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User Guide 2

Theremin ;-) - Pc keyboard Notes to Play - Custom voices - Wave format Non melodic percussion - Arpeggio / scale playback Options. - Order of play - Ranges

See also Controllers etc

Theremin ;-)

Tasks | Play Fractal Tune | Mouse Theremin ... or Bs | Mouse / Joystick Theremin ...

This is just a bit of fun. A real theremin is a very versatile and expressive instrument.. To find out more about real theremins, and to listen to them, you can start from The Cult of the Theremin and Art's Theremin page. See also the Oddmusic Theremin mini-site. Also, The Role of the Theremin in Theater and Musical Performance. There are other Theremin emulators, and Theremin inspired programs, some you can play online.

Mouse version, Keyboard version, Joystick version, Options , Using the Theremin to explore consonant ratios

Mouse version

You can use either a square or circular layout. With the circular layout, pitch changes, rising as you move the mouse around the window clockwise. Volume varies as you move it towards or away from the centre of the window. You can resound a note using the right mouse button.

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Pc keyboard version

Here the idea is that you can use the PC keyboard keys to move the mouse cursor around in the window and so control the theremin in that way.

Start the Mouse theremin as normal. Make sure you have Num Lock switched on on your keyboard, as that makes it possible to use the numpad to move the mouse.

This explanation assumes that you have it set to use a square layout in the theremin options window - because it is then easier to use from the keyboard (not so easy to move it around a circle).

Use the 5 of the numpad section of the keyboard to sound a note. Use the other numbers in the numpad section to move the mouse around to change the pitch and volume, or both simultaneously. Use the ordinary numbers across the top of the keyboard to change the speed of the mouse. These speeds follow the fibonacci series: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 13, 21, 34, 55 and 89 pixels at a time.

There is a special auto mode which sets the mouse moving at a constant speed - you can vary the speed using the numbers as before, then you press the key to the left of the 1 to stop it, and you use the numpad keys to change the direction of movement as before. Use the numpad 0 key to switch to / from auto mode.

Use shift, caps lock Control keys for intermediate directions. Shift, Caps lock, and Control move the direction round clockwise by increasing amounts, e.g. Shift + numpad 6 gives direction approximately midway between numpad 6 and numpad 3 (actually, it sets the x increment to 1 and the y increment to 2; the other numbers being 2, 3 and 1, 3)

Be sure to press the numpad 0 key again to switch off auto mode when you want to use the mouse normally (if you are a mouse user, that is), as otherwise you won't be able to move it outside the area of the theremin window.

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Joystick version:

You can also use the joystick to move the mouse around if you have one.

Tasks | Play Fractal Tune | Theremin Options | Joystick theremin...

It makes most sense probably to use the joystick with the circular layout. Then ptch changes according to the angle of tilt of the joystick, and volume changes as joystick is moved towards or away from the centre.

You can also re-sound the note by clicking any of the joystick buttons - to enable this you need to have Resound on button press selected

You can watch how the pitch changes in the Pitch window - to do this select Track Tune in that window.

You can also show the notes in the Tune window. Try with Tune | Options | nudge to pitch selected, to see the notes moving up and down with each minute variation in the pitch.

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Click the Ther. Options... button below the Mouse Theremin ;-) button in the Arpeggio / Scale playback Options window ( Alt +\ ). Or get to this from Tasks | Play Fractal Tune | Theremin Options...

Options available:

Ok to use expression controller - you need this if you want smoothly changing volumes. It changes volume using the MIDI expression controller. When unselected, the note is re-sounded with the new volume whenever the volume changes by 4 parts in 127 - depending on the instrument these resounds may be very noticeable with an attack on each note, or may sound pretty much like a continuous change.

Ok to change pitch bend range - you need this if you want smoothly changing pitches over the entire range of the theremin with no need to resound the notes. When selected, it changes the MIDI pitch bend range from the standard setting of +- one whole tone to a (probably) much larger value, for instance, plus or minus thirty whole tones (for the preset large pitch bend range of five octaves). All the pitch changes are made by pitch bending a single note.

When unselected, notes will be bent as far as they can go without resounding, but will be resounded when they can go no further, often when the pitch changes by a semi-tone, though it may go further than that if it starts off flat and goes sharp relative to concert pitch.

For instruments like harp, celeste, guitar etc, the sound dies away each time a note is resounded, until it is re-sounded again, so this resounding of the notes may add a kind of varying rhythmic aspect to the music.

Your soundcard may not necessarily implement large pitch bends, or may have a limit to the size of a pitch bend of, say, two octaves, if so you need to respect that of course and only use pitch bends that it can permit. Some synthesizers mightn't let you change the pitch bend range at all, so for those you need to leave this option unselected.

Also such large pitch bend ranges may work better for some voices than others. So, this one is a matter for experimentation to see what works best for your system.

Resound every ... events.

If you unselect both of the previous options, so that the notes never need to be resounded, then the melodic percussion and plucked instruments will be silent after the initial sound has fallen away. So this option deals with this. One could resound the note at regular intervals, but with this option, it resounds it more often or less often depending how much and how fast you move the joystick. This gives a continually varying tempo. "Events" here is a programming term - as you move the joystick, every so often Windows will wake up your program and tell it where the joystick has got to, and this signal from Windows is known as an "event". If you move it fast, Windows will wake FTS up more often, and so it will resound the theremin notes more often.

Compass ... octaves - this is the range from the highest to the lowest note, centred on the pitch selected in the Pitch window.

Centre position = silent . Idea of this is that when the joystick is at rest you hear no sound, and the further away it is from the centre, the more sound you hear. For the mouse, if you position it at the centre of the window, it is silent.

When unselected, loudest notes are at the centre, and they get louder as you approach the centre.

The nice thing about centre silent is that you can move the joystick across the centre with no discontinuities of pitch, because it is silent.

With centre silent, you get finest pitch sensitivity when the joystick is furthest from the centre, i.e. for the loudest notes.

The other way round, the quietest notes have most pitch sensitivity, which can also be very nice, and then you can introduce lots of extra notes of radically varying pitch with short leaps across the middle position - as that is a rather pleasant feature, the standard setting is off.

Resound on button press - standard setting is on. Means you can click a button on the joystick to resound the note. You can also right click on the mouse to resound a note.

Wrap around - when selected, pitch increases as you move the joystick half way round a circle, then decreases as you complete the circle. When unselected, pitch increases round a complete circle, then ends with a jump down from highest pitch back to lowest pitch again.

Mouse theremin - select to use the mouse instead of the joystick. Works by moving the mouse over a window (could also use a trackball here).

Lines are shown in the mouse theremin window, radiating from centre to the cursor, or away from centre, depending on whether you have Centre silent selected.

Join points - select to join each point to the next, as well as the radial lines, as the mouse moves.

Full screen window - select to show full screen window for mouse theremin.

Window for joystick theremin - show the same window for the joystick as for the mouse, so that you can see lines drawn as you move the joystick.

If you combine this with the Full screen window , then the joystick will also move the mouse cursor, as extra feedback. With full screen option, mouse isn't needed as there is no title bar, menu, etc. Use Alt +F4 or Ctrl + click any joystick button to close the full screen option. (Works by making a large white window that fills the screen, so you can actually alt + tab to other programs running if you want to).

Remaining options affect the way the lines are drawn.

Vol by sat - louder notes are shown more saturated. Quiet notes are shown unsaturated = "washed out", so that the lines fade into the background.

Pos. in scale by colour - the colours are selected using View | Colours... | What to change | Scale Colours for Ther. Colours are used for the intervals betwen the notes. For instance, if you have the just temperament twelve tone scale, and the preset colours, any lines that fall in the interval 1 to 16/15 are shown in blue, ones in the interval 16/15 to 9/8 in red, 9/8 to 6/5 in yellow, and so on.

Idea is you can then spot the notes of the scale by the places where the colours change suddenly.

Closeness to note by brightness - this is the closeness measured from below (for normal ascending scales). So in just temp. 12 t. ex, the blue will get brighter as you approach 9/8, then change to dark red, red will get brighter up to 6/5, then change to dark yellow, and so on.

Lines radiate from centre above (or below) window . The lines radiate from a point some way above the window, or below the window in case where Centre silent is selected.

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Using the Theremin to explore consonant ratios

One thing you can do with the theremin is to use it to explore consonant ratios. Add a drone at 1/1. Then you can try maybe this scale with some of the more commonly used consonant ratios (add in your own favourites to the list):

9/8 7/6 5/4 11/9 9/7 4/3 11/8 13/9 3/2 13/8 7/4 2/1

(I've left out one each of most of the reflections (inversions) such as 7/6 and 12/7, or 5/4 and 8/5).

Show lines for the scale, and choose to show the numbers as ratios. Then move the mouse around and see if you can hear particular moments of consonance - nearby you may get fast beats, then as you get closer, the beat rate slows down to a very slow wah wah and then vanishes as you hit the pitch exactly. Or you may just get a smoother sound at that point.

To get as much precision as you can in the mouse movement, set the range to say 1 octave, use a square layout, choose to go round once with no wrap around, and you can hide the info at the top of the window by unselecting "Add info". You can also move the mouse using arrow keys - or use the num pad arrow keys with Num Lock switched on. You control the speed of movement using the numbers across the top of the keyboard - set to 1 to move just one pixel at a time. Since the mouse resolution is limited to single pixels then you may not be able to get the beats to completely vanish, just make them so they are slow.

The scale will be shown with the 1/1 in the centre, so the 7/4 for instance is shown as a 7/8 to the left rather than to the right (transposed down an octave).

If you want the 1/1 at the left then you need to transpose the Theremin part. To do this go to the Parts window. Select Modulate by (interval) from the drop list at the top. The theremin normally plays whichever part you highlight in this window - highlight say the first part. Then transpose it up by say, 4/3. Make sure the drone is set to another part, say part 2. Now the 1/1 will be shown at the left and the drone will still play the 1/1.

If you want to focus in on a particular interval, say 7/6 to 9/7. what you do is to set the Total Compass to a smaller amount, say 0.2 of an octave. With no transposition, this shows the region including 6/7 and 9/8 in our scale. To show the region of interest, we need to transpose the theremin part as before, and a transposition of 350.0 cents is about right. To focus in on 5/4 a bit more try 0.1 octaves and transposed by 5/4 to put the 5/4 into the centre of the window. Then you can zoom in even further if you like.

To hear the beats well, you need to use a suitable instrument to let you hear such things - a rich harmonic timbre with no residual vibrato or tremolo. The Reed Organ is one possibility. See Which is the best voice to use to hear the difference between tunings?

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Pc keyboard Notes to Play

Bs | PC Keyboard Notes to Play

These options are for the PC keyboard picture, and all the Seed / Scale Arpeggio construction windows.

When you use the keyboard with the Seed / Scale Arpeggio windows, the notes are normally played with the first note of the arpeggio at the top left of the keyboard - so it is played using the character to the left of the '1'. When you use it to play the main window scale or arpeggio then normally it is set to the left key in the third row of your keyboard - the 'a' on a qwerty keyboard.

So the normal layouts are:

 0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12
  13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
   25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
  37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
and #
 -24 -23 -22 -21 -20 -19 -18 -17 -16 -15 -14 -13 
   -12 -11 -10  -9  -8  -7  -6  -5  -4  -3  -2  -1
      0    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  11
   ..  12   13   14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21

Here if you have the Arpeggio set to follow scale, the numbers here are the same as the scale degrees, e.g. C = 0, C# = 1, D = 2 etc in the major scale. But more generally they are arpeggio degrees, so for example, if the Arpeggio is the pentatonic with pitch of 1/1 set to C then 0 1 2 3 4 5 here play c d e g a c'. (c' for the octave).

Skip to later in this section to find the help for Keyboard accidentals, and Hexagonal lattice.

Volumes by mouse pos - you use this to play loud or soft notes from the keyboard. The volume depends on position of the mouse on the keyboard in the Scale, Seed or Arpeggio window - position it near the top of the key for a quiet note, and near the bottom for a loud one. If the PC keyboard is playing the main window scale, there is no visible keyboard to position it on, but if you move the mouse around you will find that at a certain height on the screen the volume changes - this is the position of an invisible hidden window that is getting used to play the notes.

Volumes by keyboard row - Another way to achieve changes in volume or echo effects. Each row of the PC keyboard has a volume setting.

You will probably want to use this with Pitches for keyboard rows set to Each row starts same position - so for instance, 1, Q, A and Z all play various volume gradations of the degree 0 of the arpeggio..

These volumes can be used for the seeds you make in the Seed window. If you recorded a seed using one of these options just be sure to select Vols before you click Apply . Volumes are in the range 0 to 127 where 127 is the maximum velocity for a Midi note.

Degree 0 at bottom left of PC keyboard . Select this to start with the bottom left key as degree 0, and work up the keyboard one row at a time. So the degrees played are:

 .. 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
     21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
      10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
     0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 

Pc key to play degree 0 - the keyboard character to play the 0 of the arpeggio. This depends on where degree 0 is positioned on the music or PC keyboard picture. When you show it from the main window, degree 0 is always in the middle so that you can play in both directions up and down. For the Seed / Scale / Arpeggio construction windows, it depends on the scale, or can be selected by the user - the usual situation is to have it at the left.

The key to play degree 0 is preset to '1' for Left , '#' for Right , and 'a' for Middle .

The character is shown for the standard QWERTY keyboard layout. If you use another layout such as DVORAK, as it happens the 'a' is in the same place, but the next key to it is an 'o'. FTS uses the keyboard scan codes rather than the typing charcters to decide which note to play, so it doesn't matter which keyboard layout you use - notes of the arpeggio will still run consecutively from left to right along the PC keyboard. However, when telling FTS which char to use to play degree 0 in this box, you need to use the character for the QWERTY layout. E.g. enter 's' if you want the character to the right of the 'a' to play the 1/1 when Both is selected - rather than the 'o' of the DVORAK layout.

For reference for DVORAK users: here is the QWERTY layout:

(`)1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =
    q w e r t y u i o p [ ]
     a s d f g h j k l ; ' #
  (\) z x c v b n m , . /

Show PC keyboard notes in Tune window - select this to show notes played from PC keyboard in the Bs | Tune... window.

Show mouse notes in Tune window - select this to show notes played by moving the mouse,

Parts by keyboard row - lets you play up to four parts simultaneously from the PC keyboard. When using this option you usually want to select Pitches for keyboard rows | Each new part starts same position . So this gets selected automatically when you select Parts by keyboard row , and changes to Consecutive when you unselect it.

Each keyboard row plays a separate part - This means you can play, e.g. flute from first row, and 'cello from second row, or whatever. Enter the part numbers as used in the Parts window.

Parts for each row, top row of kbd first - the numbers for the parts to play for each row, top row first.When numbers repeat, the range for that part continues to higher notes in its second row. E.g. 1 1 2 2 will play part 1 using the first two rows of the keyboard, and part 2 using the second two rows.

You can transpose the parts, select other voices for them, and so forth from the Parts window.

Play key to left of '1' . When this is unselected, the key to the left of of the '1' is left out, and so is the key to the left of 'Z' - nothing happens if you press them.

If one leaves out these two keys, then there are exactly twelve PC keys in the first three rows of the keyboard, which is useful for playing twelve tone scales as it means each row starts a new octave.

This option has no efffect for the main window scale or if you have the Left Right Middle Auto drop list in your Scale, Seed or Arpeggio window set to show the 1/1 in the centre - that option is always done with the key to the left of '1' left out.

Pitches for keyboard rows

Consecutive This is the standard setting, - keyboard keys play successive notes of the scale, or the arpeggio, starting from the top left key in the typing region of the PC keyboard.

Each new part starts same position . Intended for use with Parts by keyboard row . Select to start each part in the same position in the arpeggio or scale. This needs to be used in conjunction with Each keyboard row plays a separate part - or you could set it up so the first two rows say one part and the next two play another by selecting identical parts for rows in that option.

Each row modulates by one degree . Each row plays the same intervals as all the others, but each starts one degree higher in the original arpeggio (i.e. the one played in the top row). This option is used for playing from the keyboard in the main window, also in the seed etc windows when you select the Play radio button there. When you edit the seed, arpeggio or scale, then this option has the same effect as Consecutive .

Note that when you use this with the main window keyboard layout, the first note of your arpeggio (usually the 1/1 of your scale) gets placed in the centre of the top row, rather than played by the 'a' key (with standard settings) as it is with Consecutive .

Let's take the bluesy minor chord, by way of example. The first row plays the bluesy minor chord. The second row plays it again, but this time starting from the first degree of the chord - the 7/6. The second row starts from the second degree of the chord, i.e. the 3/2, and the last row from the octave.

First row :

1/1 7/6 3/2 ....

Second row : 7/6 * (1/1 7/6 3/2),...

7/6, 49/36, 7/4, ...

Third row : 3/2 * (1/1 7/6 3/2),...

3/2, 21/12, 9/4, ...

Fourth row : 2/1 * (1/1 7/6 3/2),...

2/1, 7/3, 3,...

Play non melodic percussion (play along only) assigns the 47 non melodic percussion instruments to the PC keys. .

When you unselect Key to left of '1' for degree 0 , the first 46 instruments are assigned to 1 , 2 , ... up to ? / . The last instrument, the open triangle, is assigned to the key to the left of the 1

This let's you can try out the non melodic percussion instruments from your PC keyboard to hear what they sound like before using them with a fractal tune. Or it's just a way to have some fun playing non melodic percussion from the keyboard!

Keyboard accidentals

The next two options from the Pitches for keyboard rows drop list are used for playing 19-tone and 31-tone music, and any other type of music that needs accidentals. They are used for playing from the keyboard in the main window, also in the seed etc windows when you select the Play radio button there. When you edit the seed, arpeggio or scale, then this option has the same effect as Consecutive .

Second and fourth rows arpeggio, others accidentals (p.a. only)

The second PC keyboard row plays the arpeggio. When you get to the end of the row, the notes continue into the fourth row. The first and third rows then play one note lower in the underlying scale, i.e. the flats. This gives twenty three playing notes, and accidentals between any pair of notes.

This is the one to choose if you want that traditional PC keyboard layout for a twelve tone scale, with the major scale played across one row as the "white keys" and the accidentals played in the positions one would expect for the black keys relative to them. However, unlike the traditional layout, all the notes in the "black keys" row also play. The E# accidental in gets played as an F and so on, meaning that the black keys row now plays a major scale too, transposed up a semitone. It starts from top working across and down to bottom right - but to get it to run from bottom left up to top right, just select Degree 0 at bottom left of PC keyboard..

To get this layout you would. select diatonic (major scale) for the arpeggio. You will find that you have the second and fourth rows as the white notes, and the first and third rows for the black notes, including the extra "black keys". You have a range of just over three octaves.

It works for any mode or arpeggio. For instance in the Pelog modes, it is traditional for singers to sing occasional "in between" notes, and you can try out this effect from the PC keyboard - select a Pelog scale, and select an entry from the Arpeggios list. Use the row above the one you normally play in to get the passing notes.

For another example, let's consider nineteen tone microtonal music (favoured by many microtonalists because of its dark septimal minor chords and its near just major and minor thirds)..

To try this tuning out, select the 19-tone equal temperament from the Scales drop list, and Nineteen-tone Major from the Arpeggios . Then select this option from the drop list: Bs | PC Keyboard Notes to Play | Second and fourth rows arpeggio, others accidentals (p.a. only)

The white and black notes are as before. In 19-tone ET, there's a distinction between flats and sharps. You will find that the "black notes" are all flats .

However you can switch between flats and sharps using the Keyboard Pic Options | Accidentals As key | - choose Caps lock (say), and whenever you have caps lock on, the "black notes" will all become sharps instead.

Try it for other scales and arpeggios too. With the Caps lock key on, the first and third rows all play the note one degree sharp in the underlying scale; with it off, they play the note one degree flat.

Second row arpeggio, others accidentals (p.a. only) The second row plays the arpeggio / mode. First row plays one note lower in the scales. Third row plays one note higher, and fourth row plays two notes higher.

In the nineteen tone major scale, the second row of the PC keyboard will play the major scale. Then the row above plays the flats. The row below plays the sharps. So you now have both, and don't need the accidentals key to get them. The fourth row will play two notes higher in the nineteen tone scale - either the next note up in the diatonic scale, or its flat. E.g. it will play C## = Db, however, E## = F as there are only two notes of the 19 tone scale between E and F.

This option is also useful for 31 tone music, select 31 tone equal temperament from the Scales drop list, and Thirty-one tone Major for the Arpeggios .

Then the second row plays the "white notes". The first row plays the black notes as semi-flats . The third row plays them as semi-sharps , and the fourth row plays the sharps . That gets most of them, but you need to use the Accidentals key to play the flats .

When the Accidentals key is on, the first row plays the semi-sharps . The third row plays the semi-flats , and the fourth row plays the flats .

Hexagonal lattice

Make hexagonal lattice layout lattice vectors: . The preset lattice here is the major / minor lattice. The way it works is that the interval from each key to the next in the row is 3/2, and from each row to the next is 6/5.

The idea is that if you play an upward pointing triangle on the PC keyboard such as the keys R 5 T, you get a pure intonation major chord (with the 6/5, 3/2 lattice). A downward pointing triangle such as 4 R 5 plays a pure minor chord. So with these lattice type keyboards, the same fingering always makes the same chord, whatever the position on the keyboard.

This would be more useful on the PC keyboard if the triads could be played using any three keys, but it seems on standard keyboard, if you press say 2 W 3 as a chord, one of the letters will only play when you release the others. Yours might do this for other letters - it varies from keyboard to keyboard. It seems to be a hardware thing as it is operating system independent - also happens with Linux, Win 3.1, and MSDOS.

So you can only play the proper major and minor chords in some positions. However, you can also use the space bar sustain to sustain the notes, and then play the notes as an arpeggiated chord, which will work for any of the keys as you only need to press one at a time that way.

Each row of course plays ascending fifths, going through from one key to the next in the "circle" C G D A E etc. It reaches the detuned C at the end of the circle of fifths after 12 notes.

To hear this clearly, try setting the range to say C5 to B5 via Parts | More | Ranges , then play the circle of fifths using the 13 notes of the top row of the keyboard. Each interval will be perfectly pure as you go across the keyboard, but the right-most note of the row is noticeably out of tune with the first one you played. The difference in pitch between the two notes is known as the Pythagorean comma. See The_circle_of_fifths.

You can select other entries from the drop list of lattices, or make your own.

The drop list includes some entries like 2//19 2//19. This is a special Tune Smithynotation - it means that the step from each note to the next in the row is 3 degrees of 19-equal and the step from each row to the next one is two degrees of nineteen equal. For more about it see Notation for n-et,

ou can play a major scale in this mapping by playing e.g. 1 2 3 e r t y h (QWERTY keyboard) - and the same pattern anywhere on the keyboard plays the major scale. Keyboards have been built to this pattern, and one nice thing about it is that you only need to learn one fingering for any chord or scale. Microtonal instruments

The entries 3//17 2//17, 3//19 1//19, 5//31 2/31 and 9//53 5//53 use another pattern, where the major scale is played using e.g. z x c f g h j i (QWERTY keyboard).

3//31 2//31 and 5//53 4//53 use another pattern with major scale as 1 w d f 7 i l ; - the advantage is that though the major scale notes are spread out more, the additional accidentals in these tunings become more accessible - to go up / down by one accidental in the tuning move along the diagonals sloping from bottom left to top right..


Custom Voices

Voice | Custom voices | Edit Custom Melod. Voices

Edits the drop list of custom voices:

Voice | Custom voices

You can define any combination of MIDI voices as a custom voice, and use it as a single voice. For instance if you want to double up Flute and Oboe for one of the parts, choose the Flute + Oboe custom voice.

To use them, highlight the part(s) you want to use it for in the Parts... window, and select the custom voice from the menu.

Make 1st preset - makes a single custom voice of flute and oboe.

All presets - a drop list of various custom voices showing some of the possibilities of this window.

To make a new custom voice, highlight one of the ones in the Custom voices list and then use the Copy button.

Then scroll to the bottom of the custom voices list and you will see it there:

*Flute + oboe

The asterisk shows that it is mid edit. To change the name of the custom voice, edit the field at the bottom of the window. You can add a comment using #:

Flute + violin # testing custom voices

(use double # if you want to show a single #) The comment can be read in the big edit field at the bottom of this window, but doesn't show up in the menu or the list.

To use it, select it from the menu, or just click the Select into Highl. Part button. You will see the name prefixed with (@ 1) to show that it is in use for part 1 - or whichever part you selected it into.

Now, you can edit the instruments:

Highlighted Instrument

Highlight one of its instruments in the Instruments list, and click the Edit instr. button.

This brings up the Highlighted Instrument window. As you move the highlight in the Instruments list of the Edit Custom Melod. Voices window, this window will show the details of the highlighted instrument.

Select Voice or non melod. perc. for Highlighted instr. - To change the voice for the instrument, click this button, and select another voice.

You can use melodic instruments, or non melodic percussion, and mix them in the same custom voice - FTS will send the notes to the correct channels, - it will send the non melodic percussion to your non melodic percussion channel (channel 10 in GM), for all the parts - this is configured from Out | Options | More Options | Non Melod. Perc. channel .

Beats to play - which notes to play on this instrument.

Repeat every - how often to repeat the pattern of notes to play.

For example, if you make it beats 2 3 5 repeating every 6 notes, then you will hear this pattern of notes, repeated:

(Rest) note, note, (rest), note, (rest),

on this instrument as the tune progresses. The same will happen when playing this custom voice from the midi keyboard

Start anew for each seed - applies when you use the custom voice in a fractal tune. Each seed starts a new rhythmic pattern of the beats. E.g. if the pattern is set to repeat every six beats, and the seed has only five notes, the next seed will start a new repeat, cutting the pattern short to do s.

When unselected, the pattern continues on its way, regardless of when the seeds begin / end.

Transpose all notes by extra [] 12 equal semitones - used to transpose any of the instruments, e.g. set this to +-12 to transpose up / down by an octave.

Here is an example custom voice using all these techniques - the harp is transposed down an octave, and plays a selection of the beats.


Transp by interval - you can set any interval here in cents or ratios. E.g. set it to 3/2 and you will hear the two voices playing a perfect fifth apart all the time.

Volume - you can set the volume independently for each part.

Ok to switch off earlier notes for new pitch bends - if your custom voice uses many notes at various ratios to each other played simultaneously, it is rather easy to run out of channels to play them all in. Then the question is, is it more important to leave earlier notes sounding, and sound only a few of the instruments of this voice, or should one switch off any other notes if necessary, in order to play this new custom voice.

Custom voice as Timbre

Now, suppose you want to double up some instruments at a pure just intonation interval to create an interesting timbre.

Say, Bassoons, playing prime harmonics 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and 17 of the harmonic series (leaving out 2),. together with the fundamental.

Select Bassoon + violin as closest voice, highlight the violin and click Remove to remove it .

Now one way would be to use Copy instr. seven times to make a total of eight Bassoons. Then set the Transp. by interval appropriately for each one.

However, there's an easier way. Click Edit as Timbre . Then enter 1 3 5 7 11 13 17 into the Partials box.

Then as usual, change the name so that you can recognise it in the menu, say, to

Bassoon prime harmonics

Here is the result, accompanied with the Bagpipes + Taiko drum preset:


(uses a three beat Fibonacci rhythm as well from +... | Fibonacci rhythm | Custom rhythm | Play Fibonacci rhythm | Custom three beat rhythm )

One could also try inharmonic partials when making these timbres, like the ones a piano has.

Use the Custom Voices and Non Melodic Percussion | Edit drop list to change edit mode between the melodic and non melodic percussion menus.

I've done some presets in the non melodic percussion menus with all the instruments in a particular category, for instance, all the Afro Carribean percussion MIDI instruments, or all the ones from the modern drum set. These are are set up so each MIDI instruments in turn plays a single note, so they aren't particularly intended to be used just as they are. The idea is that you can then edit them to make more complex rhythms, cross rhythm patterns etc.


How custom voices are added to voices menu / removed from menu

Any custom voices you use in the fractal tune by selecting into one of the channels from Parts window are saved to the . ts (tune smithy) file when you choose File | Save As . That's to make sure they will always be available for playing the fractal tune when you open it.

If you open a . ts file with a custom voice in it, it will only be added to the menu temporarily, and freed when you open the next . ts file.

However any new custom voices you make are kept until you do a reset of the Custom Voices menu using File | Reset Custom Voices . The same applies to any that you change.

You can save your list of custom voices using File | Save As | Files of type | List of custom voices (*.lcv) .

File | Reset Custom Voices resets to the preset lists. To make your own custom list of voices to reset to, save it as FTS_reset.lcv . To reset to a minimal list with only one melodic, and one non melodic c.v., tick Voices | Edit Custom Voices | Save all to / read all from TS file , and then choose File | New .


Wave format Non melodic percussion

This is a way to play a .wav clip as a non melodic percussion instrument along with the fractal tune / retuning keyboard. At present, you can only play one of these .wav percussion sounds at a time, but it will be possible to program to play several simultaneously later (on sound devices that support multiple simultaneous playing of wave clips, as most do).

To do this, make a file PERCWAV.TXT listing the .wav clips you want to have available, one to a line. If the clips are in the same folder as Fractal tune smithy.exe, you just need to give the name of the clip (with the extension), otherwise you need the complete path.



or whatever. Now when you show the non melodic percussion menu, you'll find a drop menu added to it called "*.wav perc". Select whatever clip you want to use from that drop list, and it will be played instead of a midi note whenever you play a note for that part. No special processing; just plays the .wav file as it is.


Arpeggio / scale playback Options.

You get to this from Ctrl + click on any of the play buttons for the seed, arpeggio or scale, or by clicking the Options tied quaver (eighth note) icon in the main window:

Tied quaver - eighth note

A few of the options also apply to the seed.

Skip to later in this section if you are especially interested in the option Make a list of arpeggios, boroken chords or chords into audio files (e.g. for Virtual Flower users who want to make musical geometries), or for the Random Chord Quiz.

Figuration - The pattern of steps that make up the figuration is repeated until the end of the scale is reached. So for instance, 0 1 2 1 will continue as 0 1 2 1 2 3 2 3 4 3 ,... while 2 -1 1 0 3 will continue as 2 -1 1 0 3 0 2 1 4 1 3 2 5 . This is a bit like the figuations often used to practice an arpeggio on a musical instrument - you repeat the same pattern, continually moving upwards. When it reaches the top of the scale, then if you have Ascending / Descending selected it turns round and goes back down again. The pattern is inverted at the turn over point, and used upside down from then on. An ascending figuration ends when its last note is on or above top note of the scale or arpeggio, and a descending one stops when it ends on or below bottom note of the scale or arpeggio.

Play method - choice of sequence, chords, or broken chords. The first notes of the broken chord are played as for the sequence, but the notes are all sustained to the end of the sequence. When it's a chord, all notes are played and ended simultaneously.

When you chose to play sequences, the length of each note is set using the Time for one note in the main window. .

Asc / Desc Options to play ascending scale, descending one (descends using the inversion of the figuration) or both.

You can also choose endlessly ascending. This option plays an ascending scale, but using six voices (as it is, octave and two octaves below, and octave, two octaves and three octaves above). Each of these six voices ascends, but they all start quiet at the lowest pitch, reach normal volume when they get into the middle range, and fade out again at highest pitch. The general effect is somewhat like an endlessly ascending scale. In fact, these are Shepard tones, with partials for 5 octaves up and down.

If you are able to hear individual parts in a sound like this, try to follow one of the partials of the timbre as the tune progresses, and you will hear how it works. Each starts very quiet and low pitched, and as it rises in pitch, it gradually increases in volume until it reaches maximum volume at about the percieved pitch of the note, then it gradually decreases in volume again, eventually fading away. If you follow one of the partials, it should take ten play throughs of the scale for it to go all the way through the cycle. However, the illusion is so strong, it is easy to lose track of the partial you are trying to follow.

The original paper introducing this effect for the first time is from 1964, "Circularity in judgements of Relative Pitch", Roger N. Shepard, Journal of the Acoustical society of America, vol 36, number 12. Originated at Bell labs, like many pioneering scientific discoveries. The original sound samples were made on an IBM 7094 compuer using magnetic tape and controlled using punched cards to make four tapes that were then tried out on 50 employees of Bell labs. You can find modern versions easily on the web, but it seemed rather fun to have a go at doing it in MIDI.

Play all non minimised new Seed / Scale / Arpeggio windows in order visited - this can be useful for studying sequences of chords. Make several Arpeggio windows each showing a chord. Then click each in the order you want them played. Click this button and you will hear all the chords in a sequence.

Sustain (notes) is used in combination with the sequence - instead of sustaining all notes to the end, you can sustain each one to overlap the next, or the next two, etc. Can use fractional sustain, such as 0.5 for staccato notes, or 1.5 to each overlap half way into the next, etc.

N.B. The version of Sustain implemented for this window is intended only for short passages such as a typical arpeggiated scale / chord. Works okay for up to 1000 notes. If Sustain is used with Endlessly Ascending / Descending , it stops working after 16 notes played because of the need to keep track of all the simultaneously played notes. If anyone needs it, it can easily be recoded to work for any sequence of any length - let me know if you would like that.

Slide to most recently visited new scale, arp. or seed . Slides each note to the corresponding note of the one most recently visited. For instance, set up one arpeggio window with a minor chord, and one with a major chord, and you will hear one sliding to the other.

If the slides span several semitones, they will sound best played legato (if your soundcard supports it), or with a voice that has little in the way of attack.

For some examples, set up two Scale windows showing 1/1 7/6 3/2 and 1/1 5/4 3/2, and hear a septimal minor chord sliding to the pure major chord. Or set the second one to 1/1 81/64 3/2 and hear it slide all the way to the very sharp Pythagorean major third. Do you hear the difference in the quality of the final chord? Can you hear the point where the pure major chord is reached on the way to the Pythagorean major third as a kind of mellow stage in the slide just before the end? (Try using a long note length for the chord; you can also try listening over earphones / headphones, and block out external sounds, as any prominent partials from the sound of your hard-drive or other ambient noise, mixing in with the chord, can affect how mellow it sounds).

Play chord for an extra ... seconds This is especially useful for broken chords - as then you can have a fast arpeggiated start to the chord, followed by a long sustain of the chord.

Stop playback of main window Arpeggio or Chord at

Some background is needed to explain the reason for this box.

If a scale consists of equally spaced intervals, then you can define it using just the 1/1 and one other note. So for instance, twelve equal can be defined using the first two notes of the scale: 1/1 100 cents , while 31 equal is 1/1 38.7097 cents

This lets one make such scales easily. However, when you play such a scale from the New Scale or Arpeggio windows, you will hear just those two notes.

Similarly if you are editing an Arpeggio, you can make an Arpeggio that follows the scale using just 0 1. If you play this, you hear two notes again only - the first and second notes of scale.

That is fine when editing the scale and arpeggio definitions.

However, when one listens to them from the main window, one wants to hear the complete scale or arpeggio. For instance,the thirty one note scale is intended to be thirty one equal size intervals spanning an octave, rather than just two notes a thirty-oneth of an octave apart.

So, this box tells FTS where to stop playback.

It gets set often to 2/1 minus ten cents. The minus ten cents helps take account of scales with detuned octaves, such as. some recorded gamelan scales.

When playing an arpeggio, such as say 0 1 3, it repeats as many times as needed until it gets to the value set in this box. Figurations also repeat until the last note of the figuration gets to this point.

Arpeggio / scale playback Options | Update this when Arpeggio or Scale changes

Resets the point at which playback stops whenever you change the main window scale or arpeggio, setting it to a value appropriate for the arpeggio (by heuristic method).

So for example, when you select the ET Bohlen-Pierce scale FTS will set it to 3/1, as is appropriate, while for most of the other ones, it sets it to 2/1.

Unselect this if you want to set it yourself.

E.g. one can set it to 4/1 to play each arpeggio in the main window for at least two octaves. One might also want to set it oneself when trying out new scales and arpeggios, or using results of searches in the SCALA archive, if the standard setting of 2/1 isn't suitable for them.

Make a list of arpeggios, broken chords or chords into audio files

Make a list of arpeggios, broken chords or chords into audio files...

Sometimes, one might want to make a large list of audio clips of single chords or an arpeggios. E.g. maybe you want them for a web page or an article about musical scales

You can see an example in my page Musical Geometry - all the midi cilps on that page were made in one go using this button. See also the faq: How do I use the feature to make midi clips for all the file names in a web page?

So this option makes a list of midi clips given the desired file names. Makes arpeggios, chords or broken chords, and makes the arpeggios or broken chords ascending / descending / both, depending on your selections in this window.

It doesn't make the endlessly ascending / descending ones - just does ordinary ascending / descending ones if you select those. Also any figurations you have selected get ignored - just makes a plain ascending or descending arpeggio.

Files to make . ..- click this to edit or show the list of files to make. If you haven't made it yet, you get an example list including the major, minor, septimal minor and neutral third chords.

The file names follow a particular format. Here is an example:


Here o is used instead of / as / isn't a valid character in a Windows file name. Underlines are treated as spaces.

So that one will get saved as the major chord

1/1 5/4 3/2

You can use spaces if you prefer - however, it is best to use underlines for spaces when making midi clips for a web page.

You can use s in the file name for *, p for + and m for -, also brackets as usual. There are a few other conventions for more complex formulae. There's an option to use a and b for ( and ) - that's because some sites mightn't accept filenames with brackets in them

For details:

Making midi clips for a large list of chords

Reduce to scale repeat - select this to reduce all the midi clip notes into the interval shown in the Main window point at which to stop arpeggio / chord box.

Make all types - select this to make all the types of midi clip in one go - chords, broken chords and arpeggios.

You can also add instructions to the file instead, to specify the type of clip to make, and whether to reduce to the octave. See Instructions .

Random chord quiz

This button is shown if you have two or more New Seed, Scale or Arpeggio windows showing. Idea is it can be useful for training oneself to hear various chords, intervals, or scales.

To use it, set up several arpeggio windows showing the intervals etc. you want to learn (Bs | Arpeggio). Then click the Random Chord quiz button. You will hear one of them. Try to guess which it is without looking at the screen. Then look at the message to confirm that it is what you think it is (or not!).

Click Yes to show next chord, and Cancel to end the quiz.

Click No , to repeat the same chord again

The chords / arpeggios etc for the quiz are transposed by a random number of degrees in the current scale in the main window. If you want to hear the chords untransposed, unselect New Arpeggio | Sync scale with new window, (so that your arpeggios continue to use the same scale as before) and set the Scale in the main window to Clear . When the chords are untransposed it may be far easier to do the quiz.

Some listeners can recognise a chord or interval immediately in some transpositions, but not at all in others. If this happens to you, it's nothing to be concerned about. It takes a while to recognise them in this fashion, especially if presented as two or three notes completely out of any musical context.

You could start by setting up a major and minor chord, then try various shades of major, septimal minor etc. But quite likely that that will be too hard. If you are an amateur you may find the major and minor chords already quite hard to distinguish - if presented like this completely without any supporting context. It is amazing what a difference it makes to isolate the chord and remove it from any context of a chord progression or melody line. Just adding a couple of notes before or after can make a tremendous difference.

Try with some intervals you can easily distinguish without the slightest hesitation. You may even need to start with intervals as distinct as say the second 9/8 and the octave 2/1, then gradually work on to finer distinctions, maybe start with diads. This is quite natural. Also make things easier for yourself by choosing a voice in which the intervals are heard more easily, say haprsichord, koto, or strings, or the reed organ.

Then if you still find it hard, it could possibly mean you have a trace of absolute pitch, as that can sometimes make it much more difficult to learn to recognise intervals and chords. An amateur can have traces of absolute pitch without realising it - it doesn't necessarily mean you can name the notes, as that depends on experience to bring it out - if you have had no formal musical training, then you would never expect to learn the note names.

Actually, in the context of Western music it is more important to develop a sense of interval size rather than absolute pitch. It seems to be generally recommended that if you can identify intervals using relative pitch that is by far the best way to do it- perhaps this quiz could help with that. Music students are advised to use relative pitch to recognise intervals, as far as they can, even if they have a strong sense of absolute pitch - at least in the Western classical music tradition; it may not be the same in other musical traditions.

However the good news is that you can enjoy listening and playing microtonal music even if you aren't able to analytically work out what the intervals are that you hear and play (especially if you play them on keyboard). One may be unable to reliably disentangle style, timbre and intonation,, say, when listening to music, but one may be influenced by all three and maybe even highly sensitive to them even so. Similarly there is no need to learn to disentangle relative and absolute pitch and find out which of those you use to recognise the pitches - if not professionally trained, perhaps you might use a bit of both maybe, indefinably linked together.

A page with some comments from a flautist with perfect pitch.

There is some evidence that absolute pitch can be learnt, and is a disposition we all have to some extent. It is rare for many language users, but may be common for language users who rely on pitch to convey meaning (e.g., Chinese or Vietmanese).

Also some recent research suggests we all have it when young, use it to learn speech, and then most forget it after that, if it isn't needed.

Here is a quote from that article.

Professor Jenny Saffron, on why the ability is often lost in later childhood:
"My guess is because this ability isn't terribly useful," she speculated.
"So, unless you're a musician, where remembering pitch could be effective, or learning a tonal language like Vietnamese or Chinese, where the pitches tell you something about the meaning of words, remembering the pitch of a word can be very distracting."

Someone who doesn't have it can probably learn it by training to try to hear the quality of a note's pitch in isolation, rather than relative to other notes as a colour or timbre or texture. Those who try this report it as not recognisable at all intially, then when you eventually hear it, it's very faint at first, then becomes gradually easier to hear.

However perhaps it wouldn't be a terribly useful thing to learn, like as not. Well I suppose it would be nice to be able to listen to a piece of music and recognise it as say A major or E Major or whatever - but it would also be nice to be able to identify the chords as major, minor, septimal minor etc which depends on relative pitch. Best of all would be to be able to do both. On the bright side, if one learns them in that order, relative pitch first, you would probably still have a strong grounding in relative pitch at the end of it, if one didn't neglect that aspect in the pursuit of absolute pitch :-).

I imagine that if you learn a good sense of absolute pitch first then since there is no need to learn relative pitch in order to get to the notes, one might get lazy and never learn it well at all. So probably that is why the music teachers so stress relative pitch in Western musical culture. In other cultures that don't rely so very heavily on chord progressions and harmonic movement, but rather on rhythm and melodic movement and ornament, then absolute pitch may be a more useful way to recognise pitches.

Anyway this isn't an ear training program, just a fun quiz / puzzle and maybe it may provoke some thought and suggest avenues of exploration. There are plenty of twelve equal based ear training programs around, but I don't know if anyone has done a microtonal ear training program. Could be interesting. Lots to explore there - a temperament ear training program so you can listen to a recording of keyboard music and identify whether it is Werckmeister III or Kinberger or Prinz, and a microtonal just intonation ear training program so you can hear and reliably identify intervals such as 9/7 or 7/6 or 6/5, 5/4 or 11/8 etc, or an equal temperament tuning to recognise the various brands of equal temperament. There are people who can do these things, but I don't know if there is any program to train one to do so.


Order of play menu

Parts | Order of play

These options affect which notes get played by which of the parts. The fractal tunes have only the one underlying melody line (unless you use polyrhythms) but the notes get distributed about to different parts. in various octaves or instruments. The end result of that is sometime to hide the original melody line almost altogether, as other melodies come into play using selections of notes from it.

By Note Height - the note height is the degree of the arpeggio - the position of the note in the arpeggio. The seed numbers are in arpeggio degrees. With this option, 0 is always played in the first part, 1 in the second part and so on. When you get to the last part in your list, say the fourth part, then 3 gets played in the fourth part, arpeggio degree 4 gets played in the first part again, 5 in the second part, and it cycles round in that way. The formula is part = 1 + remainder on dividing the arpeggio degree by the number of parts in play..

Listen to Visit to the Smithy for an example.

Time .- the instrument to play depends on the number of notes in the melody so far - so they cycle around all the instruments in play. This relates to hocketting - a technique from medieval music which involves alternations of notes or groups of notes of a single melody line between two parts. The name probably comes from the latin ochetus = hiccup. Many of the fractal tunes use hocketing, or its generalisation to three or more parts.

Cumulative note height - when the arpeggio degree to be played is 0, no change occurs in the part that plays; when it is 1, the melody gets moved round to the next part in the list whatever it is, then for 2 it moves around by two parts; and so on.

Layers . The fractal tune is built up from the seed in layers. See More about this, with pictures and musical examples. So the idea is to have one part playing each of those layers.

Here is how it works:

If the pattern of note heights is 0 1 2 0, and if the number of layers is 4, the complete fractal tune is

( [ 0 1 2 0 ] [ 1 2 3 1 ] [ 2 3 4 2 ] [ 0 1 2 0 ] ) ( [ 1 2 3 1 ] [ 2 3 4 2 ] [ 3 4 5 3 ] [ 1 2 3 1 ] ) ( [ 2 3 4 2 ] [ 3 4 5 3 ] [ 4 5 6 4 ] [ 2 3 4 2 ] ) ( [ 0 1 2 0 ] [ 1 2 3 1 ] [ 2 3 4 2 ] [ 0 1 2 0 ] )

Here the square brackets show the individual seeds. Each red number starts a seed. Each blue number starts a new seed for the red ones, and finally, the entire pattern shown is a single seed at layer 4 in the blue numbers.

So, the parts to play for Order of play | Layers are:.

( [ 4 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] ) ( [ 3 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] ) ( [ 3 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] [ 2 1 1 1 ] ).

Layer, with simultaneous notes is similar. This time, the tune is played simultaneously in all the parts. Part 1 plays every note. Part 2 plays every note that starts a new seed. Part 3 plays every note that starts a new seed at the second layer, and so on. Whenever part 3 plays, all the seeds for the faster parts come together at that pont too so part 2 and 1 will also play - similarly for all the layes.

With either Order of play | Layers , or Layer, with simultaneous notes the number of parts played is limited to the number of Layers . This is only a consideration if you set the number of layers low. By way of an example, if you choose two layers, only the first two parts will be used. Any remaining parts will be ignored, as there are no layers in the fractal tune for them to play.

Order of play | Other... This is a way to set your own custom method of changing parts by a combination of all the other methods, in any fashion you like.

There is no need to figure out how it works for your experiments here - just try out various combinations of T+H+C, ...etc, adding any of the number codes shown, and see what happens, until you get an effect you like.

You can use any formula, including things like (2*T+H/0.32)*(L+3) or whatever.

However, maybe it will be nice to know a bit abou how it works. The formula gets calculated first, then it gets rounded down to a whole number. It is then divided by the number of parts in play. The remainder after this division gives the part number to play.

Let's take calling_to_each_other_across_the_valley.ts as an example.

The formula used is N+H+1 .

N in this formula is the remainder after dividing the number of notes so far by the number of parts in play. The number of parts in play for this fractal tune is 2.

H is the note height.

Notes:     0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11
N:         0  1  0  1  0  1  0  1  0  1  0  1
H:         0 -1  2  3 -1 -2  1  2  2  1  4  5
N+H+1:     1  1  3  5  0  0  2  4  3  3  5  7
Remainder: 1  1  1  1  0  0  0  0  1  1  1  1
(remainder after dividing N+H+1 by 2)
Part:      1  1  1  1  0  0  0  0  1  1  1  1

Parts are numbered starting from 0, rather than 1 for these fomulae. So 0 here refers to part 1, and 1 to part 2.

As it happens, the tune is alternating from one part to the other every four notes - which means, from one seed to the next, since there are four notes to a seed. That's why the two voices are heard calling to each other; the reason for the title.

At least that is what it has done so far. But if you play the melody for a little while you will get a surprise. One can see from the way the formula is worked out that there is no reason for it to continue to follow this pattern indefinitely, and in fact, as you continue the tune, later on, you will hear some variations in it, with the voices changing at other positions in the seed.

As an experiment, try adding an extra note to the seed (say, 0 -1 2 3 5 ), and see what happens with this same formula.

You can show the number of notes so far, and the tune numbers, from Tunes | Options | Notes As (you may want to untick Show sustain as tied notes to see them more clearly).

Negative values

If the result of the formula is a negative number, then the remainder after dividing by the number of parts will be a negative number. We want a positive number for the part. So what FTS does is to add the number of parts in play to the remainder to make it a positive number.

You will find a tick box Add extra one to negative remainders. When this is selecting, you add an extra 1 to a negative remainder first. This is for compatibility with older versions of the program, and is also the standard setting.

You can try out the effect of selecting and unselecting it with calling_to_each_other_across_the_valley.ts - it has negative remainders a few notes later in the tune.

Formulae in L

When the formula includes an L, with Sustain all notes to next note for same channel selected, then the result can depend on the layer. What happens in this case is that it is calculated anew for every layer as far as the layer updated for the seed, or the number of channels in play, whichever is reached first. So you can often get several notes starting simulataneously when the layer updated is 2 or more.

L is 0 for all except the first note of the seed.

So suppose the layer updated is 3, and the formula is L.

Then notes are sounded simultaneously in the first 3 channels.

Now try L+H, where H = 2

Then the values of the formula for L = 0, 1, 2 are 2, 3, 4, or channels 3, 4 and 5. So three notes will be sounded, in the 3rd, 4th and 5th channels..

So the effect of including L in the formula is that more than one note can sound at the start of the seed.

Note though that depending on the formula, you mightn't hear several distinct notes played every time, as sometimes the formula may yield the same channel for more than one value of L

You can use formulae in L to get music with simultaneous parts, all with about the same number of notes, and with most of the instruments playing on the first beat of each seed.

Try To_cheer_you_up.ts

To get the instruments playing together on other beats as well, try setting some of the note timings for the seed to 0.

If you have a formula that sounds nice, but perhaps a little too regular, try adding an extra term like h/23 or something.

N.B. Look ahead is not yet correctly implemented for Order of Play | Other... for simultaneous notes (i.e. formulae including L with Sustain all notes to next note for same channel selected).


Ranges (compass) for parts

Parts... | More | Ranges...

Highlight one of the parts. Adjust the lowest and highest notes using the scroll bars, or by entering in the midi note numbers. Tip - to adjust several parts at once, highlight them all first.

The three scroll bars below the note adjust it up / down by one white note of the piano, up / down by one chromatic note, and up / down by one octave.

Options for out of range notes :

To hear the effects of the various options, set the range for one of the parts to something small, say, 60 to 96. Then try a rising scale as the musical seed:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Tip : shortcut for making a rising scale musical seed: type 0 to 50 into the musical seed box.

Silent - when a part goes out of range, no notes are played at all.

Hover - when a part goes above the range (compass) of the voice / instrument, then it is transposed down by octave shifts until it is in range again. So a rising scale will go up to the top octave, then stay there, a descending one will go down to the bottom octave, and stay there.

Rebound - when out of range, is double shifted, i.e. into range, then the same shift again. If total range is two octaves or less, treated same as Hover .

A rising scale will reach the top octave, then go down one octave at a time to the bottom octave again (rising in each octave), then start rising again, and so on.

Hover and rebound - when out of range, is octave shifted into range. When it is out of range by more than an octave, it is double shifted by the excess over one octave. If total range is two octaves or less, treated as same as Hover

A rising scale will reach the top octave, repeat there, then go down one octave at a time to the bottom octave again, repeat there, then start rising again, and so on. You need a wide range of say four or five octaves to see this effect clearly with the rising scale, as it will also rebound off the minimum note of the range.

Wrap around - when out of range, wraps around to the other end of the range. For instance, if the range is C4 - C6, then the D6 will be transposed down to D4. Notice that it misses the first note of the scale next time round. C4 - B6 will wrap round to C4.

You can also try a descending scale:

0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -10 -11 -12 -13 -14 -15 -16 -17 -18 -19 -20 -21 -22 -23 -24 -25 -26 -27 -28 -29 -30 -31 -32 -33 -34 -35 -36 -37 -38 -39 -40 -41 -42 -43 -44 -45 -46 -47 -48 -49 -50

Tip : or type 0 to -50 into the musical seed box.

Let's take an example. Suppose you want to match a part to the usual written compass of the descant recorder, perhaps because you want to play along with the fractal tune on recorder, following the score.

Set the range to C4 - D6. For a beginner, to set it to the compass of fairly easily played notes, set it to C4 - A5.

The descant recorder is notated an octave below the pitch it is actually played. So to match the actual pitch of a descant recorder, you may prefer to set the range to C5 - D7 (or C5 - A6) (depending on your soundcard recorder voice).

N.B. Because the sound of the recorder's fundamental note is strong, while for many instruments it is much weaker, and the first harmonic is strong, the bottom C on a descant, though actually the C above middle C, may sound to you to be similar to the middle C of some instruments. For instance, it can sound similar to the middle C of a violin to some ears.

Sync to pitch - when selected, the ranges move up and down as you change the pitch of the 1/1. E.g. if the range is C4 to D6 (c to d''), and you drop the pitch of the 1/1 by an octave in the Pitch window, and have Sync to pitch selected for that part, the range will change to C3 to D5 (C to d').



Tempo Map

Bs | Seed Options | Tempo Map or Bs | Note Options | Tempo Map

To change the speed of the tune, use the Time for one note box in the main window, or Bs | Note time and volume

The idea of this window is to create tunes for which the speed varies as the tune progresses. You can set the speed in zones of so many minutes or seconds at a time.

Use tempo map - Select this first.

To edit a zone, highlight it, and enter the length of time you want it to last for, and the tempo to use.

When the notes of the seed are all the same length, the tempo is just the tempo for individual notes.

The tempo is for "original seconds" - each second of the original tune corresponds to one beat of the tempo. So, when the tempo is 60, the tune is played unchanged. When it is 120, the tune is twice as fast, and so on.

So for instance if you play the tune with the preset value for the Time for one note of 0.125 - an eighth of a second, this means that there are eight notes per "original second" so the actual tempo of the notes themeselves will be eight times as fast as the one you choose, e.g. 480 at the standard tempo setting of 60.

This is the most general possible way of defining it and is needed becuase if you have fractal rhythms, or note time varying by the position in the arpeggio, etc, then the notes, and seeds vary in length all the time. This means that the number of notes per minute, or seeds per minute, is continually varying as the tune progresses. So the best one can do is to use seconds of the original tune as the beat.

However you can play to a steady metronomic beat if you so wish.

Current Tempo - this will change while the tune is playing to show what tempo is in play.

To use notes per minute as the tempo

Use the 1 second note button. This sets the time for one note in the main window to 1. This will then be the same as the note length if you use a seed with all the notes the same length, and none of the options for fractal rhythms or notes varying with position in the arpeggio. Then the tempo column will just show the tempo of individual notes.

To use seeds per minute as the tempo:

Use the 1 second seed button. This sets the time for one note to one over the number of notes for the complete seed. E.g. if the seed has three notes, each 1 time unit long, it sets the time for one note to 1/3 secs.

If the seed has a number of notes of different lengths, it sets it to one over the relative time of the complete seed. You can see the relative time for the complete seed in Bs | Seed as Text .

When you play the seed using the Play Seed button in the main window it will now take exactly a second. Of course, it will probably vary in length during the tune if you have fractal rhythms or other options that vary the speeds of the seeds as the tune progresses.