Hints, Tips & News From The World Of Music Software
More hints and tips from the world of music software.
This is the function in Creator and Notator which allows you to give notes, which you have already entered in the Event Editor, a precise cue point 'on the fly' by hitting [/] on the ST's numeric keypad. It is intended for matching samples (triggered by those already-entered notes) to the action on-screen when synchronised to video. If necessary, you can then go back and manually alter each note's time position to get it exactly right. Each cue note can be named by pressing [Shift]+[Esc], entering the name in the text line that appears, then clicking OK. To see the name as part of the note list, enable the Comment icon in the left-hand partbox.
Enable 'Insmode' in the Edit menu to ensure that the list remains in the same order as you originally entered it, and make the time position of the first note in the list (and therefore of the subsequent notes as well) a few bars later than actually required, so that you determine each note's time position with [/] - in other words, if the first of your cues is due around the fourth bar, enter the list of trigger notes a few bars after the fourth bar; this will prevent the list from starting off of its own accord; now when you press [/] while Creator is running, the whole list will move forwards with the first note, and from now on, the order will remain the same, whenever you press [/] (see pages 92b and 105 of the manual).
There are two shaded icons marked 'Cue', one below the Arrange List and one above the Event List in the Event Editor page. Clicking and holding them with the left mouse button allows you to scroll quickly through the lists by moving the mouse towards/away from you, in much the same way as you might scroll through synth values with a Roland alpha wheel. Clicking and holding them with the right mouse button starts Creator from the current cursor position - in the Arrange Lists's case, this means from the start time of the current pattern - at the preset tempo; moving the mouse towards/away from you decreases/increases the tempo. Once you get the hang of Cue, you'll wonder how you ever... etc! (see pages 91 and 118 of the manual).
Note that a right mouse button click on Cue in the Event List (or press [Shift]+) plays the music from the current event; contrast this with the usual [.] 'continue' key stroke, which plays the music from the current main bar counter position.
Tempo, like Volume, Program Changes, Mutes and P-USER 5/6, is a function which is able to look 'over its shoulder' to see what the last tempo command was, in the situation where you have not started from the top of the music. For it to function correctly, you must have a series of 'P-USER 1 Absolute Tempo' values starting at the top of the music (126.96.36.199) in a track that has a clear run throughout your song, if you are using the arrange mode.
However, it behaves slightly differently from how you might expect: a True function will only do its job on receiving a Start command, and in Creator, pressing Start results in starting either from the 188.8.131.52 of the current pattern if the Arrange Mode is Off, or the start of the currently-cursored pattern in the Arrange List when the Arrange Mode is On. So, in Internal Sync mode, True tempo changes will only really be seen to be working at the start of each arrange pattern with Arrange Mode on. If you start at any point other than at the beginning of a pattern, you have to use a Continue command, which will not trigger a True function.
In SMPTE Sync mode, True functions start to make real sense because any movement of the tape you are slaved to via Unitor sends a Start command, even halfway through a pattern, so True functions will be taken account of at any point in the music. In MIDI Sync mode, Creator takes its tempo from the external sync device, so internal tempo changes are not available (see page 68n of the manual).
Ever wondered why when you delete a track (drag it to the left with the mouse, or hit [Backspace]), it leaves behind all its track parameters? The thinking behind this is as follows: when you delete a track, it is normally because you want to replace its contents with new data using the same parameters; how annoying it would be if, when you deleted a track, it also deleted all the parameters, which would mean having to enter them all again.
Have you noticed how this deletion (or entering any parameter in an empty track) has the additional effect of automatically assigning the track's parameters to all other empty tracks? This is because Creator has no separate 'MIDI Thru select' function: whatever happens to one empty track is applied to all the other empty tracks. So whether you delete a track, or intentionally enter parameters to colour your MIDI Thru channel, the effect will be applied to every other empty track.
Continuing on from the above topic: in Notator, when a track is deleted from the main page, it leaves behind all its display parameters as well. This, as above, has the effect of automatically assigning the ex-track's display parameters to all other empty tracks (you can see this in the large menu 'Edit = Display Parameters' window). So if your staves start looking odd for no apparent reason, have a look inside that window to see if the display parameters are as they should be.
You can apply a set of display parameters to all other empty tracks in the same pattern, in one operation, by simply entering them in the lowest empty track in the 'Display Parameter' window, and leaving the window via OK. You can also name tracks from this window, even if you have not initialised them on the main page. Both these features will help you to assemble default patterns for use as templates for future work.
The current version of Trackman works perfectly well on a 520ST giving a capacity of approximately 25,000 notes or 50,000 events. With the MIDIman desk accessory installed, the note capacity drops to around 20,000 but for many users this is still adequate.
You will have noticed that when software manufacturers release new versions of programs, these invariably require more memory. Indeed, Trackman Version 2 is being prepared and it does use a little more memory. However, to offset this we have developed a more efficient method of storing notes so that although the available memory decreases the note storage capacity will actually increase!
If you do have a 1040ST then you will obtain a substantial improvement in note capacity; typically 25%, bringing the total note capacity to over 100,000! Even with a 520ST you will get some increase on note capacity, so you will not need a new computer to run Version 2. To maintain total compatibility, your existing sequences will be automatically converted to the new compact format. This also saves disk storage space.
The Steinberg Helpline has had a few calls regarding the use of the Arrange windows in Cubase. They are called Arrangement windows, but the idea is not that these are parts of one arrangement, rather that they can all hold different versions of the same song or different songs altogether. Some people are trying to write sections of a tune in different windows and then wondering why they do not all play together.
If you have got yourself into this position, all you have to do to rectify the situation is transfer all the parts from one Arrangement window to another. Select all the parts from one Arrangement [Cntl A] and cut them [Cntl X] to the clipboard. Select the other Arrangement, park the song pointer at the point where the parts need to go, and paste them in [CNTL V]. Users of Apple computers will already be familiar with these commands, and it works with anything fron a single part up to all of them, as in this case.
The confusion is caused by the indistinct use of the English language, where we use the same word for the act of arrangement or an Arrangement.
If you think along 'drum machine' lines, then this is how you do it. Any parts in Cubase can be allocated to a Group part. The component parts can be in neat vertical columns or absolutely anywhere across the arrangement. The length of the Group part will be as long as its component parts. These are then placed on one of the 16 Group tracks that are available. Group parts can be moved around with the mouse and changed in length in the same way as parts, and can be overlapped to any degree.
The main advantage of this method of working is that while up to 16 levels of Group tracks are displayed in front of the user, all the ordinary tracks are available as well.
The Group parts can be unpacked from where they lie in an arrangement, back into the individual parts they were made up from. Cubase V1.5 allows the Group tracks to be allocated on the fly. The process of dragging the parts from the Group list to a target track is already a real-time operation, but the enhancement means that the Groups can simply be clicked on as the music plays - they are entered on the selected Group track and snapped to the nearest bar, truncating whatever may have been playing on that particular Group track at that time.
Cubase in its V1.5 guise has many new features. The obvious ones are the new MIDI Manager page (for fully graphic animations of the sliders, panpots, buttons and data entry fields for any type and any mix of MIDI data), and the return of the VU level meters.
The Global Menu now has one extra item - Global Split will cut all the parts at the left and right locators. If the left and right locators are placed on top of each other, then only one split will take place. What is not immediately obvious is that, as with any other Global function on Cubase, a Track is protected from its effect by muting.
The Part Parameter box contains the start and end points of the currently selected part. These start and end points can be changed at will, right down to the clock resolution, but even on V1.0 of Cubase it is possible to switch tracks with the up and down arrows on the computer keyboard, and switch parts on those tracks with the left and right arrows, all without leaving this page.
Double-clicking on the Tempo box will allow direct numerical entry, and the naming of parts has a new option - just double-click on the part with the [Alt] key held down and the name field appears directly on the part. This is also true of the Group tracks.
Tracks can be copied as simply as parts by holding down the [Alt] key while dragging the track name where you want it to be. Without the [Alt] key, this action re-orders the tracks, and has been present from version 1.0.
The horizontal slider on the Arrange window now represents the length of the song and not the maximum length of the Cubase arrangement.
Double-clicking on the Song Ruler will set the song pointer to that point - there is no need to hold [Alt] any more; and the Drag box used to select a number of parts has been extended so that if the [Shift] key is held, the Drag box can be started anywhere, and not just in free space.
The new real-time recording of mutes on the tracks can also use the Group mute memories that are accessed by pressing the F1 to F10 keys while the [Alt] key is held down.
The Offset facility is now available in Sequencer Plus MkII as well as MkIII. It allows tracks to be displaced in time against each other. Displacement can be as little as a few milliseconds, or as much as a few bars. Offset can be used to cure 'slow response' MIDI keyboards, to achieve double tracking effects and echo, to 'push' parts of a song ahead of the beat, or to change a rhythm by displacing beats. Offset is available both as a Global command and as a Transform.
Unfortunately, floppy disks are not entirely safe: files stored on disk can be damaged if the disk is maltreated or is of poor quality. To try and recover a damaged song file, start Sequencer Plus by typing the 'SEQ/f' option. This will ensure that all songs loaded are checked for errors. If errors are found they are deleted, and the unaffected parts are loaded and can be used without causing problems in the sequencer.