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newbie resources and pitch bend problems
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thcjunkee
Posted 2008-03-16 12:10 AM (#14167)
Subject: newbie resources and pitch bend problems


New user

Posts: 4

I'm slowly learning how to work in revisit, but I have a few questions. First is that I haven't had much luck finding good resources for learning the basics of tracker workflow. I can't find much on the Internet that teaches the basics of using a tracker -- any tracker. So, does anyone have links to any resources for beginners?

Second: it looks like the first thing I'm trying to do isn't really doable in revisit. I'm only using MIDI output and I'm attempting to generate a stream of pitch bend messages. These are going to a custom instrument, so they are no longer meant to shift the pitch of the played note. The first thing I noticed is that it doesn't generate events at all unless I ask it initially to play a note. Is there any way around this? I know I can filter the note event elsewhere, but my intention is to reduce the overall complexity of the system I'm creating and at the moment I'm only after generating the events I'm asking for.

So now I want to set an absolute pitch bend value. I enter this code:

C-4 00 00 E30

... and revisit generates a series of six pitch bend events to arrive at the final value. I see it's generating only the MSB of the pitch bend data and unless there is a way to modify this, and I don't see one, it may not even be useful for the purpose I'm after in this case. I'm not sure if anyone else has encountered this... I'm guessing no one has even really tried to achieve this specific result. Also, I don't understand how revisit chooses the duration over which to change the pitch.

I recognize possible workarounds, by using independent CC controls instead of pitch bend, but having to specify the LSB and MSB separately will probably make this route more difficult to in code than other solutions I can think of. I'm not giving up on revisit, but I seem to have a habit of approaching a new piece of software and finding it incapable of doing the first thing I ask of it.

Any input is appreciated.

Thanks in advance... Mark
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CS_TBL
Posted 2008-03-16 7:14 PM (#14168 - in reply to #14167)
Subject: Re: newbie resources and pitch bend problems



Expert

Posts: 512
500
Location: Netherlands
As for the 'how a tracker works', there's not much to learn here. If you know how an 808, 909, 303 etc. works, then you'll be able to track. Regarding mindset it's exactly like creating music the traditional way, with pen/paper. In fact, tracking represents traditional composing much more than pressing record, play something on your keyboard, and post-edit all the mistakes from your recording.

As for pitch, didn't check, but have you tried leaving out the 'note' cell but keep the instrument field?
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thcjunkee
Posted 2008-03-17 5:12 AM (#14170 - in reply to #14168)
Subject: Re: newbie resources and pitch bend problems


New user

Posts: 4

CS_TBL - 2008-03-16 1:14 PM

As for the 'how a tracker works', there's not much to learn here. If you know how an 808, 909, 303 etc. works, then you'll be able to track. Regarding mindset it's exactly like creating music the traditional way, with pen/paper. In fact, tracking represents traditional composing much more than pressing record, play something on your keyboard, and post-edit all the mistakes from your recording.


Excellent, I had hoped to gain the attention of an authority on the subject. Thank you for responding.

I believe I have a good theoretical understanding of how a tracker works, and the paradigm makes enough sense to me for me to choose to learn to use a tracker. I'm not a musician in the traditional sense of the word, I'm a programmer who is learning to utilize the tool that is the computer to manipulate sound in creative ways. On an experiential level, most of this is new to me. My difficulty lies in learning the process of writing the "program" in the proper terms via the proper mechanism for the tracker to give me the results that I'm seeking.

This won't be the first time that I've had to learn a new language through the process of reading a reference manual instead of a tutorial -- in this case, basically a list of key strokes -- and then following up with the process of experimentation and trials that lead me to determine what is actually happening by monitoring the results. And of course being a complete beginner, this is the hardest time for me. They don't call it a steep learning curve for nothing. It's handy to have someone who's been through this to ask simple questions of because, in my experience, some of the simplest, most basic principles can be the hardest to figure out on my own.

So that's why I'm asking for anyone who might know what resources are available -- where there might be a forum for beginners to ask these simple questions or good tutorials on tracking methods in general or using specific programs like revisit or impulse tracker, and the like.

As for pitch, didn't check, but have you tried leaving out the 'note' cell but keep the instrument field?


I had not thought of this. A beginner's mistake, I was trying to send an effect only without an instrument specification, thus not providing the instruction to send it out any MIDI channel at all. However, without specifying the note value, it still sends a C-0, just FYI. Thanks for the suggestion.

Peace... Mark
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CS_TBL
Posted 2008-03-17 10:53 AM (#14171 - in reply to #14170)
Subject: Re: newbie resources and pitch bend problems



Expert

Posts: 512
500
Location: Netherlands
As for pitchbend: I rarely use it anyway, so perhaps Chris wants to pipe in here.. :P

As for tracking: I don't know of any tracking forums, but for sure there must be some. I'm not sure how I could explain tracking to you, not because I can't, but because I don't know where the difficulty lies for you. Some 16 years ago I started with a primitive tracker, I hadn't seen one earlier and it looked rather odd. (I was used to BASIC stuff like play"cdefg") But within minutes I understood the tracking method and never went back. If you have detailed questions I can answer them I guess..
Do you at least know how to make melodies, chords and a drumtrack in a tracker?
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chrisnash
Posted 2008-05-13 10:18 PM (#14260 - in reply to #14167)
Subject: RE: newbie resources and pitch bend problems



Developer

Posts: 746
50010010025
Location: England

Hi Mark,

Sorry for the delay in replying, but I've been a little hampered recently... 

I'm slowly learning how to work in revisit, but I have a few questions. First is that I haven't had much luck finding good resources for learning the basics of tracker workflow. I can't find much on the Internet that teaches the basics of using a tracker -- any tracker. So, does anyone have links to any resources for beginners?


In the long run, I hope to have pages in the reViSiT help which will help people getting started. Until then, you might take a peak at the Wikipedia page on Trackers, which gives a good overview. There also used to be something around once called the Trackers Handbook, which was available through MAZ Sound Tools at one stage - http://www.soundtrackers.de/ (Tools > Trackers > Info & Help).

Second: it looks like the first thing I'm trying to do isn't really doable in revisit. I'm only using MIDI output and I'm attempting to generate a stream of pitch bend messages. These are going to a custom instrument, so they are no longer meant to shift the pitch of the played note. The first thing I noticed is that it doesn't generate events at all unless I ask it initially to play a note.

Is there any way around this?

Not really at the moment, though extending the MIDI options is something that will be looked at when I have the time. The problem is that in order to send MIDI messages, you generally need to specify a MIDI channel - and, in reViSiT, channels are implicitly chosen by selecting an instrument. Also, if you're not actually controlling pitch, why not use a MIDI Control Change message (and/or the Breath Control CC). That way, you can use reViSiT's MIDI effects more intuitively than fiddling with pitch bends.

... and revisit generates a series of six pitch bend events to arrive at the final value. I don't understand how revisit chooses the duration over which to change the pitch.

The pitch is updated on every tracker frame, the frequency of which is determined by the resolution. The default resolution can be set in Preferences (F12), but you should take a peak at the Axx effect, which allows you to change it on the fly (see the associated help, F1). The help for Exx, Fxx and Gxx also has useful information about how pitch sliding works.

I see it's generating only the MSB of the pitch bend data and unless there is a way to modify this, and I don't see one...

In MIDI settings (F4 > Pitch/MIDI), there is a drop list for Pitch Bend Resolution - 7-bit or 14-bit. 14-bit should give you combined LSB/MSB control.

I recognize possible workarounds, by using independent CC controls instead of pitch bend, but having to specify the LSB and MSB separately will probably make this route more difficult to in code than other solutions I can think of. I'm not giving up on revisit, but I seem to have a habit of approaching a new piece of software and finding it incapable of doing the first thing I ask of it.

When I take a look at MIDI features, it might just be possible to have each MIDI effect encapsulate two CC messages. Since each MIDI CC take 0-127 data range and each tracker effect can do 0-255, this might be a useful of doubling the number of effects and elegantly combining LSB/MSB CC's. I'll also look into making it so that "orphaned" instrument entries (without pitches) don't trigger notes.

Good Luck!
Chris

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