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Skip navigation Midi In Midi Relaying Controllers etc Midi Out Parts

Info - Getting started - Presets - How to save your midi settings - In menu - Select part by - Change the voice for a part - Showing the notes as you play them - Retuning Midi player - Retune in SCALA - Trouble shooting - Presets - Play in arpeggio (etc) drop list - Play Arpeggio or Scale from - Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard - Notation for accidentals - Patches as accidentals - Midi keyboard Options - Keyboard regions - Note played - more details - Input channels - Touch - In | Options - More Midi In Options - Why use FTS to retune your keyboard - Terminology - Arpeggios and Scales



If you want to use a notation program or sequencer or other music program, with all its notes played through FTS to retune its notes, see the Midi Relaying page.

This section is for musicians who want to use FTS vith a music keyboard or similar device. If that is what you want to do, skip to Getting started

If interested to find out why one would want to do this, see Why use FTS to retune your keyboard (which I've placed at the end of this page as it is quite a long section).

If what you want to do is to record to Midi, see Record to MIDI in the Main Window section.

If what you want to do is to save fractal tunes as midi files,see Save as Midi File and FTS MIDI Gallery button in the User guide .

Do let me know if there is anything else you'd particularly like to be able to do with FTS which isn't covered here already : -) . Many of the options here have been added in response to requests from users.


Getting started

What to do first , Working with your sequencer or software notation , Keyboard regions , Midi relayed parts , Standard Settings , Synths etc , Scales and Arpeggios , Terminology , Master scales, and Arpeggios , Pitch and keyboard position of the 1/1 , Show notes as you play them , Input and output channels

What to do first

First of all you need to connect your keyboard to the computer. You need to have Midi In on your sound card to do this. Users with laptops or other computers that have on board sound without midi in and which can't be upgraded may be able to add a Midi Input and output to their computer using a USB midi device such as the Edirol UM1-SX.

If you need help with this step, see the FAQ How do I get my music keyboard to work with FTS?

Then look for Music Keyboard Retuning - Intro - or Music Keyboard Retuning in the Tasks folder on your desktop or from the Tasks Menu in FTS

You can also change the task in FTS using Tasks | More - if you do it this way, then click the Standard Settings button for the task when you get to it.

Make sure you have the right In and Out devices selected in the menus. Also use the wizards in the Out menu to make sure FTS is set up correctly to work with your currently selected out device.

For a quick start, you can skip forward to the Presets at this point to get an idea of what you can do with FTS. You should be all ready and set up to use them - just select anything that interests you from the drop list and try it out :-).

Amongst other things, the Standard Settings button selects Open Midi In at start of session , - which is what you will usually want if using FTS for midi keyboard retuning or notation program retuning. You may have several midi in devices, if so, check that you have the correct one selected in the In menu - for more about this, see In menu

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Working with your sequencer or software notation

Skip to next section if you aren't interested in using your keyboard with sequencer or software notation.

Many composers are in the way of improvising a bit on a music keyboard and recording the sequence in their sequencer, then working on that as their composition. Well you can do that with FTS too. But - instead of playing the music keyboard directly through FTS in that case, connect your music keyboard to your sequencer - then relay the output of your sequencer to FTS.

FTS doesn't have any midi editing capabilities itself. But it can easily retune the output of your music sequencer. This is far better usually than trying to work with the already retuned output from FTS - which is confused for a human reader because of all the channel remapping needed to achieve the pitch bend polyphony.

To do that you will need some way to let your sequencer play its notes in FTS. The normal way to do that is to use a virtual Midi cable. For more details see: Relaying notes to and from FTS using a virtual midi cable

So you hear the notes tuned as desired as you play - and as long as you use the same settings for playback every time you play that sequence, then you can also hear them in the same tuning all the time while you are working with them in your sequencer and editing the tracks there. The usual thing is to add a note to your recording to remind you how to set up FTS. Or you could save a project in FTS with the same name as the one you use for your sequencer recording, and whenever you want to return to that sequence, open the project you used for it again in FTS.

Finally when all is finished, and you want to make the result into a retuned midi or audio file - play the final version in your sequencer, relayed through FTS, and record it.

The same principle applies for notation software - you can compose directly in your notation software and simply use FTS for retuning the files - save your work in your notation program. So for instance if you use Sibelius or Finale or NoteWorthy Composer, then save your files in the native format of those programs and just use FTS for playback of them. For details of that approach see the Midi Relaying page

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Keyboard regions

Rather than choose an instrument directly, in FTS you set up a part to play first - there are sixteen parts, each of which can be set up with an instrument, various controllers, octave shift, volume, etc. They can even be assigned different scales and arpeggios too, a different one for each part if you want (using the Scales for Parts window).

Then, when using the music keyboard, you choose the part according to regions of the Midi note range, creating an effect somewhat related to split regions or zones. So, for instance, all the notes in the left half of the keyboard may be played on koto and all those in the right half on shakuhachi, say. You will find some examples in the Presets list.

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Midi relayed parts

By comparison, the Midi Relaying task uses channels rather than regions to select the part to play. That's because, when you are relaying from a sequencer or notation software, it's the channel the note is played on that is relevant rather than the region of the keyboard.

So - for example, the first part in the score, or first track in the sequencer might be set to play flute on Channel 1, and maybe the next one plays oboe on channel 2, and so on. In this case, you want all the notes relayed from channel 1 to play flute in FTS, and all those from channel 2 to play oboe, and so on.

When you change the instrument in a score, then next time you play it, that will send an instrument change message to FTS - and FTS will then change the instrument for the part - you will be able to see it change when this happens.

Normally your midi keyboard plays all its notes on the same channel, and the channel they are played on isn't of any great significance. You are expected to configure the instrument to play and the keyboard regions in FTS.

However, if it does have an option to play in zones already - and if you want to use your keyboard's own zoning capabilities, you will probably prefer to change to In | Opts | Select Parts by Input Channels, which also disables the keyboard regions in FTS.

On the other hand, if you want to explore the keyboard regions in FTS, which has various some special capabilities that your keyboard is perhaps unlikely to have - then it is probably best to switch off the zones on your keyboard as they are likely to confuse the matter, unless you know what you are doing and why you are doing it.

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Standard Settings

The Standard Settings for midi relaying or keyboard retuning tasks are set up accordingly, either for keyboard regions or to choose the parts for the notes according to the channels the notes are received on.

Either way they get played within FTS using Parts in the Parts window - and you will see any instrument changes happening there as you change voice patches (program changes) in the input stream.

The Standard Settings button also resets your scale to twelve equal temperament. You can then select the scale you want from the Scale drop list. The white keys will play the arpeggio , - you can choose which arpeggio to use from the drop list.

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Using FTS with synths etc

Use the Out | Out Device Capabilities Wizard to test your synth or soft synth to set up FTS accordingly. Or go to Out | Options | Out Device Capabilities and click on GM Synth or Non GM Synth . This window also has more detailed options you can configure for your synth.

To find out what these buttons do, see Setting FTS appropriately for synths or sound cards

The next section is relevant for both Notation / sequencer retuning and Music keyboard work - then after that the help for these two ways of using FTS continue on separate pages.

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Scales and Arpeggios

Scales drop list - the current scale. This changes the tuning system used for your piece.

Arpeggios drop list - Selection of notes from the scale.

With the standard settings, the arpeggio gets played from the white keys, and in between notes, if any, are played from the black keys. So in this way you can set it up to play any chord or scale you like from the white keys. It doesn't even need to be ascending in order, can change direction mid-way if you like. The pattern can repeat at octave, or two octaves, or at any interval you like. If you want it to be identical for every keyboard octave, enter a selection of seven notes here. You use scale degrees - the number of semitones above the 1/1. So the traditional diatonic scale is 0 2 4 5 7 11 12 in twelve tone tunings - try showing a Bs | Arpeggio window to get a better idea of how this works.

If you want to specify a complete twelve note mapping then you can play from all keys, and then enter the scale degrees to use to play each note.

Either way, end at 12 for the octave.

To find the major, minor, harmonic minor or other scales of twelve tone systems, choose one of the twelve tone systems such as, say, Equal temperament (which is the modern piano tuning), or Well Tempered (tis is actually Werckmeister III, one of the commonly used tunings from Bach's time), and look in the Arpeggios list.

As for the key for your piece - it is preset to C - so it will be C major for the major arpeggio, C minor, C Hungarian Major, or whatever, depending on your choice of scale (tuning) and arpeggio.

To change the key, go to the Pitch window. This sets the pitch of the 1/1 of the scale - the 1/1 is the root note of the scale. You can use the arrows to change it to any other note, or click on the graphic, or enter the frequency in herz etc. Or, quickly set it to C, or A using those buttons.

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In this context, scale refers to the tuning, usually given as a series of intervals from the note that starts the scale, in ratios or cents notation. The same scale can be played from different start pitches.

So for instance you would talk about the pythagorean scale, or the twelve equal scale etc. Scale is often used in another way - e.g. when a musician says he is practising the scale of D minor, well you could understand that as almost the same thing, if you take it as a shorthand for " a minor scale tuned in the key of D". If you wanted to practice a just intonation minor scale, you would play the pitches in the frequency ratios of 1/1, 9/8, 6/5, 4/3 etc going up from the 1/1 as D.

As for Arpeggio here - tuning specialists talk about these as Modes meaning any set of scale degrees selected from a larger scale. I used that word originally in FTS too. However, I find there is some risk of confusion there for more general musician readers who think of Mode as associated with starting from a different step in an existing scale -as in Lydian mode and Dorian mode etc - all rotations of the major or diatonic scale. In the interests of avoiding confusion of this sort I now call them all arpeggios. This extends the word "arpeggios" somewhat beyond its everyday meaning, which is vague enough to permit this.

I'm often asked questions about this particular choice of terminology here. It's the best I can find, and I'm ready to receive any suggestions for better terminology which can also express the ideas clearly to a general musician reader on first encounter with the program. Please see the section Terminology - Arpeggios and Scales first for more about the reasons for using these terms.

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Master scales, and Arpeggios

Many of the larger scales with say seventeen, or thirty one notes etc, even the twelve tone ones to some extent, are intended as a kind of master scale which is seldom used in its entirety. The idea is that one will select various sets of notes from them for sections of the music. You will find that a number of the scales in the preset list are labelled with an (Arp) (for Arpeggios). When you select these, the Arpeggios drop list changes to show a list of some of the ones suitable for that scale. This assumes you have Sync Arp. - standard setting - if you don't want this behaviour then unselect it.

When scales have no (Arp.) shown, the Arpeggios list shows Follow scale , and a few other selections such as 0 -1 2 . In this case one will most often choose Follow scale for these, and use the scale in its entirety. The other options give interesting effects in fractal tunes. However, at the bottom of the list you will also see diatonic as one of the selections - the idea of that is that this gives a way to play the scale from successive keys of the keyboard rather than successive white keys only, in the case where you have it set to play the arpeggio from the white keys (playing from white keys is the standard setting)..

The position of a note in a scale is called its degree in that scale. As degrees, the diatonic mode is 0 2 4 5 7 9 11 12 n twelve equal. So 0 means the first note of the scale; 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, and select it to show them as steps in the scale 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.

However - that is just for twelve equal. Change to one of the other systems and you will see other numbers here. For instance in thirty one equal (a popular tuning as it has very well tuned major thirds), you have the steps 0 5 5 3 5 5 5 3

Here we see why the standard setting is to play from the white keys. If you play the twelve tone scale from all the keys, and then change to thirty one equal - well actually you could do that in this case as there is also a thirty one tone tuning for twelve tone scales as the Meantone Chromatic (53/220-comma) , But in most cases such as seventeen equal, nineteen equal etc, the scale will have no standard twelve tone tuning, just a major scale. So then the most natural thing to do is to play the major scale from the white notes - and then play in between notes from the black keys. There will normally be several choices for each black key so you need some system for choosing between them. There is no really totally satisfactory system I know of for a twelve keys per octave keyboard, but there are a few ideas here that you can try out in the Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard

It is easy to make your own arpeggios - just type the numbers into the box, or use the Arpeggio window. There's more information about all this in the The scales and Arpeggios section for the fractal tunes.

For the Midi Relaying view - sequencer / composing work - now go to Midi In 2 and the Quick start for Midi Relaying . .

The rest of this page is help for the Midi Keyboard tasks.

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Pitch , and the keyboard position of the 1/1

To transpose the keyboard up / down in pitch, use the Pitch window. This changes the pitch of the 1/1 of the scale.

With most of the presets, the 1/1 is played from the middle C key. The 1/1 key on the keyboard can be changed from In | Options | Kbd regions | 1/1 column. When one has the keyboard split into regions, one may well want each region to be able to play the 1/1 so that parts from the left and right hands can overlap in pitch - you do this by setting the key to play the 1/1 separately for each region.

For more details about how the keyboard regions for the presets work, and explanations about how to design your own, see Keyboard regions .

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Show notes as you play them

If you want to know what notes you are playing in terms of the twelve equal pitches, then you may want to see them on a picture of a twelve equal keyboard. To do this, click the keyboard icon


The exact position of the note will correspond to its pitch, so for example in the bluesy minor chord, the E Flat will be shown well to the left on the black key - while in the just intonation minor chord the 6/5 is shown a little to the right.

For more about this layout, see Keyboard picture . You can also show a variety of information in this window as you play. The standard setting is to show the degree, and the interval from the 1/1 - but you can also show all the intervals between notes of a chord, or the nearest note names, or show the numbers of beats predicted theoretically for harmonic timbres and the difference tone as you play, and various other things. Click on Opts... below the icon to show the What to show on Music keyboard pictures dialog.

To show the position of the arpeggio notes on the keyboard, click on the dots icon

This shows blue dots for he arpeggio and you can position this above the keyboard picture to see where they are.

Now, though this way of showing the keyboard is useful as a way of seeing the pitches of the notes you play as you play in the (probably) familar twelve equal system, it doesn't necessarily show you which keys on the keyboard to play to get those notes - it depends on how you have got things setup.

If you want to see which keys play which notes, click the Options button below the icon, and then select Show stretchy midi keyboard for | Midi relaying tasks . This shows the keyboard keys you need to play, and shows them wider or narrower depending on the pitches of the notes they play - they are wider if the notes are further apart in pitch. Black keys are shown grayed out if they play the same pitch as an adjacent white key. Try this with the harmonic series scale to see the reason for the name :-).

If you choose the harmonic and sub harmonic series scale, with Follow Scale as the arpeggio, then all the black keys get grayed out, because there are no accidentals here - the scale gets played from the white keys. Also, the white ones get narrower as you go further away from middle C in either direction - that's because the notes of the scale get closer together in pitch as you go up the harmonic sereis or down the subharmonic series.

You may want to show more octaves in the keyboard - to do that just change the Width in octaves in the options window.

You can also show a very basic kind of a score view (no clef signs, and just dots for the notes). To see this, use Bs | Notes Played . The Width in seeds field here may be confusing if you haven't yet worked with the fractal tune tasks - this window was originally designed just to show the fractal tunes as they play. This sets the width of this score to a fixed number of notes - the number of notes in the seed multiplied by the number of seeds, Since the preset seed has three notes, this means the number of notes you get is three times the seed number.

As you play faster or slower music, you will see the notes vary in their spacing in the window. For details of how this works, and some tips for setting it up for Midi relaying, see The Tune window - for midi relaying .

You can also show details about each note as you play it from In | Options | Note Played - more details.. . For more about what everything means in this window, see Notes played from MIDI In .

Advanced users may also like to see which channels all the notes are relayed to, and what pitch bends are applied to each channel - for this, show Out | Options | Notes in Play .

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Input and output channels

You can choose which Midi output channels you want to transmit the notes to from Out | Options | Midi Output Channels . This does it for all the parts in one go. To set them up individually for each part, use the Out | Options | Out Chans... window. You can also set the amount of polyphony to use for each part from this window. E.g. if your synth can play at most 4 notes simultaneously per channel, set the max polyphony to 4 for all the parts. Set to 0 for no limit.

To choose which midi in channels to relay from , use MIDI in channels . FTS will then ignore any notes it receives on any other channels.

The midi keyboard is useful for the algo-comp work as well as midi relaying. For one thing, you can play new seeds for the fractal tunes - see Make new seed from Music Keyboard . You can also use it to edit the scales and arpeggios. See Edit / play along

If you are using FTS in both roles, for midi relaying and for fractal tunes, be aware that opening a fractal tune, or choosing New , will change the scale and arpeggio. This leads into the next section - how to save your settings so that you can come back to them later.

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How to save your midi settings

To save your midi relaying settings, use File | Save As...

Then select | Files of type | Midi Relay (*.rly) (or add the extension .rly to the file name before you click the Save button).

This is the preset type for the midi relaying tasks. The Tune Smithy (*.ts) format is for fractal tunes.

If you click on the Organise Windows icon in the main window , you will find that it shows a drop list of any midi relay files you have saved in the current folder. This makes it easy to switch between several midi relaying setups by selecting from the drop list.

To see what changes you have made in the midi relaying settings, click the O Organise windows icon in any of the windows, and then click on Midi I/O settings / Overview... This will show all windows that have values changed away from the standard settings. To find out what you have changed for a particular window, highlight it and click the -> Non dft button.




Try out the Presets drop list to get a taste of some of the things you can do with FTS when midi relaying from a keyboard. For information about them, see Presets .

You may well find that what you need to do is quite nearly like one of the presets already. If so just choose whichever preset is closest to your desired effect, and then modify it accordingly. Many of these changes are really easy to do. The preset drop list will change to show "Custom" when you modify the preset significantly (and in the freebie version of the program, it will then time out).

To change the instrument for a preset, use the Parts window. Most of them are set so that you play Part 1 from the keyboard. To change the voice click on the part you want to change, then choose a new instrument from the Voice menu. Some midi keyboards have an option to change the voice from the keyboard (not the internal voice it uses to play the notes itself, but a patch or program change message) - if your keyboard can do this, then it's also fine to do it that way. You will see the voice change in the Parts window as you do so.

For the presets that use keyboard regions, you will see all the instruments in the first few parts. To change them, change the relevant instrument. By way of example, the presets with two instruments for the left and right halves of the keyboard use the first two parts in the Parts window.

To change the scale or arpeggio, just change it in the main window.

Most of the presets play the arpeggio from successive white keys.

When you have it set up like that, black keys play accidentals. We are used to accidentals as the usual sharps and flats in the various twelve tone tuning systems, but here more generally the black keys play any notes of the scale that lie between notes of your arpeggio. If there are no extra notes in between two white keys, a black key will play the same note as a neighbouring white note.

This means you can choose any of the arpeggios from the drop list, and immediately play in it from the white keys of the keyboard. So one can treat the white keys of the keyboard like one of tose small folk harps or an african marimba which just plays in the arpeggio. If you just want to play the arpeggio and don't need a particularly wide compass then this may be all you need. This is a fast way to explore the various modes of the master scales, without needing to learn new fingerings for each one.

If the black keys happen to be in a suitable place for the accidentals you want to play, that is a bonus. If not, one will want to explore other ideas such as spacing the arpeggio notes further apart on the keyboard, or possibly using a custom keyboard mapping, so that the black keys will be in convenient places for the accidentals one wants to be able to play.

For more about this, see Play in arpeggio (etc) drop list and the following sections.

Now, of course, many of these scales have more than twelve notes to an octave. This presents a problem since most keyboards are designed with the layout of seven white and five black keys per octave. One solution that has been used quite often historically is to make a keyboard with split keys and extra black keys if necessary between B and C, and between E and F. Of course most of us don't have such keyboards, but we can simulate them to some extent.

With this in mind, some presets such as the nineteen tone guitar let you use a single black (sometims white) key to play two or more accidentals with the use of pedals or other methods. For information about how this works, see Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard

In twelve equal, all rotations of the scale, all transpositions to different keys, play in the same tuning - but in all other systems, including other twelve tone tunings, the tuning changes when you change the key. E major may be tuned quite differently from C major. With well temperaments this may be just what you want - this variety is one of the things many musicians enjoy about these systems. However, in just intonation tunings, you may want to tune all the chords justly. In this case, you want the tuning to change as you play. Maybe when you move from a C major to say, a G major triad, you want the triad to still be pure - Depending on your choice of just intionation tuning, it might be pure already - but maybe not, and it is certain some of the triads will be impure as that is inevitable in just intonation. So, probably from time to time you want to be able to move your just intonation tuning so that the root of the scale is on G say, instead of C. It would be nice to be able to do this when you change key, and maybe at other times too if the triad you want to play isn't pure in the original key position.

If one is particularly interested in this idea of tuning changing as you modulate, then one is likely to want to use the Scales For Parts Presets , which has options to vary the tonic as one plays.

It would be nice if the tonic could change automatically too - but that seems to be impossible to do in real time, at least not perfectly, as it requires one to know in advance where the piece is heading in the way of a succession of chords - even the player may not know that if it is an improvisation!

For an even more flexible approach, set up all the scales and modes one wants to modulate between in the Scales For Parts window and modulate between them using a controller pedal or the like - this lets you change instantly from any scale + arpeggio to any other with a movement of the controller pedal as you play.

Or if you would like to experiment with the idea of letting FTS retune the notes as you play try out the new option to retune the notes as you play with diesis shifts. This works by tuning each chord justly if possible (within the possible range of pitch variation you specify) - and it does so exactly so it is strict just intonation without compromises. However the downside of that is that you will get diesis shifts - shifts in pitch.

This is a matter of compromise, either you have perfectly tuned chords, or you introduce the potential for occasional pitch shifts. The reason is that for instance three major thirds such as c e g# c' will reach c' at (5/4)*(5/4)*(5/4) (when you combine musical intervals you multiply the numbers). This makes the interval 125/64 instead of the expected octave 2/1 (or 128/64) which is quite a large interval as these things go, so if you go up three pure major thirds then quite a large pitch shift is needed.

Progressions by minor thirds as in an ascending or descending diminished seventh arpeggio also introduce pitch shifts - this is a somewhat larger and very noticeable shift. Then there is a common chord progression I iii vi ii V I which goes up by a major third (5/4) then down by four fifths (3/2). The result this time is a rather smaller pitch shift of 80/81 - but do this a few times, maybe in a repeating section of the piece, and the music will gradually spiral down in pitch until it is quite noticeably flatter. This last one is the so called "Comma pump".

The strong dovetailing options in the J.i. Opts window reduce the number of pitch shifts from a note to the next note or chord in the piece, and is quite effective for some styles of music if they require few of these comma pumps or diesis shifts, but will increase the potential for a comma pump or diesis shifts over larger sections of the music. It can be quite effective for some chord sequences such as some early baroque, for instance.

Or you can compose in this kind of tuning directly - either compose deliberately avoiding pitch shifts, and compensating for them as they occur if necessary by using another type of progression that shifts the pitch the other way - or else work with them and use them as a feature. Small diesis shift melodic steps can be very attractive in the right context for instance, if the listener is suitably prepared for them by the lead up and follow on chords and melodic material.

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In menu

Main window Menu | In

You use this menu to select which device to use.

If no devices are listed here, check to see if your soundcard is suitable for Midi input - a few aren't, in which case you will need a new soundcard.

Your midi equipment can usually be connected to the sound card via the joystick port. One needs a connection box which plugs into it, with connection cables for the joystick, for midi In, and for Midi out. This is a very low price piece of kit - about $20 or so. Then, one plugs ones midi keyboard or wind controller into this using a midi cable.

Your sound card may also have separate midi connections which you can use which bypass the joystick.

Below the list of devices you'll see other options in this menu.

In | Ok to use several at once - lets one use several midi in ports at once. For instance, you can midi relay from your score editor, and at the same time, play from your midi keyboard retuned through FTS in the same scale.

If you don't have a MIDI input device, you may still want to add virtual midi in devices to this menu to use FTS to relay the MIDI output from another program - for instance, to retune the output of your sequencer or notation software. See Midi Relaying

To select which device your notes get played on see Out menu .

Your midi out device gets opened automatically whenever you play a MIDI in note, or relay one, and remains open until you close it yourself, or exit from FTS.



Select part by drop list

Tasks | Midi Relaying Advanced , and In | Options .

When you are relaying to FTS from a sequencer or notation software, it works pretty much like a midi synth set up with the appropriate tuning table (but with only 16 note "pitch polyphony"). The FTS parts then work like the midi synth's channels. For details see Parts .

Select part by input chann. With this option, to play in part 3 (say), you simply send a note to FTS via Midi Channel 3. This is the standard setting for Midi relaying.

Select part by keyboard regions , parts are selected into regions of the keyboard. For details of how to set this up see Keyboard Regions . This is the standard setting for the Midi Keyboard.

Select part by leftmost keys of keyboard . Playing the leftmost note of the keyboard will select part 1, the next note selects part 2, and so on (and you lose the lowest 16 notes of your keyboard range for the part selection). So, you just play along on the keyboard, and when you want to change the part, play the corresponding key.

You can specify the leftmost note of your keyboard from In | Options | Scales for parts Presets .

Select part by controller You vary the controller to change the part. The standard setting is to divide the controller range between all 16 parts. This means that a rather small change in the pedal will change the part.

To change between less than sixteen parts, use In | Options | Scales for Parts | Scale / Arp. depends on part . The controller range is divided between the scales for parts you have selected - the fewer you have, the larger the controller increment needed to change parts, which makes it easier to use. Here you can make the scales for the parts all the same if you like.



How to change the voice for a part when midi relaying

To change the voice, just change the voice as you would do normally, which sends a program change message to FTS via Midi in.

For Select part by keyboard regions , the program change applies to the part the note is played in. By way of an example, suppose you have the keyboard split into left and right. If you send a program change message, and then play a note in the left half of the keyboard, then this will change the voice used for the left half of the keyboard. To change the voice for the right half, you'd send another program change message, and then play a note in the right half.

To see which voices are selected into the parts, look at the Parts... window. You can watch the voices change here as you send the program change messages from Midi In., and also select the voice for the part from the Parts... window yourself as an alternative to doing it from your keyboard.

FTS may relay the notes for a part to any channel in order to retune it, but wherever they go, it will apply the appropriate program change first.

Similarly if you send a modulation controller message from Midi in, it will be applied to the appropriate part in FTS, and so relayed accordingly, i.e. FTS will make sure that any channel it is relayed to has the correct setting for modulation (changing the modulation for the output channels as necessary). The same approach applies for any other controller you send (including the pedals), and to aftertouch.

However, since FTS is really using pitch bends rather than tuning tables, generally the midi out channel actually used isn't the same as the part. If one needs to know which channel the notes are being relayed to at any time, you can find out using Out | Notes in Play... To see how FTS is relaying the various controllers, use Out | Options | Controllers in play... .

The part you play in for each note is also shown at the bottom of the In | Options window and the In | Options | Note played more details window.


The Notes Played window - for midi relaying

You can show all the notes in the Notes Played... window as you play. This is a basic kind of score (no clef signs, and just dots for the notes). The idea is just to show some indication of what you are playing as you play. It can't be edited, or saved. If you want to save your playing, save it in midi file format using the option to record to midi in the main window or Bs | Record to File . - that isn't a perfect solution as Midi isn't particuarly designed for working with microtonal scale systems, but it's the best I can do right now. It would be nice to make this window editable, and possibly I will do so at some point in the not so distant future.

However, this window does already have some features useful for playing in microtonal scales, e.g. the Intervals selection from the drop list and the nudge to pitch options. See Special Notations . For other information about this window, see also Score options and Tune Window

To see your notes appear in the Notes Played window as you play, you need to select Bs | Notes Played | Options | Show MIDI keyboard notes . This is the standard setting.

You will probably want to select Tune | Options | Position by time (if this check box is cleared, it shows all the notes regularly spaced one after another - even if played simultaneously or almost simultaneously in a chord).

If you play a new note after a minute of silence (with no fractal tune playing either), then the Tune window is cleared before it shows your note.

Showing the notes you play on the score simultaneously with the fractal tunes:

If you want to play along with a fractal tune and show the midi keyboard and the fractal tune both in the same score, properly synchronised, you also need to select Tune | Options | Use actual times . The standard setting here is unselected.

The actual notes played for a fractal tune can lag behind the desired times, especially if the tune is extremely rapid. The notes you play yourself are shown according to the actual times they are played (no desired times for those). So to synchronise both together on the score, you need to select Use actual times .

When you use the Tune window with a fractal tune, then it behaves in a special way in response to the Pause button:

If you Play a fractal tune and then Pause it, the count of time for the Tune window pauses, so all notes you play from MIDI In will be shown for the same time, as a single chord. The count of time for the Tune window continues when you press Continue , or Stop . Notes are played normally, only the display in the Tune window is affected.


Retuning Midi player

Tasks | Retuning Midi Player

You can use FTS as a midi player. It only plays format 0 files (prob. the most common midi format). However, it can retune them to any temperament you choose - modern tunings, historical temperaments for nineteenth century music and earlier, just tunings appropriate for Indian music, authentic Scottish Bagpipes scales for pipe music, etc.

First click the Standard Settings button for this view. This sets FTS up to play the original midi file with the tuning unchanged, like a standard midi player.

To play a midi file use Browse , to find it, or select it from the drop list, then click the play button.

If you'd like to use FTS as your Windows midi player, select Make this your midi player , and then you will be able to play any midi file by double clicking on it. This means FTS will also play the midi files you find on web pages.

The most likely use of this is to temporarily change your midi player to FTS to retune some midi clips (e.g. on a web page you have browsed to), and then just unselect this option to change back to your usual Windows midi player when finished.

Technical detail: (you don't need to know this, it is just for those who are interested in such things) FTS backs up the previous entry by renaming it as a file association for the extension . MID_was . You can find this backup in the registry under the key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT in Regedit.

The retuning midi player can only play midi format 0 files. This is probably the most common format, but many files are in format 1 and occasionally you will find one which is format 2. If you want to listen to a Midi format 1 file in FTS, you need to save it to disk and convert it to type 0 first. You can use Gunter Nagler's freeware utility mid1to0 to do this. If you come across the much rarer format 2 midi files, you can convert them to midi format 0 using his freeware mid2to0 program (same page).

To try another twelve tone tempering: select the twelve tone scale you want to use from the main window Scale drop list, or enter the values in cents / ratios in this box.

Note that you can change the tuning of the scale while the clip is playing; there's no need to stop it and restart it to change the scale.

To transpose the music up or down in pitch, change the pitch for the 1/1 of the scale with the Pitch... window.

Playback speed : plays the clip faster or slower.

Ignore voice selections - you can use this to set up the voices for the parts. To do this, select this tick box, and then set up the voices for the parts as you want them in the Parts window.

Suppose by way of example that the original clip uses piano, and you want to hear it on harpsichord. You just need to select the harpsichord into all the parts. If it has several voices, often you find that the midi clip will keep to one voice for each midi channel, and if so, you just need to select the voices you want to use into the appropriate parts, i.e. part 1 for channel 1, and so on.

Channs to play from Midi In Chann / Mid In :

Change this if you want to ignore some of the channels in the midi file. Often a midi file is organised so that each channel plays one of the parts. Look in the Parts window while the midi file is playing to see which voices play in which part.

For instance, if you want to leave out the flute part (and try playing it yourself perhaps), then look at the Parts window to see which part is playing the flute voice. T

E.g. if part 7 is playing the flute, change the Channs to play from Midi In Chann / Mid In to read 1-6 8-16 , and part 7 will be silenced. For those who have read the sections of this help concerning midi relaying and retuning the midi keyboard, the way this works is that the standard setting for teh retuning midi player is to select In | Options | Select part and voice for part by input chann. - See Select parts by drop list for more about this.

Of course, this method of leaving out one of the parts won't work if the piece is one that has already been retuned to some other scale, e.g. using FTS, as then the voices will probably be play notes scattered over all the channels depending on the pitch bends.

You can save your retuning of the midi file for later listening - use the Options window, select MIDI format 0 (*.mid) as the file type, and enter whatever file name you want to use.

Then click Record to file , to record to midi as the clip is played.

To do this, you will need to click Record to file first, and then click the play button in your MIDI player. This makes for a short delay between starting the recording and hearing the sound. However, you can erase the silence at the start of the recording by selecting Start rec. at 1st note . Again, for those interested in technical details, that works by setting all the delta ts in the file to 0 until the first note on is received.

If you midi relay, notes are midi relayed one at a time. This will introduce occasional delays - Windows has minimum resolution of 1 ms for midi relaying, and is usually run at 2 ms resolution as 1 ms resolution puts a lot of stress on the system, and could cause it to stop responding in rare circumstances.

In practice however, the midi messages seem to be relayed in bunches, with several of them relayed in rapid succession each time, all at the same time on millisecond level. So the total delay between first and last note played in a cluster of notes might for instance be zero for a chord of two or three notes, and for larger chords, about 2 milliseconds for every five or six notes in the chord.

This raggedness is well within what one takes as acceptable in the best human performances.

If one wants to remove it, one can use File | Midi File Options | Skip any notes smaller than and set it to, say, 0.004 seconds. The notes you hear relayed are unchanged as this only affects the save to midi. When you replay the saved file, then the notes of the chords will be simultaneous.

The only remaining effect on the sound is that beats can vary in length by a few milliseconds from the original timings.

Times in the file will be exact only if you retune the file directly. Presently you can't do it like this in FTS. However, SCALA can do it. To find out how to do this see the next section, Retune in SCALA .

Another effect of this method of playing and recording as you play is that if you look at the retuned midi file in a sequencer or notation software, you will find that FTS doesn't try to preserve the original tempo indications of the file. As a result, you may well find the bar lines are not aligned properly any more.

There is another effect of the remapping of the midi channels which can't be avoided - Scala or any other program will do the same. If you look at it as a score, notes that are heard as a single line, will be shown as notes spread out across several channels, so your retuned flute concerto will no longer have a single flute part. If you want to be able to read the retuned file as a score you need to unselect Out | Options | Pitch bend and retuning Options | More Pitch Bend Options (Ctrl + 164) | Ok to change channels for pitch bends . In many temperaments, this will restrict you to monophonic parts or at most parallel octaves. It restricts you to polyphony in which all the chord intervals in each channel are twelve equal intervals.



Retune in SCALA

This explains how to retune a Midi file in SCALA from FTS, using the current scale and arpeggio. This is of most relevance if one wants to edit the result in a midi sequencer, or view it in a notation software - see the previous section. Also of course it is a more convenient method if you have many files to retune as FTS can only play each file in turn and save it as it is played. I could possibly add this feature to FTS later, but as SCALA can do it already there is little incentive at present :-).

You need to edit the command file for SCALA listed under Bs | Scales Options | SCALA Scales | Make / remake scales / modes drop lists and select SCALA .cmd file | Scala .cmd file to run first

Choose one of them - you can have three separate ones, and you may want to leave one of them as the preset version of the file. Rename the new one as you like (preset name: show_xxx.cmd ). Then click the Edit button to edit it.

Then edit it to add a couple of lines - the ones shown in red below:

! show_xxx.cmd
! Load and show scale xxx.scl
load xxx.scl
set attribute cents
! exclude channel 10 for playing midi = Non Melodic percusion channel in GM synths / soundcards
set exclude 10

!use to convert a MIDI file
EXAMPLE /MIDI test.mid test_retuned.mid

The line in blue is a comment to remind you what this file does, so that you will know next time you edit it - it is an idea to add that too. Any line beginning with an ! is a comment.

The line

set exclude 10

excludes the non melodic percussion channel for melodic voices (means channel 10 will be used for non melod. perc. only, as is the situation in General Midi Mode). This is what one is most likely to want when one makes a midi file for general use. It's in the standard command file used when starting SCALA from FTS - but one may want to remove it if one is using a Non GM synth / soundbank / sampler, to make best possible use of all the available channels (does no harm to leave it in, just means that one of the channels can't be used for the melodic notes).

The line

EXAMPLE /MIDI ex.mid ex_retuned.mid

does the actual retuning. This one retunes the midi file ex.mid and retunes it to ex_retuned.mid. Edit those names to show whichever midi file you want to retune, and the output midi file name you want for it.

Now click Scales Options | SCALA Scales | Show current scale in SCALA

and your midi file will be retuned to the current scale.

You can retune it again, any time you like, to any scale, by clicking this button again.

This retuning is done in SCALA rather than in FTS - and you will see SCALA start up whenever you click the button. So, for help about how it works, see the SCALA help, and for any trouble shooting about this, contact the author of SCALA, Manuel Op de Coul.


Trouble shooting

If you find that now and again the notes are slow to respond when you press a key, see if you can find any other computing intensive programs running in the background at the same time.

It might not necessarily be one you started up yourself. It could also be one of the Windows "housekeeping" programs scheduled to run at that particular time. If you can find out which program is responsible, you can then solve the problem by stopping it.

Check what you have listed under Start | Programs | Accessories | System tools | Scheduled tasks (Win 98).

Also try Start | Run | Msconfig (type it into the box), and see what you have listed there, especially under Startup . See if you can recognise anything that is likely to be computing intensiive -You can remove programs by clearing the selections here, then rebooting (use care here - some of the programs in the start menu may be needed for your virus scanner or other installed programs).

You can also try Ctrl + Alt + Delete , look at the list of all the programs running, and see if you recognise anything that might be computing intensive, and stop it.

Other things to try: close any extra windows such as Parts , Midi Keyboard Regions , and Note played details , or any other windows that respond as you play a note, such as the ones that show the controllers in play, notes in play, the amount of modualation etc for each part, and so on..

If you find you run low on resources when using FTS, then try View | Custom list boxes . Lists and drop lists use resources - for instance Out | Notes in Play window uses a fair amount of resources - about 2% . for that one. But if you change to the custom list boxes, it works just the same, but uses no resources at all.

Also, close windows with drop lists if you don't need them - they use resources too - and I haven't done a custom drop list for FTS yet.

Running low on resources is a thing that can only happen in Windows 9x - if you use XP then there are no resource limitations at atll. To keep an eye on resources use Start | Programs | Accessories | System tools | Resource Meter (Win 98). You may need to install this meter from your setup cd using Start | Settings | Add Remove Programs | Windows Setup .

Playing multi-media is fairly computing intensiive, and generally, the less you have running, the better.

As a last resort, if you still get glitches in playback, you can try changing the priority class of FTS - use with care.



In | Options | Presets

The quick way to get started using MIDI in with FTS is to choose one of the presets.

Koto + Shakuhachi would be a good first choice, as it is particularly easy to improvise in, with no wrong notes.

This is a traditional Japanese combination of instruments. All notes below middle C are assigned to the Koto, while notes from middle C upwards are assigned to the Shakuhachi. The scale used is the Koto scale from the Scales menu.

The scale starts at middle C, with successive white notes mapping to successive notes of the scale. The koto is a kind of horizontal harp or zither, so this is particularly appropriate for it - one can think of each white key as corresponding to one of the strings of the koto.

In this preset, any black note of the midi keyboard plays the same note as the white note immediately below.

Koto is traditionally played with lots of fast arpeggios made by sweeping the hand across the string - you can get a similar effect by now and again brushing your hand across the white keys.

Shakuhachi is traditionally played with long sustained notes interspersed with fast virtuosic grace notes.

It would be authentic to occasionally pitch bend the start of a long note, especially on the koto.

If you have a modulation wheel , note that it applies to both parts independently. For instance, to add vibrato to the shakuhachi part only, set the modulation wheel while playing a note on the Shakuhachi. All other controllers work in the same way.

Same applies if you have a wheel to control the volume . You can watch this as it changes for the parts from Out | Options | Controllers | Channel volume 7 . then click the Highlighted Controller button.

Out | Options | Controllers in Play | Channel volume 7

Similarly, all other controllers you can send can be watched here.

Actually there are three places the volume is controlled - the main window volume, and the Parts window volume control and then the channel volume. The Parts window volume and main window volume just affect the note on, while the channel volume affects the note while it is playing as well. They all work together, - if main window volume is 64, and part volume is 64, and the channel volume is 64, then each will reduce the volume to a half what it was, so altogether, they will reduce it to an eighth of the original volume

The original koto can have several notes sounding simultaneously, while the original Shakuhachi, since it is a wind instrument, will normally play only one note at a time.

If your soundcard or synth has a legato mono mode, as most do, you can use Out | Options | Port / Leg for this.

Alternatively, use In | Options | Kbd Regions , highlight Shakuhachi in the Assigned to column, and tick Solo - this only imitates mono mode by switching off any notes in play before playing the next one. However, it is set for the instrument rather than the part - the Shakuhachi will now be a solo instrument whenever you select it for MIDI in, until you unselect the Solo box for it again.

This is particularly useful when playing fast grace notes, as is authentic for the Shakuhachi - makes sure there are no overlaps from one to the next.

Other instruments in the presets that would sound good as solo are the whistle, the oboe, and the shanai (a type of oboe or shawm)

Some other presets to mention particularly

White notes for mode, black for accidentals (if any), play ch. 1.

This is the standard setting, so the preset is included as a way to reset this, without changing anything else.

Successive white notes map to successive notes of the mode, whatever it is, while black notes play any in between notes of the scale that are in the right place.

For instance, if scale has a note between the note of the mode played by the A of the keyboard and the one played by the B, then the B flat key will play it.

If it has a note between the B and the C, you can still play it using the Accidentals as sharps pedal / key / etc. - see Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard .

Church organ, quarter comma mean-tone

Quarter comma mean-tone is the scale that church organs were tuned to in medieval times, and for some time after - gives particularly sonorous major chords as it is tuned to give many pure major thirds. However it has one wolf scale (G sharp major) which is completely unplayable - try playing a G sharp major chord, and you'll see what this means. Does it sound rather sour to you? This is the true wolf fifth , and unfortunately the chord also has a sharp major third. Compare with the sonorous C major chord.

Harpsichord, 15th century theorists' 17-tone keyboard layout

Uses the 17 note keyboard layout mentioned by Margo Schulter as one described by music theorists from the time of the early 15th century. She says that:

"Lindley rightly raises as matters of open conjecture the possibility that this keyboard tuning may have had some influence on the vocal music of the young Dufay and his peers, or that some actual keyboards of the period 1370-1450 may have had more than 12 notes per octave."

See Pythagorean tuning , section 4.5 Pythagorean tuning modified: a transition around 1400 .

The scale is the same as the Arabic 17-tone Pythagorean in the Scales drop list, starting at note 8 of this scale (or the other way round, Arabic 17-tone pythag. starts at note 9 of the fifteenth century scale).

The harpsichord is a particularly appropriate instrument to use for this preset, as it was invented in the 14th century, and prevalent in the 15th.

To put it in context, here is a nice introduction to the history of the piano and keyboard instruments: U.K. piano page .

19 and 31 tone presets

For these, one needs to play some accidentals as sharps, and some as flats. For details of how this works, see Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard .

Marimba modulation array

Each double octave of the MIDI keyboard plays the just temperament 12 tone scale.

The reference scale is the one centred on middle C on the keyboard (which also plays middle C).

Successive double octaves above start at the G, and D of the middle C scale, i.e. a pure fifth higher.

Successive double octaves below starts at the F, and the b flat.

The first octave starts at the e flat.

Each JI scale thus starts a pure fifth above the one to the left of it, except for the scale starting at F. The scale starting at F has its G in tune with the scale to its left on the keyboard.

One thing to try out with this preset is to play any tune plus accompaniment which can fit into one of the double octaves, then play it again in the next one.

Choose for instance, the double octave up to middle c, and from middle c upwards (or any pair of double octaves except the ones playing b flat and f for the c key).

You will hear the same tune with exactly the same just intonation, played a pure fifth higher.

To get all the scales starting a pure fifth above the previous one, including the one starting at A (but have sharp major thirds). change the Scale to Pythagorean twelve tone .

Indeed, you can change to any other scale, and the double octaves of the keyboard will be modulated up by the seventh degree of the underlying scale, then the fourteenth (for double octaves to right of middle c) and down by 7, 14 and 21 degrees of the scale for the middle c double octave.

To modulate in the same way for every octave of the keyboard instead of every double octave, choose this preset, and then choose New part for every octave from Part to play for Midi In notes .

All non melodic percussion and vibraphone

This assigns all 47 non melodic percussion instruments to successive notes of the keyboard from two octaves below middle C (C2, or C') upwards. Remaining notes play the vibraphone - modern jazz xylophone invented in 1921.

It's intended as an easy way to try them all out to hear what they sound like.

Harpsichord, Sesqusexta - Margo Schulter's two Pythagorean scales at an interval of 7/6 .

This plays two twelve tone scales at a particular interval apart in the left and right halves of the keyboard. It is set for Margo Schulter's Sesquisexta - two pythagorean twelve tone scales at an interval of 7/6. One could explore many other twenty four tone systems in the same way.

To change the interval of modulation, go to Parts... and highlight part 1, and edit the Modulate by (interval) column to whatever interval you want, e.g. enter 50 cents if you want to play quartertones, or 81/80 for two scales a syntonic comma apart, etc.

The preset is set up for a four octave keyboard as a kind of lowest common denominator. If your keyboard is larger, you will prob. want to change the position of the 1/1 in the two halves of the keyboard.. You can do it from In | Options | Kbd regions .

She plays these scales on two midi keyboards, and to set things up like that, choose this preset, then choose In | Options | Select part by input chann. , then connect the keyboards so that one of them plays notes on channel 1 and one of them plays them on channel 2. You'll need a two to one midi merge unit for this or some such method.

Guitar, variable comma meantone, + modulation wheel for range 1/5 to 1/3

This is Graham Breed's idea.

Use the modulation wheel to vary the size of the comma

You'll see the scale like this:

@mt 1/3 @min 1/5 @max 1/3 scale 63.504 cents 189.57 cents 6/5 379.14 cents 505.21 cents 25/18 694.79 cents 758.29 cents 5/3 1010.4 cents 1073.9 cents 2

Here the @min 1/5 sets the minimum value of the comma, the @max 1/3 sets the maximum value, and the @mt 1/3 shows its current value.

As you move the modulation wheel, you'll see the @mt 1/3 change to show the current value of teh comma - and the rest of the scale changes accordingly.

To change the range, edit the min and max fields, so for instance:

@mt 1/3 @min 1/6 @max 1/4 (you can leave out the rest of it)

makes a variable comma meantone varying between sixth and quarter comma.

If you leave the min and max values out, and just enter @mt you get the preset value for the range, which is 0 to 1/4.

To change the position of the wolf fifth, use Bs | Scale then select Mean Tone... from the drop list. Then just set the desired position for the wolf. You don't need to use the apply buttons - whatever value you have here for the position for the wolf gets used for the variable comma meantone next time you move the wheel.



Play in arpeggio (etc) drop list

In | Options | Play in ...

Intro , Ways to play from successive keys rather than just the white keys , Advantages and reasons for using the arpeggios , The Edit seed, scale or arpeggio options


With the standard settings, the white keys play the arpeggio, which you will normaly set to the most important one for your tuning - which is diatonic in twelve tone systems. Then the black keys play any accidentals.

This is especially suitable for initial explorations of arpeggios and modes, as you can go up the arpeggio by playing successive white keys. The notes are consecutive even if there are more or less than seven notes to an octave so you have no repeated notes. Playing the arpeggio then becomes an experience like playing one of those small diatonic harps - you ignore the black keys altogether and think of the white keys as like harp strings playing successive notes of the scale you want to play.

But then there's the bonus that if there happen to be accidentals to play in the right place then the black keys play them too. If not, well the black keys just play the same note as an adjacent white key - but if you need to play accidentals, you can space the arpeggio out so that it is played by every other white key or every third white keys etc or design your own custom mapping

If you prefer though, you can also play the scale from successive keys of the keyboard, or play the arpeggio from successive keys, and indeed use just about any layout you like - it is very flexible.

So, to summarise, you can play the arpeggio from your keyboard, or you can play the scale. You can then play it from the black keys, white keys, all keys, with various other options, or devise your own keyboard mapping for it.

This drop list selects what you play, and the options here are:

Play in Arpeggio - plays notes of the arpeggio.

Play in Scale - plays notes of the scale.

You use these in conjunction with the Play Arpeggio from drop list which you find in the Midi keyoard retuning and Midi relaying tasks, or from In | Options | Midi Keyboard Options | Play Arpeggio from See the next section Play Arpeggio or Scale from .

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Ways to play from successive keys rather than just the white keys

The standard setting is to play the arpeggio from the white keys. However some musicians prefer to ignore the arpeggio and instead play the scale from consecutive keys. If that is what you want to do, then fine.

If you want to do this with one of the scales with no arpeggio list associated with it - don't choose follow scale as that will play the scale from successive white keys. Instead, choose diatonic from the arpeggios drop list. This means that the scale degrees 0 2 4 5 7 9 11 12 get played from white keys and the in between notes get played from black keys - so you get the entire scale played from successive keys as desired. It doesn't matter if it is a scale with more or less than twelve notes because FTS will just continue the mapping in the same pattern beyond the end of the scale so it will still work - try it and see.

Another method here is to choose Play Arpeggio from , but choose Follow Scale as the arpeggio, and All Keys as what to play the arpeggio from.

Finally, you can choose Play in Scale and play it from All Keys again, in which case the arpeggio is ignored altogether. Many choose to do it this way and I don't want to discourage you if this makes FTS easier for you to use .However the other methods, though they sound more complicated, have advantages to them. See the next section. They are as easy to use once you get used to how they work.

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Advantages and reasons for using the arpeggios

There are various subtleties here that make Play Arpeggio from especially useful, particularly when combined with White keys or the other options in that list. It is useful particularly for exploring the wealth of different modes available in some of the scales.

It means you can immediately play the major scale (say), in any n-et or scale that has one by selecting the appropriate major scale in its Arpeggios list. The black keys then play accidentals. Obviously if the scale has more than 12 notes then one will have several accidentals for each black key, and there are various ways of selecting them - see Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard .

You can also quickly try out all the modes in the Scala list without any need to learn the fingering for each one. Okay most know how to finger major and minor scales in twelve keys - but do you want to learn how to finger all those hundreds of arpeggios in the drop list before you can play them?

With other tuning systems with more than twelve notes to an octave, then it is even more useful - because you can't fit all the notes of the scale into one octave of the keyboard. For instance in 72 equal you would need 72 notes for a single octave. Even in say the 17 tone Arabic scale, you will need a two octave layout (with repeating notes) if you play it from all keys.

With this method, you can choose any of the modes and you can immediately play it from the white keys.

Even if you decide not to use Play Arpeggio from with White keys (or some of the other optins there too) normally, you are missing out on quite a lot by ignoring these possibilities - and may well find it useful on occasion for some purposes. Some find it a bit confusing because it is one more thing to think about and the approach is a little unfamiliar at first - but it isn't hard to get used to what it does, and it is far more flexible.

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The Edit seed, scale or arpeggio options

Edit new Seed, Scale or Arpeggio - when one of the Seed / Scale / Arpeggio windows is showing, edits the scale or arpeggio, or records new seed.

Play new Seed, Scale or Arpeggio - when one of these windows is showing, plays in the seed or arpeggio. For the Seed, plays in the main window arpeggio - same effect as recording the seed, but no notes are recorded.

Select Sync. with New Seed / Scale / Arp. to synchronise this Midi in drop list with the Edit, Play, Main radio buttons of the Seed / Arpeggio / Scale windows.

The idea here is that if you have any New seed / scale / arpeggio windows visible, you can select it to recieve the input from MIDI in with a click on it's title bar. If the radio button is set to Edit you will edit the seed, scale or arpeggio from your midi keyboard. If it is set to Play - then you can play the scale or arpeggio. If it is set to Main then the midi keyboard works just as it does with the main window.

The way it works is that if one of the scale / arpeggio / seed windows is active (title bar highlighted), and you have it set to Edit or Play , then the selection in this drop list changes to the appropriate option - so that your midi keyboard will either edit or play the seed, scale etc. as appropriate.

When you make another window active, the selection returns to either Play in Arpeggio or Play in Scale - whichever of those you had selected previously.

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Play Arpeggio or Scale from

In | Options | Midi Keyboard Options | Play Arpeggio from

Called Play Scale from if you are editing or playing a scale in a Scale window, or have In | Options | Play in Scale selected.

It works in conjunction with the Play in arpeggio (etc) drop list - if you haven't read that section yet then see it first for an introduction and explanation of how this all works.

To summarise, you use Play in Arpeggio (etc) to choose what to play - the arpeggio or the scale. Then you use this drop list to choose which of the music keyboard keys you use to play it - your keyboard mapping..

The standard setting is to play Arpeggio notes. In that case, this is how it works:

White notes - White keys play successive notes of Arpeggio . Black notes play "accidentals" of the mode, if any. This is the standard setting.

White notes pentatonic - Pentatonic white keys play successive notes of Arpeggio . Black notes, and the B and F play "accidentals" of the Arpeggio , if any. May be useful for five note arpeggios.

Black notes - Black keys successive notes of Arpeggio . White notes play "accidentals". Another one for five note arpeggios.

All notes - Successive keys play successive notes of the Arpeggio .

You can also make your own custom mapping .

For a seven note Arpeggio , one is most likely to use White notes .

If playing a five note Arpeggio , you may well want to try Black notes .

All notes is useful for a twelve note arpeggio selected from a larger scale. So, for instance, Meantone Chromatic (53/220-comma) , and the other twelve tone modes in the 31-tone equal temperament modes list can be played in this way.

If you have In | Options | Play Scale from selected, these keys play successive notes of the scale instead of the arpeggio. The arpeggio is ignored.

Note that the position of the octave for your arpeggio depends on how many notes it has, and may not align up with the octaves of the midi keyboard.

By way of example, suppose you have selected to play the Folk scale from Rajasthan India from successive white notes . This scale has six notes to the octave, and there are seven white notes. Suppose you use middle c key to play the first note of the scale (which is the standard setting).

As you go up through the scale with the white notes, you reach the octave at b rather than c' . Then the next octave is reached at a' , and so on. Like this:

white   : c   d   e   f   g   a   b   c'  d'  e'  f'  g'  a'  b'  c''...

arpeggio: 0   1   2   3   4   5   0'  1'  2'  3'  4'  5'


 0'' 1'' 2''

                                 First octave at b 

       Second octave at a'

It's like playing successive notes on one of those small diatonic harps - but one that can be retuned instantly to any tuning you like. For instance, you can get a harp like glissando by sweeping your finger up / down the keyboard. It is easy to play fast runs in the arpeggio, because you just play successive white notes, with no need to skip any of the keys as you play. Indeed if it is an unfamiliar arpeggio you are exploring - maybe an Indian raga for a western musician for instance, you don't even need to learn its key signature or the fingering to use - you can just play in it straight away.

However you may prefer to start each new octave in the same position relative to the black notes.

If so, select Repeat scale or kbd oct. . The way it works is, when one reaches the end of the scale or arpeggio, then if this happens before the end of an octave of the keyboard one skips to the beginning of the next octave to start the next repeat. Any extra keys in the previous octave play duplicate notes.

For the Folk scale from Rajasthan India , the b will now play the same note as a , and you reach the octave at c' , as desired.

white   : c   d   e   f   g   a   b   c'  d'  e'  f'  g'  a'  b'  c''...

arpeggio: 0   1   2   3   4   5   5   0'  1'  2'  3'  4'  5'  5'


                                      First octave at c' 

         Second octave at c''

Incidentally if anyone reading this is specialist in the Indian or Arabic tunings - I'm aware that many of them ascend one way and descend another way. You can make your own ones in this fashion in FTS. I'd also like to include such lists in FTS - but it requires a musician of the traditions to prepare a suitable database of them for inclusion in FTS to help performers. See the faq: I play Indian or Arabic music and would like to use modes which ascend one way and descend another way. Can FTS help with this?

To find out more about such modes, see The Arabic Maqam World , Near Eastern Modes for the Arabic seventeen tone system, and for the Indian modes (which use the 22 srutis, or nowadays, the modern Indian twelve tone Gamut), see The sound of India .

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Custom mapping

In | Options | Midi Keyboard Options

Edit this using the box with the numbers in it below the Play Arpeggio (or scale) from drop list.

You enter the positions in the 12 tone midi keyboard octave for successive notes of the scale. End with 12 if you want the pattern to repeat identically for each octave of the MIDI keyboard.

The box below: 0= is where you set the place where you want the mapping to start from in the keyboard. The standad setting here is 60 , so your mapping starts at middle c, which is the most usual requirement.

Example: if you choose White keys you will see that the mapping is 0 2 4 5 7 9 11 12 with 0= set to 60 means that notes 60, 62, 64, 65, 67, 69, 71 and 72 are the ones that play your arpeggio or scale. These indeed are the white keys, as it says. The pattern is then repeated for the entire Midi note range.

There is another way of entering the keyboard mapping, which is to use the Scala format - select this box to use it.

The white notes are then shown as - 0 x 1 x 2 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 7 . So the idea is that you show which note of the scale (or arpeggio) to play from each key of the keyboard, and you use an x if the key is un-mapped. In FTS the unmapped keys will play the accidentals of the arpeggio, if any are available.

Note that the SCALA keyboard mapping format is a little more flexible than the FTS one as you can have several keys of the keyboard all playing the same note of the Scale / arpeggio. However, if you try this in FTS you will get a message about it as FTS doesn't support this in its keyboard mappings at present. If you want several keys of the keyboard to play the same pitch, you will need to make them as repeated pitches in the scale or arpeggio first, and then assign them to the keyboard accordingly. (I made the FTS keyboard mapping a long time ago, before I was aware of the Scala keyboard mapping format).

Repeat scale or kbd oct. This pads out with your scale or arpeggio with duplicate notes until the end of the mapping if there are less notes in it than there are in the mapping. For example, if you use this with play from white keys, then it will repeat your arpeggio every octave of the music keyboard - so that the same chord has the same fingering in all the arpeggio repeats. In order to achieve this, if the arpeggio has less than seven notes then it pads out with repeated notes up to the octave. It works in the same fashion with other mappings too..



Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard

Introduction , Methods of selecting accidentals using an ordinary keyboard layout , Options to configure this , Tonic shifts , Space the keys further apart , Custom mappings , Dual keyboard approach .


The 19-tone and 31-tone presets make a good starting point for a first exploration of finer shades of accidentals. The 19-tone system is a good example of one with a distinction between flats and sharps, and the 31 tone system provides a good example of one with finer distinctions - in this case, semi-sharps and semi-flats .

Why should one make such a distinction?

It's because if you play scales with justly tuned major thirds, then the ones with sharps in them such as E major are tuned differently from the ones with flats in them such as Ab major.

I'll use the the midi notation here, where the number shows the octave, with middle C at C5. Let's treat C5 also as the 1/1 of our tuning system.

If you start from E5, and go up a major scale in E major, the next notes are F5#, G5# (and then A5). If on the other hand you treat C6 at 2/1 as the major third in the key of Ab major, you go down C6, B5b, A5b. Then you can work out, using the ratios for pure major thirds, that the G5# here is at 25/16 (a 5/4 above the 5/4 of the E), while the A5b is 8/5 (down by a 5/4 from the 2/1 at C6).

The interval between the A5b and the G5# here is the sytonic comma of 81/80. You can hear the sytonic comma in this tune smithy file: enharmonic_shift_for_G_sharp.ts For a fuller explanation, see Harmonics and just temperament .

So if one wants to play justly tuned major thirds, or near just, and also to change key, one will want to distinguish between sharps and flats. In fact, the desire to play these intervals as much as possible will probably lead you to something like the quarter comma meantone scale, which can be extended round the circle of fifths with its flattened fifths to make a scale with distinctions of sharps and flats. If instead you want pure fifths, then you will end up with something like the Arabic seventeen tone system (or even more notes, depending how far you want to be able to modulate). If you want to play justly tuned septimal minor thirds, say, you will want yet more accidentals, and so it goes on.

In most of these systems the flats are sharper than the sharps below them so the notes go like this:

C C# Db D D# Eb E ...

However in the pythagorean systems the pure major fifth is sharper than the one in equal temperament, so in this which case the sharps are slightly sharper than the flats.

C Db C# D Eb D# E ...

More generally, a lot of these systems get constructed using the circle of fifths, with the fifths adjusted in pitch to be a bit sharper or flatter. As you go up and down in the circle of fifths: Gb Eb Bb F C G D A E B F# C# G# then depending on the size of ones fifth, the Gb here may be flatter than the G# (as it is in mean-tone) or sharper (as it is in Pythagorean twelve tone). It is only identical in twelve equal, and also in the compromise well temperaments since they are designed as twelve tone systems. In all other systems of this type one needs to make a distinction between flats and sharps.

As soon as one makes a distinction between sharps and flats, you find that aren't enough black keys between the white keys of the C major scale to play all the accidentals one wants to use. Keyboards have been built for the 19 tone system - these have split black keys, and extra black keys between E and F, and between B and C.

You often find that these systems produce extra intervals that aren't part of the original design as it were. So for instance, the E flat of the 19-tone scale is an ordinary minor third above the C, while the D sharp is a wonderfully dark septimal minor third above the C, and there are other harmonic subtleties. Here one could think of the D sharp as an adventitious accidental - well depending on ones original motivation for developing a nineteen tone system.

The normal layout for split keys is to put the C sharp, E flat, F sharp, G sharp and B flat towards the front of the split black keys, and the other accidentals behind. Those notes are the ones for the scales closest to C major - you use them to play the C, D, F, G, A, and B flat major scales.

The more remote accidentals D flat, D sharp, G flat, and A sharp are played further back on the black keys. Often extra small black keys are also added between the E and F, keys for E sharp/ F flat, and similarly between B and C for B sharp / C flat.

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Methods of selecting accidentals using an ordinary keyboard layout

One can use a normal keyboard if one has some way to play a sharp or a flat from the same black key. Some of these methods are fairly easy to implement in software. You can find some of them in the In | Options | Kbd Options | Accidentals as drop list

sustain pedal - hold down the pedal to play the more remote accidentals, such as D sharp, and also to play the ones that lie between two white notes - so with the pedal down, you play an E sharp instead of an E, and a B sharp instead of a B.

space bar of PC keyboard - same idea - hold down the space bar to play the more remote accidentals.

caps lock or num lock - same idea - but this time you switch the lock on / off to play the remote accidental - this means that you don't need to keep a key held down all the time while you play the remote accidentals.

Another alternative is to use the soft pedal , if one has one - that works like the sustain pedal. Note that you can also use these pedal and keyboard methods when playing the notes from the PC keyboard - however as it doesn't have black and white keys particularly, you need to select an appropriate PC keyboard layout for the notes first. See Pc keyboard accidentals .

note velocity - the idea here is that if you play a loud note you get a sharp, and if you play a soft note you get a flat. As you increase the velocity from 0 to 63, the volume actually heard goes from 0 to 126 (double the velocity played). Then after 64, the note switches over to the other accidental with an intial volume of 0 at this point. This increases to 126 again as you play yet louder notes, until you reach 127 for the input velocity.

Another option here makes it so that the the more remote accidental gets quieter as you play more loudly/

These systems are quite effective for some transitions, while others aren't so easy to do.

By way of an example where it works well - when playing in c minor in a tuning system with sharps and flats, then since this has flats in its key signature, the Eb key plays your Eb. You could play a septimal c minor chord instead by holding down the accidentals pedal as you play, to get a D# in place of the Eb. The C and G won't be affected by this.

Where it begins to not work quite so well is if you want to play a chord that has some accidentals in it that need the pedal, or keyboard shortcut or whatever, and some that don't, all to be sounded at once - that just can't be done with the pedal method except as a broken chord plus some gymnastics :-) - though it is still possible with the note velocity method.

The note velocity method is one of the most flexible here, but can sometimes be a bit tricky for keyboard work as you have to learn to hit just above the split between the two volume levels if you want to play the remote accidental quietly. Try it out and see if your keyboard technique and keyboard is up to it :-).

The velocity method works very well indeed for midi relaying from a score - you just need to add 64 to the volume level for a note in order to play the remote accidental. You just lose some of the possible velocity settings to compensate - as you can now only specify the volume of a note in your notation program to within two units out of 127 instead of one out of 127, because of the way the numbers all get doubled.

Finally you can use patches as accidentals - this is especially suitable again for midi relaying from a notation program or sequencer. It is the most flexible of all if you can get it to work, but may be tricky to do depending on how your notation software lets you work with midi events. To find out about this method, read: Patches as accidentals .

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Options to configure this

Only use if arpeggio starts @a - the accidental shifting pedal could cause puzzlement if one didn't know about it, and most of the time one will want sustain to work as a sustain pedal rather than an accidental changing key. So as an extra precaution, you normally have to prefix your arpeggio with @a before you can use the Accidentals As pedal / key. Unselect this if you want to use the accidentals changing key for all your arpeggios anyway.

Mixed # / b - select this if you want to use the usual layout of remote and near accidentals.

When this check box is unselected , all near accidentals are played as flats normally, and you use the Accidentals as key or pedal to get the sharps, which are the remote accidentals.

When selected . the near accidentals can be either sharp or flat depending on the position in the scale.

The near accidental is a flat if the step to the next note in the mode has less scale degrees than the step to the next note in the mode after that, and is a sharp otherwise.

For instance, in the nineteen-tone major scale, the step from D to E is 3 notes of the scale, i.e. 3 scale degrees, and from E to F it is 2 scale degrees. Since the E to F step is smaller than the D to E step, the black key between D and E will play a flat as the near accidental, i.e. E flat. Since the step from C to D is the same as the step from D to E, the black key between C and D will play a sharp, i.e. C sharp.

You can also get a small black note between E and F on the 19 tone keyboard. Here there is no distinction between the sharp and the flat. The near accidental is the natural - i.e. when you don't use the key or pedal you get the natural. The far accidental is the sharp / flat, which is what you get when the key / pedal is held down.

The small black note between B and C works similarly, as does any accidental in any arpeggio which happens to lie between B and C or between E and F on the keyboard.

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Tonic shifts

This is another approach one can explore, and is very flexible indeed if the main reason one uses accidentals is for changes of key. One can combine it with the other methods. To find out how it works, see Tonic shifts .

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Space the keys further apart

Another way to play fine shades of accidentals is to space the notes further apart.

For instance, maybe successive notes of the Arpeggio play middle c, then e, g, b, d', f', a', c' . I.e. you need to play alternate white keys to play the mode.

Probably for many the easiest way to find out how this works is to just experiment with a few scales and find out what happens. For those interested in the details, here they are:

It is easiest to explain with the Mixed # / b box unselected . The accidentals are all played as flats of the next note in the mode . So, with the alternate white keys layout, the C5 of the keyboard will play the first note of the arpeggio, and the E5 of the keyboard will play the second note of the arpeggio.

The E5b will then play the note of the scale immediately below the second note of the arpeggio - flat by one note of the underlying scale. The D5 will be flat by two notes in the underlying scale, and the D5b will be flat by three notes - at least, it will be if there are that many scale degrees between the first and second notes of the arpeggio..

If there are more keys than there are accidentals, the remaining keys all play the same note - for instance the Db here might play the same note as the D if there are only two scale degrees available.

So for instance in 19-tone equal temperament, with Nineteen-tone Major as the Arpeggio, playing this from alternate white keys, and everything else at the standard settings, the C5 key plays C5 and the E5 key plays the nineteen equal D5. The E5b key will play the nineteen equal D5b, and the D5 and D5b keys will both play nineteen equal C5#.

So in 19-equal, this gives us all the accidentals we need, with some keys to spare.

In 31-et, then there are more accidentals than there are keys available, so the E5b key will play D5 half flat, the D5 key will play D5b, the c sharp key will play D5#, and there is no key left to play D5 half sharp.

Now when you put the Accidentals as key or pedal on , to play the in-between keys as sharps, they play sharps of the note below, worked out from the bottom upwards. This gives us the missing D5 half sharp.

So, to play all the accidentals of the major mode in the 31 tone scale one needs Alternate white notes , with occasional use of the Accidentals as pedal / key to play some of the semi-flats and semi-sharps. One needs every third white note if one wants to have all the accidentals available without use of a pedal / key. The notes of the major scale are then widely spaced on the keyboard - a bit like playing them on a double bass!

I've used 19-et and 13-et as examples here. However, the same ideas apply for any arpeggio in any scale.

If you choose white notes in the Play from drop list, white keys play the arpeggio, and black keys play accidentals. Here the "sharps" are one degree higher in the underlying scale, and the "flats" are one degree lower - and everything else is as before.

For larger scales, one may have many more accidentals available than there are keys to play them.

For instance, if the arpeggio step is 15 scale steps, and there is only one key available to play all those accidentals, obviously some way has to be devised to choose one of them. The way it is done is that it will play 7 scale steps above the previous note, or 7 steps below the next note, depending on whether it is a sharp or a flat. For an even number, e.g. tone = 16 steps, it will always play the middle note, whatever it is, +8, or -8.

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Custom mappings

If one wants to still play all the accidentals of a scale with many fine distincions of accidentals, the solution is to use a custom mapping to space the notes of the arpeggio even further apart on the keyboard.

The standard keyboard is of course designed specifically for use with diatonic music with accidentals. So in the more general situation (e.g. Indian ragas, Javanese gamelan scales, or whatever) the black keys won't necessarily always be in the places you need them.

The option White notes pentatonic could be useful for some scales, as you can play the mode from the white keys, and there are keys for the accidentals in between every note of the mode. Or if one is comfortable playing a mode using black keys, and accidentals using white ones, Black notes is a possibility. However in the general case, neither of these may be quite satisfactory either.

So again one may want to use a custom mapping of the keyboard to the arpeggio, one especially designed for a particular scale. E.g. some notes of the mode could be spaced out to alternate white keys to make room for the accidentals, and others could be played from successive white keys.

For details about how to do this and make custom mappings, see Play Arpeggio or Scale from .

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Dual keyboard approach

Another approach is to use two keyboards, or divide the keyboard into two halves, each playing the same range of notes, but with one half transposed with respect to the other by some interval, giving 24 notes to an octave. Try Margo Schulter's Sesquisexta in the preset list to get a taste of this approach.

One could use three or more regions in the same way, but two keyboards is particularly suitable as one can use one hand for one keyboard and one for the other. I suppose an organist could probably learn to use three keyboards, with foot pedals for the third shade of accidental :-).

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Notation for accidentals

In| Options | Midi Kbd Options | Notations for accidentals

In FTS, an accidental is any note of the scale between two notes of the arpeggio. So for instance, there are two accidentals between C and D in nineteen tone C major scale, while in thirty-one tone major, there are four.

Accidentals as - various ways that you can use the accidentals. See previous section Playing fine shades of accidentals from the music keyboard .

Only use if arpeggio starts @a - see previous section .

Use half flats / sharps notation for arpeggios with steps of 3 or 4 degrees of the scale - these notations are shown in the Seed / Scale / Arepeggio windows when you choose to show note names or scale degrees from Bs | Seed etc | Options . Also shown in the Tune window if you select Tune | Options | Notes as | 31-et or 72-et .

Half flats / sharps notation - these just go -, b, b-, bb, bb-, ... and +, #, #+, ... This way to notate the accidentals is more compact than just having as many flat or sharp signs as you have notes to go down or up in the scale.

Twelth tone type notation - use one of the standard sets of ascii symbols for twelth tone scales (i.e. 72-tet), or devise your own.



Patches as accidentals

In | Options | Kbd Options | Accidentals as | sound effects

The last option in this drop list is to use the sound effects patches - plus the reverse cymbal, so that e.g. if you play a Reverse cymbal before any note in your score, - well it doesn't get sounded of course, and instead, it will drop the pitch of the note by four steps in the underlying scale. This is meant for use with midi relaying. One could design an accidental in your notation software program as a midi patch + an appropriate graphic and insert it in ones score, and then on playback through FTS, it will be retuned accordingly.

I have chosen the sound effect patches here as the standard setting, since they are rather seldom used in midi work. However, you can use any patches. Set the Patch for 0 as desired, and the range for the accidentals - how many patches to use as accidentals before and after. You can show the patch numbers in your Voices drop menu using Help | Add instrument numbers to Voices menu . So for example, if you were happy to leave out the ocarina, and all the synth patches, and wanted a range of accidentals of +-8 , you could set the Patch for 0 to 95 , and the Accid. range to -8 to 8 .

This doesn't work quite like the other options in the Accidentals as list.

All the notes are dropped down after the accidental - so if you insert the midi patch you will transpose the entire tune from then on up or down by the accidental (i..e. by so many scale degrees in the underlying scale). The way this works is easiest to see if we first use it for a separate melodic line. Suppose that you want the D# in nineteen equal. So you will play:

Telephone ring - raise all following notes by one scale degree
- this note gets raised by one scale degree to D#
Bird tweet
- returns to no accidental.

or alternatively

Seashore patch - lower all following notes by one scale degree
- this note gets lowered one scale degree to D#
Bird tweet
- returns to no accidental.

Now, this will work fine with an arpeggiated chord as well. Since FTS remaps the notes to other channels depending on the pitch bend needed, the accidental doesn't affect any notes already in play. It will also work fine in a non-arpeggiated chord, if you send the notes of the chord to FTS on separate channels. In this particular example you could. use a separate channel just for the D#.

You can also use it in a non arpeggiated chord with the notes all in the same channel, but here now it begins to get tricky - well potentially.

You need to be rather careful how it is done. You have to place patches between the notes of the chords, and then play them simultaneously by doing this with no time interval. The idea here is that when you play a chord in Midi, though the notes all sound at the same instant in time, actually your synth still plays them one at a time in order- it is just that it plays all the notes of the chord in the same millisecond or so, so that they sound simultaneous. So,it makes sense to specify an order for the events in a midi stream even for simultaneous notes. If you record them to a mdii file you can see the event stream there with the events as played, one after another in order, with the simultaneous ones marked out as having no time increment from teh previous event.

Perhaps your midi sequencer will let you set yoru patches and note ons in order like this - if so, also be sure that it is able to keep to this sequence of midi events when it plays the notes, or saves them to a midi file.

However you mightn't be able to specify the exact sequence of notes and patches directly in your sequencer - it may be possible but it is perhaps more likely that it will automatically move all the patches to the front of the chord for instance.

So one approach here is simply to make all your chords with accidentals arpeggiated - but to introduce a very short time delay between each one, say one millisecond. Then since it really is an arpeggiated chord though very quickly arpeggiated, your notation program should now preserve the correct order for the patches and note ons.

Here are two more possible work arounds - they may sound complex at first but they are pretty easy to do actually. They would be appropriae if your piece isn't too lengthy - well actually it wouldn't be that hard to do even with a lengthy composition, probably easier than inserting pitch bends by hand into the score anyway..

Make the chord first in your sequencer, and place the patch you want to use for your accidental in front of the notes of the chord - but not necessarily yet in the right position of course because we aren't able to do that.

Then save it to a midi file from your notation program. Save it in midi file format 0 .

Then open the midi file as hex - you can do that from FTS from File | Open | Files of type | MIDI file -> play or hex dump . Choose No to open as a hex dump. Now, don't be alarmed at the mention of Hex here! You don't need to know much about how it works and I'll explain it clearly.

Look for the patch for the accidental, which should be pretty easy as FTS adds a comment to the hex dump. E.g. if it is Seashore patch, search the file for Seashore.

Here we are - original file with the patches out of order after the midi save from the sequencer. Everything after the ; in each line here is a comment added by FTS to explain the hexadecimal.

:30 c0 7a ;ch. 1 change voice to 122 - Seashore ...48 ticks, 1.875 + 0.125 -> 2 secs
:00 90 3c 6e ;ch. 1 note on 60 (0 cents from 60) vel. 110 
:00 90 3f 6e ;ch. 1 note on 63 (300 cents from 60) vel. 110 
:82 48 90 3c 00 ;ch. 1 note on 60 (0 cents from 60) vel. 0 ...328 ticks, 2 + 0.8542 -> 2.8542 secs
:00 90 3f 00 ;ch. 1 note on 63 (300 cents from 60) vel. 0 
:20 c0 7b ;ch. 1 change voice to 123 - Bird Tweet ...32 ticks, 2.8542 + 0.08333 -> 2.9375 secs

Here note 60 is the middle c - we want that unchanged so it goes before the accidental. Note 63 is the Eb, and we want to use the Seashore patch to lower it by one scale degree. Then we want to use the Bird Tweet to change back to the normal tuning of the notes immediately after the Eb.

So this is the order we want for the patches - to put the two patches to either side of the note on for note 63:

:00 90 3c 6e ;ch. 1 note on 60 (0 cents from 60) vel. 110 
:30 c0 7a ;ch. 1 change voice to 122 - Seashore ...48 ticks, 1.875 + 0.125 -> 2 secs
:00 90 3f 6e ;ch. 1 note on 63 (300 cents from 60) vel. 110 
:20 c0 7b ;ch. 1 change voice to 123 - Bird Tweet ...32 ticks, 2.8542 + 0.08333 -> 2.9375 secs
:82 48 90 3c 00 ;ch. 1 note on 60 (0 cents from 60) vel. 0 ...328 ticks, 2 + 0.8542 -> 2.8542 secs
:00 90 3f 00 ;ch. 1 note on 63 (300 cents from 60) vel. 0 

That's pretty easy to do - just select the entire line in the hex dump, and use cut / paste ot move it up or down to wherever you want it to go. So long as we work with entire lines, then there is nothing really to go wrong here.

Now we want to change this back to binary format and re-save it. One way to do it is to use the free program b2hedit, which you can get from

You open the hex dump from FTS as text in b2hedit, and then save it as binary (remember to add the .mid extension when you do this, as b2hedit doesn't know what a midi file is; it is all just binary data as far as it is concerned).

Then play back in FTS, e.g. from the retuning Midi player view, with the patches as accidentals option switched on, and you will hear it as intended.

The thing you need to be careful about when editing a midi file is to make sure that the total length of each track stays the same, or if it changes, you need to edit the line at the head of the track:

:00 00 01 3d ;chunk length 317

This needs to reflect the number of bytes in the track because otherwise your midi player will probably. complain about an incorrect midi file format. So if you add or remove events from the midi file, you would need to edit the 1 3d at the end here, which is hexadecimal for the 317 accordingly.

Since we have only re-arranged the order of the bytes, nothing we have done has changed the length of the track in bytes, so the number shown here will be correct, and everything will be okay.

The other way to do it is to make an arpeggiated chord with, say, 4 millisecond delays, but then edit the hex to remove the time delays. You can do that without changing the size of the track, so it is easy to do. Ths time, look at the time field - the first two characters in the line:



 90 3f 6e ;ch. 1 note on 63 (300 cents from 60) vel. 110

Change this to 00



 90 3f 6e ;ch. 1 note on 63 (300 cents from 60) vel. 110

and re-save. This doesn't change the total byte length of the file so long as the time field here shows a single byte - i.e. two hex chars as it is here. It will work fine to remove any short duration time interval - double bytes are only needed for long duration notes.

This second method does change the total time of the midi clip - you have cut this note short by 4 milliseconds and that time has simply been cut out of the total length of the midi clip.

If you are concerned to keep the total length of the clip the same, - well you will set the number here to 0 as decribed,buty ou will also have to add the 4 to the next time field. Since all the numbers are in hex, you need to add the 4 as a hex number - not hard really, but since the Windows calculator Start | Programs | Accessories | Calculator has an option to do calculations in hex you can just use that to do the addition, even if you don't know how to add in hex.

Actually there isn't much to it when you want to add a small number like 4.

In hex, the numbers run like this 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 a b c d e f 10 11 12 ... 1f 20 21 22 ... 2f ... 90 ... a0 ... f0 100 ...

So e.g. if you add 4 to 1e, then you can just count up like this: 1e, 1r, 20, 21, 22 and that is four steps upwards, so 1e + 4 = 22, as you can confirm in the windows calculator.

For more about the fiile format see Deciphering the hexadecimal - how it works .



Midi Keyboard Options

In | Options | Kbd Options

Some of these options have separate help sections

For the Play Arpeggio (or Scale) from part of the window, see Play Arpeggio or Scale from .

For the Accidentals As drop list, see Notation for accidentals

Presets regions - various ways of dividing the keyboard into regions.

Part 1 = entire keyboard plays part 1. To play another part, select this option, and then enter the number of the part you want to play in the Parts to play box.

Highlighted part - keyboard plays the highlighted part in the Parts window.

Highlighted part + middle C key plays 1/1 - keyboard plays the highlighted part in the Parts window. Also sets middle C to play the 1/1.

To change the midi keyboard key to play the 1/1, show the Keyboard regions window, and then select the key for the 1/1 from the 1/1 column.

Two parts left and right - the left and right halves of the keyboard play the two parts shown in the Parts to play box.

These options can also be good starting points for custom layouts - choose the nearest one to what you want and then use the Keyboard regions window.

Sustain "pedal" - Select what you want to use from the drop list. You can use a normal sustain pedal as well with all these options, so it is preset to the PC keyboard space bar as an additional way of applying sustain. This is of value for users without a sustain pedal, and also it is useful if one wants to play music from the PC keyboard on its own without a midi keyboard. It may also be useful if one has re-assigned the sustain pedal to some other function such as selection of accidentals.

The keys will work normally - e.g. the space bar will type spaces as usual if you use it in a text field, but at the same time it will also act as a sustain pedal for Midi in.

When using the space bar as a sustain pedal, first set the keyboard focus to something that ignores spaces (so that you don't type a lot of spaces while it is held down). You could click on the sustain pedal drop list first, for instance, as it ignores the space bar.

Only retune new notes - the standard setting here is that the pitch bend wheel retunes all notes in play. It needs to work that way so that you can slowly bend the pitch of a note up or down. However sometimes one may want to use it to retune new notes only, and leave ones already in play tuned as they are. If so, select this option. Hold down one note, adjust the pitch and add another note to the chord, and the pitch will apply to the new note only - the old note will remain tuned as it was before.

Pitch bend applies to next note only - With this option whenever you adjust the pitch bend wheel, your new pitch applies to the next note played only. Actually your keyboard may send an additional pitch bend just before the note gets played set to the current position for the wheel which will make this option identical to Only retune new notes . It introduces something new if you use it to play a midi file using Tasks | Retuning Midi Player , or to retune the output of a notation program..

Pitch bend range (semi-tones) \nGM standard setting is +- 2 - the standard setting for pitch bends is to bend the pitch up / down by up to a whole tone, i.e. two 12-et semi-tones. Suppose you want to try octave swoops - so that as you change the pitch bend wheel the note swoops up / down by an octave. Then you want to use a range of +- 12 semi-tones.

Some soundcards or synths won't let you change the pitch bend range (there is no requirement in the GM specification that it has to be possible to do this).

For soundcards of that type, you could try Multiply all midi in pitch bends by - you then get your octave swoops, but the notes are resounded for every whole tone during the swoop as they get outside the pitch bend range from the previously sounded note.

This can also be used the other way round to increase your resolution. If you are happy to use pitch bends of at most a semitone, which is still good enough to play all possible pitches (with no overlap) and want better pitch bend resolution, set the pitch bend range to +- 1, or choose to multply all the pitch bends by 1/2.

You can use even finer values here if you are playing in a well temperament and don't want to move that far from twelve equal, for example in much diatonic work it may be appropriate to stay within 20 cents or so of twelve equal. If so, you could set the pitch bend range to +- 20 cents. You could do that here by specifying a range of +- 0.2, or you could alternatively choose to multiply all the pitch bends by 1/10.

Octave swoops and the resolution of pitch bend wheels

Octave swoops can in principle work fine in Midi as there is plenty of resolution in the midi spec for pitch bends. This is used in FTS for the mouse / joystick theremin for instance.

However, you may well find that your midi keyboard pitch bend wheel has a very coarse resolution if you set the pitch bend range to +-12 semitones.

Why is this?

The problem is, as you move the pitch bend wheel to change the pitch, the usual thing is to send new pitch bend values for every position of the wheel (that's because the user could stop abruptly at any point).

With the finest resolution of the pitch bend message, you have 8192 positions for the whole tone. A modern PC running Windows can process a several midi events per millisecond, but not that many. Processing 8192 positions might take a second or more (depending on the vintage of the PC). The PC would be completely occupied with doing that - it would stop responding to anything else as sending midi is done at nearly the maximum priority possible; only a few system tasks will have higher priority.

So the usual solution is to send the coarse part of the pitch bend message only - this gives 128 messages for the complete range of +- one whole tone (400 cents) - or one message for every 3.125 cents.

They do other things to reduce the number of messages too, - maybe if you move the pitch bend wheel fast the resolution will drop by a factor of two or more; so it would be no surprise if ones pitch bend wheel has a pitch bend resolution of more like 6 cents most of the time.

This may not be so noticeable if one is doing pitch bends of +- a whole tone max. But, multiply all the values by 6 and you get a best possible pitch bend resolution of +- 18 cents or so, and 36 cents if moving the wheel fast - easily noticeable as separate notes if one is used to listening out to pitches.

Some pitch bend wheels may have fewer pitch bend messages than that. My old keyboard pitch bend wheel sends pitch bend messages for every semitone or so when you set it to do octave swoops.

It should be possible to do the opposite and increase the resolution when one moves the wheel more slowly and so recover some of the extra pitch bend resolution, though only for slow movements of the wheel. So it would be practical to build a wheel that had 8192 pitch bend messages for a tone, but most of the time if you moved it fast would send a message only for every 256 points or so in the range, gradually increasing resolution to every data point if you moved it slowly enough. I wonder if this has been done?



Keyboard regions

In | Options | Kbd regions

Intro , Set the parts , Set the first and last notes , set the key for the 1/1 , Assign non melodic percussion , Midi Keyboard short cuts for making seeds


You can divide the keyboard into regions in FTS, via software (much as one can do in hardware on some keyboards).

You assign a part to a region of the keyboard. So for example, with the Koto and Shakuhachi preset, the left half of the keyboard is relayed on part 2, which has been assigned to the Koto. The right half is relayed on part 1, with the Shakuhachi. Since a part can also have a scale and arpeggio assigned to it, and controllers and so forth, this means the regions are very flexible.

To see the parts, and to change the voices selected into them, see the Parts... window. You select a voice into a part in this window by highlighting the part, and selecting the voice from the Voices... menu.

A quick way to set up a layout for the regions is to use. In | Options | Kbd Options | Preset regions

Use the Kbd regions window for more detailed editing of the regions.

First use Split or Remove until you have the correct number of regions showing.

Note that the regions in this window can't overlap, not at present anyway (maybe for some future update). However, you can create the effect of overlapping regions to some extent by assigning two voices to the same part for the area of overlap: like this

         Bassoon        Bassoon and Oboe     Oboe    
   Part  1                Part 2             Part 3

To assign two voices to the same part you would first make a custom voice with those two voices playing simultaneously from Voices | Custom Voices | Edit Custom Voices (or if they voices happen to be flute and oboe or one of the ones already made, use that one). Then select that voice into the part, here you select it into part 2.

Now, you can set up the regions using using scroll bars, or you can do it by playing notes on the midi keyboard. Here is how to do it using the keyboard. The scroll bars method is the same, except you use the scroll bars instead of pressing a key on the keyboard, and you don't need to click Start and Finish .

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To set the parts to play for each region.

Click Start . Highlight each region in turn and select the parts you want to use from the Parts... window.

Alternatively, select the part you want to use for the region from the drop list below the Assigned to column (you don't need to use Start if you do it this way).

If you select the same part into two successive regions, they will amalgamate into a single region - the regions are just a way of showning how the keyboard is organised into parts.

 Part 1    Part 1     Part 2   

amalgamates to:.

       Part 1         Part 2   

Note that you can select the same part into any number of non successive regions, so something like this is perfectly valid:

 Part 1    Part 2     Part 1     Part 2

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To set the notes to play for each region.

It is easiest to start from first region in the list and work downwards.

Highlight the first row. Then choose Region - top note from the drop list of things to change. Or, a fast way of doing the same thing, click on the Region column - and you'll see the drop list selection change .

Then play the top note for the region from your Midi Keyboard. Alternatively, just use the scroll bars for the top note below the Region column - they scroll the note by note name, by chromatic note name (note number), and by octave.

Continue doing this for all the regions in turn. You can't change the top note for the last region in your list, as it will extend all the way up to the highest possible Midi note (note 127).

To change the bottom note for a region, change the previous region's top note. So for example, if you want a region to start at g , set the top note of the previous region to f# . The bottom note for the first region is the lowest MIDI note (MIDI note 0).

To remove a region, highlight it, and click the Remove button.

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To select the key for the 1/1 of the scale.

Select the method you want to use for choosing the 1/1s from the drop list. If you want to use the same for each region, i.e the scale just continues across keyboard from left to right, then choose Same for all. If you want each region to have its own 1/1, use No sync. of 1/1s .

Now highlight any of the regions. Click on the 1/1 column, or select 1/1 - first note of scale from the drop list. Then press whichever key you want to use for the 1/1 (or select it using the scroll bars below the column)

When it is all set up as you wish, click Finish .

Note that the key for the 1/1 can be outside the range of the keys assigned to the region. When FTS needs to decide which notes to play within the region, it will start at the 1/1 you assign, and then work up or down from it until it reaches the region.

In other words, you can make a fragmentary region wherever you like on the keyboard and it doesn't matter how much of it or how little you include - if you keep the same value for the 1/1 then the keys within the region will continue to play the same notes - the same notes as you would play if the region were extended to include its 1/1.

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To play non melodic percussion instruments from the keyboard

In | Options | Kbd regions | Start assigning new non melod perc. .

Select the instrument you want to play from the Main window Menu | Voices | Non Melod. Perc... , and then press the key you want to use to play it.

Repeat for all the instruments you want to assign - click the instrument, then press the key(s) for it.

When it is all set up as you wish, click Finish assigning new non melod perc. .

To remove a key assignment, highlight it, and click the Remove button.

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Midi Keyboard short cuts for making seeds

In | Options | Kbd regions | Start assigning new non melod perc. .

Highlight the one you want to edit and (as usual), either click Start and play the key you want to use for it, then click Finish when done, or change it using the scroll bars. You can use these midi keyboard shortcuts when edting scales / arpeggios and when entering new seeds. See Make new seed from Midi Keyboard .

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Note Played - more details

In | Options | Note played - more details

This window shows details of the most recently played note from MIDI in.

The Interval is the interval from the first note of the scale, shown as a ratio or as cents.

So when the Interval is shown as 1/1, the note you hear is the one that begins the scale. You select the pitch of this note using the Pitch window.

The pitch of a part can be transposed up or down using the Parts | Octave shift etc. drop list.

If you see Playing fibonacci tonescape then it means you are playing in the fibonacci tonescape instead of in the main window scale and arp. Means you have Bs | Seed Options | Fibonacci rhythm | Fibonacci tonescape | Play fibonacci tonescape . selected. This could happen if you have been playing a fractal tune with a fibonacci tonescape recently, and haven't used the Play from midi keyboard Standard Settings .

If you see Playing in scale & arp. dep. on parts then it means you have In | Options | Scales for parts | Scale / Arp. depends on part selected.

Another thing you might see is the likes of

Rebound - See Parts | More | Ranges .

This means you have played a note that is outside the range (compass) you have set up for this part. As a result, it has been transposed into range (or won't be played at all if it says "Silent").

If your keyboard has a pitch bend wheel, this adds an extra pitch bend over the ones already used to play the note in tune, in whatever scale / mode you are using. It will bend the pitches of all the notes sounding for that part.

The Ignore extra pitch bends check box is useful if you send the output of another program to the MIDI In for FTS, and want to ignore the pitch bend information in it. When selected, the pitch bend wheel is ignored, and only the MIDI in note numbers are used.

You can see which channel was used to play your note in the Channel actually played box. To see this for all the parts, one can use Out | Notes in Play... .

If your keyboard has a Volume slider, you can use this to change the Volume for part . You can also change it from the Parts window. This changes the volume for the voice channel for the most recently played note.

The notes in play boxes show how many notes are still in play, so if you play a chord, it will show the number of notes in the chord. If you hold down the sustain pedal, and you have sustain processed in FTS, it will keep track of the number of notes still sounding.



Input channels

In | Options | Input channels

Standard setting:: 1 - 16

List all the channels you wish to enter notes or other data from via MIDI in.




In | Options | Kbd Options | Touch

Remap touch - If ones keyboard plays notes in range 1 to 100 for the velocity (as some do) one can remap that to 1 to 127, or perhaps to 8 to 127 if one wants to make sure the quietest notes can be heard on most soundcards and synths (some don't play the very quietest notes at all). You can enter any number of midi in velocities, in increasing order, and the corresponding midi out velocities to play for each (both in range 0 to 127).

Record some velocities to remap - You will get a message explaining this when you click the button. The basic idea is to play a series of notes of steadily increasing volume, and enter the first and last velocity you want to remap them to in the -> box, and then use the Calculate velocities to remap to space them equally between those. You can then edit the results to make fine adjustments.

At present it just uses linear interpolation between the values; a more sophisticated approach would be to use splines to get a smooth curve, which I may do in some future update.

This can also be used with the retuning midi player to vary the dynamic range of a midi clip on playback.

Analyse Touch - this can be used to analyse the touch of your keyboard, if it has damaged touch. Just play all the notes to maximum volume; each one as many times as you like. FTS will record the maximum volume found for each. Click Show touch recording or Copy touch report to clipboard if you want to see the results.

Erase touch recording - use this to erase the analysis and start again.

Compensate - use this to compensate for the touch. FTS will continue to analyse the touch even when it is compensating for it, so once you are satisfied with the result, unselect Analyse Touch .

Perhaps rejuvenate an old keyboard that isn't valuable enough for it to be worth sending to get the touch repaired :-). This is probably something that most affects the low price keyboards, the ones that use air pockets to register the touch. I've just rejuvenated an old one I have in this fashion for use with FTS - one I like for programming as it is light and easy to pick up and use while one is at the PC keyboard, and has active sense, octave shifts up and down to reach the entire midi note range, and all the necessary controls such as pitch, modulation and a data entry slider :-).


In | Options

Most of this window is explained in other sections on this page. See these sections:

Input channels - which channels to accept midi input from

Presets - some presets showing some of the possibilities.

Note played - more details - more details about each note as you play it.

Play arpeggio - which keys of the keyboard to use to play the arpeggio - then in between notes play the accidentals, if any. Standard setting here is white keys.

Play in arpeggio (etc) drop list - what to play from those keys - standard setting here is to play the arpeggio as this gives most flexibility when changing the scale. For instance, one can then use the white keys to play the major scale not only in any of the twelve tone tunings, but also in 19-et, 31-et, etc. The black keys as the accidentals would be treated differently depending on the scale.

Sustain kbd regions independently - affects sustain, sostentuo or soft pedal.

When selected, the pedal will apply only to the region of the keyboard that has played most recently.

Result is: you will be able to sustain regions of the keyboard somewhat independently, e.g. the left and right halves of the keyboard, by pressing the pedal immediately after playing a note in the desired part of the keyboard - and similarly for the other pedals. When you release the pedalt, it gets released for the region with the most recently played note.

To try this out, choose Parts by keyboard regions , and try one of the presets, e.g. the Koto and Shakuhachi, with keyboard divided into two regions.

So for example, one might have a sustained chord in both hands, then enter with a new solo line in the right hand, and at that point just after the note on, release the sustain for the right hand side (by pressing and releasing again imm. after the note on). The left hand chord will continue to sustain. To end the left hand chord you do the same thing there.

When unselected, all the regions get sustained together. Standard setting is unselected.

If you don't have a sustain pedal, you can also use caps lock or num lock etc from In | Options | Kbd Options | "Sustain pedal" .

For Sync. with New Seed / Scale / Arp. see Play in arpeggio (etc) drop list


More Midi In options

In | Options | Out Device Capabilities

Adjust Non Melodic Perc part - Channel 10 is usually the non melodic percussion channel in General Midi. Notes played in channel 10 play various non melodic percussion instruments, depending on the note number.

If you select a melodic voice into channel 10 in the Parts window, it will play various non melodic percussion instruments depending on the note number. This is used, e.g. when relaying from Midi In from a score with non melodic percussion, or when retuning a midi file with non melod. perc. For the GM non melodic percussion map see General Midi Non Melodic Percussion .

Select this check box to make your Non Melodic Percusion Part adjustable. Set this to 0 to treat all your midi in channels as melodic. If you do this, FTS will remap part 10 to the melodic channels in the same way as it does all the other melodic parts.

If relaying to a synth or sampler, then the midi out channels may all be melodic too. You can choose which, if any, of the midi out channels is the GM style non melodic percussion channel from More Midi Out Options

Sustain / soft pedal / sostenuto for kbd regions independently . See previous section .

Pitch bend held notes only . When this option is selected, the notes which are sustained no longer respond to the pitch wheel. The only ones that respond are the ones you actually have held down. To try this out, play a major chord - now sustain it and release all the keys except the major third (say). Now you can use the pitch bend wheel to bend just that note. Release it, and it will stay at whatever pitch you left it at - then you can hold down another note to bend it in the same way to wherever you like and leave that one at its new pitch too, and so on. :-).

With this option, the notes get relayed to as many channels as possible rather than as few as possible as normally is done - so if you have up to 15 notes in play (or 16 with a non GM synth) then you can adjust the pitch of each one individually by holding its key down again. When you go over 15 notes, then maybe some notes will stop sounding to let the new ones play (most likely), or maybe you will find that two of them bend in pitch at once when you hold down only one of them. It works fine for chords up to 15 notes (or 16 for the non GM synth preset).

Process sustain in FTS - useful if you have a device that doesn't respond to the sustain controller... FTS keeps track of which notes you play with the sustain pedal down, doesn't switch any of them off while it is down, and when you release it, switches them all off.

Active sense

Process active sense - some keyboards send a continuous stream of active sense messages. These are very simple midi messges that basically just say "I'm still connected to the line". The recommended way to process them is that if you detect any on your Midi in, you then expect a continuous stream of them. Then if there is a gap in the stream, you assume that this means that the midi in device has been disconnected, and so you switch off all the notes sounding. It is a way to avoid gettting stuck on notes, if you play a note from your keyboard, and the keyboard gets disconnected before you release the key.

Unselect this if you don't want to process active sense.

Relay active sense - relay the active sense from the midi in through to the midi out. Only do this if you know your midi out device can handle active sense messages - no point in sending them on to your sound card, as one wouldn't normally expect one of those to get disconnected from its computer in the middle of playing a note. It could be useful if there is a possibility of your Midi out line being disconnected from the device the notes are being sent to.

Circle checks

This is relevant when one chains several midi programs together, e.g. using Midi Yoke junction. See Loopback circles .

Same name circle protection - it checks to see if the midi in and midi out device have the same name.

Circle protection - if FTS receives a particularly fast stream of notes or midi messages from Midi In (more than 500 messages in a quarter of a second), it does a circle check. It does it by sending an undefined controller out on the midi out stream, and checks to see if it shows up in the midi in. If it does, this means that there almost certainly is a loopback circle set up, so it switches off the Midi In.

The controller used for the undefined controller for the loopback check is coarse rpn 111 - since just the first four registered parameter numbers have ever been used for anything, it seems safe to assume this one will remain undefined in the foreseeable future.

It is rather easy to set up a circular loopback. This is nothing to do with Midi Yoke junction - the same thing can be done just as readily with cables, hooking various midi devices together with cables in a circle. E.g. if you want to trigger one to test this protection, try connecting the midi out of your computer to the midi in with a physical cable, and then run FTS playing the notes on your midi out line, and relaying from Midi in, and you will get a loopback. The notes will circle round through the cables at the maximum possible speed your system is capable of. A program that has no protection from it will cause your PC to hang and stop responding if you do this, needing a re-boot. However, FTS will just pop up a message and switch off Midi In - if you have this option selected, that is.

If one has several programs daisy chained together, the same name check isn't sufficient. Suppose one does it like this by way of example:

junction 1 -> FTS -> junction 2 -> Some other program -> junction 1

If you have this somewhere in the chain it will set up a circular loopback. But FTS will detect it with the undefined controller method, disconnect itself from the chain by closing its midi in, and pop up a message about it.

Midi Yoke junction also checks for this - however the FTS check is timed to key in just before the Midi Yoke junction check keys in, as that is more convenient for an FTS user - means that if it happens, one doesn't have to find the Midi Yoke junction controls to switch it on again.


Why use FTS to retune your keyboard

Twelve equal (all the semitones equal in size) is authentic for twentieth and twenty first century Western music and (this may surprise you) early lute music.

Many other tunings were used before the twentieth century - and occasionally keyboards were built with other numbers of notes to an octave too, from right back in the fifteenth century onwards.

Even the famous classical composers like Beethoven and Chopin composed with instruments that were tuned to unequal temperaments with their own unique charms. For a taste of these tunings, try listening to the Enid Katahn cds such as Beethoven in the Temperaments, or Six degrees of tonality , on modern pianos tuned by Ed Foote. It is only in the twentieth century with the desire to modulate freely and treat all keys as completely identical that the twelve equal tuning began to seem so desirable.

Anyway with FTS you can try out these other tunings and see for yourself, whether you like them. For more ones to try, see More Scales... | historical twelve tone scales . Then try other twelve tone scales in the SCALA scales archive.

Many other traditions have their own tunings - Indian music (melody and pure ratios), Indonesian gemelan music (often with slightly stretched octaves), African tunings, Thailand, .... Some of these traditional musics may seem wildly exotic on first hearing, as I'm sure Western music must appear to those from some of these traditions too. See Scales, modes and intonation .

Some modern tunings don't use octaves at all - they may repeat at some other interval, maybe not even a pure interval at all. These scales are very exotic, but can sound totally convincing when used by a composer who is in tune with that way of working - sometimes indeed one might hardly realise that it is a non octave scale - it may just seem rather fascinating in a way that is hard to pin down exactly.

So this is your chance to explore these other tunings. It used to be hard to explore them unless one had an instrument tuned to the necessary tuning, say a guitar or harpsichord. But now in the twenty first century, we can do it in software, which makes it much easier for those who don't have suitable acoustic instruments to hand. We can also compare various tunings instantly, which would have been impossible before unless one had a whole suite of practice rooms with pianos, harpsichords etc tuned to the desired tunings.

So, hopefully that conveys some of the enthusiasm many feel for exploring the wide variety of tunings in the world. So, why use FTS to explore them? What are the alternatives?

I think there is no question that tuning tables are best, if your synth or soundcard supports them, as then you can play notes in the same channel that would otherwise require separate channels because they have different pitch bends. Pitch polyphony, one might call it. You can use Manuel Op de Coul's SCALA program to update the tuning tables of your synth / soundcard.

However, not everyone has a synth (except for the on-board one on their soundcard), and not all synths will accept tuning tables. FTS will work with any synth or soundcard, without use of tuning tables, by using pitch bends, and by re-allocating the midi channels. Many musicians use it for that reason. In practice, one normally has enough midi channels to be able to play all the notes, unless one has a lot of simultaneous pitch bends and varied effects.

FTS also has various unique features - some that you won't find anywhere else to my knowledge, and some that one can find, but as a rarely implemented feature of a few synths. Here are a few: you can assign multiple scales to regions of the keyboard, e.g. left half plays one scale, and right half plays another. You can switch rapidly between scales using a controller or by pressing a key in the left-most octave of your keyboard. You can play variable comma meantone scales, varying the size of the comma using the modulation wheel. You can change the root of a scale while playing. You can explore the Wilson Combination Product sets by using key combinations to select subsets.

You can also use it to play monophonic legato on any synth that supports it in _any_ of the tunings - Monophonic legato is the setting on many synths / soft synths / soundcards that lets you trill by holding one finger down and then trilling on another note with another finger, much as you do on a wind instrument. That is easy in twelve equal. If your synth / soundcard supports this in twelve equal, then FTS will let you do it also in any other tuning by retuning the channel accordingly as you release the trilled note, so that it snaps back to the correct pitch for the one held down.

You'll gradually find more as you explore. Be sure to ask me if you have a particular requirement for something that you think FTS might be able to do but you can't find out where it is explained in the help, or if there is something you would like to see in a future update of FTS.

Some musicians nowadays are so used to twelve equal that any other types of intervals seem "out of tune". However, this is a recent development. The major third in twelve equal has strong beating and a kind of excited "buzz" to it. Many really like this sound - but even then this interval may well have more effect in a piece if heard in contrast to the more mellow just intonation intervals. Or you can go for an even sharper major third at 81/64 with even more "buzz" to it. There is nothing acoustically special about the twelve equal major third, as it is just one of many thirds which are somewhat sharper than the mellow just intonation one (which is acoustically special, at least, nearly everyone agrees there). However, listening habits are strong! If you find only twelve equal intervals seem in tune, and maybe you have even trained for years as a musician to be able to hit them exactly, you probably need to give the other types of tunings a fair amount of listening time before you accustom yourself to hearing them as in tune too.

If you like the buzzy twelve equal tunings better than any other tuning, then one way into microtonal work may be to start with some of the other equal temperaments, or the Javanese Gamelan tunings.