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Hints, Tips & News From The World Of Music Software

More hints and tips from the world of music software.



With Notator and Creator, a time signature belongs to a bar position. It does not belong to a track or pattern, and you cannot have more than one time signature change in one bar. For example, a time signature change at bar 5 will affect all four patterns in all four Arrange chains at bar 5.

So if, with Arrange mode switched off, you give pattern 9 a 3/4 signature in bar 7, then select a different pattern in the Pattern window, that too will have the same signature change in the same place, because bar 7 is bar 7 of the program, not of a particular pattern or track.

Because time signatures belong to a bar position, it requires serious planning ahead, especially if you intend to have more than one or two. Once they are in place, changing your mind about the structure of the piece of music could mean having to delete the first ones and inserting them again in their new positions. This applies whether working in a single long pattern or in the Arrange mode.

Ideally, be clear about what structure your music will have before inserting time signature changes, and do not forget to include the song count-in as part of your calculations. It may help to map out the position of the time signature changes on a piece of paper before starting.

If possible, enter the time signature changes before starting to record the music. You may enter time signature changes after you have started, but in the Arrange list, you will then have to correct the pattern lengths.

Introducing time signature changes into a song after you have already assembled the Arrange list will always result in pattern length changes (producing unexpected start-bar and pattern delay values): each time you introduce a time signature, you must correct the lengths of the entries throughout the list.

Example of why these lengths change: if you have an entry, say, four bars (= 16 beats) long in 4/4 time, changing the time signature to, say, 3/4 means re-dividing the 16 beats by 3, which results in a 'Pattern Length' of '5 1 0 0', ie. five bars and one beat. Because time signatures belong to specific bar positions, it is not possible to work on a pattern with Arrange mode switched off, give it its time signature changes, then place the pattern somewhere in the Arrange list: the time signature change(s) will remain where they were, they do not move with the pattern, so you must insert the time signature separately.


Applying a 'Quantise' or 'Groove' value before you do a recording is no different to applying one afterwards (there is no difference in their 'quality'): the advantage is that you save time, since the value is always there in an empty track, ready for you.


Fast scrolling: it's odd (but then, so is lacrosse) that some people are still not aware that if you use both mouse buttons to scroll a value, the scrolling happens 10 times more quickly. Remember: the mouse button you clicked first, determines the scroll direction.


An alternative way to scroll values, which is incredibly useful for some functions in certain situations, is the 'Control'+mouse feature. Point with the mouse pointer (do not click!) at the value you want to change and hold down the Atari 'Control' key; the pointer changes into a cross. Sliding the mouse forwards or backwards now increases or decreases the value, provided 'Control' is kept depressed. Changes are not transmitted while 'Control' is still pressed, only when it is released.

Left-clicking the mouse (while 'Control' is held) will reset the value to 'zero/default'. This allows you to instantly zero a large value, or to use this feature near the borders of the screen, which would otherwise get in the way: point, press and hold 'Control', move the mouse to the opposite side of the screen, left-click, and now you can alter the values by any amount you like.

You can use 'Control'+mouse to jump, say, from 'track parameter' GROOVE 16 A, to 16 F, without having to scroll through all the in-between settings; or to manipulate the time positions of notes in the event editor; or to reset a very long delay to zero.


In the Flags menu, the 'Mouse As Slider' option enables the mouse to become a slider even without use of 'Control'. Now you can click and hold a value with either mouse button, and move the mouse backwards (decrease) and forwards (increase) without releasing the button. Additionally, pressing and holding the other button accelerates the rate of change. Short mouse clicks increment/decrement the value in single steps as usual.

'Mouse As Slider' zeroes values by the technique of (what might be called) the 'mouse-flick': hold a mouse button, then add the other button while simultaneously releasing the original button (flick the fingers!). It's great once you get the hang of it!

There is one important difference between 'Mouse As Slider' and 'Control'+mouse: the initial 'Mouse As Slider' button click is active — it changes the value by one step; after that, you move the value by moving the mouse as with 'Control'+mouse. Certain situations (such as real-time changing of Unitor's Sync Reference) are better without this initial click, so use the 'Control'+mouse technique instead, which is smooth from the beginning.


There are six mouse moves you can make within a pattern which fulfill six functions. They each take about half a second to perform and keep your fingers nimble.

Track Copy: within a pattern, to duplicate a track, drag it (by its name) to a new empty destination track and release the mouse button.

Track Merge: within a pattern, to merge two tracks, drag one (by its name) on top of a new recorded destination track and release the mouse button. You will be asked to confirm or cancel the operation. Where any of the two tracks' parameters are the same (eg. both are set to Channel 5), those track parameters will remain as they were; where any of the tracks' parameters are different, the events of both tracks will be altered according to what each track's parameter was.

Track Exchange: within a pattern, to swap the position of two tracks, drag one (by its name) on top of a new recorded destination track and release the mouse button. You will be asked to confirm or cancel the operation.

Track Move: within a pattern, to move a track to a new position, drag it (by its name) to a new empty destination track; without releasing the left mouse button, depress the right mouse button as well, then whilst keeping the right mouse button depressed, release the left mouse button.

Track Replace: within a pattern, to replace a track with another track, drag it (by its name) on top of the track to be replaced; without releasing the left mouse button, depress the right mouse button as well, then keeping the right mouse button depressed, release the left mouse button. You will be asked to confirm or cancel the operation.

Track Delete: dragging a recorded track to the left-hand side of the screen deletes it (or press Backspace). However, you can restore it by clicking the 'Undo' icon (until the next delete or other event-altering process).



We have tested the latest version of Trackman with the new Atari computers which use TOS 1.4 and the STE variant TOS 1.6. Everything works perfectly well. Some earlier versions may suffer inconsistent mouse button response during screen editing. If you have any problem with this then please contact Hollis Research to obtain the latest version.


When using Trackman in conjunction with MIDIman, the two programs work together to allow dynamic editing and parameter mapping. In order for the programs to establish communication, MIDIman must be aware that Trackman is present. This mechanism will fail if Trackman has been started from another program instead of from the GEM desktop. A problem may occur with any 'shell', including Neodesk and possibly some switcher programs. The solution is to launch Trackman from the desktop when you require it to communicate with MIDIman.


After discussions with some of you who attended the 'MIDI Music Show', it was apparent that Trackman's real-time repeat features are not being fully utilised. You can access the Repeat dialogue box from the Quantise menu or by using the Repeat button while Trackman is stopped. The repeats may be activated at any time during record, whether or not you are punched in. Repeats always occur at the current quantise rate, so this is usually set to 16ths or 8ths. You can apply real-time shuffle to delay the even-numbered beats. The most widely used settings are 2 or 3.


Probably one of the most overlooked areas of Trackman, the repeat pattern feature closely emulates the simple style of rhythm programming that made beat boxes like the Roland TR808 so popular. Just click any of the 16 pattern buttons to switch them on or off. The pattern can start on a bar, like a drum machine, or whenever you hit a note. Using a note to start the pattern makes it easy to create complex polyrhythms, and can be used with Velocity Decay to generate various echo patterns.


Three slider controls provide precise control over the repeat effects. A variable proportion of MIDI aftertouch may be applied to the repeated notes. This is of particular use in programming hi-hat or cabasa patterns. A variable decay is provided for the velocity of repeated notes. This provides an array of interesting echo effects, particularly when combined with repeat pattern programming. Finally, the repeat note duration may be adjusted. This determines the maximum duration of repeated notes. The minimum duration is determined automatically so that notes do not overlap, when they might steal synth voices.



A new feature? Well no, actually. Fresh from the APRS show, having listened to people requesting new features for Cubase, it became a little repetitive telling people that the very features they wanted have been present on Cubase since Version 1.0. Why does Logical Edit strike fear into the very soul of a sequencer user? I think it is a combination of the fact that animated graphic displays would not be any use on Logical Edit, and you need to be able to think through what you want to do in an abstract way.

Obviously not everyone possesses the ability to think in the same structured way, but a little practice can help. I don't want you to actually look at the Logical Edit page for the moment, as the approach of fiddling around with the controls will not get you very far, even though it works very well on all the other pages.

Imagine, if you will, all the MIDI events in a Part. However, try to avoid thinking of their linear relationship as components of a tune, more of a cloud the size of a football in front of your eyes. Each MIDI event is a point in this cloud, and has six parameters or Tags attached to it. These are the event time, the event type, and then depending on this type, the pitch, velocity, length, MIDI channel or if a non-note type of event, value1, value2 and MIDI channel. Don't worry too much about these, as long as you grasp the idea of Tags of information attached to the points in the cloud.

The purpose of Logical Edit is to allow events to be altered according to these Tags. The system used is that of conditions. Any event that meets the conditions set by the user drops out of the cloud of events into a second cloud below. The conditions can be thought of as a very selective filter between the original cloud of events and the ones that got through the filter into the second cloud below.

These events in the lower cloud can now have the values of their Tags changed in any way you please. This is called an arithmetic operation. Alternatively, the events that got through the filter could be removed altogether. There are then two choices if you don't delete the events in the lower cloud: (1) any altered events can be passed back into the original cloud, replacing the event that fell through the filter, or (2) a new event can be created that will exist in the original cloud as well as the event that caused the change.

To summarise Logical Edit so far, the events in the upper cloud can fall through a filter to a lower cloud. The filter Conditions work on the Tags on the events in the upper cloud themselves. The events that fall through to the lower cloud can have their Tags changed in any way you please. The changed events can then be passed back to the upper cloud, either replacing the original events, or added as new events altogether.

It is very important to realise that the finite values of the Tags that allow events through the filter don't have to be the ones you subsequently change once they are through.


Now it is time to look at the Logical Edit page. How can all these atmospherics refer to the dialogue boxes on the screen? Actually, they refer very closely, which is why I developed this 'model' in the first place. The top line on the Logical Edit page is the Condition Line. It is responsible for the selective filtering of events. At the top left-hand corner is the Master Condition selector. If its lower field is set to EQUAL then the upper field becomes active and could be set to NOTES, for example. Can you see that, of all the events that exist in the Part, we are now only effecting the ones whose type is that of a NOTE?

That would be rather too global an effect, so the rest of the Condition Line allows the further filtration of the events that got through the first hurdle. Each of the Tags on the events are compared with the settings of the condition boxes. If you go to the value1 box and set it to HIGHER and 64 respectively, all the events that are notes and have a Pitch value higher than 64 will fall from the upper cloud of events into the lower one. You can have any set of conditions you wish. If you additionally set the Value2 box to LOWER and 30, the conditions to allow events to fall through have been modified. Now only events that are notes with a Pitch value greater than 64 and a velocity less than 30 fall through. You can do the same thing with the rest of the parameters on the Condition Line.

Once events are filtered and have fallen through to the lower cloud, the Tags on the events can be changed with the Arithmetic Operations. Each of the Tags can be modified with the OP field. It is originally set to No-OP. Change this to PLUS and the number below it to 12, then that particular Tag will have its value changed by 12 — but only for events that pass through the Condition test.

It is a common misconception that if an event falls through the Condition Filter based on its Tags, then only those Tags used for the condition testing can be used for the Arithmetic Operations. Not so, any can be changed. Returning to the example we have been setting up, the notes higher than 64 with velocities less than 30 could have their length changed (as well as any other tag, if you wish). The final action to complete your Logical Edit is to click on TRANSFORM or INSERT in the column to the right of the Logical Edit page. Transform will alter the original events and Insert will add new ones, keeping the original events unchanged.

That really is it for simple applications of the Logical Edit page. The parameters not discussed are the Result Field, which will impose a new value on an existing Tag without doing an arithmetic operation on its existing value; the Bar Range, which allows selections based on where the events fall within each bar; plus other functions related to Transform and Insert. These will be much easier to grasp once you have the others under control.


Here's an example to show the power of the system. Imagine a Part is recorded with both hands over a full range of pitches. Everything sounds great, except that the loudest notes in the bass register of the keyboard were played rather too heavily and staccato. What do you do? Record it again? No way, it took 15 takes last time! How about editing the notes individually on the Key Edit page? No chance, it's 210 bars long! The solution, of course, is to use Logical Edit.

Select the Part to be affected. Go to Logical Edit and hit the Reset button. Now set 'Condition Equal' to NOTES. Move to the Value1 column on the Condition Line and set Value1 to lower than 72 (assuming a C4 split between lower and upper registers) and Value2 to higher than 80 (again, the assumption is that the loud notes have a velocity higher than 80).

Moving smartly along to the Arithmetic Operation, set the operation in Value2 to DIV by 1.5 and the Length to MUL by 2. Click on Transform, and it's all done!

But what have you done? Well, all events that were notes of a Pitch lower than 72 and a Velocity higher than 80 were reduced in velocity to 75% of their existing value; they also had their lengths doubled.

The Logical Edit page can be used in many ways. It works on all selected Parts at once on the Arrange page, or all the Parts on the Record track if non are selected. Within Edit pages, it works on the events specified by the Edit Selection menu, ie. All, All Selected, Looped, Cycled, Looped Selected, Cycled Selected. This menu follows what you just did, ie. drew a loop or selected some events with the lasso. In the words of the beloved Olivia Newton-Squirrel — " Let's get logical."

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Previous Article in this issue

Making More Of The Kawai K5

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Sounding Off

Sound On Sound - Copyright: SOS Publications Ltd.
The contents of this magazine are re-published here with the kind permission of SOS Publications Ltd.


Sound On Sound - Aug 1990

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman


Previous article in this issue:

> Making More Of The Kawai K5

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> Sounding Off

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