Review: Artiphon Chorda

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Review: Artiphon Chorda

Artiphon Chorda
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Some instruments are designed in such a way that they flip your way of thinking and music composition on its head, inspiring a new way of approaching music and birthing some truly unique ideas.

One such instrument is the Artiphon Chorda which, to put it simply, is a guitarpianodrumandsynth. Does that make sense? This revised way of thinking is especially important for those learning music, as a way to reinterpret the generally accepted rules and forms of conventional music.

Artiphon Chorda

The Chorda is a musical instrument, its layout of notes not unlike the fretboard of a guitar, though sound is produced via different pads with expressive properties. The Chorda features a touch strip for expression, while you can also express yourself by rolling and tipping the Chorda and using the internal accelerometer. The workflow is broken up into four instruments, with a few different ways to create sounds and music. Best of all, the Chorda works just fine as a more conventional MIDI controller when you need it to!

In the hands the Chord is comfortable. It’s not heavy, but it doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap, it’s robust enough to really rock with and give your performance some oomph. We at the Mixdown office had sounds happening in seconds, all very musical, and were quickly cycling through the different instruments, touching and gliding across buttons and sensors.

Read more gear reviews here.

The main buttons are well laid out, with enough space between them to easily avoid hitting the wrong note… though even the ‘wrong’ notes sound nice. One side displays different labels for cycling through settings and parameters like Key, BPM, REC, ARP etc. The other side has the same labels, making the Chorda ambidextrous. The other labels allow you to switch between Drum, Bass, Chord and Lead.


Conventionally laid flat for drums to tap out a beat, the Chorda will work at any orientation. Jumping into Drum settings, you’ve got 12 pads and sounds to work with, from traditional drum set sounds to claps. You can strum the bridge to repeat the last-pressed pad.


The Bass setting offers a nice blend between synth and electric bass, the low end being robust and clear, even through the Chorda’s internal speaker. Here, the 12 pads are automatically tuned to the key of the song, the key being set by holding down the “A Button” and pressing the pad of your choice i.e. Pad 1 is C, Pad 2 is C# and so on.

You can quickly get ideas down without worry of a wrong note – even possibly an accidental moment of genius!


The Chord setting works in a similar way, though plays more complex chords as you’d expect. Use this to add harmonic information to your arrangements, either as a rhythm instrument or even a lead. Get creative!


The Lead settings function much like the Bass, but with different sounds and a higher octave available. This is where you can really get expressive, having laid down the foundation of your song and hopefully looping at this point!

Artiphon Connect App

You can connect your Chorda to the Artiphon connect app for even more options. Dive into sampling, looping and performing with your own recorded samples and sounds. Beyond this, you can use on-screen elements to adjust parameters of the Chorda rather than on-device adjustments.

Add effects, save your songs and sounds, share them with friends and more!

Artiphon Chorda 2


A huge selling point of the Chorda is that it can function as, for lack of a better word, a regular MIDI controller. Sounds aside, it can be used to program and control MIDI instruments and VSTs within your DAW, all with the usable, musical and practical function of the design and layout of the Chorda.

Tap away at drum beats of your favourite VST, or control soft synths with a new level of expression and control. Sure, most MIDI controllers will work, but the Chorda will have you reimagining your sounds in a whole new way.

The Chorda from Artiphon is an instrument in its own right, but more broadly it’s subverting our expectations for an instrument. It’s designed to work with you, both physically by being strummable, tappable and playable, but audibly as well with a slew of sounds all within your control.

On the subject of education, it’s time for everyone to rethink how they make music thanks to the Chorda. There’s some conventions we adhere to, but the Chorda is ripe for a newfound way to express yourself, while also inspiring happy accidents as you move with it. Best of all, save it and loop it to keep building!

Its lightweight and robust design make it great to have on the go, with looping functions available to get you making music fast. The sampler is a special addition as it allows you to take some of Artiphon’s sounds and, coupled with your own, generate something organic and unique to you. Touch strips have existed before the Chorda, but coupled with a gyroscope and accelerometer? Now that’s something special. Tip, roll and perform with your Chorda, and let the expression of it all take you someplace special. The Chorda moves with you sonically, as well as physically, opening up a whole new world of creative expression.

For local enquiries, visit Koala Audio.