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Retune Compositions with FTS Check List

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Here are some things to check if your compositions don't play quite as expected, or you hear no sound at all.


See Also

How to Retune a Score (Video) - How to use Loopbe1 to connect Sibelius to Tune Smithy (video) - How use FTS to compose microtonally - FAQ - Composition Retuning - Retune Compositions with FTS Check List - FAQ - Midi File Save

If you hear no notes at all

Check that you can play notes in FTS

Show the PC keyboard player - or click the play scale button and make sure that you hear the notes tuned as intended.

Check that you have any virtual midi cables set up properly

To see what is happening in FTS you can go to Most Recent Note Played from Midi In (Ctrl + 27) which is in the In drop menu which will show you each note as it is received from Midi In. You can also go to Notes in Play - Midi Out (Ctrl + 47) - which you can find in the Out menu which will show each note which FTS plays via Midi Out.

Make sure that the In device is open in FTS

look at the In menu. If it doesn't show as Opened, then select OPEN IN DEVICE NOW.

Check that sounds on your soundcard are unmuted

If you don't hear anything, then go to Bs | Play Control - Volume in FTS - and check you have a suitable device selected and not muted,- there may be more devices available from Options | Properties in that window.

If the composition has more than one instrument and these aren't played properly

FTS should be able to retune compositions with more than one instrument automatically. If this isn't working go through this check list:

Have you run the Out Device Capabilities Wizard and Test Pitch Bend Range?

You can find both of these in the Out menu. The Out Device Capabilities Wizard can be run to make sure FTS is set up to work with your current Midi Out device. The Test Pitch Bend range can be used to make sure that pitch bends are being retuned correctly on the current Midi Out device.

Do you have Parts by Midi In Channel selected?

This is in window Midi In Options (Ctrl + 25) - make sure you have Select part by Midi In chann. selected in the drop list.

This is needed so that FTS will distinguish between the different input channels. For instance if your score has a flute in channel 1 and a harpsichord in channel 2, with this selected, FTS will play all the notes received from channel 1 on part 1 which it will set to play a flute. It will play all notes from channel 2 similarly on part 2, and will set part 2 to play the flute.

In the score, if you have any controllers, e.g. suppose you sustain a bar on the harpsichord, FTS will sustain all the notes played on part 2. For as long as the sustain pedal is held down, it will make sure that none of the flute notes are played on the same channels.

In the same way, FTS will keep the output channels distinct when necessary - but will double up output channels whenever possible in order to keep as many output channels as possible free to maximise the pitch polyphony.

The other main option here, parts by keyboard regions - is useful when you retune a music keyboard and the channel can be ignored. The other select parts by options are useful on rarer occasions.

If using the Lambdma Task, do you have select PARTS BY set appropriately in the In As menu?

Go to the In As drop menu.

Do you have Sel. PARTS BY for cur. Lambd. In Device - SAME AS OTHER MIDI IN - set to: Parts by Input Chann...:... selected?

It should also show as Sel. PARTS BY for cur. Lambd. In Device - SAME AS OTHER MIDI IN - set to: Parts by Input Chann... - if not go to Midi In Options (Ctrl + 25) - and make sure you have Select part by input chann. selected in the drop list (see previous section).

The other option here, mouse && Pc Keyboard, is normally used for the Lambdoma Keyboards - the difference is that the Lambdoma keyboard doesn't send instrument selections, so it makes for a simpler situation to treat it identically to the mouse and Pc keyboard.

Is FTS configured to let the instrument selections through?

If you wish to be able to change the instrument from within the score, Make sure you UNSELECT Out >> Options >> Skip Instrument selections and In

Are many notes okay, only some notes played on the wrong instruments?

Go to Out Devices Capabilities (Ctrl + 106) and see if you have Multiple simultaneous instr. per channel selected. You may need to unselect this and remake the clip. The out device capabilities wizard should unselect it for you automatically, but it may not do that if for instance you compose using your soundcard, then play the resulting midi clip is used for another device with different capabilities (e.g. embedded in a web page).

Do you use instruments with key switches (e.g. for GPO or Giga) - if so are the retuning ranges set appropriately?

If the instrument you are using requires keyswitches to change the performance style, you need to tell FTS to send those notes on unchanged. Use Retuning range for parts (Ctrl + 193) and set that window up to ignore notes below the instruments playable range for any part that uses key switches.

If using GPO, see the entry about GPO on the FAQ - Soft synths page

What to do if the automatic instrument remapping still doesn't work

Only do this if nothing else works. It switches off the software optimising of the retuned midi, by forcing FTS to play the notes only on the channels that you select for it. It will normally give you somewhat less polyphony for complex scores than the automatic methods, or the results may have clipped notes, or possibly pitch glitches.

You can tell FTS exactly which channels to play each part on, in Midi Output Channels for Parts and Polyphony (Ctrl + 60). For instance if all the parts are monophonic you can set it to Chann = Part.

For polyphonic instruments, make sure that one channel is assigned to the parts that need them.

Ideally assign at least two channels for each part even for monophonic parts - especially if the instrument is one like harp that resonates after the note off - otherwise notes may get cut short or you may get tuning glitches.

This approach is only needed rarely - perhaps for a device which doesn't respond to instrument changes or perhaps you change the instrument at the device instead of via midi.

If the device responds to standard midi instrument selections, you will normally get more flexibility and better results for complex compositions if you let FTS do everything automatically.

If it seems that there is a bug in FTS let me know and I'll see if I can fix it.

When I input a Midi file of a single monophonic tune made by FTS in another program then I see the notes spread out over up to 16 channels

See FAQ - Midi File Save

It is still playing wrong instruments or not properly tuned

Does your synth need to be configured in some special way - e.g. to play pitch bends or play on several channels at once?

See FAQ - Soft synths - for general things to look out for any synth, and special instructions to help you to configure some individual soft synths to work with FTS.

It still doesn't work

Contact me at and say as much as you can about the problem. I may be able to help.


See also How use FTS to compose microtonally and the FAQ, particularly FAQ - Music Making, FAQ - Soft synths and FAQ - Trouble Shooting

Lambdoma task users - see Tutorials: How to set FTS up to compose music for the Lambdoma

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