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MMD > Archives > April 1996 > 1996.04.07 > 02Prev  Next

Roll Arranging Software
By Mark Fontana

Happy Easter!

A virtual round of applause to Stephen Kent Goodman, Robbie Rhodes, Matthew Caulfield, David Wasson, and George Bogatko-- the Wurlitzer 165 MIDI file of "Painting The Town Red, White & Blue" is *excellent*!

I've never heard music like that come out of my Sound Canvas! Long live creative collaboration.  I hope we'll be hearing MORE pieces like this from you guys!

On a related note, I will be starting work on my Master's thesis in May. After tossing around several ideas, I've decided to develop a computerized music roll editing system from scratch.  I'm looking for suggestions from those of you who have experience in arranging rolls. What do you find especially difficult about using existing sequencing software for this task?  What capabilities would you like to see?

Some definite features I plan to include:

     - music roll-style display onscreen at all times, occupying about
       3/4 of the screen, with selectable levels of vertical (time)
       resolution, and 100+ horizontal channels

     - support for multiple roll formats (88-note, Ampico, etc.), as well
       as support for developing "generic" performances for MIDI-like
       devices (PianoDisc, Disklavier)

     - step entry and realtime recording modes

     - MIDI keyboard controller will be used for data entry; the user
       interface will permit common editing maneuvers (eg. add/delete mode
       toggle) to be controlled through various pedal combinations (using
       extra pedals), allowing the user to keep his hands on the keyboard
       most of the time

     - velocity adjustment without changing note start/stop times

     - capability to drag notes around without changing vel or length

     - assistance in creating smooth glissando and tremolo effects,
       doubling in multiple octaves, etc.

     - ability to import MIDI files or perforator control files

     - ability to output to a variety of formats, including MIDI files,
       perforator control files, Pianocorder tapes :-)

     - prototyping of band organ rolls and simulation of Duo-Art and Ampico
       expression models using a GM/GS sound module

     - timing resolution specified in ticks/second, with a fixed rate
       throughout a roll for easy conversion to other formats; tempo
       changes will not change the timing resolution (as with MIDI files)

The platform for this software will be IBM compatibles under MSDOS (spit). I have applied for some funding through Phi Kappa Phi honor society's graduate enrichment award program... wish me luck!  The academic aspects of this project will focus on the user interface and its effectiveness.

I hope to complete most of the programming work for this project by December, so that I can have my defense in February 1997 (some of the more obscure features may be added afterwards; I need to concentrate on getting the fundamental editing framework done first). I'll be doing the majority of the work this summer.  

As I mentioned earlier, I welcome your suggestions.  (Also, if anyone is aware of similar projects already underway, I'd appreciate any references...)

-Mark Fontana

 [ Editor's Note:
 [ OK, Gang, here's the invitation of the year.  Now all we need is
 [ someone with a CO2 laser and too much time on their hands...
 [ Jody

(Message sent Sun 7 Apr 1996, 07:43:54 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Arranging, Roll, Software

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