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Bars & Pipes Professional: Song Construction

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Overview

The Song Construction window provides powerful arrangement functions. You can insert, delete, or move any block of measures, as well as create and edit selected measures.

The Song Construction window also supports powerful A-B-A lists, which give you the option of locking measures to sections and rearranging your Song by rearranging the sections. The A-B-A sections also allow you to loop, or repeat, several measures in several tracks over and over a specified number of times.

Access the Song Construction window by choosing the Song Construction option in the Main menu's Windows menu, or double-click on the Song Construction window's icon.

The Song Construction Window

There are four major parts to the Song Construction window:


The Track Display, the Track Names, the Edit Flags, the A-B-A Strip, and the Command Buttons.

The Track Display

Most of the Song Construction Window features the Track Display. The Track Display shows your Tracks as a series of small measure boxes. Each box represents a measure in a Track. White boxes contain at least one note. Grey boxes contain none. Boxes may change color during moves, deletions, or editing operations.

Note
If a note spans more than one measure, the second measure's box also displays white, indicating musical activity in that measure.

Above the Tracks are the measure numbers; these numbers give you an idea of where you are in your Song. If you have time signature changes in your music, the measure boxes can be different sizes. Track names display to the left.

In conjunction with the Control Buttons (see below) you can perform the following operations in the Tracks Display:

  • Insert a measure with the Pencil.
  • Open the Edit window for a measure with the Magic Wand.
  • Move a measure from left to right within a Track, or even up and down across Tracks, with the Hand.
  • Duplicate a measure with the Duplicator.
  • Erase a measure with the Eraser.
  • Toolize a measure with the ToolPad. The mouse icon tums into a Wrench when this button is selected.

The Right Mouse button cancels dragging, copying, and wanding operations. For example, if you are dragging a group of measures that you surrounded with the bounding box, clicking the Right Mouse Button returns them to their original location.

The Track Names

The Track Names on the left also respond to several of the editing modes. You can:

  • Create and insert a new Track by clicking in the Track Name area with the Pencil.
  • Modify a Track name by clicking on it with the Magic Wand, or double-clicking with the Saxophone/Default pointer.
  • Move a Track up and down relative to the other Tracks with the Hand.
  • Duplicate a Track by clicking on its Track name with the Duplicator.
  • Erase a Track by clicking on its Track name with the Eraser.

The Edit Flags

The Song Construction window displays just the two Edit Flags. These are in fact the same as the Edit Flags in the Tracks window. Drag these to set edit boundaries and the same flags in the Tracks window and Media Madness windows follow to the new positions.

The A-B-A Strip

The narrow strip located between the Command Buttons and the Edit Flags contains the current A-B-A sections. This area is called the A-B-A Strip. When you open the Song Construction window for the first time, the A-B-A Strip is completely blank.

A-B-A sections can be named "A", "B", "C", etc. You can also assign more specific names such as "Verse", "Chorus", "Refrain", "Bridge", and "Finale".

Bars&Pipes Professional automatically numbers each section in the order it appears in the A-B-A strip, and assigns different colors to each type of section so that, at a glance, you can see transitions between sections.

You can perform the following editing operations in the A-B-A Strip:

  • Create and insert a new A-B-A section with the Pencil.
  • Modify an existing A-B-A section's name, length or number of repeats with the Magic Wand.
  • Move an A-B-A section with the hand.
  • Duplicate an A-B-A section with the Duplicator.
  • Erase an A-B-A section with the Eraser.
  • Toolize an A-B-A section with the Wrench. Click on the ToolPad in the Song Construction window to access the Wrench
Note
The actual measures beneath the A-B-A sections are not changed in any way by modifying the A-B-A sections, until the Lock to A-B-A button is selected (please see below).

The Control Buttons

The Pencil

Use the Pencil (Fl key) to:

  • Create and insert a new Track by clicking in the Track Names area.
  • Insert a blank measure by clicking in the Track Display area.
  • Create and insert a new A-B-A section by clicking in the A-B-A Strip.

The Magic Wand

Use the Magic Wand (F2 key) to:

  • Rename a Track name by clicking on the Track name in the Track Names area.
  • Open the Edit window for a Track at a selected measure by clicking on the measure in the Track Display area.
  • Modify the name and length of an A-B-A section by clicking on the A-B-A section in the A-B-A Strip.

The Hand

Use the Hand (F3 key) to:

  • Move a Track up and down relative to other Tracks by clicking and dragging a Track's name in the Track Names area.
  • Move a measure in the same Track, or across Tracks, by clicking and dragging in the Track Display area. Use the Hand in conjunction with the Bounding Box to move a group of measures
  • Move an A-B-A section forward or backward by clicking and dragging. The measures beneath the A-B-A section are moved only if the Lock to A-B-A button is also selected. Otherwise, just the A-B-A section marker moves.

The Duplicator

Use the Duplicator (F4 key) to:

  • Duplicate a Track by clicking on the Track's name in the Track Names area.
  • Duplicate a measure by clicking and dragging the measure in the Track Display area. Use the Duplicator in conjunction with the Bounding Box to duplicate a group of measures
  • Duplicate an A-B-A section by clicking and dragging in the A-B-A Strip. The measures beneath the A-B-A section are duplicated only if the Lock to A-B-A button is also selected. Otherwise, just the A-B-A section marker is duplicated.

The Eraser

Use the Eraser (F5 key) to:

  • Erase a Track by clicking on the Track's name. A requester asks you to confirm your decision.
  • Erase a measure by clicking on the measure in the Track Display area. Use the Eraser in conjunction with the Bounding Box to erase a group of measures.
  • Erase an A-B-A section by clicking on the section in the A-B-A Strip. The measures beneath the A-B-A section are erased only if the Lock to A-B-A button is also selected. Otherwise, just the A-B-A section marker is erased.
Note
You cannot unerase once you've used the Eraser.

The ToolPad

Clicking on the ToolPad causes the mouse pointer to turn into a Wrench. Use the Wrench to:

  • Toolize a measure by clicking on the measure in the Track Display area. Use the Wrench in conjunction with the Bounding Box to Toolize a group of measures
  • Toolize an A-B-A section by clicking on the section in the A-B-A Strip. This only works if the Lock to A-B-A button is depressed

The Bounding Box

Use the Bounding Box (F6 key) to edit groups of measures in the Track Display area in conjunction with the Hand, Duplicator, Eraser, and ToolPad.

The Lock To A-B-A Button

Activate the Lock to A-B-A button when you want to have changes made to the A-B-A sections in the A-B-A Strip to also affect the measures beneath the Strip

Deactivate the Lock to A-B-A button when you just want to affect the A-B-A sections themselves without affecting the measures beneath.

The Zoom In And Zoom Out Buttons

The Zoom In button is the large note button. Click on it to enlarge the display by one step. This gives you finer control, but shows fewer measures.

The Zoom Out button is the small note button. Click on it to reduce the display by one step. This allows more measures to be displayed, at the loss of fine editing control.

A-B-A Section Editing

Not only are A-B-A sections useful for labeling your music, they can also be used to physically rearrange your music, or repeat sectons.

By using the Lock to A-B-A button. you can reposition, copy, add and/or delete labeled sections of music. You can also make changes to the first occurrence of each labeled section and propagate those changes throughout your Song.

Note
Propagate, in this context, means to copy the changes made in the first occurrence of a section to all other occurrences of that particular section within your Song.

Arranging Your Composition

When setting up your A-B-A layout, remember to deselect the Lock to A-B-A button in the Song Construction window. This ensures that Bars&Pipes Professional will not rearrange your music as you rearrange the section labels. Use the Pencil to create new sections, the Duplicator to copy them, and the Wand and hand to change and move them.

Once you've set up the A-B-A sections, enable the "Lock to A-B-A" button. Then, rearrange your Song by simply dragging, duplicating, erasing, and inserting sections. As you do so, the music undemeath follows the lead of the section markers.

Propagating Changes

Bars&Pipes Professional automatically copies changes made to a section to all other identically named sections with the Propagate command. For example, if you edit section "A" and then execute the Propagate command, Bars&Pipes Professional inserts the changes in all other sections named "A."

The Propagate command appears in three separate menus: the Song menu, the Track (or Group) menu, and the Edit menu, all of which can be accessed from the Tracks and Song Construction window. The Propagate command behaves differently in each menu.

Note
When you have a Group selected, the Track menu becomes the Group menu. In this case, the Propagate command, working on the Group as a whole, copies changes made to the first instance of each section to all other instances of those sections within the Group.
  • In the Song menu, the Propagate command copies changes made to the first instance of each section to all other instances of those sections throughout your Song.
  • In the Track menu, the Propagate command copies the first instance of each section to all other instances of those sections, for the selected Track only.
  • In the Edit menu, the Propagate command copies changes made to the first instance of a specific section to all other instances of that section. Mark the section by dragging the left Edit Flag on or within its boundaries. The Propagate command works on the section that contains the left Edit Flag; don't forget to set it.

In all cases, the Propagate command copies to all other instances of that section, only the changes made to the first occurrence of each section. You must make your changes to the first of each section in order to use Propagate.

Remember
For Propagate to work, identical sections must retain identical names. If you rename a section, it automatically becomes independent of all sections with its previous label.

An A-B-A Example

Let's use the Song Construction window and the A-B-A feature in an example. First, starting with a new Song, create eight measures of music on Track 1 in any way you see fit. We will split this eight-measure section up into five measures plus three measures. Therefore, make certain that there are no notes dangling from measure five into measure six.

Once you've created your eight measures, open the Song Construction window. Bars&Pipes Professional lists your Tracks with the eight measures you've created highlighted in white. All other measures are grey.


Copying Measures From One Track To Another

Just for the fun of it, let's copy the eight measures in Track 1 over to Track 2. Click on the Duplicator button and the Bounding Box button. Then click on the white square representing measure 1 in Track 1, and drag the mouse until it is over the white square representing measure 8 in Track 1. A rubber banding box shape stretches over the eight measures.

Lift the mouse button, and then click on the area you just put the box in. Slide the mouse downward until the eight measures in Track 2 highlight in blue Release the mouse button to copy the measures.


Erasing A Measure

Erase measure four in Track 2. To do so, click on the Eraser, then click on the white square representing measure four in Track 2. The white square disappears and is replaced by a grey square. If it remains white, this means that there is a note in measure three that extends into measure four. In this case, select Clean Cuts from the Preferences menu, and erase measure four again. The note will be cleanly cut so that measure four is clear of all notes.


Note
Our purpose for erasing measure four in Track 2 is to provide an asymmetrical grid so that we can see our editing operations reflected in the Tracks area.

Creating Two A-B-A Sections

Now that we have two Tracks of music, let's create the A-B-A sections. Choose the Pencil. The Duplicator and Bounding Box buttons will automatically deselect. Click with the Pencil after the A-B-A: prompt, and above the Edit flag area above measure 1. A requester will appear.

The section label, by default, will be "A". Change the label to "First". Set the Measures: slider to 5 measures. Click on the Okay button. You'll see a colored bar with your label appear in the A-B-A: area.

Click with the Pencil again, this time to the right of the colored bar. The requester will appear again. enter the name "Second" in the Section Name: area. Set the Measures: slider to 3 measures. Click on the Okay button. You'll see another colored bar appear after the first.


Arranging The A-B-A Sections

To arrange your A-B-A sections, first make sure that the Lock to A-B-A button is tumed off. Then click on the Hand button to enter Drag mode.

Grab the First colored bar, and drag it to the right of the Second bar. The two bars exchange position. The music below does nothing, because the lock to A-B-A button is deselected. Now, grab the Second bar and drag it to the right of the First. The two bars return to their original position.

Now, click on the Lock to A-B-A button to activate it. Repeats the steps in the paragraph above. Notice anything different? When the Lock to A-B-A button is on, the actual measures beneath each A-B-A strip exchange positions along with the Section Names.

You can use any of the mouse modes to operate on the A-B-A sections. While the Lock to A-B-A button is on, any operation you do to an A-B-A section will also be done to that section's measures. Erasing a section will erase the measures, duplicating a section will duplicate the measures, etc. Experiment.


Duplicating A-B-A Changes

Now, activate the Lock to A-B-A button (if it is not still activated). Use the Duplicator to duplicate the Section Names above your music by clicking on the Duplicator, and then clicking and dragging the Section Names. Make a few copies of the A-B-A section, "First." Arrange these sections in any way you like. The music underneath will be copied along with the sections.


Propagating A-B-A Changes

Let's assume that measure 1 is the beginning of the A-B-A section, "First" and Tracks 1 and 2 have musical information on them Now, let's create some music on Track 3 on measure 1. Normally, we would probably record new music into measure 1, but for the sake of brevity let's just select the Duplicator (without the Bounding Box) and copy measure 1 of Track 2 into measure 1 of Track 3. You'll notice that only the first instance of the "First" A-B-A section has Track 3's music in it. This is where the Propagate command comes in.

Choose the Propagate command in the Song menu. The information contained under the first "First" will be copied so that it is under each "First" section, while the information contained under the first "Second" will be copied so that it is under each "Second" section. Notice that the music in Track 3 is now undemeath every instance of the "First" section.


You can use the Propagate command in the Edit menu if you'd like to propagate changes from the section marked by the Left Edit Flag, or use the Propagate command in the Track menu if you'd like to propagate changes on one Track only.

Looping

Looping, also known as repeating is the ability to play several measures in several Tracks over and over a specified number of times.

You can set each song section to play through once or repeat any number of times.

Creating a Looping Section

The easiest way is to learn by example:

Example: Looping measures 1-4, 4 times

  1. Open the Song Construction window.
  2. Activate the Pencil button.
  3. Make sure that there are no A-B-A sections.
  4. Click in the A-B-A area with the Pencil. The A-B-A section requester open with the default values. The Section Name: should be "A", the Measures: should be "4", and the Repeats: should be "0".
  5. Slide the Repeats: slider to "4".
  6. Select Okay. The A-B-A section appears to the right of the A-B-A: prompt, showing the name of the A-B-A section, followed by "R: 4".

That's it! Play your song from the beginning, and measures 1 through 4 will repeat 4 times.

Note
If you don't see any colored bars to the right of the A-B-A prompt above the measure numbers, there are no A-B-A sections. If necessary, activater button and erase any existing A-B-A sections, and then reactivate the Pencil.
Note
The "R:4" denotes "repeats this section 4 times.

Example: Looping measures 12-20, 4 Times

  1. Clear all sections with the eraser, then use the pencil to enter a new section. Again, this opens the A-B-A section requester.
  2. Slide the Measures: slider to "11", and leave the Repeats: slider at "0".
  3. Select Okay. The A-B-A section appears to the right of the A-B-A: prompt, showing only the name of the section.
  4. Click in the A-B-A area again with the Pencil, to the right of the first section you just created. The A-B-A section requester open again.
  5. Slide the Measures: slider to "8" and the Repeats: slider to "4".
  6. Select Okay. Another A-B-A section appears to the right of the first, showing the name of the section followed by "R:4", denoting "repeat 4 times".

That's all there is to it.

Example: General Looping Procedure

If you want a loop beginning with measure 1, then follow Example 1 and adjust the Measures: and Repeats: sliders in the section requester according to how many measures you want to loop and how many times to loop them.

If you want to loop beginning with a measure other than 1, then you must first enter a section long enough to cover measures 1 through the measure before you want to begin the loop. Then, you must create another section of the appropriate length and repeat count, as in example 2.

Changing The Number Of Times A Looping Section Repeats

To change the number of times an existing Section repeats.

Example: Changing section repeat count

  1. Open the Song Construction window.
  2. Activate the Magic Wand.
  3. Click with the Wand on looping Section. The A-B-A section requester opens.
  4. Adjusts the Repeats: slider accordingly
  5. Select Okay. The A-B-A section appears after the A-B-A: prompt. It shows the name of the section, followed by an R:#, where # denotes the repeat count.

Changing The Length Of A Looping Section

Example: To change the length (number of measures) of an existing looping section:

  1. Open the Song Construction window.
  2. Activate the Magic Wand.
  3. Click with the Wand on the looping Section. The A-B-A section requester opens.
  4. Adjust the measures slider accordingly.
  5. Select Okay. The A-B-A section appears after the A-B-A prompt, showing the name of the section followed by an R:#, where # denotes the repeat count. The length of the A-B-A section changes to reflect your new choice.

Changing The Position Of A Looping Section

Change the position of a looping section either by dragging it with the hand or changing the length of sections that precede it.

For instance, if you want to move an existing looping section to the right by 3 measures, you increase the length of one or more sections to the left of the looping section by a total of 3 measures.

Recording Over A Looping Section

Of course, there will be times when you record a Track of music over other looping Tracks. Here's how:

Example: Overwriting a Looped Section

  1. Create a looping section of music.
  2. Set up a Track on which to record. Make sure the Input Arrow or MIDI Channel (in multi-in mode) are correct, and the red R indicates that the Track is in record mode.
  3. Activate sequencer record mode by highlighting R in the Transport.
  4. Click on Start to begin recording.
  5. Record music. You should hear the other Tracks looping as you overdub on top of them. You do not hear what you record looping. You are, in essence, recording a linear Track on top of the looping Tracks.
  6. Click on Stop. A requester appears.
  7. Choose Create. A new, special linear Track is created. This Track does not loop like the others. This way, you hear your music as you recorded it.
  8. Click on Play in the Transport to hear the results.

You should notice that the new Linear Track looks slightly different than the other Tracks. Its colors are light grey when non-highlighted, and the notes are purple when highlighted, instead of yellow. It is very similar to a RealTime Track.

Double click on the Linear Track's name (it's named the same as the Track from which it was created).

Notice that the Linear button is highlighted. This indicates that this Track is linear in nature, and does not loop like other Tracks.

Excluding A Track From Looping

RealTime Tracks do not loop. The difference between a RealTime Track and a Linear Track is that RealTime Tracks do not follow Tempo changes, while Linear Tracks do.

Linear Tracks are explained in the previous section, while RealTime Tracks are explained elsewhere in the manual.

To change an existing Track into a Linear Track, double click on the Track's name. The Track Name requester opens. Highlight either the RealTime or the Linear button and choose OK.