BIAB is a very sophisticated program that allows for an incredible number of features to aid song development, practice, notation, etc. Therefore you need to just learn a few of the basics first so you can get around easily. The Bitterness and tears can be eliminated.
Some real basics:
The BIAB playing field has two modes: (The little note icon selects which)
*1. Chord sheet display
2. melody/Soloist Notation display*
Start by selecting File>new. You will get a blank chord sheet in the key of C. Do it now.
*1. Chord sheet mode:*
- placing the cursor in a bar allows you to enter up to 4 chords per bar.
- enter two chords: type a chord and press ENTER, Type a chord and press ENTER
- enter 4 chords: type a chord(comma)another chord and press ENTER. repeat.
Use ENTER by itself to move on or click on a new bar.
To change a chord, click on the 1/2 bar and enter one or two chords, press ENTER.
- Summary: Each bar can hold up to 4 chords. Entering more than two requires a little finesse. You must separate two chords that occupy a half bar by a comma.
(someday this will be corrected).
- The song is generally governed by the boxes under the Title which should now read "Untitled Song". e.g.
- Name of Style
- Starting Bar (1)
- Last bar of chorus (32)
- Number of Chorus (3)
The rest of these leave alone for now.
There are eight major tracks of music (midi channels) primarily used by BIAB. They are listed and controlled at the top of the page:
Combo, Bass, Piano, Drums, Guitar, Strings, Melody, Soloist, Thru. By selecting one of these, you can control the midi channel assigned to each of these e.g. Instrument patch, volume, Pan, etc. (combo is a special case - don't fool with it)
IN BIAB YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO CHANGE THE NOTES THAT ARE PLAYED BY THE MELODY AND SOLOIST CHANNEL! The other instruments - Bass,Piano,Drums,Guitar,Strings are all TOTALLY controlled by BIAB (e.g. by the style you have selected). The notes here are created each time you click on Play and may not be altered.
Enter some chords in the chord sheet:
Bar1 - C, Bar5 - F, Bar7 - C, Bar9 - G, Bar10 - F bar11 - C
Highlight bars 1 - 12 by dragging the mouse. click Edit>Copy.
click on bar 13. Click Edit>Paste
Click on Last Bar of Chorus (Box under the Title with 32). Then Click on bar 24.
(or you could have typed the number of bars into the box).
Click on Play (or press Space bar twice)
This is a 24 bar basic blues song which can be created in minutes. It will start at Bar 1 and play to bar 24 and repeat 3 times. You can save the file under a name. Try changing the chords above using C7,F7,G7 for a different sound.
Try this with any song if you have the sheet music. Merely enter the chords in the proper bars, select the song length and select a style (from the list at the left of the Title). Then click Play or space bar twice. Esc to stop.
As of yet, the Melody and Soloist tracks are empty. These are reserved for your input and require the entry of individual notes. If you are good with a keyboard, you can simply setup and record your performance. If you don't play so well, you can enter the notes one by each using the mouse. You can also change the key for everything, by simply selecting a new key in the box below the Title.
*2. Melody/Soloist Notation display.*
Click on the Note Icon. This changes the display from Chord Sheet to Notation and back.
You will see a few bars of staff. This display works with only a few bars at a time. (The number of bars is governed by the little OPT icon, upper left.). *At the bottom of the display is a scroll bar to allow you to scroll through the song a few bars at a time. *Use the scroll bar to view the individual bars and notes throughout the song. Bars are labeled 1, 2, 3 ... 1(3), 2(3) .. 24(3). The numbers in parenthesis are chorus numbers. Remember that BIAB works in bars and chorus to save lots of redundant stuff. e.g. a single chorus. repeated, saves a lot of extra space. The number of bars will match the number defined by Starting bar, Last bar of chorus, number of chorus. By default, BIAB adds a two bar ending.
To record your notes from a keyboard to the Melody track, Click on the Rec Icon (round red circle). You can start at bar1 or you can start at a specific bar and chorus. Press the Record button. You will here a count in of two bars, then begin playing. Your midi notes from the keyboard will be saved to the melody track. When you are done, click stop (square button) or Esc. You will be given an opportunity to save your take or re-record.
Now, scroll back to the beginning of the song. Your recorded notes will be right there where you put them. Click Play and you will hear your Melody along with the generated sounds created by BIAB.
NOTE: the sound you hear from your keyboard is controlled by the Thru channel. The sound you hear for the Melody when played back is controlled by the Melody channel. These channels and instruments are controlled by selecting Thru or Melody at the top of the display. You may also record on the Soloist track by selecting Soloist>Edit Soloist Track>Record to Soloist Part. Then you will have an additional recorded track.
If you have trouble getting the keyboard to record, here's a tutorial that may help: http://johnnypumphandle.com/johnny/tutor/tutor.htm
*Now for the hard part: Entering notes one by each. (Notation display)*
Above the staff, there are three little Notation boxes.(icons)
- Regular Notation Mode (default)
- Editable notation mode
- Staff roll Notation mode
*- Regular Notation mode
*Used for view and Print only. Notes may not be changed.*
The track you are editing is selected by one of the little boxes marked B D P G S M S. You are allowed to view the Bass, Drums, Piano, Guitar, and strings but any changes here are immediately lost when you click on Play. So don't bother with these. Instead, make sure the M box is highlighted (Melody track). Also make sure that Note, Mono, and Clean have check marks. (Later explanations).
*-Editable Notation mode*
Select the Editable notation mode. Each beat in a bar will be marked by 3 or 4 dotted lines. These lines allow you to start a note on part of a beat. (3 dotted lines indicate triplets - a box checked in the OPT section). The triplets are normally present when a jazz style is used.
To Enter a note, simply click on the intersection of a staff and a dotted line. In BIAB, a note will appear at a standard velocity and for the length of a bar +. The next note entered will curtail the previous note. So if you enter notes in sequence, you don't have to specify the length of each note. To enter a rest, click the Rest box above, then click where the Rest should start. If a note is in the area it will be removed. The Rest indicator will be reset.
For more precision, you can right click, select edit and precisely enter the properties of each note. To delete a note, right click and select delete. Beware, there is a no-man's land between the Treble and Bass staff (defined by the split point in the OPT dialog). A note cannot be entered here. To help, the note position is displayed constantly for your cursor position in the Note position box nect to the Staff Roll Notation selection box.
*- Staff Roll Notation mode
An alternative way of entering notes. The display is different. Each bar is precisely divided into time increments. To start a note exactly on beat one, it must be entered on the Bar line. (As opposed to editable mode, where dotted lines indicate time positions). left click to enter or move a note. Right click and drag horizontal to change the length. Right click and drag vertical to change the velocity.
That's about it for the basics. There are a thousand other features to be learned.
If you have some specific questions, I will try to help.
Mike Carr wrote .
Thank you in advance for your patience.
I use BIAB (2005 version) as a practice tool. I find tunes that I like and learn the changes for chords. My understanding of the software is pretty much limited to that. If I try to enter my own stuff, it ends in bitterness and tears.
So, what's the best way for me to learn how to do all this BIAB stuff? Are there classes out there in this? It all seems so unnecessarily complicated.
OH - and thanks to everyone who has answered my occasional requests for tunes, it helps a lot.
~ Mike Carr
Let him that would move the world first move himself.