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

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See Also Tutorials: How to play the Lambdoma from a conventional midi keyboard - Using ZASF with the Lambdoma task (for ZynAddSubFX) - other Tutorials



Start up the Lambdoma task - from the tasks folder, or you can use the desktop shortcut if you have it set up to start 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 for most users. If you use the Lambdoma keyboard, though, and want the score to match the note numbers used by the Lambdoma keyboard, see the #Lambdoma Keyboard Score section later on.

Here is howyou do it for the WHITE KEYS layout:

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.

Since a range of 64 white keys is needed, or a little over 9 octaves, many ledger lines will be needed in a normal score. To reduce the number of ledger lines, you can set it up with an extra treble clef transposed up two octaves - and an extra Bass clef transposed down two octaves.

Like this:

Lambdoma test.png

This example (once retuned in Tune Smithy) will play 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, using the sustain pedal to hold down all the notes for each row before it goes on to the next one.

What is the C# for? - two ways to show the Lambdoma on a standard score

Look closely at the score and you will see a grayed out C# before the first bar. This note is sent via midi - but not shown on the printed score.

Since the Lambdoma is two dimensional, there are two ways you can show the notes on a standard score - row first or column first. Neither is better than the other - it depends on what you want to do. Sometimes it is more convenient to be able to play successive notes in the same row easily, and at other times more convenient to play successive notes in the same column.

So, a way has been provided to make it easy to switch between the two.

To play rows first, place a C# in the score before the notes to play.

To play colums first, place an Eb in the score.

The C# and Eb don't sound, they just act as keyswitches to switch between the two ways of playing the Lambdoma. As with this example you could hide them from a printed score.

It is best to put one or the other before the first note of the score to make sure your score is always played the same way - as the user of FTS change that e.g. if they have been playing the Lambdoma from a music keyboard beforehand.

Also in FTS, make sure you have In As | CAPS LOCK swaps rows and cols for music keyboards switched off, otherwise the score will play differently depending on the state of the caps lock key.

Lambdoma Keyboard Score

If you use the Lambdoma keyboard, you may want the score to match the midi notes used by your keyboard. This is especially useful if you compose from the keyboard directly into your notation software.

The score is less legible, but more compact. Here is the same example as before, with the Lambdoma Keyboard arrangement of midi notes:

Lambdoma test keyboard midi notes.png

As before, this example (once retuned in Tune Smithy) will play 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, using the sustain pedal to hold down all the notes for each row before it goes on to the next one.

The accidentals are used as a way to get consecutive midi note numbers in order to play the rows of the keyboard. What looks like a chromatic run on the score is just a sequence of consecutive notes on the Lambdoma keyboard tuned to whatever pitches are required for the row and quadrant.

With this approach the layout is fixed, you can't swap rows and columns using key switches (because it exactly matches the Lambdoma keyboard layout).

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

Save a Tune Smithy Project

Once you have everything set up as you like, you need a way to get back to it quickly at any time in the future when you retune the same score.

The easiest way to do this may be to save a Tune Smithy project with the same name as the score, and in the same location, so that the two are always together.

You save the project in FTS from File | Save As Project File

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, which is too many to notate them all using the 128 notes in a single midi channel.

So - the way the 16 by 16 hardware keyboard is done is that the notes for each quadrant have to be sent to FTS on a different midi channel.

You can use the same approach in your score. Set up your score as before, but set it to send the notes on channel 1 for the first quadrant, channel 2 for the second and so on. The score is otherwise identical.

So as before for each quadrant, set the score up with two Bass and two Treble clefs. But have as many of those four Staff systems as you need for the quadrants. Set the staffs for quadrant 1 to play notes on channel 1. The ones for quadrant 2 should send the notes on channel 2 and so on.

In FTS, as before choose Play Lambdoma notes from consecutive WHITE KEYS in the In As menu in FTS.

Finally, to tell FTS that you are using this channel method to distinguish quadrants, you need to SELECT Play Midi In channels 1 to 4 on quadrants 1 to 4 for 16 by 16 Lambdoma for music kbd opts from the In As menu in FTS.

You are now all ready to compose in the full 16 by 16 Lambdoma.

More compact scores

This is particularly relevant for the 16 by 16 Lambdoma. With sixteen staffs, you have quite a lot to work with, and may wish to explore ways to reduce the amount of screen space needed for your score.

Lots of ledger lines approach

You can use just one Bass + Treble clef for each quadrant. This approach is more compact, but requires lots of ledger lines.

All keys - compact but hard to read

Alternatively, you could explore the option to play from All keys - in that case you can fit the notes onto a more compact score, but lose a fair amount in ledgibility.

With the All keys option then the fourth row of each quadrant is played using midi notes 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, or C, C#, D, Eb, E, F, F#, then it just continues in the same way through the remaining notes so next row is played from G, G#, A, Bb, B, C, C#, D and so on.

One could get used to it, but the score isn't very legible.

Octave for each row - compromise which is reasonably easy to read but more compact

To make the score a bit more legible you can also explore the option to play each row from an octave of the keyboard. This will reduce the span of the score in your composition software somewhat, from a bit over nine octaves to eight octaves for the 8 by 8 quadrant. This is enough to reduce the number of ledger lines a fair amount.

It also keeps the score legible, especially if one is used to reading conventional scores - it is easy to remember that each octave of the score is retuned to one row (or column) of the keyboard.

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