bessie — a practice tool for chromatic movement (rip barry harris)


fixed all the bugs (as of 12.22, 8:27 CST)

Bessie is a practice tool for chromatic movement built around the concept of the tesseract. Play any chord of a relevant quality (diminished, 7, M7, M6, m6, M7#5, 7b5, or minMaj7), in any inversion, and bessie will tell you what chord you played + suggest another chord a mere half-step away.

If you play a chord and it doesn’t seem like bessie got it right, press K2 to clear the cache.

Bessie ignores repeated notes, so you can duplicate notes in your voicings and bessie’ll still work pretty good.


avoiding mission drift

I know that it would be very easy to build an expanded version that includes a wider variety of movement or chord types, but it’s really important for me right now to sit with this particular harmonic concept and let its many sounds sink in. This is a spike for a larger project, tentatively titled 6DIM, which will offer many axes of sequencing manipulation (like colorwheel’s dissonant brother). Bessie outlines one such axis.


Norns, midi keyboard



I had the privilege to attend four one week workshops with Barry while studying in the Hague. He was an amazing pianist, a driving force in teaching and a very warm person. I’m really grateful to have met him and was very sad when I learned he passed away.


Most of what’s on YouTube of his was filmed at the Hague. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend going through some of it. May catch a familiar moment.


neat! i’d love to play around with this but it looks like there isn’t a download link?

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thats a shame, vids of him on youtube have been so inspiring. eager to check this out when im back home

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download link updated.

added video tutorial


ah sooo cool! @yams you’ve made a norns piano teacher!

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I’d love to see you pull a sequence out of this + turn it into something. Definitely thought of you a lot while making it.

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