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Bars & Pipes Professional: Playing a Demo Song File

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Getting Ready to Play

In this section, we'll play one of the demo Songs provided on your Bars&Pipes Professional disk. Before we play the Songfile, however, let's make sure that Bars&Pipes Professional is set up properly.

Make sure that your MIDI equipment is setup properly.

The MIDI Out And Quick Patch Tools

The MIDI Out Tool must be loaded in order for Bars&Pipes Professional to play music via a standard MIDI interface. The MIDI Out Tool's job is to send notes out of the Sequencer to your MIDI instrument.

When you first run Bars&Pipes Professional, you should see a MIDI Out Tool at the end of each and every PipeLine, unless you've set up your environment differently (more on this later).

You'll probably also see the MIDI In Tool at the beginning of each PipeLine. We won't need the MIDI In Tool until we're ready to record MIDI In. It doesn't hurt to have it in the PipeLine, though.

We also recommend using the Quick Patch Tool when playing a Songfile.

The Quick Patch Tool allows you to easily change patches, or sounds, on your MIDI instrument.

The demo Songfiles provided with Bars&Pipes Professional already contain this Tool in their PipeLines. Please refer to Tools for more information on the Quick Patch Tool.

Installing The MIDI Out And Quick Patch Tools

If you don't see the MIDI Out Tool at the end of every PipeLine, open your ToolBox by either double-clicking on the ToolBox icon, or choosing ToolBox from the Windows menu.

Do you see the MIDI Out Tool in the ToolBox? You can click down on the Question Mark button to bring up a pop-up list of Tool names. Is the MIDI Out Tool listed?

If not, you need to install the MIDI Out Tool. Follow these steps to load the MIDI Out Tool:

  1. If the ToolBox window isn't open, open the ToolBox.
  2. With the ToolBox window still active, use the right mouse button to access the ToolBox menu and select Install Tool....
  3. A file requester will appear. You should see a list of Tool names. If not, there should be a Tools directory in the Bars&Pipes Professional directory. Direct the file requester to this directory to find all of the Tools.
  4. Once inside the Tools directory, find the MIDI Out Tool. Click on MIDI Out once and select Load, or just double-click on MIDI Out.

The MIDI Out Tool will appear in your ToolBox. From now on each time you run Bars&Pipes Professional, it will automatically load the MIDI Out Tool into the ToolBox. You won't have to perform these steps again unless you Remove the Tool from your ToolBox.

Bars&Pipes Professional keeps Track of which Tools are in the ToolBox by a text file called Tools. This file resides in either your S: directory on your WorkBench disk or System partition, or, if the directory "Support" exists in your Bars&Pipes Professional directory, in the Support directory.

As you did with the MIDI Out Tool, look in the ToolBox for the Quick Patch Tool. If it isn't in your ToolBox, install it as you did the MIDI Out Tool.

The Song Menu

The Song menu is the first menu in the Main menu set. Activate the Tracks window by clicking within it to access the Main menu set.

Although we won't be using most its commands right away, now is a good time to introduce the Song. The Song menu contains commands that create, load, and save entire compositions, as well as exit Bars&Pipes Professional. The Song menu commands are:

The New command begins a new composition. If you have made any changes to the current composition, Bars&Pipes Professional will ask if you'd like to save them before closing. Choosing Yes saves the current Song, while choosing No disregards any changes you have made since the last save. Choosing Cancel cancels the New operation and returns you to the current Song.
If a 'New.Song' files exists, Bars&Pipes Professional loads it. Otherwise, Bars&Pipes Professional create its own default blank Song.
Use the Save As Default command {see below) to create and update the 'New.Song' file.
The Load... command loads a previously saved Song. If the Song's Tracks, ToolTrays, or ToolPad contain Tools that aren't loaded in the ToolBox, Bars&Pipes Professional attempts to load the missing Tools. If Bars&Pipes Professional can't find a Tool, a requester appears to give you the opportunity to load the Tool manually.
The Revert command returns the Song to its condition at the most recent save, by loading the last Song saved to disk. Think of Revert as a powerful Undo command. At regular intervals during the composition process, save your Song with the Save command. Then, if you make a mistake, you can use the Revert command to return to an earlier version of your Song.
Save As...
The Save As... command either saves your Song for the first time or saves it as a different file name. When you select this command, a file requester opens, which enables you to create a new file or to select an old one to overwrite. Once you save a Song with the Save As... command, Bars&Pipes Professional recognizes the file name. From then on, you can use the Save command instead.
The Save command saves your Song to disk. This command works only if a file has been previously saved or loaded from disk. Once you load a Song or save it with the Save As... command, you can use the Save command without bothering with the file requester.
Save As Default
The Save as Default command saves the current Song as the default Song. Whenever you run Bars&Pipes Professional, this Song automatically loads as your initial blank Song. Also, whenever you choose New from the Song menu, this Song loads as the initial template.
The Print command prints your Song. When you select Print, Bars&Pipes Professional opens the Print requester that allows you to print the entire score. (Please refer to Printing Notation)
The Title/ Author command opens a requester into which you can enter the Song's title and author.
The Length... command sets the overall length of your Song. Bars&Pipes Professional sets all of its scroll bars to accommodate the new length.
Disable/Enable MIDI
When MIDI is enabled, the Disable/Enable command displays as "Disable MIDI" in the Song menu. When you select Disable MIDI, Bars&Pipes Professional disconnects the MIDI In Tool from the Amiga's internal serial port, so that another program can access the port. When MIDI is disabled, this command displays as "Enable MIDI" in the Song menu. Choose Enable MIDI to reconnect the MIDI In Tool.
The Propagate command, in conjunction with the Song Construction window's A-B-A feature, copies changes made to the first instance of each section to all other instances of those sections. The Propagate command is ghosted if the A-B-A feature has not been utilized.
The About command brings up a requester with version and copyright information.
The Quit command exits Bars&Pipes Professional and returns to Workbench. Bars&Pipes Professional will ask you if you'd like to save your file before exiting.

Loading an Example Song

Let's load the Brandenburg Demo and play it.

  1. Select Load... from the Song menu. The file requester appears.
  2. Find the Song titled "Brandenburg Demo". It's in the Example Songs directory.
  3. Load the Song by either double-clicking on its file name, or clicking once on its file name and selecting Load. Bars&Pipes Professional loads the Song.
  4. Notice that the Tracks window displays seven Tracks. The Track names correspond to the name of the instrument that each Track plays.
If you can't find the Song menu, it is probably because another window's menus are active. Click on the Tracks window to activate the Main menu set.

Look at the Output PipeLine of each Track:

You'll see the Quick Patch Tool, followed by the MIDI Out Tool, followed by the MIDI Channel number.

Setting Your MIDI Channel Numbers

On the far right of each Track, notice a blue number denoting the MIDI Channel number for the Track. This number tells Bars&Pipes Professional though which MIDI Channel to play the Track.

The Brandenburg Demo performs on MIDI Channels one through seven; each Track is associate with a different MIDI channel. The result is a multi-timbral performance, since each Track plays with a different sound, or timbre.

Please check your synthesizer manual to make sure that it is capable of playing multi-timbrally and receiving on these seven MIDI channels simultaneously. Also, please refer to Touring the MIDI Setup for more information on MIDI channels and MIDI synthesizers.

If your synthesizer isn't able to play multi-timbrally, all seven Tracks will sound like the same instrument. If your synthesizer can play multi-timbrally, but can't receive on MIDI channels one through seven simultaneously, you'll need to change the MIDI channel number for each Track:

To change a Track's MIDI channel, click on the MIDI channel number. A pop-up grid appears. Highlight the MIDI channel on which you want the Track to output MIDI, and then lift the mouse button.

Selecting Your Patch Changes

The Quick Patch Tools at the end of each Track send out Program Changes, or patches, to your MIDI instrument. These patches set up your synthesizer to play the correct sound on each MIDI channel. Each Quick Patch Tool in the Brandenburg Demo ia configured to send patch changes that will sound correct on General MIDI instruments.

If your synthesizer or sound modules supports the General MIDI patch list, then skip to the next section, Playing the Songfile.

If your synthesizer isn't set up to play General MIDI patches, the Brandenburg Demo might sound funny. To make it sound better, you'll need to change the patch numbers in the Quick Patch Tool. To do so, double-click on the Quick Patch Tool in one of the Tracks.

The Control window for the Quick Patch Tool opens:

As with all Tools, each Quick Patch Tool has its own Control window, so that you can set up different patches for each one. Drag the slider to change instruments and Quick Patch plays test notes so you can hear how each instrument sounds.

Above the slider, Quick Patch displays the name of the currently selected patch. This name is only valid for a General MIDI synthesizer. If you have a different configuration, you can change the names in the Patch List by using the Define Patch List window.

We'll learn about defining Patch Lists later. For now, don't worry, just drag the slider until you get an appropriate sound.

Once you've selected the instrument of your choice, close the Control window to get it out of the way, or leave it open in case you'd like to continue trying different instruments while the music plays.

At this point, you may have a few questions:

  • What if more than one Track is set to the same MIDI channel? If that's the case, will both Tracks play?
  • And, if there is a Quick Patch Tool on every Track, which patch will be selected for that MIDI channel?

Good questions!

First of all, Bars&Pipes Professional plays both Tracks. They'll be performed by the same instrument, since they share the same MIDI Channel.

Second, only one Quick Patch Tool can determine what instrument your synthesizer will use. Since Bars&Pipes Professional performs the Tracks in order from top to bottom, the Quick Patch on Track 2 will override the Quick Patch one Track 1.

Remember, we're referring to two Tracks that share the same MIDI channel number. Quick Patch will not override any other Tracks.

Playing the Songfile

If you've followed along from the beginning of this chapter, loaded the Brandenburg Demo, and set channel numbers and the Quick Patch Tool for each Track, then it's time to hear the Brandenburg Demo!

To start the sequence from the beginning, click on the Start button (blue square followed by a triangle) at the top of the Tracks window or in the Transport Control window:

Another way to start the sequence from the beginning is to press the 0 (zero) key on your numeric keypad.

You should hear your synthesizer playing the music. Notice a blue vertical line scrolling across the Tracks in the Tracks window. This is the Song Position Line.

NOTE-> As the Song Position line passes over the beginning of a note, that note sounds. As it passes over the end of a note, that note becomes silent.

If your synthesizer does not play, check your cables, amplifier, and MIDI interface. Refer to Touring The MIDI Setup if you need more help. Also, review the beginning of this chapter to make sure that you didn't miss a crucial step.

Saving Your Changes

If you've made any changes to the Brandenburg Demo, for example the MIDI channel numbers or the Quick Patch settings, you should save the Brandenburg Demo so that it will play the same way next time.

Select the Save command from the Song menu. This tells Bars&Pipes Professional to update the Brandenburg Demo with your new changes.