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Tutorials: How to set FTS up to compose music for the Lambdoma

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Go to the tasks folder, and start up the Lambdoma task.

Switch off the drone.

Make sure you have a virtual midi cable installed to relay the notes from your notation software to FTS.

Select one of your virtual midi cables from the In menu in FTS, e.g. Midi Yoke or Maple Sound, like this:

Lambdoma select maple in.png

Set your notation software to use the same device for Midi output. Here is how it is done in NoteWorthyComposer:

Lambdoma select maple out nwc.png

How to set up FTS to retune your score

In the In As menu in FTS - choose how you want to interpret the staff notes. The option to play Lambdoma notes from consecutive white keys is the easiest one to start with.

Lambdoma play from white keys.png

With this option the score will be easiest to read. It can use just the white keys of the keyboard to play the Lambdoma. Every four lines and spaces of the score plays a complete row of the 8 by 8 Lambdoma.

No accidentals are used.

There is no connection between the displayed notes and the actual notes you hear. Instead, the line which is usually interpreted as middle C will play the first note in the fourth row of the Lambdoma (assuming you have everything set at its preset settings in FTS). The space above that, which normally plays D, plays the second note in the fourth row, and so it continues in that way all the way up the staff.

However, a keyboard player can read the score as is, using a suitably tuned musical keyboard. There is no need for a keyboard player to learn anything to play the score, it is possible just to play it straight off using the familiar hand / eye coordination - only the pitches you hear are different. Because of the similarity with scordatura scores for string instruments etc, I call this a Scordatura keyboard score, to coin a word and for want of a better name.

How to set up the score in your notation software

For the single quadrant Lambdoma, and the option to play from white notes, just set up a normal Treble + Bass score.

Like this:

Lambdoma test.png

That example (once retuned in Tune Smithy) starts with a single chord for all the notes in the first column of the eight by eight Lambdoma - then it plays the notes in each row one after the other.

To reduce the number of ledger lines, you could set it up with an extra treble clef transposed up two octaves - and an extra Bass clef transposed down two octaves.

... (to be completed, with images, and sound clips)

How to compose for the full four quadrant Lambdoma

First set up FTS to play notes on the four quadrant 16 by 16 Lambdoma using the "Entire 16 by 16" button.

This has 256 notes, too many to be able to notate them all using the 128 notes in a single midi channel.


The notes for each quadrant have to be sent to FTS on a different midi channel - send notes on channel 1 for the first quadrant, channel 2 for the second and so on.

Alternative approach for the four quadrant Lambdoma

You can make the score more compact - but it will be harder to read. To do this, use the option In As | Treat selected In device(s) as 4 quadrant Midi Lambdoma Keyboard.

You will then need to use accidentals in your score to obtain some of the notes on the Lambdoma - but it makes the score more compact, eliminating the need for extra ledger lines.

The accidentals aren't pitch shifting type accidentals. This is just a way to send a particular midi number to FTS.

For instance, C sends FTS the number 60 which plays the first note of the fourth row. To play the second note in the fourth row, with the option to play from the white keys, you need to send FTS a 62, i.e. send a D.

To play the same note (second note of the fourth row) with the option to play from all keys, you need to send FTS a 61 from the notation software. The way to do this is to set your score to play a C#, which will send a 61 via midi in which FTS will interpret as desired.

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