Hints, Tips & News From The World Of Music Software
More hints and tips for C-Lab and Steinberg users.
When you first get Notator or Creator Version 3.0, the Notepad automatically appears once the program is loaded. This is because the exclamation symbol '!' was typed in the upper lefthand corner of the Notepad box. To stop the Notepad from appearing, delete the '!', click 'OK' then resave the Autoload song.
Many people find the Atari key-click whenever a key is pressed annoying, yet want to have the metronome click present in Record mode. Use the Atari Control Panel DA to achieve this. This accessory comes with the Atari on the Language disk: copy it across to your working program disk. Being an desk accessory, it automatically loads when you start the computer, and is accessed via the menubar under the 'Desk' heading. It has various functions, one of which is the click disable. See your Atari manual for more details.
It is entirely safe to use the Save Song function while you are in Play mode. This can make your work that much more efficient, especially if you have a hard disk.
Everyone by now should by know that the Cue function in the event editor is what to use when positioning (moving about) in that page. The function is mouse driven (hold the Cue icon with the right mouse button), with the advantage that you can vary tempo by moving the mouse back and forth. Cue has a keystroke equivalent: in the UK, pressing the '#' key starts the playback from the cursored event, and pressing it again stops it. This is not the same as the Continue/Pause command (full stop key), which starts and stops the playback from the current Main Bar Counter position.
In some situations it is necessary to make a note on the stave completely disappear prior to printing, without having a rest in its place (deleting it is therefore out of the question). Here, you use the Hide Stem function combined with a new notehead. Find the offending note and, from the popup partbox, drag the speckled grey notehead onto the note. Then double-click the note to open its Attributes box, where you select 'Stem: HIDE'. Done!
An increasing number of people seem to be removing sections of records with their samplers and using them as the basis of their own (re)creations. It might be considered unimaginative, or even as musical theft, but this certainly doesn't stop people wanting to do it.
The main problem is that of syncing the looped section of music on your sampler with the MIDI data on your sequencer tracks. Assuming you have already found the points that make the sample loop sound musically circuitous, and found the tempo that it runs at, it can be triggered and sustained with a Note On command from Cubase. Unless you are incredibly lucky, you will find that the tempo of the sequencer is so critical that even with a tempo accuracy of 0.001 bpm, the two will be out of sync by the end of the song. So you have to go back to the beginning of the song again, adjust the tempo and try again. Another approach to solving this problem is to tweak the length of the sample loop. This is not always possible through the nature of the sample, and still has the disadvantage that the song must always be started from the start to hear the sequencer and the loop in sync because the only trigger is the note event at bar 1.1.0.
What you need to do is this: rather than looping the sample at all, set it to play in a one-shot mode and truncate it (non-destructively if possible) to the length that contains the section you need. Assuming it's a 2-bar sample, what you do is create a 2-bar Part on Cubase and insert a Note On command to trigger the sample at the beginning of the Part. Now repeat the part using ghosts throughout the length of the song. When you play the song now, the sample is re-triggered every two bars. Adjust the tempo up or down until the length of time needed for Cubase to perform two bars is exactly the same as the loop of the sample.
This gives you two advantages: firstly, you can start the song anywhere and the sample will always be triggered in sync; secondly, any errors between the sample length and the tempo of the song are non-accumulative, because the errors are eliminated every two bars.
There is an extension of this method that gives an even better result, especially if the loop was rhythmically correct but sounded musically disjointed. What you do is create another keygroup (or whatever your sampler calls them) and assign the same sample to it again, but this time make the trigger note one semitone higher. You will also have to adjust the base key of the sample so it plays the same pitch. Now create two parts on Cubase, each two bars long in this example, one immediately following the other, each with alternating trigger notes. If you select these two Parts and then use the Cubase Repeat function, they will be repeated as a pair and their relative positions will be maintained during the repeat process. When the song is played, each keygroup is triggered in turn. Adjust the tempo as before. Now for the clever bit: by increasing the release parameter on the two keygroups the slight decay to the sample will crossfade into hard attack of the next trigger (assuming you didn't permanently truncate the sample in the first place).
All the software provided by Steinberg for the Atari is protected by a key, which means that all the program disks can be freely copied but only an owner of the key can run them. Love it or hate it, software protection is here to stay — witness the number of pirated copies of music software, if you are one of the trusting few who say "musicians wouldn't do such a thing". Strangely enough, musicians seem to be the first to be up in arms when they feel that their intellectual copyright has been violated.
Unfortunately the Macintosh is not as sporting when in comes to providing suitable external ports into which we could jam plastic keys. The copy protection is placed on the disk itself. The Mac Cubase disk can be copied quite normally by the Macintosh's operating system, but the protection bit of the disk cannot.
On each Mac Cubase disk there are two dongle files, and the computer has to see these when the program is being loaded. This gives you several options as to how a system may be used:
(i) You can simply insert the Cubase floppy into the disk drive and double-click to start the program. You select 'Launch Master' in the resulting dialogue box.
(ii) You can drag the Cubase icon on to a Mac hard disk and copy it to a new position. When you double-click on the copied icon, Cubase will load from the hard disk, but only if it sees an authorised copy (ie. the master disk) in the floppy drive.
(iii) If you attempt to load Cubase from the floppy disk but click on 'Install' in the dialogue that appears, you copy Cubase to your hard disk along with one of the two dongle files. Now Cubase can be run from the hard disk without the master disk being present.
The reason for having two dongle files on the disk in the first place now becomes apparent. The floppy disk still contains one dongle file, so the master disk can still be run normally, or you could install the program on a second hard disk, but then the floppy couldn't be used on its own.
The only time you will have to do this kind of thing again is when it comes time to update the files on your system when a new version of Mac Cubase is released. This is not an occasion for experimenting. There is a very specific procedure to follow when you receive an update, but it's not complicated:
(i) Run the Cubase master disk on any or all computers that you have installed the program on by clicking on the Cubase icon on the floppy disk. When the Information dialogue appears, click on 'Remove' if necessary to return the 'Hard Disk Install Count' to 2 on the floppy. Follow the instructions on the screen.
(ii) Now take the update disk and insert it into the disk drive after pressing [Apple key & E] to eject the Cubase master disk. Drag the Cubase icon from the window for the update disk to the window for the master disk. This will generate a 'Replace with same named items?' warning message. Click OK and follow the instructions about swapping disks. The update is now completed, and you can re-install.
Do not copy the whole update disk to the whole master disk by dragging the floppy disk icons together, or you will lose your dongle files.
While any piece of MIDI Software is being loaded it creates the memory structures it needs. For sequencers, some of the most important are the MIDI buffers. While these are being formed in the computer's RAM, it is not a very good idea not to see how much data you can send in via MIDI. At this stage, while buffers are being constructed and before the routines are in place to deal with the incoming data, you may overflow the buffer with the result that it may be incorrectly formed. So just keep your hands off the master keyboard for 50 seconds while the program loads. Use those valuable seconds to tidy away the upper strata of floppy disks that are stored over the Atari's ventilation slots, or see if the peanut butter will come off the monitor screen.
There is one other problem related to this involving those keyboards that need to have their operating system installed from disk before they know that they are a keyboard at all. Strange things happen if you try and boot up Cubase before the operating system is resident in the keyboard, assuming of course that the two are indeed connected together. Goodness knows what is emanating from the MIDI Out while the keyboard still thinks it is a big pocket calculator, but if you start the keyboard system first, then Cubase, you will avoid any problems.
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