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Tip of the day

Help | Tip of the day

1. Help - Windows to show - add notes - multi-selections - skin, and colours - overview of changes made - play seed on recorder - joystick or keyboard theremin - oscilloscope - retuning midi player - add instrument numbers to voice menu - custom voice - endlessly rising scale - morph scale from music keyboard - make new tunes drop list - arpeggio as a chord -

17. Play fibonacci rhythms and tone scapes several midi out devices at - change musical e-cards colours and font - play on once custom timbre - tonic shifts - cps - show notes in play - controllers in play - monophonic legato - frequency spectrum - sets / open / save a window - (musical geometry) - choose web browser for help - polyrhythm metronomes - reset - audio clips of all midi voices - show waveform in various styles - edit scales / arpeggios drop lists - equal tempered scales

33. make mean tone scales - superparticular scales - search scales - set up fts for SCALA - space bar sustain and scroll wheel modulation - remap touch - go to main window / close all other windows - play in hexagonal lattice - calculator - enter scale in hertz - find ratio approximations - save tune as midi file - cents / ratios log - save to waveform audio - add text comment for waveform save - MOS scale

49. keyboard shortcuts for windows - save scale in SCALA format - fast forward - play in several arpeggios at once - temp map - redo/undo - drone - start / stop recording from music keyboard - make tunes web page - change voice menu names - select 16 consecutive voices at once - remove non melodic percussion part - resets - .change help font and colours-

65 Window keyboard shortcuts - Gene Ward Smith transformations - Record fractal tune changes (evolving play list) - show most recent msg, Stop fractal tune (F11), Theremin sliding chords, Change recording sample rate - Single note retuning (for FM7 soft synth) - add info to a tune smithy file - Margo Schulter's Sesquisexta - Theremin with sliding harmonic series chords, Lissajous figure visualisation, Colour coding

Tip #1

You can switch this tip of the day on / off from Help | Tip of the day

Did you know that Fractal Tune Smithy (FTS) has extensive help?

Help | Help or Help | Overview will help you get started .The help looks like web pages, and shows up in a web browser - however web pages can be stored on your computer as well as on web sites, and these ones got installed with FTS. You don't need an internet connection to see it.

To get help for a particular window, click on this icon, which you will find in the upper right corner of most of the Tune Smithy windows:


This brings up help for that particular window. Or you can use the F1 shortcut which brings up the help for the currently active window (the one with its title bar highlighted).

For frequently asked questions see: Help | FAQ .

For any problems see Help | Trouble shooting first, then if your question isn't answered, contact Robert Walker,

Switch the tip of the day on / off from Help | Tip of the day .

. There is tool tip help too - those floating tips that pop up when you hover the mouse over a button, check box or other control. Some of these end with ... (a three dot ellipsis). These have extra help which can be viewed in Help | Tool Tips extra Help. Switch the tool tips on / off from Help | Tool tip extra help. More tool tip help is planned for later releases.

Those who use the keyboard extensively will find some special keyboard shortcut options in the Help menu. The option to add a pause before the tune starts may be useful for blind users with a screen reader as it gives time for the reader to finish speaking first.

Many windows are resizable. That includes windows with buttons and text edit fields which you don't normally expect to be resizable, including this Tip of the day. Windows with menus or lists can be made resizeable from Help | Let controls in windows with Lists (Menus) resize. (That's in the larger menu - Help | More if you don't see it).

Special note for newbies to windows.It is easy to use Windows for a fair while before you discover that windows are resizable and can be moved. This is the key to a far more flexible and enjoyable Windows use, so it is worth learning if you haven't aquired the skill yet..

Here are instructions on how to resize a window such as this one, Hover the mouse over the edge of the window, When a double headed arrow appears, press the mouse, and keep it held down. Check it still shows a double arrow at that point, and drag. The window should change shape. If you lose the double arrow, find the edge again and try once more.

Resizing can be fiddly to do at first, but it is well worth while practicing until you get the hang of it.

You can also move a window around anywhere on the screen. To do this you click and drag on its title bar.

I have a web page for Windows newbies: Windows Baby Tips Aso a list of some of the Windows keyboard shortcuts including less well known ones at::



Tip #2

Did you know that you can set which windows you want to see at the start of every session?

The easiest way to do it is to show all the windows you want to have, then press the F8 function key. All the windows you have currently visible will be shown at the start of every session from now on.



Tip #3

Did you know that you can add notes to any window?

They get added to the window you are working with - the one that accepts keyboard input, and the one with its title bar highlighted.

You can use F8 function key to add notes as Word / Wordpad documents, and F9 to add them as plain text.

To see your notes again later, show the same window again,and press the key you used to make them originally.



Tip #4

Did you know that many of the lists are multi-selection - you can highlight and change any number of entries in one go?

Try this with the Parts window. Let's set all the parts to play the Acoustic Guitar .

One way to highlight all the parts is to Click on the first part, then use Shift + Click on the last one.

Now, select the Acoustic Guitar from the Voices menu or type Guitar into the text box for the voice in the Parts window, and you will find that it gets selected for all the highlighted parts in one go. You may find that part 10 is shown as "erased - Perc part" - that is because part 10 is often reserved for non melodic percussion, so with the standard settings for FTS, you can only select percussion into it.

You can use this same method with lists that show numbers too, for instance suppose we want to make all excet one of the parts quieter. Highlight them all as before. To unhighlight one of the parts use Ctrl + click on that part.

Enter the desired volume for the other parts in the text field below the list of volumes. You will see it change for all the highlighted parts. Volumes are in the range 0 to 127 (maximum volume) as is usual for Midi programs.

The up / down or left / right arrows next to the text fields work on these multiple selections too - try this out with the volume again.

This multi-selection of lists is a standard windows technique - you will find it works in most Windows apps such as your files and folders explorer (Windows Explorer) or the lists of e-mails in your e-mail boxes in Outlook Express etc. There it is often used to move or delete or copy several files or e-mails in one go. So, it is a useful technique, but it isn't that well known. It is one of the lesser known Windows secrets I suppose.

Multi selection highlighting for Windows Newbies

Experiment with one of the lists when following these directions to best understand how they work.

To highlight several entries, click on the first one, then use Shift + click on the last one.

To add extra entries to the current highlight or remove them from it, use Ctrl + click.

To highlight (or unhighlight) several additional consecutive entries in one go, use Ctrl + click on the first one you want to add, then Ctrl + Shift + Click on the last one.

Some lists are single selection - they only let you highlight one entry at a time. There is no way to tell which is which by the appearance, so the only way to find is to experiment. Try to highlight several entries in one go in this fashion - if it works, then it is a multi-selection list and you should be able to work with multi-selections as described here.



Tip #5

Did you know that you can change the skin or make your own skins for FTS?

See Tasks | Skins . You can use any image in bitmap format as the background texture - to do that browse to find it for the New image field there, and then use the option to make the image into a new skin of the same name as the image. You can then change the colours using View | Colours, and you can save your colour scheme for the skin using Save skin colours - which will mean that you get back to them again whenever you select this skin from the drop list.

You can also change all the button images for your new skin too. Click the Skins readme button to find out more.

If you prefer a plain untextured type of dialog, unselect Do textures , and also unselect Do skin icon buttons in the Colours window.

Lists normally get shown in the same way in FTS as they do in other programs. However, you can choose list box colours especially for FTS if you so wish - you need to select Tasks | Custom list boxes first. If you are running FTS with a skin, this lets you choose the list box colours to match the skin.

Custom list boxes have another advantage for Windows 9x users - they use no resources at all - while a window with four ordinary list boxes will maybe use 1 percent resources, which mounts up if you show many of them. There are no such resource limitations in Windows XP / 2K / NT however.

They do have one disadvantage - when read in a screen reader by a visually impaired or blind user - they may confuse the screen reader a little. For that reason, the standard setting here is to use conventional list boxes.

If you use FTS on Windows 9x and don't need a screen reader, I recommend that you switch on the custom list boxes to reduce the amount of resources needed by FTS.

View | Custom list boxes.



Tip #6

Did you know that you can show a list of all the windows used to construct the current fractal tune?

This also can be used for Midi Relaying as you can show all the ones used to change your midi relaying set up.

Go to the O (Organise Windows icon) in any window and then use the Overview buttons.

Then look at the Tune Smithy overview for instance, and it will show a list of all the windows with changes in the parameters that affect the current tune. This button only appears for windows that can be used to change the tune.

Then to find out what got changed, highlight the window and click the -> Edited button, and your mouse cursor gets warped to one of the boxes or other controls in the window - that will be one of the ones which has changed.



Tip #7

Did you know that you can make a new seed for your fractal tune by playing it on a musical instrument?

Bs | Find Seed from recording . Show the record control to check that you hae it set to record from the microphone. Click Start recording. Play your desired seed, then stop the recording. Now use the Find & -> Seed button.

To play your original recording, e.g. to compare with the newly found seed, click on Recording (temp)... then Play

This is for acoustic instruments. You can also make a seed for the tune using your music keyboard -for that see Help | Help | Seeds etc | New seed from Music Keyboard

This option works best of with the recorder or other instruments with a waveform which repeats with only one peak, or one peak much higher than the others. It is done by counting individual waves and interpolating to find the crossing points, and is extremely accurate in terms of pitch when it does work - see the technical note below.

Other instruments you can try include other wind instruments (ocarina should be excellent), and singing, though it is very dependent on the individual timbre. Look at the waveform in the Oscilloscope and see if the waveform is complex looking and continually changing shape, or reasonably clear with one main peak larger than the others - or just try, and see if it works..

Sometimes this method may find extra notes, often caused by short transient pitches that occur at the start or possibly the end of a note. Perhaps the pitch measured for the complete note may also get dragged up or down a little by the transients if they are close in pitch to the note itself, and just a little sharp or flat. You can find the pitch of a single note using the option to search the detail (click and drag on the recording window to show a detail view). That can be used to focus attention on the part of a note that you want particularly to measure.

You can use this method to convert your recording to midi, as in Wave to Midi. In the Find Seed window select Play on -> seed and also select Record to Midi on -> Seed . Then choose a file name to save your midi file to from Bs | Record To File Options . Finally, use Find Seed as before. FTS will now make a midi clip from your recording as it plays the seed.

You can open recordings from this window for conversion. However it will only work for a recording with a single line, or sometimes, one with a single clear voice with quieter accompaniment in the background which you wish to ignore.. The wave counting method isn't suitable for music with several parts played simultaneously. It's strong point is that it is useful for finding the pitch extremely accurately for monophonic lines in suitable timbres - and indeed, it is far more accurate than the more usual spectrum analysis methods for suitable timbres

FTS can't yet find the seed notes particularly well for harmonic timbres. However, the work in FTS on improving pitch accuracy for peaks detected in a fourier spectrum make this a natural thing to explore at a later date.. One would use the methods of View | Analyse Recording or Midi Voice | Add harmonic series analysis .

Techy note:

The method works by counting individual waves (when you use the standard settings here). FTS counts the total number of waves in the note, then checks the times at which the first and last waves in the note cross the zero position.

Typically the step in amplitude for a waveform at the cross over point in a 16 bit recording is about 10 data points or so, because the wave is usually at its steepest there - for the types of waveform that this technique works best for. The zero line intersection is found by joining the points to either side with a straight line - linear interpolation.

If the recording is also at 44.1 Khz, typically the maximum error is 0.04 cents for a note of a fifth of a second - quite small!

If the minimum step size at the zero crossing point is reduced to 4, then the maximum error becomes 0.1 cents for a fifth second notes. This is the maximum error - not the standard deviation (quite a difference)! It means that if the waveform is suitable, then you can never get a measurement that is more than this distance away from the actual pitch.

The wave needs to be of regular shape with one peak only or with one peak larger than the others, so that it can be recognised easily by the software. It is more accurate if the waves are louder, because they are then steeper at the zero crossing points.

The wave also needs to be close to linear at the cross over point, - most such waves are, but sometimes you find ones that aren't.

Recordings of whistling will often show smaller ripples superimposed on a larger wave, and waveforms like that won't work well with this technique. The crossing point for such waves isn't well determined anyway, because it may cross over and back several times and the positions of the cross-overs will depend on the relative phase of the smaller ripples on the larger one.

You can look at the waveform in the oscilloscope to see if it is suitable. If it has small ripples but they are normally in the same place each time, it may still be suitable becasue FTS looks for similar waveforms, though the pitch won't be so accurately determined as it is for waves that are always steep at the cross-over points.



Tip #8

Did you know that FTS has a mouse theremin, which can also be used with the joystick or pc.keyboard?

Tasks | Play Fractal Tune | Mouse Theremin

For the joystick version, select

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

If you have a scroll wheel mouse, the scroll wheel becomes a tremolo controller for the mouse theremin - this is the wah wah type effect that you will have heard if you have listened to a theremin. It works with the mouse and with the keyboard. You can change what the scroll wheel controls from Theremin Options | Theremin Controllers (Alt + Shift + D). Even blind users who don't normally use a mouse at all might be interested to get a scroll wheel mouse for special use as a tremolo controller for the theremin. You can also use a normal Midi controller via Midi In - if using that method, set your controller it to use channel 16 as that is the one used by the theremin.

The rest of this tip is for the keyboard option: It is of interest to all, but maybe particularly so for blind users of FTS.

To play it from the keyboard, click on the Mouse Theremin button to show its window, and you will find that you can use the keyboard to change the pitch and volume. It is probably best to try this with the square layout, and especially so if you use a screen reader to interact with the screen.

So first set the Square Layout preset from Theremin Options window (Ctrl + Alt + 2).

You may want to switch off the graphics in this window as they slow down the keyboard theremin particularly. You do that from Theremin Options | Visuals (Crrl + Alt + Shift + V). Switch off the options to join lines, and draw radial lines, and to show info in the theremin window.

Now make sure you have Num Lock switched on, so that you can use the numpad shortcuts.Here are the keyboard short cuts you can use:

The 5 in the centre of the NumPad sounds a note. The other numbers around it change the direction of movement of the mouse in the window, which changes the volume, pitch, or both depending on the direction. So, the 8, at the top moves the mouse upwards erticaly, 9, at top right, moves it up and to the right, and so on. Even if you are blind and can't see the mouse, you will be able to hear the effect of its movement.

Use the ordinary numbers across the top of the keyboard to change the speed of the mouse. 1 makes the mouse move at the slowest speed available, and 0 makes it move at its fastest speed. It will continue to move for as long as you hold the key down - that's because of the key auto repeat of your keyboard.

Then, there's an auto mode for the keyboard theremin which means you don't need to keep a key pressed down all the time to change the pitch or volume. The numpad 0 key at bottom left switches to / from auto mode. In auto mode, the mouse moves at constant speed whether you have a key held down or not. You vary the speed as before using the numbers at the top of the keyboard. However, obviusly you need a way to stop it as well, and to do this, press the key to the left of the 1 in the top row of the keyboard. You use the numpad keys to change the direction of movement as before.

It's also nice to set the theremin to wrap around - in the square layout, this means that when you move the mouse off the right of the window, it will come in again at the left and vice versa. The pitch will wrap around to make this happen with smooth changes in the pitch. - the pitch increasess and then decreases as you move the mouse in the same direction, getting back to where it started. When you use the keyboard automode with this wrap around then the volume movement bounces - when you hit the top of the window it bounces back again.

To switch off auto mode,use the numpad 0 key again. It gets switched off automatically if you alt + tab to another window or click on another window - and stops running if the mouse is outside the window..

Sometimes it isn't so easy to move the mouse out of the window while the keyboard mouse auto mode is running because the mouse is under control of the keyboard - if so, be sure to ermember to use the numpad 0 key to switch it off or set its speed to 0 with the key to the left of the 1 at the top of the keyboard..

To move the mouse in intermediate directions, use the shift, caps lock and Control keys. These change the direction clockwise by increasing amounts, e.g. Shift + numpad 6 gives a direction approximately midway between numpad 6 and numpad 3.

Techy note: The speeds that the numbers across the top of the keyboard select actually follow the fibonacci series -: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 13, 21, 34, 55 and 89 pixels at a time. The intermediate directions are done using increments of (1,3) (1, 2), and (2, 3 ).



Tip #9

Did you know that FTS has an oscilloscope?

Bs | Oscilloscope .

Use Bs | RecordControl - Volume first to choose an appropriate fader there depending on what you are doing, (e.g. microphone, or "What you hear" or "Midi" or the like) then use Start . and you will see the waveform in your oscilloscope.

After you stop the recording, you can click the Play This button to hear the oscilloscope waveform in a loop.

If you are blind or visually impaired you may be interested in Shift + Play which plays a pitch glissando to give you an idea of its shape. It rises and falls in pitch as the wave shape rises and falls.

By way of example, if the waveform has a main peak and some secondary peaks you will hear a large rise in pitch for the main peak and a smaller rise for the lower peaks. Often a guitar has a high sharp peak in one direction, say, the positive side of the zero line and low flattened troughs to the other side (or the other way round) - you may be able to hear this using Shift + Play .

The ocarina usually has a very straightforward sinewave rise and fall. Some other instruments have at least one secondary peak and trough - again you should easily be able to hear this - for instance try a woodwind instrument such as the oboe, which usually have rather few secondary peaks.

Other waveforms are more complex and you'll be able to hear a complex succession of rises and falls in the sound. Often the shape changes as the note progresses, so if you start and stop the oscilloscope at various points in the note you can hear how the shape changes too.

In the case of the more complex waveforms and ones that change shape a lot as the note progresses, the oscilloscope sometimes may pick up a fragment of the wave rather than the complete wave. It uses various heuristics to recognise repeating waves to choose how much of the waveform to show, and they work best with a waveform with a more regular repeating type of a shape.

You can use the Play This button (without shift) to hear the fragment it is displaying so you can use this to check that it is the pitch you are looking for.



Tip #10

Did you know that FTS has a retuning midi player?

Tasks | Retuning Midi Player .

Browse in the drop list for the midi clip to retune. FTS can play format 0 files at present, which is perhaps the most common format - however a fair number of clilps are format 2. If you want to play a format 2 clip in FTS, you can change it to format 1 using a (free) utility by Gunter Nagler to do this - as explained in the help for this view.

You can also set FTS as your midi player for Windows by selecting the appropriate box. Then it will pop up to play any midi files you click or double click on to hear in web pags or files lists.

You will probably not want to make FTS your regular player. However when you unselect this box, you set back to your previous midi player so you can switch the FTS retuning midi player on and off at any time.

Be sure to set the Standard Settings first time you run it. Then just select whatever scale you like from the drop list to change the tuning while the midi clip is played.

Click on the ? icon at top right as usual, or press F1, for help on how to use this view.



Tip #11

Did you know that you can add instrument numbers to the voice menu?

Help | Add instr. numbers to Voice menu

It will then look like this:

Acoustic Grand Piano 1
Bright Acoustic Piano 2


You can also add the percussion instrument numbers to the percussion menu.

Help | Add non melodic perc. instr. numbers .



Tip #12

Did you know that you can make a custom voice consisting of several instruments playing at once?

For some examples see Voices | Custom Voices. You just select a custom voice into a part in the Parts window in the usual way, but instead of playing single notes, it will play maybe two notes in unison on different instruments, or it may play chords, or some of the instruments in the custom voice may play notes every so often, e.g. every three notes or whatever.

You can make new ones or edit the existing ones from Custom Voices | Edit Custom Melodic Voices.

There's another drop list of custom voices in the Non Melodic Percussion menu.

This separation into two lists is just for convenience for grouping them together. You can use melodic or non melodic instruments in any of the cutsom voices, playing together in the same one if you wish.



Tip #13

Did you know that you can listen to the current scale as an endlessly rising scale (shephard tones)?

This works best if the scale has many notes and you play it slowly.

First make sure you select

Bs | Arp. & Scale Playback | Play method Sequence , - this is the standard setting.

Now select Asc / Desc | Endlessly Ascending and click the Scale Play button to hear it.

It's all done in midi which isn't ideal for this - one can get better effects using waveform audio. This is just for fun :-)



Tip #14

Did you know that when playing from a music keyboard, you can morph from one scale to another using your modulation wheel or other controller to change the scale from one to the other in a gradual fashion?

In | Options | More | Scales to Morph to .



Tip #15

Did you know that you can link to your new Tune Smithy files in the drop list in the main window?

The easiest way is to select Bs | Seed Options - All | Make drop lists for folders | Add sub folders to the drop list of fractal tunes. This will work if you saved them in your New Tunes folder, or any other folder within the Fractal Tune Smithy folder.(usually My Computer | C: | Fractal Tune Smithy | New Tunes)

You can also use Bs | Seed Options - All | Make fractal tunes drop list for current folder which will make a drop list for your new folder and link to it from the other drop lists.

To see how it works you can edit the drop list in the main window using the Ed buttons in View | Composer | More. It is a text file with extension ".lft" and it consists of a list of the files to be linked to, one to a line. At the head you see the other drop lists listed such as 2.4.lft which lets the user can navigate to them as well.



Tip #16

Did you know that you can use chords for the fractal tune seeds?

This is done by setting each note to be sustained over the next few notes using Bs | Tempo and volume for tune | Sustain each note for ...notes. Then use notes of zero length to start the chord.

An easy way to do it though is to make an arpeggio with the notes of the chord and use

Bs | Arp. & Scale Playback | Make into seed .

The effect of this button depends on what you choose from the drop list at the top for playback - so you can also make it into a broken chord, or indeed, choose to just use the arpeggio as the seed, which is the least interesting option here.



Tip #17

Did you know that you can play fibonacci rhythms and tone scapes in FTS?

Bs | Seeds Options | Fibonacci rhythm , and Fibonacci tone scapes .

The Fibonacci rhythm is based on an idea by David Canright, extended to allow any pattern of large or small beats. The interesting thing about these patterns is that they have a lot of structure, but it is a heirarchical structure of similar patterns of beats at larger and larger time intervals with the larger beats made out of various combinations of the smaller beats.. So you can feel some kind of structure or texture to it, but it is clearly not a conventional repeating rhythm. In fact many of these rhythms have the interesting property that they will never repeat exactly.

Larger and larger fragments of the rhythm repeat but the whole rhythm never does. At least that is what happes if you have arbitrarily many layers of complexity to the rhythm. In FTS you have 50 layers maximum so they do repeat after many beats - but it isn't much of a practical limiation as even with 50 layers, the repeat time for the rhythm is normally many days.

The tone scapes use two (or three) fixed size pitch steps, and the melody line goes up or down by these intervals depending on the beat size - one interval is used for the large beat and another for the small beat (or three intervals if you use the three beat size rhythms). Then depending on the proprotions of large and small beats in the rhythm, clearly the melody could rapidly increase or decrease in pitch as it went on. But if you let FTS find the companion intervals for your rhythm it can locate ones that will cause minimal pitch drift as the tune progresses.

These are based on an idea by Erv Wilson. He placed pitches on the vertices of a Penrose tiling and had the pitch step depending on the direction of movement in the tiling. Fibonacci sequences are related to the rows of tiles in Penrose tilings in an intimate way, so this suggested the idea of making this link between the Fibonacci rhythms and the tone scapes, and then it was natural to extend this idea to any fibonacci rhythm.



Tip #18

Did you know that you can change the colours and font for the musical e-cards, also visit a web page to send a FTS musical e-card on-line?

Tasks | Play Fractal Tune | Make Musical E-card



Tip #19

Did you know that you can play the parts for your fractal tune on several midi devices and synthesizers simultaneously?

Out | Play on Several Midi Out devices at once .

This is especially useful for microtonal work. You may find that one part needs many simultaneous pitch bends - this is the case for the custom voices for instance. Play that part on a separate device and it will only use up the channels on that one - all the other devices will have all their channels still free for pitch bends.

This uses Play on Several Midi Out devices at once | Let Parts with no devices in common share channels which is the standard setting.

When you use this option, you can no longer record the midi information as a standard midi file, because standard midi files don't include midi out device information in them. So this option gets temporarily disabled if you record to midi as you play.



Tip #20

Did you know that you can show all the notes currently in play, together with the actual midi channels they are got played in and the cents values for the pitch bends?

Out | More Notes Currently Playing .

You can also show all the controllers in play - click on the Controllers button in this window.



Tip #21

Did you know that if your synth or soundcard let's you play legato styke trills in twelve equal, then you can also play them in FTS in any tuning?

Parts | More | Portamento and Legato

Select to play legato in the part, and then select Auto retune for monophonic legato type trills .

True legato here is the style of playing where you start a note and then change smoothly to another without ever interrupting the first one even for a moment. On a wind instrument you keep the breath going through the note, or on a string instrument, you keep the string sounding with no break in the sound. If your synth supports it, you will hear it particularly clearly with an instrument such as maybe acoustic guitar with a sharply defined attack. The next note continues smoothly without a break or any percussive new start to it.

When you use this style from a music keyboard, a legato trill is played by holding down the first note of the trill, then with it held down, you play the second note repeatedly to trill between the two without attack - in much the same way that one plays a trill on a wind instrument. More generally, you can make a legato transition from any note to any other simply by overlapping them - keep the first note held down until after you play the second note.

Normally this is only possible in twelve equal - unless your synth also supports tuning tables.

However, if you can do this on your synth in twelve equal, FTS can enable you to do the same in any of the tunings. FTS can automatically retune the held note to its appropriate tuning whenever the trill snaps back to it.

If you find that the notes do trill as described - with only one note soundnig at a time, but that your synth doesn't suppress the attack, try switching on portamento as well with a slide value of 0. This works with the Yamaha soft synth.



Tip #22

Did you know that you can find the frequency spectrum for any instrument in the Voices menu?

Tasks | Analyse Midi Voice - first click the Standard Settings button, select the voice you want to analyse, play it, and then click the Show Freq. button.

You can then use Show Partials to see a list of all the partials found.



Tip #23

Did you know that you can convert a frequency analysis of an instrument or timbre into a custom voice consisting of another instrument playing all of its partials?

Tasks | Analyse Midi Voice | Make partials into custom voice timbre .

So for instance you could analyse the oboe voice of your soundcard, or a live recording of a note played on an oboe, then analyse it to find the frequencies of all the component partials. Then you could use this to make a custom voice consisting of, say, a glockenspiel playing the oboe partials. You'll find a few custom voices of this type in Voices | Custom Voices .



Tip #24

Did you know that when playing from a music keyboard, you can use tonic shifts?

In | Options | Scales for Parts Presets | M.W. Scale + Tonic Shifts .

Here, the reason for a tonic shift is that a pure just intonation scale will only have a few pure triads - such as maybe the I, IV and V, or I, II and V (but not both, as that is impossible).

So when one wants to change to another key, or maybe even another chord in the same key, one may need to change the tuning. For example if you are playing in just intonation with I, IV and V pure and want to play a II pure then you need to change the tuning. One way to do that wold be to change the tonic temporarily to the second degreeof the scale, the root of the II triad..

That's just to give a flavour of it. You will find details of how it works in the help for this option.



Tip #25

Did you know that if you have a music keyboard, you can explore Erv Wilson's Combination Product Sets (musical geometry scales) using the left-most octaves of the keyboard to select chords?

In | Options | Scales for Parts Presets | Make Wilson CPS and Wilson CPS sets Options .

If you are new to these (as most will be) - they are scales based on geometrical shapes such as octahedra and higher dimensional equivalents. Each triangular face in the shape becomes a triadic chord and they are all pure consonant chords. Because of the high symmetry of the scales, music in them often has an attractive floating weightless quality.

However, it is hard for a newbie to find the chords. This method of keyboard selection lets you find the chords easily by using two or more octaves of the keyboard as selection manuals to select chords from the entire scale. You can then improvise in that selection, and then change it simply by pressing another key in the selection octaves of your keyboard.



Tip #26

Did you know that if you have several web browsers installed, you can choose which one you want to use for the help?

File | File Associations | Codes for Windows 2 | Browser to use to show the help html files .



Tip #27

Did you know that you can make polyrhythm metronomes?

Bs | Seed Options | Polyrhythms | Make Polyrhythm Metronome with preset tempo and instruments .



Tip #28

Did you know that you can save the settings for a single window in FTS.

Click the O Organise Windows icon in the top right corner of the window. Then use Open , Save As , or Reset . You can save the settings that affect the fractal tune, midi relaying, or both.

Then you will find your saved settings show up in the drop lists in that window. Any time you want to get back to them again, just go to that window as before and click on its O icon and you will see all the settings you saved for it in the drop list.

This is especially useful if you have a number of ways of setting it out that you wish to swap between frequently.



Tip #29

Did you know that you can play and record a series of audio clips for all your soundcard's voices in a single click?

Voices | Custom Voices | Edit Custom Melodic Voices | Edit As Timbre | WAV Clips of all the Midi voices .

This can be useful for frequency spectrum analysis.



Tip #30

Did you know that you can show the recording wave form in various styles, including some fun ones such as to "Lichen on branches" - zoom in to show the individual waves to see why this got its name?

Tasks | Analyse Recording or Midi Voice | Freq. Analysis | Options | Recording (temp) Options | Style .



Tip #31

Did you know that you can edit the arpeggio and scales drop lists?

Bs | Scales Drop List , or Bs | Arpeggios Drop List . To add a new arpeggio or scale, highlight the line above the place you want to add it, enter the title, and the scale intervals or arpeggio degrees in the boxes below the list, and then click Add .



Tip #32

Did you know that you can make an equal tempered scale with any number of notes to an octave?

Bs | Scale | Equal Steps . Then - just enter the number of notes you want and use Select All .

To make equal divisions of an interval other than the octave, use a % sign, e.g. use 13 % 3/1 for equal divisions of 3/1 which you may want to do when working with the Bohlen Pierce scale.



Tip #33

Did you know that you can make mean tone scales?

Bs | Scales Options | Mean Tone

Quarter comma is the classical medieval meantone, also for early baroque and quite late church organ music. Sixth comma meantone is another widely used classical meantone, especially suited for baroque music. It originates from Tosi in 1723 and is suitable for eighteenth and nineteenth cenutury music.

Meantones have fifths which are flatter than usual - for instance in quarter comma meantone, each of the fifths in the sequence C G D A E is a little flat, with the result that the final E is a pure major third.

Meantones have fifths which are flatter than usual - for instance in quarter comma meantone, each of the fifths in the sequence C G D A E is a little flat, with the result that the final E is a pure major third. It turns out that one in three of the major thirds has to be sharp, because three thirds have to add up to an octave,.

So for instance, in the sequence of major thirds C E Ab C then one of those thirds will have to be sharp. Which it is will depend on the particular tuning chosen for the meantone scale. Here, the third from E to Ab is probably the sharp one - if it was the third from Ab to C then the Ab note would normally be written as a G# rather than an Ab to indicate that it is the major third of E major rather than the tonic of Ab major. You could if you wish put the sharp third betwen C and E as well, though that would be most unusual (the E then would need to be shown as an Fb).

Meantone scales always have one wide "wolf" fifth in one of the keys. Also the wolf triad always has one of the sharp major thirds in it. Generally a meantone scale get tuned so that the wolf fifth is in a seldom used key, so that you don't need to play it, and if composing music for the tuning, you will avoid that key (well, at least, if you use the tuning conventionally).

Two parameters define a mean tone scale - the position of the wolf fifth, and the amount of the comma. The amount of the comma sets how flat the fifths are - if they are each flat by a quarter of a comma for instance, then the E of C G D A E is flat by a whole comma, which is the exact amount needed to flatten that sequence of fifths to make a pure 5/4 for the E.

Here, you can position the wolf fifth wherever you like in the scale, and set any value you like for the amount of the comma.

Some mean tones to try:

Quarter comma: 5/4 is pure. Fifth comma: 15/8 pure. Third comma: 6/5 pure.

Eleventh comma is the same as equal temperament to all practical purposes (within a thousandth of a cent).

Quarter comma is the classical medieval meantone, also used for early baroque and quite late church organ music. It is liked by organists because beating major thirds are particularly noticeable in organ music.

Sixth comma meantone is another widely used classical meantone, especially suited for baroque music. It originates from Tosi in 1723 and is suitable for eighteenth and nineteenth cenutury music.

One interesting modern meantone is Herman Miller's seventh comma meantone with the octave stretched by a seventh of a comma - gives pure 15/8s and major thirds a seventh of a comma wide.

The more general term is a linear temperament - which can have sharp fifths as well as flat ones.

Some linear temperaments to try:

Pure 7/4s: expand the fifths by half a septimal comma (use negative value for the comma: -1/2, and select the septimal comma from the drop list)

11/9s: temper the fifths by a third of a undecimal comma.

To get equal temperament, choose the pythagorean comma from the drop list and use a twelfth of a pythagorean comma.

Eleventh comma meantone is almost identical to equal temperament because (81/80)^(12/11) at 23.461407 cents is very close to the pythagorean comma 3^12/2^19 at 23.46001cents.

The idea of the schisma is that instead of going up four fifths to reach the major third, you go down eight fifths. So you need to tune the fifths sharp rather than flat.

To get a pure 5/4 you want to tune by minus an eighth of a schisma (and minus a ninth of a schisma for a pure 6/5). This tuning is particularly suited for music that exploited it. That is to say, music written between 1420 and 1480 in Europe, for 1/8th and 1/9th schisma tunings.

You can also use your own commas - just enter their ratio values into the box. If you want to add a description, place an equals sign after the description and before the comma - this will be remembered for the next session, and used in the scale descriptions for the scales you make from it..



Tip #34

Did you know that you can find new superparticular scales in FTS?

Bs | Scales Options | Superparticular scales.

A superparticular scale is one with all the steps of the form (N+1)/N, e.g. 5/4, 4/3, 3/2 etc.

The just intonation diatonic and twelve tone scales are all superparticular as are many other nice ones. This is a property related to the harmonic series - if you play two successive notes of the harmonic series, the interval between them is superparticular.

It seems that superparticular scales are particularly attractive for some reason. You can find a list of superparticular pentatonics from one of the papers by David Canright in Scales | More Scales...



Tip #35

Did you know that you can search any of the scales and arpeggio drop lists to find all entries including a particular word or ratio?

Bs | Scales Options | Search Scales or Arpeggio lists .



Tip #36

Did you know that there's a wonderful freeware scale construction program called SCALA by Manuel Op de Coul, and that you can transfer scales from FTS to SCALA and back again?

To set up everything so that you can do this, go to Bs | Scales Options | SCALA Scales and follow the instructions, which only take a few button clicks to do.

You can also download the SCALA archive of over 2000 scales, and then make it into a drop list for FTS here too.

If you have a fast connection you may be interested in the combined FTS and SCALA installer, which has everything already set up for you so that you can use both programs together immediately. You can then update it by installing FTS or SCALA again on top of your existing installations.



Tip #37

Did you know that when playing in FTS from the PC keyboard, you can use the space bar as a sustain pedal, and if your mouse has a scroll wheel, you can use that to change the amount of modulation (vibrato)?

Bs2 | PC Keyboard what to show, Sustain & Ctrlr.



Tip #38

Did you know that you can remap the touch for a midi keyboard in FTS?

For instance some music keyboards have a maximum velocity of 100 instead of 127. You can remap the range 1 100 to 1 127 and so play the notes with the complete range of dynamics available on your synth or soundcard.

See In | Options | Kbd Options | Touch | Remap touch .



Tip #39

Did you know that you can close all the FTS windows except for the main window in one go?

O Organise Windows | Close All .

You can also use F6 as a shortcut to go to the main window at any time, and Ctrl + F6 as a shortcut to close all the windows except for the main window.

By the main window here, I mean the window with the File | Exit which you close when you want to close the program.



Tip #40

Did you know that you can play in a hexagonal lattice scale from the PC keyboard?

To set this up: Bs | PC Keyboard notes to play . Then select from the drop list of lattices, or make your own, and use Play -> triangular lattice .

The idea of a lattice scale is that, e.g. if you go one key to the right you go up by a fifth, and if you go one key diagonally down to the right you go up by a minor third, or some other interval depending on the lattice.

The result is that in a lattice scale, all the chords have the same fingerings in all the keys.



Tip #41

Did you know that FTS has a calculator?

File | Calculator.

Type any formula using the notation shown in the Expression box, and the value box changes instantly to show what it is. You can choose to show it in cents, ratios or decimal only format, also in the same format as the main window scale.



Tip #42

Did you know that you can enter a scale in hertz?

Just do it like this:

220 Hz 440 Hz 660 Hz 880 Hz

Or you can put a z at the beginning:

z 600 700 900 1200 (Septimal minor chord in hertz, pitch for 1/1 = 600 hz).

For more scale shortcuts and special options see Help | Scales | Special Notations



Tip #43

Did you know that you can find ratio approximations to the scales up to any desired tolerance and in any prime limit?

File | Scale notation & Number Opts | Show Aproximate ratios



Tip #44

Did you know that you can save any of the fractal tunes in Midi format?

File | Save As | Files of Type | Midi (*.mid)

Since most of the fractal tunes are endless for all practical purposes, the midi clip automatically fades out at the end. You can choose what length of clip to save from

File | Midi File Options

(If you are using FTS in Freebie mode then you are limited to a maximum of one minute midi save here).

This window also has various other options for the midi save.

Once you've made it, you can also start up your midi player from FTS to play it - go to Bs | Record to File Options , click the Fractal Tune File Name button to bring up the fractal tune file name, and then Play by file association .



Tip #45

Did you know that you can make a log of the cents / ratios values of all the notes played?

Two ways to do it

Bs | Seed Etc. Options | PC keyboard and mouse play options | Log info shown on keyboard pic. for new Seed / Scale / Arpeggio

This logs all the notes shown in the music keyboard pictures - ones you play using the mouse or PC keyboard, and also ones you play from Midi In with one of these pictures showing, but not the fractal tune. Also it only logs the ones actually shown - some can get skipped if they are played very quickly - if you see the notes in the window, they get logged.

File | Midi File Options | More Options | Log to text file with same name, extension ".notes_log.txt"

With this selected, whenever you record your playing to midi or save a fractal tune, a log file gets made with the same name, and the extension . notes_log.txt

The format used is the same one as is shown in the main window, so you can use hertz etc if you prefer - just change to the desired format from File | scale notation .

File | Midi File Options | More Options also has an option to add the ratios / cents values as text events before each note played in the midi file. You'll see these if you look at the hex dump of the midi file by using File | Open , enter the file name, and answer No when asked if you want to play it in the retuning midi player (you can ignore all the hexadecimal notation at the left of the hex dump - it's useful for midi file format afficianandos - and just look at the comments to the right).



Tip #46

Did you know that you can record your playing to a file in Midi or Waveform Audio format?

Click the main window Rec. button for Waveform Audio, or the Mid button for Midi. To select the name for the file to record to, and for other options such as the recording format for Waveform Audio, see Bs | Record to File Options . The preset filename is Play_along.mid (or . wav ).

You'll also find an option to start recording at the first note played, and to play your recording by file association.



Tip #47

Did you know that you can add a text comment for any midi or Wave file you record?

It gets saved as a file with the same name but with the file extension .txt

To do this, and to view your previous text file click

Bs | Record to File Options | Edit Recording Info...



Tip #48

Did you know that you can make a Moment Of Symmetry (MOS) scale in FTS?


Make a two note scale in Bs | Scale | Scale to select from .

E.g. 3/2.

Now type #mos 7 into the Name field. This will make a MOS of seven notes using perfect fifths - the pythagorean diatonic scale.

Now try #mos 12 and you'll see the Pythagorean twelve tone scale. Try #mos 17 and you'll see the Arabic Pythagorean scale of 17 notes (or rather, a rotation of it).

For more about it:

Help | Scales | Making Moments of Symmetry and Hyper-MOS scales.



Tip #49

Did you know that you can do nearly everything in FTS from the PC keyboard without a mouse?

This is of especial interest to blind or visually impaired musicians, and for those who are trained typists and often find it faster to use the keyboard rather than the mouse.

Each window has a shortcut key, e.g. Ctrl + N to show the Parts window. To show the shortcut keys in the title bars:

Help | Show keyboard shortcuts in window title bars.

All the menus are conventional Windows Menus which means that you can navigate them in the usual way using the Alt key. All the windows are dialogs, which means that you can tab from one control to the next. You can also use Ctrl + tab to get from any of the FTS windows to any of the others.

Some other things to mention: Help | Keyboard Shortcuts. You can also add keyboard shortcuts to the devices in the In and Out menus from the Help | Add shortcuts to In and Out devices

For those who use screen readers: Help | Add extra pause before tune, Seed etc - this gives a pause for the reader to finish announcing that you have clicked the button before the music starts.

Things that can't be done with the mouse: the mouse theremin of course - there you have a joystick theremin you can try instead; and things to do with selecting a detail from the recording - because that's a very new option and I haven't worked out a keyboard interface for it yet.

I tested FTS with Window Eyes which I've been told is a screen reader often used by blind window users who try lots of programs.

I plan a special version of the help for blind users for a later update. If you are a blind musician be sure to let me know of suggestions / ideas for improving the interface!



Tip #50

Did you know that you can save the main window scale as a SCALA .scl file?

This is the most common format used when exchanging scales by e-mail.

File | Save As | Files of type | SCALA Scales (*.scl)

Or just enter the desired file name in the Save As window and add the extension .scl.



Tip #51

Did you know that you can fast forward the fractal tune?

Shift + click on the play button to play ten times as fast. Ctrl + click for a hundred times as fast, and both for a thousand times as fast.



Tip #52

Did you know that you can make a tempo map for the fractal tune?

Bs | Tempo, Note Time & volume for tune | Tempo Map .

This lets you choose to play sections of the fractal tune at varying speeds.



Tip #53

Did you know that you can make a fractal tune that plays in several arpeggios at once?

Bs | Seed Options | Scales for layers

This lets you set up a scale and arpeggio for each layer of ornamentation of the seed.

Also you can make separate seeds for each layer too, plus various other options:

Bs | Seed Options | Seeds for layers



Tip #54

Did you know that you can reverse and invert the seed?

Bs | Seed | Reverse , Invert , Reverse Rhythm ,

You can also have a seed that reverses and inverts from time to time as the tune progresses

Bs | Seed Options | Reverse / Invert



Tip #55

Did you know that you can undo / redo changes using Ctrl Y and Ctrl Z?

This only redoes / undoes changes that affect the fractal tune, not the colours etc. However you can also set it up to undo / redo changes in the midi relaying settings.

To customise:

Bs | Seed Options | Undo Changes .



Tip #56

Did you know that you can add a drone to the fractal tune (as is usual for hurdy gurdy music, bagpipes, and Indian Ragas)?

Bs | Seed Options | Drone



Tip #57

Did you know that if you have a music keyboard you can select one of its keys to use to start / stop recording to midi?

In | Options | Keyboard Regions | Start / Stop Recording to MIDI

to Highlight it press Start , play the key you want to use for this, then press Finish , or select the note you want to use using the scroll bars below the Region column.



Tip #58

Did you know that you can make a web page of all the fractal tunes in a folder?

File | Midi File Options | Fractal Tunes Web Page...

The standard setting is to link to the tune smithy files, with extra note icons to open midi clips. However, if you have a full duplex soundcard - one that can play and record at the same time - you can also make a gallery of audio clips.

Select Make Audio clips, and then as the gallery is made, the fractal tunes are played and automatically recorded to audio. Choose the file format to use from Bs | Record to File Options . See Record to File Options.



Tip #59

Did you know that you can change the names for the Voices menu to match the ones used in your synth or softsynth?

Select Out | Midi Out Options | Cusomise voices menu names .

A drop list of files of instrument names will appear. It has two entries - for the FM7 softsynth since with the support of MTS sysexes, it is so useful for microtonal work.- also for the demo too.

To add your own list of voice names, type the new name into the edit field (where it says FM7.txt) and click Edit .

If the file doesn't exist yet, you will now see a list of all the instruments as they currently are in your Voices menu - edit it to make your new list.

Do the entries one to a line, and start each line with the voice number. The lines can be in any order, as the number at the start of the line is what positions it in the menu - though of course it probably makes the file easier for future editing if you do it consecutively.

When you exit from your text editor then the Voices menu automatically gets updated to show the new names, and the new file you have saved gets added to the drop list of instrument name files.

You can also rename the instrument families - the name for each group of eight instruments.

In the voices menu Voice | Voices you can use the usual Windows shortcut to select one of the menu entries by typing the key for the underlined letter in the name - so to underline a letter in a family name, prefix it with an &.

You mightn't need to type in all the instrument names by hand if you used a DX7 sysex to load them into your synth. Try opening the sysex in FTS using File | Open | Files of type | DX7 sysexes -> names list (*.syx). This automatically makes the list of names for your sysex and adds it to the voice names drop list.

Often one may use the same sysex to load the same patch in a variety of positions in the patch list. Rather than edit all the patch numbers in the voice menu listing, use e.g:

[add 32]

This adds 32 to all the patch numbers that follow it in the file, so patch 0 gets shown as instrument number 32 . You would do this if you loaded the sysex in such a way that patch 0 of the sysex loaded as patch 32.

There are two common notations for instrument numbers - you can use 0 for the first patch (following the midi file convention, or use 1 for the first one. Use either. If your list has no 0 patch, then FTS will assume that you are using the convention of 1 for the first midi voice.

If you supply an [add n] line, FTS assumes the 0 convention, whether there is a 0 patch number in the list originally or not. So add an extra one here if the instrument numbers in your file use the start at 1 convention.

You can find DX7 patches,and information about them, on Dave Benson's DX7 page



Tip #60

Did you know that you can fill the Parts drop list with sixteen consecutive voices from the Voices menu using a shortcut?

Highlight all the parts (using click on the first one, then Shift + click on the last one).

Then select the first voice from the Voices menu with Shift + click , (or Shift + enter if you use the keyboard) and you will find that your selected voice and the next fifteen voices get selected into all the parts in the voices menu.



Tip #61

Did you know that you can remove the Non Melodic percussion part from the Parts window?

This may be useful to do if you play on a non GM synth.

You need to change

In | Options | More Midi In Options | Non Melodic Perc. Part

(so that you can select melodic parts into channel 10, or relay them from this channel)

and you will also probably want to change

Out | Options | More Midi Out Options | Non Melodic Perc. Channel

(to specify that channel 10 is a valid channel to use for playing melodic notes).

Change both to 0 and you can now use FTS with your non GM synth and use channel 10 in the same way as any other channel.



Tip #62

Did you know that you can reset nearly all your Tune Smithy settings using File | Reset + File | New ?

To reset absolutely everything, also delete the file start_up_etc in the Fractal Tune Smithy folder. This has settings that one usually wants to keep - such as the midi in / out device and the recorded window positions.

If you delete that file then one other thing you will do is reset the tip of the day number back to 1!

If you use FTS in a number of different ways - e.g. for midi relaying, algo-comp, as a polyrhythm metronome, etc, then one may like to have different settings for each.

You can also install as many copies of FTS as you like in as many folders as you like, in which case each will have its own settings. Indeed you can run all the instances of FTS simultaneously too if you like (indeed several copies of each).



Tip #63



Tip #64

Did you know that you can change the font family, text colour, and background colour for all the help files for FTS?

Tasks | Play Fractal Tune | Make Musical E-card | Apply to all the help pages...



Tip #65

Did you know that all the windows have shortcut keyboard codes?

For instance, to show the Pitch window, use Ctrl + P , or for the Parts window, Ctrl + N .

You can show the shortcut keys in the window title bars:

Help | Show keyboard shortcuts in window title bars

They are also shown in the Organise Windows drop list.

Or for a complete list of them, go to Help | Show list of Window shortcuts .



Tip #66

Did you know that if you have composed a short piece in a just intonation scale for retuning in FTS, you can listen to a set of 48 variations on it, as transformed by the Gene Ward Smith transformations?

Tasks | Retuning Midi Player Advanced

To try this out, select


from the drop list.

Set the scale to 1/1 8/7 6/5 48/35 8/5 12/7 2/1, and the arpeggio to Follow Scale.

Select the GWS check box .

Then click Play and you will hear the set of 48 variations on it. Try varying the speed of playback.

Try this out with your own melodies or short pieces in just intonation.

You can also try this with midi clips originally in twelve equal and play them in one of the just intonation scales - fine for melodic lines - however if it uses triadic harmony, it will probably not have all the triads pure in the tuning you select, and more work may be needed to get the triads pure ready for the transformations.



Tip #67

Did you know that you can record all the changes you make to the tune while you are playing and play them back again later?

Bs | Seed Options | Tempo Map | Record Fractal Tune Changes

Select this, play the tune and as you make changes to it, you will see them added to the list of tempo map zones.

Then to play it back, unselect this and click the play button again. When the end of the last zone is reached, the fractal tune cycles back to the first zone again - but not as a repeat because a lot may have happened to it since then, and it continues from the point reached.

You can save the complete list of zones as a tune smithy file too - just make sure you have Save to / read from ts selected before you do so.

Another thing you can do is to open a sequence of fractal tunes into the zones - set all the zones to a suitable time, say two minutes or whatever, then highlight each zone in turn and use the Open button. This is sort of like a play list, but it isn't quite the same, because each tune will start at whatever position and notes in the fractal tune reached at the end of the previous zone, so each time you go round the cycle of fractal tunes it will sound a little different.

This evolving play list can be saved as a single tune smithy file too - again, make sure you have Save to / read from ts selected before save it.

This is developed from a suggestion by Mary Ackerely



Tip #68

Did you know that you can review the most recent Ok or Yes No type message from FTS?

Help | Show most recent msg



Tip #69

Did you know that you can stop the fractal tune at any time using F11 ?

You can let it keep going but temporarily stop notes from being played by holding down F12 .

This only works if you are working with FTS at the time - one of the FTS window title bars is highlighted. That's because of course if one has FTS playing in the background while working in another app, one may use the F11 and F12 keys for something else.

So, if you are using another app at the time, and FTS is playing in the background, you can stop the tune using Ctrl + Shift + F11 , and stop notes playing using Ctrl + Shift + F12 .



Tip #70

Did you know that you can play sliding chords in the Mouse / Joystick Theremin?

Bs | Mouse / Joystick Theremin | Play several parts at once

Then to play a sliding just intonation major chord, set this to (say) 14 - 16, and in the parts window, set the octave /modulation column to Modulate by interval and set the amount of modulation for the last three parts accordingly, to 1/1 5/4 3/2. Any other chord can be assigned to the theremin in the same way, and you can select separate voices for each part, and apply controllers etc. to them in the usual way.



Tip #71

Did you know that you can set any recording sample rate in hertz supported by your sound device by editing the samples per second drop list entry?

Bs | Record to File Options | Wav fromat | Samples per second field

Follow the same format as the entries in the list. Be sure to include the word Khz if it is in khz (otherwise the value will be read as hertz), and the word stereo if you want to record in stereo.

You can also enter the number of channels, e.g.

44.1 Hz 4

to record on four channels if your device supports that (you can leave out the word channels).



Tip #72

Did you know that FTS is able to send Midi Tuning Standard single note retuning messages?

Select Out | Options | Use MTS Tuning Programs. To customise the way they are done: Out | Tuning Progs Options...

See the help for this window for more details.

Single note retuning lets one retune a single note as one likes at any time - without using pitch bends, and without affecting any other notes in play. This leads to up to 128 note pitch polyphony, with the pitches changing as the tune progresses.

So, what synths support this? Well, as far as I know, only one so far - the new update of the FM7 soft synth. It's a very rare feature indeed!

The up coming Pro-53 will also support it, also by Native Instruments..

The FM7 is a great synth. It can play any of the sounds from the vintage FM synths . It also lets you make new sounds, with the same capabilities as an FM synth, and many new options as well. It has an innovative algorithm matrix you can use for the oscillators, and another one for modulation, and you can use other waveforms instead of sine waves and many other innovations. Also has an Easy Edit page. Many presets come with the program. You can also import sysexes from vintage synths such as the Yamaha DX7 (1983). (huge libraries of sysexes available for download on various web sites)

It's just like having an analogue synth, and more so... :-).

You can hear an short clip of a fractal tune played on the science friction voice of the FM7 softsynth at The Tune Smithy file for this is included with FTS - science_friction.ts (needs a modern PC to handle the amount of pitch polyphony in the piece).

Analogue synths are much used by composers and musicians and you may well have heard an analogue synth and not known what it was.

In the case of an FM soft synth, another boon is the high level of pitch accuracy (you never get quite such high precision with wave table synths / soundcards). Crystal clear chords!

The FM7 is near perfect pitch wise. I measured it to be accurate to at least within a hundredth of a cent or so in relative pitch using a one minute recording of a single oscillator retuned via the MTS sysexes. Michael Kurtz says that it may well be that accurate as it is programmed to 24 bit accuracy.

This means one could expect it to be accurate to in the region of a thousandth of a cent or less (7 or 8 decimal digits, e.g. 1200.001). The midi tuning standard sysexes specify pitches with an accuracy of 0.0061 cents (100 cents / 2 14 ), so the FM7 is probably tuned to greater precision than this, and so this is probably the limiting factor and what one would find with more detailed pitch measurements - it's well beyond human pitch discrimination anyway.



Tip #73

Did you know that you can add info to a tune smithy file?

Bs | Tune Info

The check boxes Add author and Add date save you some typing . Click the Add now... button to add them to the info straight away, or select Add on save to automatically add author and date to all your tune smithy files when you save them.



Tip #74

Did you know that you can play 24 note scales using two midi keyboards, or the left and right halves of a midi keyboard?

Tasks | Midi Keyboard Retuning | Presets | Harpsichord, Sesquisexta - Margo Schulter's two Pythagorean scales at interval of 7/6

Now the left half of the keyboard plays in a twelve tone pythagorean scale - with pure 3/2 fifths, and the right half plays in the same scale transposed up by 7/6. So by using one note from each you can play pure seventh harmonics, and you also get interesting small melodic steps with the septimal diesis 64/63.

To change the interval between the two parts, go to Parts | Modulate by (interval) . Other ones to try include 81/80 (syntonic comma) and 50 cents (quarter tones). The syntonic comma scales will let you play pure 5/4 major thirds in remote keys.

To change the position of the 1/1 in the two halves of the keyboard, go to In | Options | Kbd regions .

She plays them from two midi keyboards. To set things up like this, go to In | Options | Select part by input chann. , then connect the keyboards so that one of them plays the 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.



Tip #75

Did you know that you can use the theremin to play sliding chords which change as they slide?

Tasks | Play Fractal Tune | Theremin Options | Sliding Tetrads Preset

The special thing here is that the chords change as you go up / down the harmonic series. The ones to above the 1/1 are ordinary harmonic series notes, so you get major type chords. The ones below are subharmonic series ones, so minor type chords. The notes of the chords get closer together in either direction, as you get further away from the 1/1.

As you move up in pitch, at first you will get familiar sounding ones which are made up of fifths or major thirds, but as you go further up in pitch, you get the seventh harmonic entering in (in the 4/1 5/1 6/1 7/1, or harmonic seventh chord), then the eleventh and thirteenth harmonics entering in too, and so on. These are all known as otonal chords, meaning "overtone" based. As you go down in pitch, you first get fourths and minor thirds, and then the corresponding seventh and eleventh subharmonics enter in and so on. These are the utonal, or "undertone" chords.

This is one of Denny Genovese's ideas.


Tip #76

Did you know that you can show a Lissajous figure visualisation as you play, or as the fractal tune plays?

Bs | Lissajous

Bs | Lissajous Options

Here, the special thing about this is that the visualisation depends only on the intervals between the notes of the chord, and not on it's absolute pitch. So chords that have the same intervals in them look identical.

You need to play a tune with chords in it to see the visualisation - some of the fractal tunes consist of a single melody line (maybe played on various instruments) and those don't generate Lissajous figures.

This is a generalisation of Lissajous figures to triads and chords of more than three notes, based on ideas of Barbara Hero to show Lissajous figures for diads - see

The images show the theoretical Lissajous figures one would get if one played the notes on pure sine waves in stereo, and then set it so that the left channel controls the horizontal movement of a plotter, and the right channel controls the vertical movement. Barbara Hero generates Lissajous images in exactly this fashion directly from a stereo sine wave using a laser scanner.

For more about them see the help for the Lissajaous Options.

This option may get developed further later - to make it faster it will need Drect X or Open GL programming (probaly Direct X as this is for Windows).

If you saw "visualisation" in the title, and immediately thought of the Windows Media Player type ones with swirly patterns, fountains, firework displays and so forth, you may like to try Cthugha, which is a free program, and runs along with FTS just fine.


Tip #77

Did you know that you can colour code the notes you play?

Bs | Notes for PC keys | Colour code options - you can select from various presets here, or make your own colour schemes. Then you can choose whether to use it for the PC keyboard layout, Tune window (Notes in Play in the Midi relaying tasks), music keyboard pictures, or the rectangualar Lambdoma keyboard.


Tip #78

Did you know that if you have a music keyboard with a pitch bend wheel, you can use it to pitch bend individual notes in a sustained chord wherever you like in FTS?

Out | Options | Pitch bend held notes only . Here the idea is that first you sustain several notes with a normal sustain pedal - or if you don't have one, use the caps lock or num lock shortcut or whatever from In | Options | Kbd Options | "Sustain pedal" .

Then release the keys and leave those notes sustained - and you will find that 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 at the time that you move the wheel. So for an example, play a major chord - now sustain it and hold down only the third in the chord - and 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 bend another note in the same way to wherever you like and leave that one at that pitch too, and so on. :-).

Usually if you play a note again when it is already sustained you expect it to resound. However with this option you may also be interested in In | Options | Kbd Options | Skip resound of repeated sustained notes with this . Then while the chord remains sustained, you can go back to any of the notes you have already retuned, and hold them down again to adjust the tuning again - without them ever re-sounding.

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Tip #79

Did you know that you can make your own custom reset for File | Reset all check boxes ?

Just set everything up as you want it to be after the reset, then use File | Save As | Files of type | Configuration settings (*.ini) and save them as FTS_Reset.ini .

For details see Help | User Guide | Resets.

If you want to swap between various settings for FTS, save them all as separate .ini files, and then you will be able to swap between them by selecting them from the All drop list in the Organise windows window, which you get by clicking on the O icon in the main window, or by pressing F2.

If you are using FTS for midi relaying, or midi keyoard retuning, you can save all the settings that affect the relaying from File | Save As | Files of type | Midi Relay files (*.rly)

This time you can swap between them using the Midi I/O settings drop list in the Organise windows window, which you get by clicking on the O icon in the main window, or by pressing F2.


Tip #80

Did you know that you can set the fractal tunes to track the music keyboard as you play - also the Pckeyboard.?

Parts | Scales for Parts | Presets. Set the tonic shifting part to whatever part you will play from the PC keyboard - make sure this is beyond any of the parts in the tune itself or it will track itself as well. Say 16, or maybe part 15 if you use the theremin as the thermin normally plays in part 16.

You also need to choose the method you are going to use to select the part from Midi In (from the drop list). You probably want by input channel as then you can use your entire keyboard for the tune shifting (by keyboard region uses only the left-most octave of your keyboard for the shifting).

You then set your keyboard to play notes on the same channel number as the number for the tonic shifting part - e.g. set your keyboard to play its notes on channel 15 to change the tonic if part 15 is the tonic shifting part.

Also, unmute the tonic shifting part so that you can hear your playing as well as the fractal tune (unless you want it muted of course).

Now you need to make the Transposing Tonic preset. The effect will be that as you play notes on the keyboard,the tune will shift about to follow your playing. :-).

You can also do the same from the PC keyboard - you need to set your keyboard to play in the tonic shifting part. Normally the it is set to play the highlighted part in the Parts window so just highlight the tonic shifting part in that window, say 15 again, or whatever it was when you made the preset and see what happens. You can see which is the tonic shifting part in the Scales for Parts window.

You can also set the PC keyboard to play a particular part (say 15) permanently from Bs | Music and PC Keyboard play options.

Trouble shooting - if this doesn't work then check to see if you have Bs | PC Keyboard Notes to play | each row plays a separate part selected - if it is then you need to unselect it or set one of those parts to be the tonic shifting part..

Note that the part you play in doesn't need to use the same tuning as the fractal tune. The preset sets it up like this but after you have made it then you can change the tuning of any of the parts if you wish. So you can have a fractal tune on any scale and arpeggio you like playing over you as you play from the keyboard or music keyboard in another scale and arpeggio.