learning to actually be a musician

Andrew Robinson andrew at bml.co.uk
Thu Mar 5 01:11:09 CET 2015

Well, I had to do a bit of thinking about this... Improvisator is unique
and hugely powerful, but the transport controls suck, there's no cut and
paste, you're stuck with at most 4 equal duration chords per bar, and it
blindly assumes you always want in a loop that's a power of 2 bars long...
but that stuff is fairly obvious and probably not the feedback you're
interested in. It obviously also lacks a piano roll editor, but adding one
would be re-inventing the wheel, so I think my ideal version of the app
would just generate midi data to work on in your editing software of
choice, but with more features.

Inversions are handled really, really badly (you can tell it to give you
chord inversions, but only *globally*, so every chord in your in your
sequence has the same inversion, which is about as useful as a chocolate
teapot), and octave changes are totally missing. I know the theory says
chords don't really have an octave-ness to them, but in the world of midi
notes they actually do, and I haven't mastered the art of 'arranging' in my
head well enough to know I've got what I want but an octave or an inversion
off, so give me a key that bumps the top note of an individual chord down
an octave, one that bumps the bottom up an octave, and ones that move the
whole chord up and down too, and I'd be a lot more productive.

I often get stuck trying to bridge a gap - I have chords 1 and 3 right, but
not 2. The suggestion feature really ought to be able to help here, but it
doesn't. The database will happily suggest that A sounds good after G7, and
that B7 sounds good after A, but frustratingly it lacks the ability to put
both those facts together and suggest if you have G7 then a gap (or just a
chord you don't like) then B7, an A would fit there.

The bit that's really missing though is a database of scales that work with
the chords, I still have to hunt and peck in an external editor to find out
which notes will work for a melody over my chord sequence in a midi editor.
Xthnthesizr for iOS does this really well (so it's not impossible) letting
me choose dorian/mixolydian/locrian/blues/major pentatonic (and many more)
scales that fit with the chord (although it doesn't have 1/10th the chord
library of Improvisator). My Ideal composition helper would have the best
of both, not just letting me put chord changes on a timeline, but also
scale changes on a timeline, and it would give me a midi file that has not
just the chords, but also a short run of all the notes that are in my
chosen scale (maybe half a bar later, or maybe on a different channel?) so
I can write a melody that's going to be in tune by sliding them around in
time, deleting/repeating, etc. without all that tedious plonking of wrong
notes before I stumble on the right ones.

While I'm wish-listing, if multi-channel midi files are happening, give me
a monophonic channel of just the lowest note of each chord in there too,
improvisator can spit this out if you manually abuse the voicing options
and save an extra file, but it's a clunky process at the moment.

- Andy_R

On 3 March 2015 at 18:46, ibi sum <ibisum at gmail.com> wrote:

> >
> > Improvisator isn't perfect (no easy way to do chord inversions, and a
> clunky composition interface) but it's *so* powerful that I have to
> recommend it. Most of my music nowadays is blocked out in improvisator and
> then then taken into a midi editor to work out timing and add inversions.
> How do you think this bit can be improved?
> ;
> --
> Jay Vaughan
> seclorum at icloud.com
> ;-PS wicked Propaganda track, haven’t listened to it in years .. nice and
> loud.
> _______________________________________________
> music-bar mailing list
> music-bar at lists.music-bar.org
> http://lists.music-bar.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/music-bar
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