ChordPad for the PalmOS PDA

Documentation by Maria & Steven Cahill, Ten Spiders Software

Partial Table of Contents

Introduction. 2

Chord Pad - the Palm Application. 2

A. Database Manager 3

3. New.. 3

d) Adjust Instrument Tuning. 3

4. Rename. 4

5. Delete. 4

B. Chord Manager 4

c) Fingering. 4

d) No-Play Zone. 4

e) Using a Capo. 4

f) Using Partial Capos. 4

g) Clearing the Neck. 4

2. Chord Name Buttons. 5

3. Chord Diagram Area. 5

a) Chord Diagram Anatomy. 5

b) Renaming a Chord. 5

c) Categorizing a Chord. 5

d) Editing Chord Categories. 5

e) Creating Chords in One Category. 5

g) Deleting all the Chords in a Category. 5

4. Returning to the Database Manager 6

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Chord Pad is the palm application that creates databases of chords diagrams. We've included a few databases to get you started, but the intent here is that you're playing your guitar, mandolin, bass, five string or four string banjo and you find a cool chord that you don't know the name of and don't want to forget.  You can make a picture of the chord here and do lots of other things that you'll find out about below.


The ChordPad Viewer, a Window only application, can read PalmOS ChordpPad backup files and converts the diagrams to .jpg or .png files integrating them into a simple HTML document.  The viewer application is installed using the ChordPadViewerSetup.msi file.  After installing ‘ChordPadViewerSetup.msi’ see the ‘ChordPad Viewer Help.doc’ in the directory where you installed it.


‘chordpad.prc’ is the Palm OS application.  Here 2 ways to install the application to your Palm:


1) Double click ‘chordpad.prc’ and select the User to install the application. 

2) In the Palm Desktop application - select Install under the View menu.  Once in the Install Tool, select the User.  Then hit the ‘Add…’ button and select the ‘chordpad.prc’ file.


Also select any of the distributed databases you wish to install at this time by selecting ‘Add…’ again or by just dragging any of the files into the Install Tool dialog window.


After clicking ‘Done’ HotSync the device to install the files to your palm (hit the button on the cradle).

ChordPad - the Palm Application

There are two main areas of the PDA program you'll spend most of your time in, the Database Manager or the Chord Manager. 


Database view listing all loaded databases.

A. Database Manager

1. When you start the program, you'll be in the DB Screen.   Four buttons at the bottom of this screen, "Open", "New", "Rename", and "Delete", allow you to create and manipulate databases.  Tap on these buttons to enable them or just write the first letter of the button.

2. Open

Use this to open existing databases.  You can also double tap the name of the database.

3. New

Use this to create a new chord database. 

a) This takes you to an intermediate screen where you define the name of the new database  (maybe the name of the song and the instrument you're using, if you play more than one). 

b) Pick the instrument that you want to make chord diagrams for from the pop up menu on your screen.  Your choices are guitar, mandolin, bass, 4-string banjo, or 5-string banjo. 

c) If you plan to use standard tuning, tap the "Standard Tuning" button and you'll move to the Chord Manager.  If you want to change the tuning, tap the "Set Tuning" button and you'll move on to the "Adjust Instrument Tuning" screen.

d) Adjust Instrument Tuning

The notes for each string are listed from highest pitch (1st string) to lowest pitch (last string).  Tap on the letter to change the line so it points to the string you plan to retune.  Now tap the up and down triangles/arrows to change to the desired note.  When you're finished, tap "OK" to get to the Chord Manager or "Cancel" to make the computer forget you ever went to this screen and go back to the Database Manager.

4. Rename

Obvious right?  Renames the database.

5. Delete

Hopefully, also obvious.  Deletes the database.


B. Chord Manager

There are basically three areas of the Chord Manager, the instrument neck, the chord name buttons, and the (upon starting) presently empty chord diagram area.


Neck view of 1) new database, 2) after clicking the ‘G’ button 3)‘Basic Mandolin’ database (high res device)


1. Instrument Neck

On the left is the note of each string.  When you start a new database, all your strings are open, indicated by the open circles just to the right of the string notes.  The instrument neck has frets (vertical lines), strings ( horizontal lines), and likely fret markings to help you find the right fret.  Notice that the fat strings on the bottom indicate the lower pitch strings. 

a) Use your stylus to tap anywhere on the neck.  The circle is shown filled in and moves from the open position to the fretted position you chose, and the name of the note changes accordingly. 

b) Use your stylus to drag the chord up and down the neck.  Double tap each black circle to indicate left hand fingering.

c) Fingering

Double tap each black circle to indicate left hand fingering.  This fingering will appear on the neck when the chord is selcted on your palm and will appear in the HTML file created by the ChordPad Viewer on your desktop computer.


d) No-Play Zone

Tap all the way to the right of the neck (within the diagonal lines) to indicate that you will not be playing that particular string. 


e) Using a Capo

Use the "Place Capo" function in the Options pull down menu.  Tap anywhere on the fret you wish to place the capo and them tap the button "Place Capo".  Tap the "Cancel" button to go back.

f) Using Partial Capos

To use cut-out capos (where only certain strings are capoed), use the Options pull down menu to access the "Place Capo Pieces" function.  Tap anywhere on the fret and string you wish to place the capo or in the open circle area.  Like chords, use the stylus to drag the capo pieces together up or down the neck.  Tap the button "Place Capo" to finish or "Cancel" if you changed your mind.


g) Clearing the Neck

Double tap back in the open circle area or by using the "Clear Neck" in the Options pull down menu (Command i or just i).

2. Chord Name Buttons

The program will give you up to three valid names for a chord.   Tap on a button with text in it to create a chord diagram with that name.

3. Chord Diagram Area

All the chord diagrams you've created with the Chord Name Buttons will be here.   When the screen is full, use the scroll bar that appears on the right or the physical scroll buttons on your PDA to see them all.

a) Chord Diagram Anatomy

All chord diagrams shows a few frets, all the strings, which strings are fretted and which are open, and the chord name. 


If you see a number just to the right of the diagram, this means the fingering started at that fret.  If you see a lowercase c with a number beside it, that indicates you used a capo on the nth fret.  If you see a lowercase c with an asterisk, that indicates you used capo pieces to make the chord.


Tap once on a chord diagram.  If you entered fingerings or used a capo to create the diagram, you'll see them reflected on the neck.

b) Renaming a Chord

Double tap the diagram to rename the chord.

c) Categorizing a Chord

Double tap the diagram to rename the chord.   A pop up menu on the screen appears with the initial choices of "Bridge", "Chorus", or "Verse".  Tap outside the pop up menu to keep the default, "Unfiled" or on one other choices to change it.

d) Editing Chord Categories

The Category pop up menu is in the upper right part of the screen with "All" as the default.  Tap on it and you'll see "Bridge", "Chorus", "Verse", "Unfiled", and "Edit Categories".  Tap "Edit Categories" to go to another screen to manage them.  Your self-explanatory button choices are "OK", "New", "Rename", and "Delete".

e) Creating Chords in One Category

Use the Category pop up menu in the upper right part of the screen to choose the category you want.  Now, all the chord diagrams you make will automatically be in the chosen category until you choose a new category.

f) Editing Chord Diagrams

Use the Edit pull down menu to cut, copy, paste, or delete chords.  You can also cut (Command-x or just x), copy (Command-c or just c), paste (Command-p or just p) and delete (Command-d or just d) with your stylus.  Paste will place the chord after a highlighted diagram or at the end if no diagrams are highlighted.  Highlight a chord by tapping it once.

g) Deleting all the Chords in a Category

Use the "Delete Category Chords" function in the Adv pull down menu to delete all the chords in a particular category.  This function only works when you're actually in that category (by choosing the category with the pop up menu in the upper right corner).  It doesn't work when the Category is "All".  (Tip: Use the "Delete" button in the Database Manager to get rid of everything.)

4. Returning to the Database Manager

In the Options pull down menu, choose "Open Database Mgr…" or use Command-O or just O.



Under the Adv menu you will find the 2 modes:


Normal – Clicking on the guess chord name button just adds the chord to the database at the end in the current category (default mode).


Insert Mode - Clicking on the guess chord name button will bring up

à where hitting OK will just add the chord to the end or ‘Insert At’ will then insert the chord before a selected chord in your database after you hit the new button.