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How to Transpose music to music sequencer

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1default How to Transpose music to music sequencer on Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:34 pm


This is just a quick guide to some techniques for getting to make the songs you like into lbp2, it is aimed at those who are not pitch perfect and know almost nothing about music.

The music sequencer in lbp2 is effectively an instrument by instrument midi file maker with a piano roll only view.

Wikipedia can help you about understanding what midi is if you don't already know what they are or how they work.
[URL] ... _Interface[/URL]

Ways of seeing music
There are various ways of looking at sound, but for the purposes of this tutorial I will stick with the 3 most useful for transcribing songs to lbp2

Sheet music
Sheet music relies on you knowing how to read it, which for the basics is not hard.

Simply put, each dot represents a note. It's placement in the staff (horizontal lines) says which key on the piano you should hit. As shown in image below:

But there is more to music than just what notes, its what notes when and for how long, and if they should be played differently i.e. sharp or flat.

A good starting outline of that can be found here:

Guitar/Bass tabs like sheet music tell you what fret on what string to hold, when you pluck that string or strum. For single strings you can get out single notes. The tuning of the string is shown at the right - which is what note the string will make if you just pluck it without holding on any frets - this is shown in tabs with a 0.

The same notes from the above scale on a tab:

Piano Roll
Piano roll view of music is very easy for the non musical to read, each row represents a key on a piano, the position of the bars shows what note to play and how long the bar is shows how long the note should be played for.

The same notes from above examples on a roll:

Seeing music in LBP
As mentioned earlier LBP music sequencer is a view like a piano roll, well it is once you get into it further than the first view.

First view after placing a single piano instrument segment ( you can resize the length of a single set of notes by moving the right stick up and down)

If you hit square you get to the composing piano roll view, below is the set of notes from the examples above;

So it is very easy to see the similarity to the other piano roll view.

Transposing (copying) into lbp
All very well you might say, for seeing how music looks, but how do you turn all those songs you like into the lbp music sequencer?

Firstly this is not a place for the discussions on ethics or acceptable use of copyrighted works, you should see what use is acceptable, it is being shared publicly but it's not being sold directly, you should at least credit the original artist somewhere, and by artist I mean the person who wrote it not some random band you like that covered the song.

Your new best friend
Anvil Studio is a free program that lets you see music in sheet, tab and roll and it loads the details from midi files.

From sheet music
Two main options on how to do this, learn how to read enough sheet music and then enter the notes into lbp, or get sheet music copy note by note into the sheet music view of anvil, then change to the roll view and copy to lbp.

From tabs
When you have a guitar tab, or found one on the myriad of sites out there use this free tool to change it to piano

you can then save the midi file produced and open it in anvil - and change to roll view and start copying notes into lbp.

From midi files (- the best and easiest way)
Find yourself a midi file you like, there are thousands out there, and googling for the song title and midi will usually take you right to what you are after. Save the midi to your computer (right click save as or save link as, especially if you have a something like quicktime that takes over playing the link and think you need to pay to save the file)

Next open the midi in Anvil Studio, now most midi file contain lots of different channels of instruments, which is good, because you will need a row in lbp for each of them.

The different channels will show up the top and you can select the one by one and use the drop down box at the left of the view to choose, staff (sheet music), tab and our favourite piano roll.

You want the piano roll view to a near as match lbp view as possible to make it simpler to copy.

The easiest settings for piano roll view;
Time: 4/4
Note: single
The rest on that row of drop down boxes is for adding, nice if composing but we aren't doing that.

Now what we have is a view similar to lbp.

Where, the single instrument square that is the default size is 1 bar. Which in 4/4 time is 4 whole notes - why this is, is not important just that it matches.

The columns of alternating colour on the instruments view in lbp are each 2 bars wide. So they fit 2 squares - but you can resize the instrument block to be up to 4 bars, if you have a longer set of notes then you have to add an additional block next to it.

When you open a single bar block - you get the view for the notes. Each column in this view is a whole note, but there are 8 little dots in each, so you can have down to 1/8th notes.

If you compare this to the anvil view; the bold lines in anvil represent the edges of 1 bar, inside that the thinner lines show the edges of whole notes, and the grid with dotted lines breaks each note into 8 blocks, for our purposes one block equals one dot in lbp.

This is clearly shown in image below;

So from here the process is a simple matter of plugging in notes in lbp to match the view you have in anvil.

For each little block you make in sequencer view, you can use L3 to copy and paste it further down the sequencer for when you have sections that are the same as others, to save time re-entering the same sets more than once. Have a look at the song you are wanting to copy for the parts that are the same and use some nounce when making your block sizes to make this copy and pasting easier.

You probably will want to make each instrument in your track on lbp similar to that in the midi you are working from, and this can be a little bit tricky.

In the sequencer view its easiest to keep one instrument per row the snap to line up so that is easy enough. One row to match for each of the instrument in your midi file.

The names of the instruments in your midi file should give you some reasonable clues as to what to pick from the sequencer instruments, but this is going to take some fiddling and trial and error. It is best to sort out what instruments, and note settings you will use before you start as you cant just cut and paste one set of notes to another instrument.

Things to experiment with

for non-tuned instruments (like drums that don't have distinct notes) hit square in the note view and go through the "musical key" options with some sample notes placed and see how that changes the sound.

change the timbre by clicking on the individual notes and using the right stick, the colour of the bar will get lighter as you go further to the right, place down a few on the same row with different timbres and listen to how it changes the sound for each of the instruments.

if you get desperate go a bit old school - and pull out some sound objects and bung them on your sequencer - you'll have to pitch shift in their settings and paste note by note - for tuned instrument sounds each click left or right on the d-pad when pitch shifting is one line on the lbp piano roll view - it starts at C and clicks do go to the sharps (black piano key) before the next note (white piano key) if there is a piano key for in between (there is no e sharp or b sharp)

Need a good brass band - well unless they release a music pack you are plum out of luck - try some of the wave shape sequencer instruments and play about to see if you can get something that will work ok.

Change octaves of notes - if it is a tuned instrument the it is best to move a whole octave so it doesn't sound weird. An octave put simply is the set of notes abcdefg - you'll see how the pattern of piano key repeats and there is the little dotted lines to show each C. Hold X and drag a bot around notes to select as you would objects and then just drag them up or down the roll, remember what note in the pattern you started from and match that position when you move it up or down. i.e. if your pattern started with a c note(dotted line), make sure it is still on a c note when you move it.

Mixing it up
Once you have all your notes done in each of the instruments, you can fiddle with mix, or how loud the different instruments are relative to each other.

Few options here, i'll go from smaller unit effects to larger;

You can change it per note, use the right stick when you have selected a note, and make it louder or quieter by pushing up or down, this is represented by the dot size. You can also select the end dot of a note and adjust it separately making a note get louder or quieter as is played. You can use the start and end volumes to make notes fade in or fade out as they are played - this can help to match some types of instrument sounds or make nifty effects.

You can change it per block so that some blocks are quieter than others - they default to 100% - you find that in the menu by hitting square when on the roll view for that block. This setting effects all notes in a block so notes already with lower volume will be further scaled down by using this setting.

You can change it per row or groups of rows. hit square on the actual music sequencer object - that little purple box. In the volume section yo will see and option for number of sliders. It starts at 1 - so the volume change effect will be over all the instruments, increasing the number makes more sliders appear, but it also puts a line on the sequencer. Each section of the sequencer is then volume controlled by the corresponding slider.

Looking at the instruments in anvil you will see a volume slider next to each, use these as a guide. Also next to each instrument you see a slider for

The pan is how much of the sound is from your left and right speakers, you control it per block. The default is centre - equally out both sides - you can create an effect of moving by having each successive block change sides, either entirely or block by block have them drift one side to the other.

Echo and reverb
The echo adjust and reverb for each block is how much you would like that block to take on the overall echo and reverb settings set on the whole sequencer.

Echo on the sequencer settings is adjusted in a few ways;

time is how long before the sounds start echoing
feedback is how much the echo echos
mix is how loud the echo is compared to the original sound

You can get a very simple set of notes to sound very complex if you mess about with the echo time and the other 2 settings at 100% if your instruments echo adjust is also at 100%

Reverb is sort of simlar to echo in a way but it is the immediate echo of how things sound in different places, a piano in the room of your house does not sound the same as the piano played in centre stage of a large hall if you are standing in the corner.
By adjusting the reverb per block and instrument yo can have it sound like you suddenly moved your piano from in a small room into a cathedral for a few bars and brought it back.
Play around and see what suits your song.

Tempo and swing
The tempo is how fast your song will play and the swing is how consistent that will be. The swing doesn't change it a whole lot, just so that it is at times slightly faster and others slightly slower but not so much that you cannot count a consistent beat.

That should be enough info to get you on your way - any questions post them here, or say if there is some gap in my explanation. Do note I am a non-musical person myself so I may not be able to explain things about musical theory very well. As for scales setting I'm still figuring that out - but in terms of transposing your midi view is chromatic so leave it alone.

Hope this has helped any one who is or has been interested in composing your own music, instead of waiting for that next uber level to come out with "your" music that'll fit into your level.

Neat little trick for the music sequencer

The sample sound that will come on when your popit is over an instrument, will make a simple tune. When you use the instrument it doesn't sound much like it at all! More notably the synth strings.

Select a note, tilt left or right on the right analog stick. This will change certain properties of the sound. A few example of this, synth strings will sound more like strings. Concertia will have a more eastern tune to it. The triangle wave will have more of a flute like sound.

If the note you are working with begin to turn any color, other then their original hue you'll know it's working.


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