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Seeds, Arpeggios and Scales

Seeds Options

Fibonacci Rhythms and tonescapes

See also Seeds Options

Seeds , Seed as bar charts, Rhythm shortcuts, To notation, Alphabet seeds, The scales and Arpeggios , Scale / Arpeggio as text, Playing tunes in the New seed window , New seeds for the melody , New seed from Music Keyboard, Fractal rhythms , Mouse and PC keyboard play options, What to show on music keyboard pics, Seeds etc. options, Scales window extra controls, Beats, New Arpeggios , Editing the Arpeggio drop lists, Edit lists as text, Make new Scale , How to save your scale, New mean tone scale, Editing the Scale drop lists, Mouse options , Origin shifts


First see:

How the seeds build up to make tunes , and Basic concepts - Layers (tutorial), also take a look at Basic concepts - Parts

To summarise briefly, layering is a melody structure concept, and Parts are to do with the instrumentation. So you vary the number of layers to make the tune more complex and longer. You vary the number of parts to change the number of instruments playing the tune. Many of the tunes are done with one part to a layer which helps bring out the layer structure as a canon by augmentation - this uses Parts | Order of Play | By layers with simultaneous notes . However if you choose other options of that menu you can distribute the instruments so they play notes in different layers creating melodic lines that weave back and forth from one layer to another, as is seen in two part form in calling to each other across the valley, or for a more complex example, try Basson solo with harp celesta and glockenspiel.

The seed can have negative numbers, such as 0 -1 2 . Here, -1 means one note down from the note that starts the seed..

It is often a good idea to make the first number if the seed either 0, or more rarely, 1 or -1. If you have made a seed already which starts at some higher (or lower) number, you can change the start note. A click on the left / right arrows to left of the seed moves it up or down in the arpeggio - it adds 1 to all the numbers, or subtracts 1 from them all.

The seed plays its notes in the apeggio and the arpeggio consists notes selected from the scale - usually in ascending order, but it doesn't need to be.

If the first number of the seed is 0 then the melody starts at the 0th degree of the arpeggio - usually the 1/1 of the scale. More generally, the number for the first note of the melody is found by multiplying the number of layers by the first number in the seed. For instance, if the number of layers is 3, and the first note of the seed is 2, the first note played is note 6 in the arpeggio. If the number of layers is higher, as it is for the standard setting, then the first note played could be very high indeed for a seed that begins with 2. It may bounce back into range if it gets high enough depending on your settings from Part | More | Ranges.

You can click the play button next to the Seed button to hear the seed:

Play - keyboard shortcut Alt + . (full stop)

You can make seeds by typing the numbers into the musical seed box, and this can be a good way to start experimenting with them. Try any short sequence of small numbers, beginning your sequence with 0. Leave spaces between the numbers.

You can also make seeds by playing them yourself on your PC keyboard, or using a Midi keyboard, see Make new seed, and Make new seed from Music Keyboard.

You can edit the volumes, and timing of individual notes of the seed. You can use the Seed as Text window for this ( A... button). See Note volume and Time for one note. When you edit the times and volumes in this window, it adds extra fields in the musical seed box in the main window, starting with a semicolon ; or asterisk * respectively, so once one is used to the format, one can also edit the seed in the main window in the same way, e.g. add a ; then some note times to set the times for your notes. The times here are in quarter notes (the american term) or crotchets (english term) that make up the beats of the tempo so if you have that set to metronome mark 60 for instance, that means 60 beats to a minute or one note every second. However this is just a basic beat.

Sometimes one wants to make a seed with a very large number of notes which just ascends successively through the numbers say. To do this you can use the words To or Step. See To notation. With large seeds, you would probably explore Bs | Seeds Options | Polyrhythm... , or Seed Pos Increment... in order to have some notes played in the other parts in the middle of your seed. Or you would choose other options from Parts | Order of Play , or both.

Notice - if you play a seed in many layers at once with the standard setting of Parts | Order of Play | By layers with simultaneous notes then since the later layers change much more slowly than the first few layers, the later parts will also have slow moving melodic lines - in fact they become drones in effect. The thing to do if you don't want these drones is to explore those Polyrhythm and Seed pos increment ideas again - or try moving the parts about within the layers by choosing some of th other options in this menu.


Seed as bar charts

Bs | Seed as bar charts

Volume / time

Num lock key on . When this key is on, you can adjust the timing of the notes. A left click within a note moves the start time to the click position (moves the left boundary of the note to the click point). A right click moves the end of the note to the click position (its right boundary).

If you want to start a note at an earlier time, move its start time to the left by right clicking within the previous note.

Num lock key off . When this key is off, click to adjust the volume,

Scroll lock on - use this key if you want to adjust both simultaneously.

Position in arpeggio .

Click to change the seed numbers - the position of the seed note in the arpeggio.

The vertical scale in this picture changes as you use larger numbers. When you click above the highest note in your seed, the picture will auto re-scale if needed to show your new number, and leave space for you to make larger seed numbers.

If you want to see the effect of your actions on the seed numbers themselves,show the Seed as text window at the same time.

Alt + drag = select - this is especially useful for seeds with very large numbers of notes, as a way to zoom into part of the seed in order to edit it. With the Alt key held down, click on the start of the region of interest and then drag and release to highlight it. This will show the detail in a separate small window which you can resize as you like. You can then use the zoon, left and right controls of the detail window to view other parts of the seed, or change the selection again by highlighting it in the Seed as bar charts window. Edit the seed within the details window in the usual way.


Rhythm Shortcuts

You can enter a rhythm in the Bs | Seed As Text window as beat multiples. So 1 is the basic beat of the tune, 0.5 is half a beat and so on.

However you can also use a shorcut notation with O for a single beat, o for half a beat (quaver or eighth note), etc. It also lets you specify triplets and quintuplets. This notation was designed for the Chord Progression player - see its Rhythms section for the details.

You need to place a tilda '~' at the start of the seed times field to indicate that you are using this notation.

Like this:

~ Oo o O Oo . . O

You can then look in the main window to check that it has converted the times as expected.


To Notation

File | scale notation | To notation | Show seed in to notation - This is an abbreviation useful for large seeds. You will see them as 0 to 20 to 0 instead of 0 1 2 3 ... 19 20 19 18 ... 3 2 1 0 . The min number of steps is the minimum number to use the notation for. By way of example, if you set this to 10, you see 0 to 10 in to notation, but not 0 to 9 .

You can use the notation yourself for input anyway, and with any number of steps, whether or not you choose to show seeds in it.

There are various shortcuts you can use to enter a seed in this notation. For more about this, read on...

Bs | Seed as Text

Fast entry: "0 to 4 to -3 to 7 to 0", "0 step 2 to 12", etc.

This notation is a shortcut for entering seeds and scales

Try typing

0 to 4 to -3 to 7 to 0

into the position in arpeggio box. Now go to one of the other fields in this window and just type in a space or something to get FTS to refresh the window. You will see your entry expanded to:

0 1 2 3 4 3 2 1 0 -1 -2 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

So it has started from 0, gone up to 4, back down to -3, up to 7 again, then back to 0.

Try 0 step 2 to 12

result is:

0 2 4 6 8 10 12

This notation is useful when one wants to make a large seed of this type.

To change the step size (standard setting is 1) use

step [step size]

To go from one number to another, use to [next number] - this means to go to it by movement up or down as appropriate, one step at a time, from the previous number, whatever it was.

Note that you have to use this exact order of the words - FTS doesn't understand english :-). It is only programmed to recognise the next number after the word step as a step size. and the next number after the word to as the number to make the steps up (or down) to.

If you try 0 step 2 to 12 to -18 to 8

you get

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10 -12 -14 -16 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8

So, FTS remembers the step size once you set it, until you change it again.

The same notation can be used for arpeggios.

Then for the times and volumes, you can use

Fast entry: "steps 5 0.1 to 1", or "0.1 step 0.2 to 1"

Again, try them out to see what happens:

Try steps 5 0.1 to 1

0.1 0.28 0.46 0.64 0.82 1

makes five notes increasing in length from 0.1 seconds to 1 second by equal amounts (0.18 seconds each time in fact)

Try 0.1 step 0.2 to 1

0.1 0.28 0.46 0.64 0.82 1


Alphabet seeds

Bs | Alphabet Seeds

This lets one enter a word, phrase or code as a seed.

You don't have to be a biochemist or doctor by training to use this option BTW. It simply uses the letters of the gene sequence as data to make the melody lines of the tune. So you just need to be interested in using gene sequences in your music. Other data in text format could also be used, such as alphabet, numeric, or alphanumeric, or your own custom mapping for whatever field is of interest.

Alphabet / digit seeds - select this to read any data at all, in alpha-numeric form.

Proteins - sets the complete list of 20 protein letters as the code. This and the next option are intended for use with gene sequences such as you can find at   You can hear music made using gene sequences in Mary Ackerley's music page. . (Thanks to Mary Ackerley for suggesting the idea for this window :-)).

Bases - sets the four bases G C T A as the code.

Alphabet - complete alphabet


The way these codes work is that successive characters in the code get interpreted as 0, 1, 2 etc in the seed numbers.

Like this, using the protein bases by way of example:

A  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  K  L  M  N  P  Q  R  S  T  V  W  Y
0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

So, for instance, whenever you have a letter H in your DNA sequence, it will be interpreted as a 6 for the seed.

The order in which you enter the characters counts. So for instance ACGT, GCTA, CGTA etc for the bases will all make different tunes.

0 1 2 3

A -> 0, C -> 1, G -> 2, T -> 3

0 1 2 3

G -> 0, C -> 1, T -> 2, A -> 3


Any characters that aren't listed in the Code field are ignored. So for instance, the gene sequences at

have numbers at the start of each line - well you don't need to edit those out to use the gene as a seed - they will be skipped as only the protein letters get read.

Use as steps - this is particularly useful for the bases - they have a rather limited range of four notes - so to increase that, one can interpret them as steps rather than notes. Say, interpret A as down 2, C as down 1, G as up 1 and T as up 2.

This uses the code as before, but the numbers all get shifted - 0 1 2 3 -> -2 -1 1 2 in the case of the bases - and all the ones after the first letter of the seed get used as steps in the seed instead of absolute values. The first letter of the seed is interpreted as an absolue value as before.

First letter of seeds - once you've read the seed in, you usually will want the first letter to play a 0 of the seed, rather than an 11 or whatever - or the fractal tune will start very high up the arpeggio (at 11 times the number of seed layers in this case).

So you could set the first letter of the seed here to the first letter of your data. However, to make this a bit easier, use the next check box:

Auto update so first letter of seed always maps to 0 - and read / save 1st char from .TS - this will shift the seed up / down so that the first letter always plays a 0. You will see the First letter of seeds box change as you do so.

Use complete range of numbers - this is the standard setting- each code gets read as the corresponding number .

Use remainders method - The idea here is that if you use, say, the protein bases, then the seed will be very wide ranging, maximum seed number at 19. Sometimes one may want the seed to vary less. So you can set a maximum number for the seed here in the Seed numbers less than field. Suppose you set this to 5, then the remainders are found after dividing by 5, so the map now is:

A  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  K  L  M  N  P  Q  R  S  T  V  W  Y
0  1  2  3  4  0  1  2  3  4  0  1  2  3  4  0  1  2  3  4

Use division method - This time the numbers are divided accordingly to achieve the desired maximum seed number. Since we want the seed numbers to be less than five, we need to divide the 20 (one higher than highest seed number in the map) by four, and we get this map:

A  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  K  L  M  N  P  Q  R  S  T  V  W  Y
0  0  0  0  1  1  1  1  2  2  2  2  3  3  3  3  4  4  4  4

where for instance, V, which maps to 17 in the original map now maps to 17/4 = 4 (after rounding down to the nearest whole number)

Alphabet volumes - you can enter the code into the Volumes field of the Seed As Text window to set the volume for the seed. Taking the bases A C G T , byway of example, if you set the max volume to 100 and the minimum to 40, then the map is:

A   C   G   T
0   1   2   3
40  60  80  100

The first letter maps to your minimum volume, the last to the maximum one, they are equally spaced in between, and the Use as steps option gets ignored.

Alphabet note times - same idea - this time for the note times. Taking the bases A C G T , byway of example, if you set the minimum time to 0.5 and the minimum to 2, then the map is:

 A    C    G    T 
 0    1    2    3
0.5   1   1.5   2

What happens if Alphabet / digit seeds is unselected.

You can use alphabet seeds even when Alphabet / digit seeds is unselected

If you enter a sequence of digits that begins with a 0 as the seed, with no spaces between them, it gets interpreted as an alphanumeric seed. So 0120 instead of 0 1 2 0 will be interpreted this way.

Also if you enter a sequence of two or more characters, it also gets interpeted this way, apart from a few special cases: TO, TEST, and STEP, also DURATIONS and  VOLUMES, because all of those can be used in the seed to mean something.

Single characters like this "A L N..." (i.e. with spaces between the characters) are ignored when it is unselected, because they could be typos.

So, it's best to select this option if you want to make sure that all data gets read as intended, even single characters. It will also ensure that your seeds get shown as characters rather than as numbers in the seed windows.


T he scales an d Arpeggios

See also Make new Arpeggio, Editing the Arpeggio drop lists, Make new Scale

Also, for an introduction to the various ways of tuning scales and arpeggios, see Scales, arpeggios and intonation

The fractal tunes wander up and down in pitch as they go - and they do this because they are moving up and down in an underlying arpeggio. Here the arpeggio is simply a selection of notes from a scale - think of it like a musician practicing scales and arpeggios to warm up. Then maybe he or she will play a melody using notes from those arpeggios a bit later in the practice session.

So, first, you need to select a scale from the drop list of Scales in the main window to use with your arpeggio.

Below the scale description you see the ratios, cents or other notation used to define the scale (not shown for Tasks | Player ).

If the scale is large, you can use Ctrl + left or right arrow to scroll the scale one entry at a time - this is a general but little known windows shortcut that works with most text fields. For more space, show the scale as text using Bs | Scale as Text . Most of the tasks also have a T.. button to the right of the scale button which also brings up this window.

You select an arpeggio from the Arpeggios drop list.

Sync Arp. - standard setting. When you change the scale selection, the Arpeggios drop list changes in synchrony to show ones suitable for the current scale.

Arpeggios are included for appropriate scales in the preset Scales list. These scales are labelled with an (Arp) (for Arpeggios).

Small scales often have no arpeggios particularly associated with them as one is expected to play notes from the entire scale in a typical melody line. In this case, the arpeggio changes to a list consisiting of Follow Scale , together with a few figuration type arpeggios which give interesting effects for fractal tunes.

Below the arpeggio description, you see the actual numbers for the arpeggios.

The position of a note in a scale is called its degree . As degrees in a twelve tone tuning, the diatonic mode is 0 2 4 5 7 9 11 12 , where 0 means the first note of the scale, Then 2 means, 2 notes up from it; 4 means, 4 notes up, and so on.

There are two ways to show the arpeggios - unselect Steps to show them as degrees, as just described, or select Steps to show them as steps from the previous note such as 0 2 2 1 2 2 2 1 , where 2 means a step of 2 scale degrees from the previous note of the arpeggio.

What I call arpeggio here is more usually called a mode in tuning circles. To find out why I call them arpeggios instead in FTS, see the FAQ: Why call them Arpeggios? I don't like this term much. The word Mode sounds much better.

These modes (except for the first of the 12 tone lists) are from the file modename.html from the scales archive for the freeware SCALA program by Manuel Op de Coul. They are included with FTS with his kind permission.

You can make other modes lists in the same way .

You can also make your own arpeggios by entering the note numbers into the box below - make sure your numbers are separated by spaces. Be as creative as you like. Your arpeggios needn't span a complete octave. They can start and end on any note of the scale, and include any notes in between in any order.

The arpeggios can include negative note numbers, to go below the start note of the scale, and also numbers that go above the top note of the scale.

The arpeggio always repeats at whatever note is used to end it. So, if you have the major chord as your basic scale for the arpeggio to select from, then 0 2 3 4 as the arpeggio will play c g c' e' - where the e' goes into the second repeat of the scale. So, this arpeggio will now repeat as follows (- used for skipped positions in the scale):

Scale:             c   e   g   c'  e'  g'  c'' e'' g''  c''' e''' g''' c'''
Arp:               0   -   2   3   4       
1st repeat of arp: -   -   -   -   0   -   2   3   4
2nd repeat:        -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   0   -    2    3    4

Each repeat of the arpeggio follows on from the next, to give the notes

                   c   -   g   c'  e'  -   c'' e'' g'' -    e''' g''' c''', ...

which is what you will hear as the notes in the melody if you use this for a fractal tune.

The seed then goes up and down in your arpeggio, and by using various arpeggios and seeds you can get really complex effects from the combined effect of the two. By way of example to show how it works in this simple case - if the melody line plays, say, a 7 in your tune, then this will play the seventh note of the arpeggio, counting up from the first note as the 0. So in this case it would play e'''.



Scale / Arpeggio as Text

Bs | Scale & Arpeggio as Text

Edits the main window scale / arpeggio. This window shows it with large text areas, to help when one wants to edit the scale or arpeggio in text format.

You can enter the scale values in hertz, cents notation, ratios, and some other options as well - see scale notation.

The buttons to the right of the window can be used to edit the scales and arpeggios drop lists - see Editing the Arpeggio drop lists.



Playing tunes in the New Seed window

Bs | Seed...

Getting started, chords, sustain, keyboard picture

Getting started

Click on the Play radio button.

Move the mouse over the picture of the keyboard, or the dots, to activate it.

Now start playing. The key to the left of the '1' , then '1' , '2' , '3' , . .. onwards play successive notes of the main window Arpeggio . It continues in the same way through the other three rows , and in the last row it misses out the key at bottom left, which gives twelve notes for the first two rows, and ten in the last one.

It's a transposing keyboard, with the key which is displayed as 'c' playing the 1/1 pitch of the scale as set from the Pitch window. It uses the same scale and arpeggio as the fractal tune, so you can play along with any of the fractal tunes, and you will automatically be in tune with it. You can also play in this way from the PC keyboard icon - the one in the main window uses 'a' as the 1/1 key (on qwerty keyboards) while the one in the Seed window uses '1' for it - depending on what you hae selected in the Left, Right, Both, Auto drop list.

Notes for keys - set which notes to play from the p.c keys, wiith various presets available such as to be able to play accidentals. Also select which part to play when playing from the PC keyboard, various other options.

Another way to play notes is to move the mouse back and forth over the picture of the keyboard - great for fast scales or arpeggios. You can set this window so that it activates automatically whenever you move the mouse over it - useful if you have several such windows on the go at once - see Seeds etc. options. .

To change the overall pitch (as in changing the key of a piece), choose Pitch... from the main window. This changes the pitch of the 1/1 for this window as well as the fractal tune.

You can save a recording of your playing to a MIDI file, which includes any notes you play in FTS, including the fractal tune and any notes you play from the PC keyboard see: Record to MIDI as you play along .

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Play chords by pressing keys simultaneously.

You can play any music in two parts in this way (at least you can with the PC keyboard that this help is typed on, which is a fairly standard Windows keyboard).

You can also play many chords of three or more notes , but probably not all. The ones you can't play in this way can be sounded using your space bar sustain pedal - see the next section.

Try this experiment in any program that accepts text, such as your favourite word processor, or Notepad , or Wordpad :

Type '4' . Keep the key held down, and type '5' . Now with both held down, press '6' as well, as if you were playing an arpeggiated chord. You might well find that the first two keys 4 and 5 are shown (possibly repeated if you hold them down long enough to start up the typematic repeat function) but that the 6 is never shown. Release the 4 or 5 before the 6 and the 6 will appear, but release the key 6 first, and you never see it.

Now - those were the numbers that do this for this particular keyboard. However, it is hardware dependent - yours may do it for some other combination of keys.

The same thing happens with the MSDOS prompt, with Windows 3.1, Windows 95/98, and even in Linux, so it's not anything to do with the operating system - or if it is then it is something common to all those different operating sytems.

If you hold down this combination of keys, Fractal Tune Smithy never finds out that you pressed the key '6' (or indeed any other message at the moment the key is pressed). So it can't respond to it. This happens for a fair number of three character combinations with two of them adjacent keys.

It seems very probable that Windows itself never recieves any input to say that the key has been pressed. Though some information about the key press does get sent on from the keyboard as far as the computer hardware at least, as I hear a click in the computer whenever it happens :-).

If you find a design of PC keyboard easily available that can be used to play chords with FTS, with any number of notes, let me know, so that I can recommend it when I next update this page:

I'd also be interested to know if anyone knows what is happening here, or has more information about it.

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You will find that you can use the space bar as a sustain pedal with the PC keyboard.You can change this from PBs | Mouse and PC keyboard play options - other choices here include the Caps lock key. Or if you have midi In on your sound card, you can use a sustain pedal and connect it to your midi in - it will work with the PC keyboard too.

You can use the space bar sustain to build up chords of three or more notes, including the ones that can't be played by holding down the keys of a PC keyboard simultaneously (see previous section) To make sure all the notes sound, hold down at most two keys at the same time, and release earlier played keys as you add more notes to the chord.

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Keyboard picture

This keyboard is drawn with the spacing for each of the twelve tones of the piano. This makes white "keys" of two widths rather than the single width of a standard keyboard - the keys D, G and A are larger because they overlap two of the black notes to either side.

If you look at the top of the picture however, you will see that the black keys are exactly the same width as the gaps between them. When playing in equal temperament, the dots that show up as you play are positioned in the centres of the black keys, and in the centres of white areas at the top of the picture

The idea is that when you play chords, the same interval between notes will be shown as the same distance on the keyboard, wherever you may play it on the keyboard - for instance, if you play a 6/5 anywhere on the keyboard, the distance between the dots for the notes will be the same.

Since it also shows the black and white keys, admittedly with some of the white keys slightly stretched, it lets one see what the pitches are relative to the familiar notes of an equal temperament piano. For another way of showing the notes that you play, see the Stretchy midi keyboard, which you show using Bs | What to show on music kbd | Show stretchy midi keyboard for

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New seeds for the melody

Bs | Seed...

This describes how to do it from the PC keyboard. For the music keyboard, see the next section New seed from Music Keyboard.

Click on the Edit radio button

To start a new seed, use the Escape key which clears the old one.

Now play a short phrase using the keys ' 0 ', '1' , '2' , '3' , ... onwards.

As you play the phrase from the p.c .keyboard, you will see the numbers for your new notes appear in the New seed box.

Press the return key to end the seed.

To remove the last few notes, press the backspace key.

Click the Play button to hear your seed:

Play - keyboard shortcut Alt + . (full stop)

The idea of the playback here is to hear what the seed will sound like when you play it in the tune. If you hear overlapping notes, this probably means you have the tune set to play overlapping notes, from Bs | Tempo and Volume | Duration for each note - set this duration to 1 if you want to hear them as you recorded them.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut use Alt + . (full stop character) . I'm giving the keyboard shortcuts here as they are convenient if one wants to be able to keep playing from the keyboard without a break from what you are doing to pick up the mouse and press a button on the screen.

Use Timings . Select this to use your original timings - the ones you used when you played it. When unselected, all the notes get played the same length. The note times in seconds are shown in the Timings box as you play. Values between underlines such as _0.268_ show the silences between notes. Silences are referred to as rests in music - but here these are just any gaps between notes and they also show up if you play staccato notes .

When Use Timings is unselected, the speed of playback for the seed can beset from Ctrl + click on the play button (Or Bs | Arp. and Scale Playback Options ) - under Fixed duration notes - you can also set it to play at the same speed as the seed button for the fractal tune if you prefer. Or use Shift + click on the play button to play it at the same speed as the tune.

When Use Timings is selected, you can play your seed back faster using Alt + click on the play button - with the speed depending on the time you have set for the fixed duration notes (set to 1 for the same speed you recorded it), Or if you have the option selected there to play t the same speed as the fractal tune seed button, then you hear it speeded up or slowed down accordingly.

The only notes that count for the seed are the ones you play from the keyboard or make by clicking with the mouse - any notes you may make by moving the mouse back and forth are ignored.

If you want to make a seed that goes below the start note of the arpeggio, you need to show those notes first. Choose Both from the Auto / Left / Right / Both drop list. You will then find that you can play them from the PC keyboard, because the 'a' key plays the first note of the arpeggio (usually 1/1). You may also want to increase the Width in octaves to show more notes to either side.

Note that the keys you need to play are the ones in these actual physical positions on the keyboard, whatever your keyboard layout. When I say 'a' here I mean the leftmost character of the third row - it's an 'a' on a Qwerty keyboard layout but will be something else in the Dvorak layout for instance.

When you select Use Timings , the playback speed is the same as the original recording. To hear it as it will be in the fractal tune you need to apply it to the main window and click the play seed button there.

If you use the seed without timings, it's speed gets set from Bs | Arpeggio and Scale playback - most of the settings here are for the arpeggio and scale, but some affect the seed too including the speed of playback. If you select Fixed duration notes here (the standard setting) then the seed gets played with the notes at that duration. If you select Same as tune , then it gets played at the tempo set for notes of length 1 in the main window.

Tip: for a quick way to activate edit mode, try Options | Mouse activated . You will find you can then activate Edit mode by moving the mouse over the picture of the dots . Make the Seed window the active window first if necessary, - if you ahve been using another window click on its title bar to activate it. Then park the mouse somewhere out of the way when you record the seed, to avoid changing to Play mode - that happens whenever you move the mouse over the picture of the music keyboard when you have Mouse activated selected.

The standard setting is to continue each note without a break until the next one begins. To use the silences between the notes, select Rests before clicking the playback or Apply buttons. This causes each seed to be played twice in succession, once for the note, and once for the next rest. The result is a series of echo effects if you have several parts in play simultaneously. The volume for the echo is set using Options | Volume for sim. rests for Seeds box. For instance if the volume for the echo is 3/4 , then whenever one of the parts plays a rest, the parts above it in the Parts window are all played with three quarters of their usual volume. For an example of a fractal tune that uses this effect see Echo_effects_in_rests.ts .

The horizontal scroll bars to the right of the seed box shift the seed up and down in the arpeggio. This is especially useful if the first note of your seed is anything other than 0, -1, or 1 - anything else will start the tune very high, or very low. So if you started your seed high, just adjust it here before you use it in the fractal tune.- see Seeds.

You can use the Reverse , Invert , and Reverse rhythm buttons to reverse your recording of the seed (i.e. run it backwards), invert it (i.e. go down instead of up), or reverse the rhythm while keeping the notes the same.

The Reverse and Reverse rhythm buttons remove any rest at the end of the seed.

Sometimes one may want to add a rest at the end of a seed so that you have a pause at that point in the fractal tune. It doesn't get recorded, so you need to edit the seed timings To do this, replace the last _0_ by 1.5 (say) for a 1.5 second rest.

(You can also use expressions for the time here - e.g. 1/4, 5/4, 1+1/4 etc - the rule is that if you use expressions in a list of numbers, you need to do them without spaces, or put the expression in brackets, so that FTS knows where one value ends and the next begins).

You can also edit timings for other rests or notes by hand in the same way. When editing the rests yourselves, you can leave out the underlines; they are just a visual cue added by the program to help you see which are the rests and which are the notes. The times must alternate between notes and rests and if you don't want a rest between two notes you have to set the time for the rest to 0..

If the melody line goes above the highest MIDI note, it will keep going anyway until it gets back into range again. You can choose what happens here from Parts | Ranges . For instance if you choose Silent , it will play rests instead of notes, and you won't hear anything until the notes get back into range again. Standard setting is to rebound back into pitch.

When you listen to the melody, notice how your seed gets transformed as it is shifted up and down to different parts of the scale. It will only stay exactly the same if you played it in an arpeggio / mode with equally spaced intervals such as the complete (chromatic) equal temperament scale, whole tone scale, equal temperament diminished seventh chord, and so forth.



New seed f rom Music Keyboard

Intro - How to make the seed - Editing the seed from the main window - Music keyboard shortcuts for seed edit mode - Pc keyboard shortcuts


This method works for any of the Seed windows Bs | Seed... and it also works for the main window. I'll describe it for the Seed windows first.

Make sure you have your keyboard connected via midi in - see How do I get my music keyboard to work with FTS?

Check also that you have In | Open Now selected. This is the standard setting for midi relaying tasks, but not for the fractal tune tasks. That's because some who use FTS for algo-comp use other programs for their keyboard work. If you will normally use your midi keyboard with FTS while it is running, select In | Open at start of session and then FTS will always open Midi In when it starts.

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How to make the seed

First put the Seed window into edit mode using the Edit radio button, which you will find towards the top of this window. (Alt + D)

Now play a musical phrase from the music keyboard. The middle C key plays the first note of the arpeggio (with the standard settings), and you will find that the notes gets shown in the window as you play. Use Apply .to copy it into the main window to use with the current fractal tune. Press Clear to start each new seed, otherwise your notes get added to the end of the previous one. To use the recorded volumes and times, be sure to select By times and By volumes . That basically is all there is to it.

You can import a midi file to a seed by relaying it to FTS via its midi in - see Relaying notes to and from FTS using a loop back. In FTS, you will need to have a New Seed window open at the time and it needs to be active (title bar highlighted) and in Edit mode. The notes will appear in the window as they are played, as your new seed. It's monophonic of course; FTS doesn't have polyphonic seeds.

What you may notice at this point is that this method requires a fair amount of two and fro between the music keyboard and the PC keyboard. You play a seed on the music keyboard, then reach over and fnd a button on the screen to click on it, then go back to the PC keyboard to try another seed, and so on. However, you can also do it all from the music keyboard without using the mouse at all.

I will use midi notation for note names - the number shows the octave, with C5 = middle c So C3, D3 etc are the notes in the octave two octaves below middle C - the left-most octave of a four octave keyboard.

There is no need to remember all these shortcuts - after you work through this section you will find a list of all the shortcuts which you can copy or print out and keep to hand until you are used to them. See Music keyboard shortcuts for seed edit mode

To make a new seed, first clear the old one which you can do by pressing C3 two octaves below middle C.

Play your new seed in the middle of the keyboard - you use middle C key for the first note of the arpeggio. However, don't worry too much about this as if you play it anywhere, you can move it to this position later. Your seed gets recorded automatically, and you will see the red arrows for its notes appear in the seed window as you play.

When it is finished, press the C3 Sharp key to end the last note of the seed. Then press D3 to play your recorded seed back to hear what it sounds like.

You can add more notes to the end of your previously played seed - just start playing again, and the notes you play get added to the end of the seed previously recorded. To start a new seed you need to clear it using C3 again.

So far the seed you played is waiting in the wings as it were - you have played it back so you know that it sounds okay, but it hasn't yet replaced the main window seed so it isn't yet available to be played in the fractal tune.

You use E3 to copy it into the main window.

D3 and E3 end the last note of the seed if you haven't ended it already with a C3 Sharp .

Now, maybe you started your seed somewhere else, and not at the 0th degree of the arpeggio - I said we can fix this later. It is best starting at 0, or possibly 1 or -1, for most fractal tunes.

To reset the position of the seed in the arpeggio so that its first note begins at the first arpeggio note -press D4 . .

You can play the new fractal tune from your Midi keyboard using the F key (stop play by pressing this key a second time).

When you use E3 to apply your seed, the standard setting is to use the times as recorded, and ignore the volumes.

To change this go to any of the Seed windows, and select / unselect Timings and Volumes. These check boxes affect all Seed windows - if you have several of them on the go, you will see the check boxes change in all of them simultaneously.

You can also do this from the music keyboard, and the relevant music keyboard shortcuts here are

E3 Flat - Apply seed etc without times (or with times, if you have with timings selected - uses the opposite of your current selection)
F3 Sharp - Apply seed etc with volumes

You can also choose whether to use the Rests between notes (Alt + E). If you do, you get an echo effect - the tune is played more quietly when it is simultaneous with a rest at a slower layer of ornamentation of the tune. To set the volume for the seed when playing with simultaneous rests, use on Bs | Seed | Options | Volumes for sim. rests..

When you play the seed back using the D3 , then you will hear it played at the speed that will be used for the fractal tune. If you want to hear it played back at the speed that you originally played it, go back to the main window and change the time for one note to 1 second. ( Alt + ? , from main window).

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Editing the seed from the main window

Now for a further refinement- you can also do all this from the main window without need to show any of the Seed windows.

Select In | Main Window Seed Edit Mode ( Ctrl + F2 ) . to put the main window into seed edit mode. This edits a backup seed which you only see when you transfer it into the main window using the E3 key. Actually it is in a hidden seed window which never gets shown. In all respects it works just like the visible seed windows as just described - but you can only work with it via the music keyboard in this way, and it is completely hidden from view so that it doesn't obscure the main window.

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Music keyboard shortcuts for seed edit mode:

You may wish to copy or print out this list of shortcuts to have at hand while playing

C3 - Clear seed / arpeggio / scale
D3 - Play seed / arpeggio / scale
E3 - Apply seed / arpeggio / scale
F3 - Play / Stop Fractal Tune

G3 - Reverse seed
A3 - Reverse seed rhythm
B3 - Invert seed

C3 Sharp - End seed
E3 Flat - Apply seed etc without times (or with times, if you have with timings selected - uses the opposite of your current selection)

F3 Sharp - Apply seed etc with volumes
G3 Sharp - Apply seed etc with vols & rests
B3 Flat - Apply seed etc with rests

C4 - Shift seed up one arpeggio degree
C4 Sharp - Shift seed down one
D4 - Set 1st note of seed to 1st note of arp.

Unassigned (you can assign this to one of the notes if you wish) - Start / Stop recording to MIDI.

All these shortcuts can be changed from In | Options | Kbd regions (see Keyboard Regions). Most of them (the ones that are relevant) can also be used for editing the Scale and Arpeggio from the music keyboard - they take effect when you edit a seed or arpeggio from Bs | Seed or Bs | Arpeggio . .

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Pc keyboard shortcuts

First - the Seed window is Ctrl + d or Alt + d from the main window Each time you bring up a new window - because you can have any number of seeds on the go at once, e.g. to try each with the main fractal tune in turn.

The PC keyboard options in the seed window include Alt + 0 (numeral zero) = move the seed up / down as needed to set the first seed note to 0.

Alt + O (letter O) = maximise volume - increases the volumes of all the notes so that the loudest note in the seed has volume 1 in the range of 0 to 1 (corresponds to midi volume 127 when the main window playback volume is 127).

Alt + e = Reverse seed, Alt + s = Invert seed and Alt + h = Reverse Rhythm. Be sure to use Alt + 0 (zero) to set the seed first note to 0 after reversing the seed if it ends with a high or low note, or the tune will go very high / low.

You can also scroll the seed up / down one note at a time using the scroll bar immediately after the New Seed edit field. (It looks like a spin control, but actually is a scroll bar with range 0, so if you use a screen reader you may hear it read as 0 of 0 which I hope isn't too confusing... - the same applies to all the "spin controls" in FTS - they are all technically scroll bars with range 0).

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Fractal rhythms

See also Fractal rhythms in the Main window page.

Try setting Bs | Seed Options - All | Rhythm fractal to layer to a number larger than 0, use a seed with notes of varying length, and choose Parts | Order of Play | Layer, with simultaneous notes .

You will then find that all the voices, up to the number you have just specified, are playing with the same rhythm at varied speeds. Each voice plays faster or slower as necessary to fit its entire seed within a single note of the next voice.

To hear this effect, try a tune smithy file with a fractal rhythm.

Let's choose birdcall_like.ts .

Show the Tune... window. Set the Width to 9 seeds as there are 9 notes in each seed.

Select Tune | Options | Position by time . Show the Score .(drop list at top left of Tune | Options ). If you like, you can tick nudge to pitch , which positions all the notes precisely by pitch on a score with two sizes of spacing between the lines.

Set the Notes as drop list to, say, Part numbers

Set the Part to follow, Notes as to dots .

Choose 2 as the Part to follow - this will show the oboe as dots, and the other two instruments as part numbers (you will only see 1s because the 3s for the cello will be hidden behind the dots).

Now play it for 9 seeds. Notice the pattern of each seed as played on the recorder, and compare it with the pattern of first notes for the first nine seeds as played on the oboe - both have the same rhythm, with the oboe playing much slower, so that an entire seed played by the recorder fits into each note played by the oboe .

Now choose 3 as the Part to follow , set the Width to 81 seeds, and continue play to 81 seeds. Notice how the notes played by the cello also follow the same pattern, with the same rhythm, but much slower.

This means that this tune is in fact a canon by augmentation for recorder, oboe and 'cello - many of the fractal tunes are canons by augmentation.



Mouse and PC keyboard play options

Bs | Mouse and PC keyboard play options

Moving mouse over keyboard or dots brings window to front. Just move the mouse over the window and it automatically gets activated ready for playing with the mouse or PC keyboard, without any need to click on it. Also if it is hidden behind other windows, it will pop to the front as soon as you move the mouse over any visible portion of it. Can be useful if you have many of these windows on the go.

Switch mouse note off when moved out of pic - standard setting. This means that if you sound the notes by moving the mouse over the picture, as soon as you move the mouse out of the picture the note stops sounding. When unselected, the note continues after you move the mouse out of the picture, and only stops when you move it back in again, or if you activate another window.

Volumes by mouse pos - volume depends on position of the mouse on the keyboard picture - position it near the top of the key for a quiet note, and near the bottom for a loud one.

Enable sound - unselect if you don't want the notes to sound when you click on the keyboard picture or move the mouse over it.

Mouse scroll wheel as controller - you need a scroll mouse for this. As you move the scroll wheel you vary the amount of modulation. To change the sensitivity, vary the size for the scroll step - and you can select any other controller from the drop list in place of modulation. Use Ctrl, Shift, or Ctrl + Shift in combination with the scroll wheel to vary the controller more rapidly.

Alternative sustain - method of using the PC keyboard to sustain notes - you can use the space bar, caps lock etc. as a sustain pedal. Works for notes played from PC keyboard or from midi in. See Sustain.

Accidentals as - key or pedal to use to play flats instead of sharps and vice versa, when playing from the PC keyboard, for scales that have such distinctions - see Pc keyboard accidentals. It is also used for midi relaying - see Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard.

Pc keyboard character to play degree 0 for selection Both - standard setting is 'a'. In the Seeds windows, you can choose to show the sclae to the left of degree 0, to the right, or both. This is the character for the arpeggio degree 0 when Both is selected, and also the one used when you are working with the main window arpeggio.

See Play from PC keyboard options

Log notes to text file - this lets one make a log of every note as it is played on the keyboard.

The tick boxes are used to select the information to show on the picture of the keyboard. See keyboard pic.


What to show on music keyboard pictures

Bs | What to show on music kbd

You show the music keyboard pictures using the keyboard icon in the main window tasks (most of them). You also see it in the Seed / Scale / Arpeggio windows, where it is used to edit notes and also to play them using your mouse / keyboard. To find out about how it is set out, see the keyboard pic .

Show intervals - the interval from the 1/1 of the scale.

Chord intervals - consecutive - intervals between adjacent pairs of notes in a chord.

Chord intervals - all - intervals between all possible pairs of notes in the chord.

degrees - the position of the note in the scale or arpeggio, starting at 0 for the first note. Shows either the scale degree, or the arpeggio degree, whichever is most appropriate.

dots - the dot that shows on the keyboard when you play a note.

Note names - the name of the keyboard key shown. I.e. if it is shown as a C# on the keyboard picture, that will be the name given, whatever the actual pitch heard (since it is a transposing keyboard).

Note names untransposed - the name of the actual note played (or the nearest note to it).

Beating partialss - the number of beats between adjacent notes of a chord. See Beats.

chars to play from PC kbd - which characters on the keyboard to press to play the note.

Show stretchy midi keyboard for:

This shows the keys that you use to play the notes from Midi In, with the keys stretched or compressed according to the intervals between the notes. If the arpeggio notes are widely spaced in pitch, you will see wide keys here for the white keys, and if close together in pitch you see narrow keys. The stretchy black keys then show which accidentals you can play from the midi keyboard and are grayed out if the black key plays the same pitch as the adjacent white one.

Font size for dots / keyboard - use this to make the characters on the keyboard or dots pictures larger or smaller. The minimum font size is the one to use if the dots are so close together that the numbers will overlap with each other. If you set the minimum size to zero, then you avoid overlapping characters, but when dots are very close together it will use very narrow charcters for all the numbers - possibly just show them as narrow rectangles.



Seed, Scale or Arpeggio Options

Bs | Seed , Scale or Arpeggio | Options

Add Fine Tune controls to New Scale windows . This adds a scroll bar you can use to fine tune any of the scale values up / down, also a box that shows the currently selected scale value. See Fine tune controls.

Add Reduce buttons to New Scale windows . This adds a button you can use to reduce the scale into the octave. See Reduce button

Add SCALA buttons to New Scale windows . Adds a button to show the current scale in SCALA. See SCALA scales.

Add SCALA buttons to New Arpeggio windows . Adds a button to show the current arpeggio as a scale in SCALA.

Volume for sim. rests for Seeds window . Affects fractal tunes that have seeds with rests in them. See Make new seed, especially the part of that section on Rests.

Seed | Play = Main . Standard settings. This only is relevant if you have a midi keyboard hooked up to your Midi In. You can use it for editing the seed, scale or arpeggio - and in fact if you have In | Options | Sync with New Seed / Scale / Arp selected then whenever you can edit the seed, arpeggio or scale with the mouse, you can also edit it from the keyboard.

The point is that when the selection here is set to Play , you may want to play from the keyboard in the seed window using accidentals, in the same way that you can in the main window. For instance - if you use the standard setting to play the arpeggio from white keys and accidentals (if any) from black keys, you may want to play in the same way when you are using the Seed window in Play mode.

So, when selected, you play accidentals in the usual way. When unselected, you can only play notes of the arpeggio - whether you use the black or white keys of the keyboard, or whatever your settings. So when unselected, you play the same notes that you can play when you edit the seed.

The seed itself can't have accidentals in it, at present anyway, so this option is only available in Play mode.



Scales Window Extra Controls

Fine tune controls

Bs | Scale | Pos. , Interval & F.T. step

You can show these controls from ,

Buttons | Scale | Options | Add Fine Tune controls to New Scale windows

Interval - shows the interval for the current mouse position. This is the one that the mouse plays, and that you select into the scale / unselect by clicking with the mouse left and right buttons.

You can fine tune it using the scroll bar to the right of the box.

Pos - shows the position in the scale for the current mouse position. You can change it using the scroll bars.

F.T. step - how much to fine tune by when you use the scroll bar for the Interval box.

Reduce button

Bs | Scale | Reduce

To show this button, select

Bs | Scale | Options | Add Reduce buttons to New Scale windows

E.g. if you show the harmonic series and reduce the first 12 notes you will get

@1/1 1/1 1/1 9/8 5/4 5/4 11/8 3/2 3/2 3/2 7/4 2/1

Notice that the notes get repeated if they occur more than once. Here the first @1/1 permits the repeated 1/1s after the one that starts the scale (not shown), as if one doesn't do this, FTS removes any repeats of the 1/1.

The standard setting is to sort the notes in ascending order. To sort them by the order in which they occur in the original scale, select New Notes In | Order clicked . For the harmonic series, you will get:

@1/1 3/2 1/1 5/4 3/2 7/4 1/1 9/8 5/4 11/8 3/2 2/1

Skip repeated values - gets added to the Scale window along with the Reduce button. Select to remove all the repeated notes next time you use the Reduce button:

9/8 5/4 11/8 3/2 13/8 7/4 15/8 2/1


3/2 5/4 7/4 2/1 9/8 11/8 13/8 15/8

max ratio - the interval to reduce into, standard setting is 2/1 .




Bs | New Seed , Scale or Arpeggio | Options | What to show on keyboard Pictures | Beating Partials

To find the numbers of beats you expect to hear when two notes with harmonic timbres are played together, select this.

You won't see anything straight away. You need to play two or more notes on the PC keyboard using one of the Seed , Scale or Arpeggio windows. The Beats window will then show up.

It will also show the difference tone.

What are beats?

Most notes you hear are made up of a number of frequencies super-imposed - this is one of the things that makes up the difference in timbre between, say, a flute and a violin. These are often called partials.

Many musical timbres have partials in the overtone series. These are called harmonic timbres. Two notes will beat together if one of the partials for one of the notes is close to a partial for the other one. The beats are heard as a kind of wah wah effect. Actually, if one listens carefully, one will often hear that several partials are beating simultaneously, each with a different rate of beats.

This window shows the number of beats to expect for harmonic timbres. If the two partials are exactly equal, the number of beats is shown as 0. Some instruments such as piano, for instance, have inharmonic timbres (in the case of the piano it is because of the very high tension in the strings, which flattens the higher partials). So, this window will only give the exact numbers for harmonic timbres. These include voice, woodwind, strings, and brass, so that accounts for most of the instruments in an orchestra. A fair number of percussion instruments have inharmonic timbres.

Don't worry if you can't hear the partials or the beats yet - it takes somer experience, just as it does to learn to recognise and notice types of instrument sound as a newbie or child musician.

What is a difference tone?

A difference tone is really just fast beats. If you play two notes of the same frequency together (sine waves) then you hear no beats at all. Move the pitches apart, and you will hear beats, for instance if the two notes are at 440 and 441 hertz, then you will hear beats of 1 hz, i.e. one beat per second. This is heard as a wah wah type effect. Now move them further apart and the beats will get faster. Eventually they will get so fast they are heard as a new pitch, below the pitches of the two notes.

Note that if you do a frequency analysis of the sound, you won't see any frequency for the beating frequency as such. The beating frequency is a result of the way we hear sound, rather than a separate peak in the frequency spectrum - you could say indeed that the ear analyses the sound a little differently from a spectrum analysis tool in that respect - or to put it another way - spectrum analysis gives just a first approximation to human sound perception of the constituent pitches of a sound.


In the Beats window, the Max harmonic specifies how far to go up the harmonic series for each note, searching for beats. The Max beats box lets you specify a max number of beats to look for - any overtones that beat by more than that number will be left out. When there are many beats between a pair of harmonics, they are no longer perceived as separate beats, but rather as a difference tone.



New arpeggios

Bs | Arpeggio... .

Click on the blue dots to select or unselect notes. The red arrows show your new arpeggio.

To hear the notes of your new arpeggio, move the mouse back and forth over the picture of the keyboard. To hear the notes of the scale before you select them into your arpeggio, move mouse back and forth over the blue dots.

To play it back, click on the play button

Use Ctrl + click on the play button for various options such as broken chords etc - also available from Bs | Arpeggio and Scale Playback Options . It also includes an option to vary the speed of playback - under Fixed duration notes - which you can also set to the same speed as the fractal tune if you prefer..

Edit , Play and Relay - select Edit to change the arpeggio from the p.c keyboard, or a Midi music keyboard. You will find that the PC keys, satrting in the top row 1, 2 etc select and deselects notes in the arpeggio. Play indicates that you are no longer editing it and can play in the arpeggio from your midi or PC keyboard without changing it - see a bit later for this. Relay isn't often used in this window - affects how microtonal accidentals get played from the music keyboard when this window is active .

Get . Copes the main window arpeggio into this window.

Apply Copies your new arpeggio back into the main window, where it can be used for the fractal tune etc.

New notes in - Standard setting here is Ascending order - with this setting, whatever order you enter the notes, they will be played ascending in the arpeggio you make.

With this option, you click to select a note, and click again to unselect it.

New notes in | Order Clicked The notes are used in the order in which you play them. In this mode one can have

With this option, you click to add notes. You can't remove notes like that because you are is permitted to have repeated notes. Instead, emove notes by using the backspace key to remove the last one made, right click on the one to remove.

Either way, you can also just go down to the New arpeggio box, and edit the numbers there.

Notes for the arpeggio can go below the start note (by using negative values). To make an arpeggio of this type using the mouse, set the Auto / Left / Right / Both drop list to Both . This moves teh 1/1, shown with the large blue dot, to the middle of the picture. You now use the 'a' key of your keyboard to play or select the 1/1 of the scale.

You can also select Right from this drop list too - a bit unusual, but it can be useful for a scale that descends, e.g. through subharmonics. In this case you use the '#' key to play / select the 1/1 (alll this is configured from Pc Kbd | Char to play 1/1 ).

You can also make arpeggios that ascend and descend by different patterns. One of these is already included in the first drop list of twelve tone arpeggios - the melodic minor .

To make others of this type, first choose any arpeggio, maybe one that is already close to what you want. Then use Ctrl + click on the blue dots. You will get a message at this point, to ask if you want to duplicate your ascending arpeggio as a descending one. Answer Yes .

You will then see the ascending arpeggio shown in red triangles , and the descending one superimposed on it in smaller blue triangles .

Click on one of the blue dots to change how the note is shown - just keep clicking to go through all the possibilities, until you get the one you want. You'll find they change in this order: : descending note , both , ascending note , neither . Right click removes your note entirely from both arpeggios.. You can also use Ctrl + click or Shift + click to add or remove a descending or ascending note respectively.

So, the shortcuts here are:

Control or Shift + click = make ascending and descending arpeggio
Shift + click = add or remove ascending note
Control + click = add or remove descending note
Click goes through all the possibilities in order as : descending note, both, ascending note, neither
Right Click removes your note entirely from both arpeggios.r

The standard setting for the Play button, is to play the ascending arpeggio. However, here you may want to hear it ascend and then descend. To do this, show the New arpeggio / scale playback window ( Ctrl + 4 ), and select Ascending / descending in the Asc / Desc drop list.

Another way to make an ascending / descending arpeggio is to enter it like this:

0 4 " 0 2

This one ascends as major thirds, and descends as whole tone scale Be sure to use a double quote sign here rather than two single quotes.

Format is:

Ascending arpeggio " Descending arpeggio.

Tunes ascend in the ascending arpeggio, and descend in the descending one. They can only cross from one to the other at places where both have the same note in the same position in the arpeggio. If you think about it, this is how it has to be if one wants the same key of your music or PC keyboard to always play the same pitch on the way up, and ditto on the way down. It woud be possible to program it for other methods if desired, if the musician is happy for the mapping of keys to pitches to change and maybe drift up and down the keyboard as one plays - contact me if such a system is useful to have for some purpose.

If the two arpeggios have differing numbers of notes per octave, they may well only meet at the first note of the arpeggios. In this case, the only place to cross from one to the other is at the first note of the scale.

So with the example just shown:

0 4 " 0 2

There are three major thirds to the octave, and six whole tones. They repeat as:

0  4  8 12 16 20 24...
0  2  4  6  8 10 12...

Both have 4s, but in different positions. So the only cross over point is at 0. Arpeggios of this type can create interesting effects in your fractal tunes, if the seed has negative note numbers. You then cross from one type of arpeggio to the other occasionally - whenever the fractal tune happens to return exactly to the start note.

However if you have an arpeggio like this, and want to be able to cross from one to the other at any position, you need to duplicate some of the notes - either ascending ones or a descending ones as appropriate. Like this:

0  4  4  8  8 12 12 16 16 20 20 24 24...
0  2  4  6  8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24...


0 4 4 " 0 2 4

would do what we wish for that one.

To compare these methods, try them both with a musical seed with negative numbes such as

0 1 2 3 4 0 -1 -2 -3 -4 0

The tune using the 0 4 " 0 2 arpeggio will often miss 0 when passing between negative and positive numbers, but now and again it will hit it, and the arpeggio will change from the ascending to the descending one whenever that happens, or vice versa. In this case, notice how the tune only crosses from one arpeggio to the other when it exactly hits 0. If it jumps over it without hitting it, it will continue in whichever of the two arpeggos it is in currently.

Here's another example: 0 4 7 12 " 0 3 (12 tone scale) - ascends as major chord, descends as diminished seventh. The diminished seventh has four notes per octave, and major chord has 3, and the only cross over point is at 0 - the first note of the 12 tone scale. Again, you can fix this with rpeated notes, this time as: 0 4 4 7 12 " 0 3 or alternatively, 0 4 7 7 12 " 0 3. Now it will cross over at any of the octaves. To make it more interesting you could also change direction in the middle, this kind of a thing: 0 4 7 4 12 Once again it can cross over at any octave, but this time with no repeating notes. This kind of thing works well in fractal tunes.

Let's try one that ascends by the dominant seventh, and descends by the diminished seventh

0 4 7 11 12 " 0 3

These have the same number of notes per octave (four), so it is possible tao cross from one to the other at any octave repeat of the fundamental.

Try it with a sequential musical seed such as 0 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 0 , and you will find the tune goes up as dominant sevenths, and down as diminished sevenths.

Note that when you show the arpeggio as steps, you do it like this:

Melodic minor
0 2 3 5 7 9 11 12 " 0 2 3 5 7 8 10 12

as steps:

0 2 1 2 2 2 2 1 " 0 2 1 2 2 1 2 2

In other words you just do the descending arpeggio in the same step format as the ascending one, starting at 0 again. One way to think of this is that the " sets the arpeggio position to 0 (i.e. the scale's 1/1) ready for the next step. This assumes you have it set to show the 0 of the arpeggio. If you want to leave it out then unselect Show 0 .

There are a couple of (rather minor) restrictions on how you can work with these ascending / descending scales: recording seeds using mouse clicks is restricted to the first repeat of the arpeggio.

The other one is that you can' t use the Origin shift button with them - you'll get a message about it if you try to. If you want to construct ascending / descending arpeggios with notes below the 1/1 of the scale, use the Left Right Both Auto drop list, and select Both .

There's an older versin of the format - identical in its effect to this one for the arpeggio as scale degrees. For the arpeggio as steps, it shows 0 2 1 2 2 2 2 1 | -12 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 for the melodic minor - this is potentially a bit confusing because of the step down to start the descending arpeggio - but you can still use that one if you wish when entering the arpeggio by hand. It is clear which format is intended if you use | instead of " . For any users accustomed to the older convention, this is the reason for the change of the symbol used to show the descending arpeggio.

Other New Arpeggio buttons

The -> Scale button turns your arpeggio into a scale.

The Sync scale with m. w. button can be unselected - then if you change the scale in the main window, arpeggio continues to show the same scale as before. Also when you change the scales drop list for the main window, the scales drop list for the New Arpeggio window remains unchanged.

The Sync Arp. button can also be unselected. When you do this, the Arpeggios drop list no longer changes in synchrony with the one in the main window.

This means you can have several New Arpeggio windows on the go at once, each with it's own Arpeggios list, and each with it's own scale and scales list. You can use the -> Lists button to copy the lists from the New Arpeggio window to the main window, so this can be a useful way of keeping a copy of a main window list of scales or arpeggios to hand after you change it in the main window.



Editing the Arpeggio drop lists

Bs | Arpeggios drop list

This edits the main window arpeggios drop list. Shows it as a normal (non drop) list.

Later in this section: How to make a new drop list of arpeggios, More details

To move an entry, highlight it, then use Ctrl + click on the new position for it. Or highlight it and use Ctrl + up or down arrow to move it up / down.

When you highlight an entry, the edit boxes below show the description and numbers for it. However, when you edit those numbers, the entry doesn't instantly update. You have to choose to replace or add a new entry to change the list. That's by design, so that one can prepare a new entry below the list without changing the list itself. Then when it is finished, one can add it as a new arpeggio using the Add button, or use Replace to replace the highlight.

Note the drop list of backup files. These get updated for whenever you edit the list. To go back to an earlier backup, simply highlight the desired file. Note that the file name shows the seconds only, not milliseconds. This means that if you make several changes within one second (e.g. moving entries around) then only the last of these gets recorded for future reference (the others get over-written).

If you have too many entries in the backups list, use the Delete all except 30 (say) to show just the last 30 backups of the drop list - all the other backups will be deleted permanently. The files are kept in a backups sub-folder in your fractal tune smithy folder, and stay there until you delete them.

Add , adds the arpeggio after the highlighted one. So to add it in a particular position, first highlight the arpeggio immediately above the place you want it to go.

Replace , Replaces the highlighted arpeggio with this one.

Remove Deletes the highlighted arpeggio from the drop list.

Make link , Adds a link to a new drop list after the highilight.

You can use this method to edit any of the drop lists of arpeggios.

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How to make a new drop list of arpeggios

To make a new drop list, put the desired name as the description, and use Make link . This will make a file name for the new drop list based on the description, and make a link to it in the old drop list. It doesn't actually make the mew drop list itself quite yet.

When making the file name, it replaces spaces by underlines. Any characters that are not suitable for Windows file names also get changed to underlines.

If you want to change the file name after adding the link, then use the Replace button to do that. It is prob. best to leave the file name at the one made automatically from the description, if you have no particular reason to change it. That way, you will be able to make a link to any of your lists more easily from any other drop list, simply by entering its description and leaving the filename to be constructed from it automatically (and don't need to remember what file names you used for each one).

Then to make the list itself, use Follow link . You will get a message saying that the file for your new drop list doesn't exist yet, and asking if you want to make it? Answer Yes , and you will then see the new list, ready for you to add entries to it. It will include a link back to the previous list. Usually one wants that, and you can remove it easily if you don't want it.

Follow link , - has same effect as clicking on the highlighted entry in the main window drop list. If it is a link to another drop list, then you click on the button to follow the link to the new list.

The reason for this button is that often one may want to highlight links without following them, to move them around in a drop list, delete them, or edit them. So you have to click this button as an extra step whenever you do want to follow the link. Alternatively, follow them in the main window drop list where you just need to click on the link.

The next point is something of a detail, but I mention it here as it is the relevant place for it.

Drop list of arpeggios can be linked to scales, as the standard arpeggios list to use for that scale (this is done when you edit the scales drop lists).

When you get to your arpeggios drop list that way by selecting a scale, naturally that scale is the one you use for all the arpeggios in the list - as you would expect.

However you can also open the arpeggios drop lists in another way, via File | Open | files of type | Lists of Arpeggios (*.lmd) . In this case, the scale you have already showing in the main window may not be suitable for it - it needs to have a preset scale to use for it.

For instance, if you are making a list of twelve tone modes, then one will need decide on some suitable twelve tone scale to set as its preset scale, such as equal temperament, or maybe the Modern Indian Gamut if it is a drop list of ragas, or whatever.

When you make the list the first time, the current main window scale is used as its preset scale. So set the main window scale to your desired preset scale before you use Follow link to make the list. You can also change this later after you make the drop list by using Edit list and editing the first line in the file to show the desired preset scale for the list.

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More details

You can also use some shortcut buttons which you can find on the Bs | Arpeggio , and Buttons | Scale / Arp as Text windows to edit the drop list of arpeggios. When you do it this way, you don't have the visual layout of the Arpeggios drop list in front of you to show you what you are doing, so instead, you get a message to say what the effect of your action will be, asking if you want to proceed each time.

The buttons are: a = Add , r = Replace , v = Remove , n = Make Link to New Arpeggios list , e = Edit - Show the Arpeggios drop list window

Edit list . This opens the file itself. It shows up in Notepad , or whatever program you have associated with text files. Each line is one of the entries in the drop list.

This is often the fastest way to re-arrange the entries, or to delete several at once, or move them from one drop list to another - just move the lines about. To show the entries one per line in Notepad , unselect Notepad | Edit | Word wrap .

You'll notice that many of the lines simply consist of the scale or arpeggio numbers, followed by the description, all on one line. The description starts at the first non numerical character in the line. You can easily add in more lines like this yourself, and it can sometimes be the fastest way to do it too. If you want to make a description that starts with a number, prefix it with a # . For the details see File formats used by Fractal Tune Smithy.

If you open the file using Edit list , the main window scale will get refreshed automatically when you exit from your text editor.

You can edit the preset list of arpeggios that comes with the program - this affects File | Reset Arpeggios drop list . It will show your edited list. However, you can still get back to the original - to do that, use Ctrl + File | Reset Arpeggios drop list - and it will now show the original one rather than your edited version of it.

This resets it in the main window but won't change your edited version of it.

To get back to the original reset list permanently, delete or rename the file FTS_reset.lmd . Similarly for the scales, delete or rename FTS_reset.lsc .

Another way to erase your customised reset drop list is to use Ctrl + File | Reset Arpeggios drop list , edit the drop list of arpeggios, and save it, and this will save it over your customised reset.

Use Ctrl + Shift + File | Reset Arpeggios to get back to the preset short list for scales with no arpeggios list associated with them. Again, you can delete or rename this file, or edit and save over it to get back to the original reset if you decide you no longer want to use your custom reset.

To get back to the preset drop lists that come with the program, delete them - delete all the . lmd (List of modes) files in it's folder - apart of course for any new ones you made yourself since the install. Then re-run the setup program, which will re-instate the original lists..

Show values in file format - Select this to show the entries as they are actually recorded to the file. They are always recorded to the file as scale degrees - i.e. the same form as you get with Steps in the main window unselected.

Show values in current format - Select this to show the entries in the list in the same form as the main window arpeggio.

If you unselect both, then the list is shown in the file format, and the entry below is shown in the same format as the main window arpeggio. You can't select both.

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Edit Lists as text

Click the Edit List button to see the drop list in text format. For the seeds list, the button is just called Ed .

This opens the file in your text editor (whichever program you have associated with text files - usually Notepad in Windows 95/98 if you haven't changed it).

The file shows the entries in the drop list, one to a line. The lines may wrap - to show them all to one line, untick Edit | Word wrap in Notepad.

To re-arrange the entries in the drop list, re-arrange the lines. To delete an entry, delete the line.

Drop list is updated when you exit from the text editor.

Short intro to the formats:

For seed - each entry shows a seed, so to add a new seed, simply add it as a new line.

To add an entry that opens a file, do it as

file : <file name>

You can add tune smithy files here, other musical seed drop list files, or any type of file that FTS can open.


The modes use this format:

2 1 2 2 1 3 1 Harmonic minor

where the title of the mode starts at first non numeric token, and the initial step size of 0 is omitted.

The scales use this format:

1 5/4 3/2 2 Major chord

Or to associate a list of modes with the scale:

1 n(1/7) *__7_tone_modes.lmd* Thai equal 7 tone (M)

where the file name is between asterisks, and you can use *:12* for the preset short 12-tone drop list.

The n(1/7) here is an FTS shorthand for 2^(1/7) , i.e. one seventh of an octave.

Prefix an entry with + to set it as the one to select when the drop list is first shown.

For details of the file formats:

Musical seed drop list (*.TXT)

List of Modes (*.LMD)

List of scales (*.LSC)



Make New scale

Bs | Scale... .

These work much like the Arpeggios .

Click on the blue dots to select/unselect notes. The red arrows show your new scale.

To use one of the main window scales as the basis for your new scale, select it in the main window, then use the Main win -> button. Some of the scales are defined using just two notes (such as 19 tone equal temperament etc.) To expand these to fill the octave, click the Expand button next to the Main win -> button. The blue dots of the scale to select from will be continued to fill the picture, and the Expand button will disappear, not being needed any more. The same method can be used to make scales that span more than an octave - change the Width first.

You can select notes from several different scales and put them together to make a single scale as the red arrows you have already will stay when you change the scale to select from.

When you are finished constructing your scale, click Main win <- to copy it back into the main window to use for the fractal tune, or midi relaying etc.

To play it back, click on the play button, and as before, to change the play back method, use Alt + \ , or Ctrl + click on the play button.

You can also select from the short drop list of scales in the Scale window itself. This includes some that are particularly useful for making new scales.To make a new meantone scale, select Mean tone... from the list, then enter the desired size of the comma, and position of the wolf fifth.

To make a scale of equal divisions of the octave, type the number of divisions needed into the Equal steps box.

To make a scale of equal divisions of some other interval, use a percentage sign like this in the Equal steps box:


That will make 9 equal divisions of 3/2.

Another method is to select New Scale | Options | Add Reduce buttons to New Scale windows , then change the max ratio . This is preset to 2/1, and each New Scale window has its own value for it. So for instance, if you change this to 3/1, then typing a number into the Equal steps box will make equal divisions of 3/1 instead.

Your scales can repeat at any interval. You could use 1/1 50 cents to make the quarter tone scale for instance (24-et). Since all the steps are the same then we only need to give one of them. There is no harm in using all 24 notes if you wish, but if what you want is a complete quarter-tone scale, only two of them are actually needed to define the scale.

The harmonic series scale is a special case; it doesn't repeat at all. The number 2 defines it in a special notation which is automatically expanded to 1000 notes when you show it in the New Scale window. See Special notations .

You can also make "scales" that go below the start note, or change direction. These can sometimes be useful for making fractal melodies. Change the Width , say, 2 octaves, and use the Origin shift first to move the large blue dot to the middle of the picture.

The arrow keys to the right of the New Scale box rotate all the notes round by one step to right or left. For instance, if you have the Pygmie scale showing, with Steps selected for the scale boxes, the scale is shown as 8/7 147/128 8/7 7/6 8/7 . The right arrow will move these steps all right one, and the last to the first, to make them 8/7 8/7 147/128 8/7 7/6 .

If you can't find the scale you want in the lists, you can type in the ratios or values in cents (or paste them from some other source). For details of how these notations work, see the Newbie notes on the Scales and Fractal Tunes page.

For more scales options see : Scales

You can have several New Seed, New Arpeggio or New Scale windows on the go at once - just click the buttons anew for each one.

You can also echo the dots or keyboard pictures for any of these windows to a larger size. To do this, click on the picture you wish to echo, and type Shift + Enter .

You can also edit the main window scales list or make a new one from this window:

# = New Scales list, / = Add, = = Replace, - = Delete

Details as for the Arpeggios window - or try out one of the buttons to get a message explaining what it does.

Use Ctrl + File | Reset Scales to get back to the preset list of scales that you seewhen you first run the program. For other lists of scales, to get back to the preset, delete them and re-run the setup program.



New mean tone scale

Bs | Scale | Select from | Mean tone...

The meantone scale has pure thirds at 5/4 and is particularly favoured for instruments with strong fifth partials like harpsichord, or with long held notes like the church organ. It is a scale from the middle ages.

Though it has many pure major thirds, one in three of them are sharp compared with just intonation, and sharper even than equal tempered thirds. It also has one wolf fifth that is very flat indeed. Most of the fifths are a little sharp. Also it has an interestingly tuned tritone in many of the keys. See - The_circle_of_fifths, esp. quarter comma meantone in that section.

You enter the position of the wolf fifth - a common one to use is G# to Eb. Another one often used: F# to Db. Usually the aim is to make sure that the wolf fifth is in a seldom used key, such as G#, or F#.

Then you can also vary the amount of the comma - sixth comma is a popular historical temperament, especially suitable for the period from Bach to Mozart. Many other fractions of the comma are also used.

Then click the apply button and your new scale will appear in the Scale window.

Note that you can have several of these New mean tone scale windows on the go at once, one for each Scale window.

Then, use it in the Scale window in the usual way, e.g. use Select all if you want it as it is, and then -> Main window to use it as your main window scale.

To make it as a new main window scale straight away in one go, use Apply to Main Window .


How to save your scale

Your scale gets saved with the fractal tune when you save it in the Tune Smithy format (*.ts) . It also gets saved with your Midi Relay settings (*.rly) if you save those. For more details see Saving your work. and How to save your midi settings.

You can also save it as a separate file. To save in the SCALA format, use File | Save As... then select Files of type | SCALA scales (*.scl) . This is the standard format for exchanging scales by e-mail and is recognised by a number of programs.

You can also type any file name with the .scl extension: test.scl , in the Save As dialog, and FTS will save it as a scale because of the .scl extension.

Open it again later from File | Open | Files of type | SCALA scales (*.scl)

You can also add your scale to the currently showing drop list of scales. Use Bs | Scales drop list . Then highlight the line immediately above the place where you want to insert it. Type in the details of the new scale, and then click the Add button. For more details see Editing the Scale drop lists

If you have many scales that you have saved as SCALA files, and want to make them into a single drop list, this also is easy to do.

Collect them together into a single folder, then go to Bs | Scales Options | SCALA Scales | Make / Remake Scales and modes drop lists...

Then browse for the folder with you scales in it.

Then enter the name you want to use for the drop list below the Make list of scales... button.

Then click Make list of scales... and the drop list will be made.

You will see it straight away in the main window. It gets saved as a file of type *.lsc, so you can also open it later using File | Open | Files of type | Lists of scales (*.lsc)

Add scales drop lists (LSC files) to the More Scales drop list... , (standard setting) - this means that whenever you make a drop list of scales in this way, it gets automatically added to the drop list you get to from Main window | Scales drop list | More scales... Unselect this if you don't want to do that.


Editing the Scales drop lists

Bs | Scales drop list

Same method as for the Arpeggios drop lists. See Editing the Arpeggio drop lists for more details. Here is a brief resume.

To move entry: highlight + Ctrl + click or Ctrl + up or down arrow .

Add - adds the scale after the highlighted one.

Replace - Replaces the highlighted scale.

Remove - Deletes the highlighted scale.

Make link - Adds a link to a new drop list after the highilight.

Follow link - same effect as clicking highlighted entry in main window drop list - use this to make a new drop list after you have made the link to it using Make link .

Show edit values in file format - Select this to show the entries exactly as they are recorded to the file. They are always recorded to the file with the 1/1 included, and as intervals from the 1/1 - i.e. the same form as you get with Steps in the main window unselected and Skip 1/1 unselected. Also with this option, you can enter the values in literal form - the actual characters you type will be used.

Show list values in current format - Select this to show the entries in the list in the same format as the main window scale. If a drop list of scales has more than 40 entries in it, then only the ones you can see at the time that you click the highlight get converted to the current format. If you scroll the list, you will see entries in the other format, but click on one of these to select it, and all the ones you see will get converted to the desired format. This is because converting the format is quite computing intensive - if you were to convert the entire list of 2000 SCALA scales, some of which have many entries, it could take a while to do it (depending on thw speed of the computer of course). So rather than keep the user waiting, they get converted only as needed.

You can also unselect both which is sometimes useful. In this case, you get a combination of both approaches - you can enter the values in the edit field in the current format, and then when you add the scale to the list, you see it appear in the format used for the file.

Edit list . opens the file itself in your text editor - see File formats used by Fractal Tune Smithy.

Ctrl + File | Reset Scales drop list . to go back to the preset scales list you get after installing the program, if you have edited it and want to get back to the original.

For other lists, delete the . lsc (List of scales) files and rerun the setup program if you want to go back to the originals.

You can edit the scale drop list directly from the Bs | Scale and the Bs | Scale & Arp as Text windows. When using the Scale window, you can copy the scale you are working on directly into the main window Scale drop list .

Shortcut buttons are:

/ = Add , = = Replace , - = Remove , # = Make Link to New Scales list , ; (semicolon) = Show the window for editing the drop list


Mouse options

As you move the mouse, it plays the blue dot nearest to the mouse cursor, or the red arrow if you position the mouse over the keyboard area of the Scale and Arpeggio windows..

To sound notes simultaneously using the mouse, hold down the shift key, then move it over each of the notes of the chord in turn (you can move the mouse cursor out of the picture between notes to avoid sounding intermediate notes). The chord will continue to the next note played (or use F12 to switch it off). You can also use the space bar as a sustain just as you do for the PC keyboard.

You can also make super fast mouse glissandos - useful while playing, e.g. harp or Japanese koto. The mouse can sound notes simultaneously with the PC keyboard, the midi keyboard, and the fractal tune - in fact, you can do all four at once.

If you have several New Scale, New Seed or New Arpeggio windows on the go at once, overlapping each other, there is a fast way to switch between them using the mouse. From any of the windows, select Options | Moving mouse over keyboard or dots brings window to front . Now even if the windows overlap on your desktop, if you move the mouse over any small area of the keyboard or dots area, that window will pop to the front.

Sometimes it is convenient to keep windows permanently in front of the main window. To make them like this, select File | New windows on top . It only applies to new windows you show after you select it - any you have already made keep their current style. You can minimise these windows if you want to get them out of the way temporarily - usually they minimise to little icons in the lower left area of the desktop.

Holding the shift key while making a window down toggles the style. So when New windows on top is unselected, hold the shift key to make the new window so that it is always on top of the main window. When it is selected, again use, shift + click, this time to makes a new window which can go behind of the main window when the main window is activated

When you have windows permanently in front of the main window, it's useful to have a shortcut to be able to minimise them all to get them out of the way, so that you can see the main window.

To do this, use Shift + F6. Use Ctrl + Shifit + F6 to restore them all, and Ctrl + F6 to close all the windows except the main window.



Origin shifts

This is an old option - now one will usually use the Left / Right / Both / Auto drop list and set it to Both instead. However, here is how one can do it with origin shifts - occasionally it may be useful. Same method applies to the Scale and Arpeggio windows

Shift - shifts the seed up / down. The large blue dot corresponds to the start note for the unshifted seed. Find out which key on the PC keyboard it is by trying them out, 'till you find the one that plays it.

Play the seed, and click Main Win <- as before.

Note that this works by shifting the position of the seed up in the arpeggio, then transposing it back down in the scale so that you hear it start at the 1/1. Usually this works fine, but sometimes, if the repeat for the arpeggio isn't a divisor or multiple of the number of notes in the scale, this doesn't get the notes back to their original positions, and so you will hear different versions of the seed when you play it back and when you make it.

To hear this, try scale as, say, 1/1 3/2 2/1, and set the arpeggio to say, 0 2 3

1/1 3/2 2/1  3/1  4/1  6/1   8/1
 0   -   2    3    -    5     6

so that the scale and the arpeggio are repeating with different numbers of notes - 2 for the scale, and 3 for the arpeggio.

The zero position dot will be at the 3/1. Now record, say, a seed going down one note: 0 -1 0.

When you make it you will hear 1/1 2/3 1/1, i.e 3/1, 2/1 3/1 transposed down 3/1. However when you play it back you will hear 1/1 3/4 1/1, which is the seed that starts the fractal tune.