A note on the MIDI keyboard: Please make sure that you don't create any MIDI feedback loops when you pick your MIDI instrument ("MIDI In Device") in the preferences. You mustn't use that instrument in your DAW either (otherwise you would receive the input both in your DAW and in Sundog).


How to find out which scales are used in your favourite songs.

You can use the Jam page to quickly find out which scales were used in your favourite songs. This technique works most of the time (as long as the song stays in one scale of course).

Simply do this:

  1. Play back the song.
  2. Open Sundog's Jam page: Go on "Tools -> Jam with current instrument" or press J on your keyboard.
  3. Most western songs use either the Major or the Minor scale (and more than 80% of EDM/dance songs will tend to the Minor scale), so either select Major or Minor here.
  4. Set the root note to "C" and quickly press the keys 1 to 6 on your keyboard. Play around some more and try to find out if it sounds harmonious or dissonant.
  5. Case A) If it sounds good: Congratulations! You probably found the right scale. But you will need to do another test. Press the key "1" repeatedly and decide by your ear if the note sounds good the whole time. If you find another note on the scale that seems to fit better, you need to either change the scale from Major to Minor or from Minor to Major. You will also have to set the root note to the note that sounded better. Test that scale again and see if it works for you. (Reason: Each Major scale has a Minor scale that consists of the same notes. The root note that you just found out is very important and indicates which scale is used in that song).
  6. Case B) If it sounds dissonant: Set the root note to the next note, e.g. "C#". Repeat the steps in point 4.
  7. Repeat step 6 until you find the right scale.
Test this technique with a few songs and you will find out that your ears will quickly show you the right scales.


How to play chords with one finger - and how to create your own chord collections for different moods.

You can use Sundog to create own chord collections for different moods and then trigger these chords with one finger. Directly from your computer keyboard or from your MIDI keyboard.

Here is how:

  1. Open Sundog, go to the Chords page.
  2. Choose a root note and a scale.
  3. Sundog will show you the most important chords of that scale. Use your mouse to find the chords that you like the most. You can switch notes by clicking
  4. on the keyboard graphic at the bottom.
  5. Click on the "Keep" symbol if you like a chord.
  6. Click on the grid symbol (3x3 blocks) in the upper right corner to take a look at your chord collection.
  7. Now you can use the keys 1 to 9 or your MIDI keyboard to trigger chord fields. Hold down Ctrl to trigger fields that are higher than 9.
  8. If you want to save your collection, you can click on "Chords -> Save own chords...". This is perfect if you want to store your chords for future songwriting sessions.
Bonus tip: If you want to work with borrowed chords etc, you can turn on "Settings -> Show chromatic keyboard in chords view".


Write polyphonic melodies in two minutes.

It's very easy to write polyphonic melodies with Sundog. The video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzRm3Lxaiww demonstrates how you can create a piano line with several simple melodies that form one complex piece.

The basic concept:

  1. Work with several Sundog instrument boxes and use the same MIDI channel for each of them.
  2. Create a simple melody for each instrument box. Work with different base octaves.
  3. Use the "Chord Notes" source mode for most boxes. Take the "Scale Notes" source mode for one box to spice things up a little bit.
  4. It's a good idea to experiment with different pattern lengthes, so that the melodies loop at different positions.
Now play back the different melodies together to hear a complex polyphonic piano line.


Genre close-up: How to make Tropical House (chords and melodies)

Take a look at http://feelyoursound.com/tropical-house/ to learn how you can create three different tropical house song parts in seven minutes. The tutorial focuses on chords, bass lines, and melodies.


Genre close-up: How to make Trap (and create a dark atmosphere)

Head over to http://feelyoursound.com/trap-tutorial/ and learn more about making Trap. You will also learn how to choose the right chords for a dark atmosphere, no matter the genre.

Demo, full version, updates, license

I purchased Sundog. Where can I get the full version?

There is no separate full version. Just download the demo and enter the serial that you received from share-it (my payment processor).


Where can I enter the serial?

Start the demo and you will see a registration box. Or simply use the menu: Help -> Register.


What are the system requirements?

Screen size should be 1200 x 780 or above. Windows Vista, 7, 8 and up + macOS 10.7 (64 bit processor) and up are supported. Please try before you buy!


What are the demo limitations?

The demo is limited to a few scales (full version: 300+). You can only save songs, chord progressions, and patterns, not load them. There are only six instrument channels available (full version: 15). You can export MIDI files only for a few times per session.


What scales are included in the full version?

Please take a look at this list.


What is your update policy?

You will get all updates for free, forever.


I have a question about my order or payment

All orders are processed by share-it, a specialized and secure payment provider for software products. Please use their Customer Care Center if you have any questions about orders and payments. Tech support is done by me, though.


How can I update to the newest version?

Simply download the current version from the Download Page. Windows: The installer will autodetect your license key if you install to the same folder as before. macOS: Just copy the Sundog.app over your existing Sundog version in the Application folder - Sundog will keep all your previous settings intact.


Can I use the same serial for both macOS and Windows?

Yes, you can activate both Mac and Windows versions with the same serial.


Can I use one license to install Sundog on different computers?

Yes, this is allowed - as long as these computers belong to you and you don't use them at the same time. So using Sundog on your Mac in the morning and on your PC in the evening is perfectly fine. Running Sundog on two computers at once would require an additional license though.


Is there a changelog somewhere?

Yep. Take a look at this file.


My antivirus software "Avast" gave me a warning when I downloaded the software

Unfortunately Avast displays a false warning from time to time. I never saw this happen with a different antivirus software. If you are in doubt you can always upload Sundog to VirusTotal. This free online service will scan the file with over fifty engines - and they never found a virus (I do this before every upload myself to be sure that they are safe).

Operating system specific questions

Windows: I want to use loopMIDI as my virtual MIDI cable, but sometimes I get a crash when Sundog starts.

By default loopMIDI (which is NOT the same as LoopBe, btw!) will only run for one Windows session. loopMIDI won't start automatically if you restart Windows. On some computers this might confuse Sundog. To fix this you should configure loopMIDI to start automatically. Please do this: Start loopMIDI, right-click the icon in the system tray, activate the automatic startup action.


Windows: The MIDI drag and drop feature doesn't work with my DAW

Please make sure that both Sundog and your DAW run either with administrator privileges or without them. Using different privileges might lead to problems. If you still cannot get the drag and drop feature to work please write me a mail and tell me which DAW you use. It should be possible to export to Explorer / Finder, though.


Windows: The Windows Wavetable Synthesizer sounds awful! Is there a better way to listen to standard GM sounds?

Please take a look at the free VirtualMIDISynth. "VirtualMIDISynth is a software MIDI synthesizer implemented as a Windows multimedia user driver, accessible as a standard MIDI Out device. [...] Load up to 30 SoundFonts and chain them."


Can I use it on Linux?

I never tried it myself. The MIDI channeling should work (take a look at the Wine Database for XotoPad for more hints. Thanks go out to Denis Comtesse for testing and the instructions!). But I'm not sure whether the timing will be good enough. If you try it I would be happy to hear from you! My contact details can be found here.

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