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Ideas for software that I am currently writing or plan for the future
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18 Apr 09 Bounce Metronome Pro Released

Here it is

Bounce Metronome Pro

Metronome software for Windows – with a difference – you can work with it purely visually as it uses a bouncing ball or conductor style baton bouncing under gravity. This helps one to anticipate the beats – same technique as used by conductors when they bounce the baton off an “invisible plane”.

Bounce Metronome Pro

Extremely easy to use – you’ll be able to get started right away. Also accessible for blind users – everything a sighted user can do, you can do too, except use the bouncing ball visuals of course.

For accessibility details check out:

Details and Features – Accessibility for blind users

Sighted users can use it with the sound switched off. Or use the visuals to help synchronise more exactly with the ticks of the metronome. This is particularly useful for rhythms with irregular beats such as swing.

You can adjust the amount of the swing, with presets of light, medium and hard swing, and gentle or strong lilt. Then you can also adjust the times and volumes of all the beats individually and skip any beats you like.

The skipped beats feature makes it easy to make dance rhythms, syncopated rhythms etc and there’s a window which lets you enter those quickly using a simple metrical notation for crotchets, quavers, dotted notes etc.

It can play just about any rhythm you can think of, with any number of beats to the bar, also including polyrhythms, additive rhythms and cycles of polyrhythms. You can also tap out a rhythm yourself for it to use, and you can get your rhythm from a recording of a groove too.

With any of these ways of making a rhythm, the bouncing ball and conductor baton style visuals will synchronise with the rhythm of your taps. This helps to make it easier to play exactly in time with your rhythm.

[quote]”It’s like having your own personal conductor to help keep you in time”[/quote]

For more about these and other features, check out:
Details and Features

Also has some exotic rhythms to try out – the ones with fractional beats to the bar. E.g. PI/4 where you have PI beats so the beats drift in and out of sync with the bar line. Or try the golden ratio rhythm g/4 (or phi/4) – this is the most polyrhythmic possible rhythm in a sense, takes the most possible bars for the ticks tracking the beat to approach the bar line beat.

It’s derived from my Tune Smithy software reviewed by Martin Walker in Sound on Sound here:

PC Music Shareware Roundup

It takes the user friendliness to a whole new level and by splitting Tune Smithy into a separate program and with various other methods to help you navigate and understand the program it helps with the issues of users who get lost because of the abundance of features in my programs.

There are many features to this program which I think you will find nowhere else, and it is now also very user friendly and accessible as well.

Bounce Metronome Pro

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18 Dec 08 Time Signature Quick Set buttons

Time signature window with quick set buttons

Time signature window with quick set buttons

I’ve added the quickset buttons here to this window, just makes it quicker to change between a few of the more common rhythms, and may make the function of this window a little clearer to a first time user.

The More and Less versions of it don’t have them so you can easily hide them if you don’t want them.

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18 Dec 08 More screen shots for the tempo dial

Tempo dial - plain

Tempo dial - plain

Tempo Dial - pastel shades

Tempo Dial - pastel shades

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28 Nov 08 Bouncing beat numbers as words metronome

While working on the next upload, I’ve added a bouncing beat numbers option. The beat numbers will be able to be shown as numbers, or as number words, or as special characters, or a lyric line.

Here they are as number words:

single frame snapshont:

Bouncing number words metronome 7/4 with 5/4

Bouncing number words metronome 7/4 with 5/4

Or as a movie:
Movie – Bouncing number words metronome 7/4 with 5/4

You will be able to play this with the next upload of
Tune Smithy’s rhythms and polyrhythms metronome player

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26 Nov 08 Large window with 16 time signatures

I’ve made larger versions of the time signature window for this upload – so that as you keep pressing the More button, so it goes 3 time signatures, then 4, then 8, then 16. You can play all the time signatures simultaneously or you can play them one after another to make a long bar of 16 time signatures.
Metronome for 4/4 with 3/4 played simultaneously

Rhythm speeds up to pitch

Note how as the rhythm gets faster, eventually the beats are so many a minute that they sound like a pitched note.

This is really meant for the long bars as they can easily have many time signatures. I could make an even larger one for the additive rhythms with say 32 time signatures easily enough if anyone at all needs that many, if anyone does just let me know and I’ll add it in right away (simple addition).

You will be able to use this window with the next upload of
Tune Smithy’s rhythms and polyrhythms metronome player

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26 Nov 08 Tempo markings Largo, Allegro etc for main window

Just added tempo markings now to the main window like this:

Metronome for 4/4 with 3/4 played simultaneously

Metronome for 4/4 with 3/4 played simultaneously

ready for next upload which is still delayed a little more – a bit more testing to do. Hope for tomorrow now.

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25 Nov 08 Metronome for 3/PI with 3/4 simultaneously

It’s taking a little while to test all the various possibilities and to get it ready for upload. Meanwhile here is one of the metronomes I did today while testing it:

Two 3/4 type rhythms at an irrational ratio to each other.

metronome for time signature 3/PI with 3/4 played simultaneously

metronome for time signature 3/PI with 3/4 played simultaneously

Try clapping along with either the 3/PI (on bongos) or the 3/4 (on agogos – bell like sound) :-).

You will be able to play this with the next upload of
Tune Smithy’s rhythms and polyrhythms metronome player

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23 Nov 08 Bouncing ball metronome

For some time I’ve wondered about what to do about visuals for the metronome. I could do an animation of a conventional metronome, but that’s a bit boring in a way, not really designed for the screen, as the display is limited to the mechanics of a real metronome. I may do that at some point.

I also wondered about an animation of a conductor conducting the beat, hands moving around in patterns to follow the metronome. That’s much more flexible and could be fun to do. The challenge here is to keep the design simple and easy to follow, yet interesting.

So, today, while thinking about how to program a conductor’s hands, I had the idea of a bouncing ball – that programmer’s stalwart. It’s very similar – with the upbeat the conductor raise his or her hand and it moves in a trajectory very like the bounce of a bouncing ball, speeding up as it reaches the bottom of the beat.

So the idea is to have a bouncing ball that bounces in a series of smaller half size (say) bounces from left to right during the bar, then bounces back to the left in one big bounce at the end of the bar for the upbeat.

The nice thing about that is that you can accomodate any number of beats to the bar very simply, and can also do polyrhythms and so on with simultaneous bouncing balls – either all the balls bouncing in the same area – or a different visual area for each one. They could also be different colours, and could change colour briefly at the beat, brighten up or whatever. The background could also change colour during the bar as a way to see your place in the bar, e.g. starts red, goes through to blue at the end of each bar. Or something. The basic design is simple enough so that you can have lots of effects without complicating or cluttering the interface.

It is something I could get together for a first idea very quickly in a day or two with just two dimensional disks for the bouncing balls. Then optionally you could use any image for each one (that would be easy to do) and one could also make 3D objects e.g. spheres, and maybe it could also be linked in some way with the Lissajous 3D program – trace Lissajous patterns for the meter, e.g. 3 4 5 Lissajous 3D pattern for a 3 4 5 polyrhythm or something.

So anyway – maybe not for this upload but I’ll mull it over and may do it for the next one.

Tune Smithy

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23 Nov 08 Metronome for a time signature

Right now I’m working on the Rhythms and multi-beat polyrhythms metronome
for Tune Smithy

This is a new window that lets you enter your rhythm using time signatures like 3/4, 6/8 or whatever rather than a list of numbers of beats per bar. Also now it can play unusual meters needed by some modern composers such as 3/6, 3.5/4, and truly “irrational” meters like PI / 4 (the beats for the notes drift in and out of phase with the bar line beats).

This is what the window looks like:

metronome for time signature 3/4 with 4 subdivisions of each beat

BTW, for British readers of this blog, quarter note is the American word for crotchet – when you have the actual software to hand, the tool tip for the quarter note fields in the window explains that.

metronome for time signature 3/4 with 4 subdivisions of each beat

Then in the More version of the window you can add two more rhythms, and play them either simultaneously or one after another:

metronome for time signature 3/4 with 4 subdivisions of each beat, then 4/4 with three subdivisions, then 5/4 with two subdivisions

metronome for time signature 3/4 with 4 subdivisions of each beat, then 4/4 with three subdivisions, then 5/4 with two subdivisions

You can edit any of the time signatures to make the so called “irrational” meters such as 3/6, 4/7 or whatever, or you can even use truly irrational time signatures like PI/4 with slightly over three beats to a bar so that the beats go in and out of phase with the bar line.

Polyrhythm with three “irrational” meters played simultaneously (very hard for any performer to do):

metronome for time signature 3/6 with 4/7 with 5/11

There for instance 5/11 means each beat is an eleventh of a whole note so at a rate of 100 quarter notes a minute so 25 whole notes a minute, that that means the individual beats will flow at a rate of 275 beats per minute (11*25).

metronome for time signature 3/6 with 4/7 with 5/11

As you listen to the clip you will hear that the bar lines drift in and out of sync in the three rhythms and the beats move slowly in and out of sync, in a way that would surely be rather hard for a performer to achieve at least unless using metronomes.

Metronome with a truly irrational rhythm PI/4, surely next to impossible for any human performer to perform accurately over long periods of time:

metronome for time signature PI/4

metronome for time signature PI/4

That’s for the next upload which will probably be tomorrow, for the Rhythms and multi-beat polyrhythms metronome
for Tune Smithy.

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