Basing B-Step's UI around keys and scales

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borfo
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Basing B-Step's UI around keys and scales

Post by borfo » 01 Mar 2014, 05:11

A continuation of the ideas discussed in my "Launchpad UI Ideas" thread... This one would be a fundamental change to the way B-Step works, but I was PMing Monotomy back and forth about various feature ideas I had, and he asked me to post this huge series of threads so the ideas could be publicly discussed... Anyhow:

Since there are 8 buttons in each row on a launchpad (see the horizontal row settings control idea in the Launchpad UI Ideas thread), each setting can be set to 8 different values. So, there could easily be 8 bar chords, for example.

If the "bar chord" concept was changed around a bit, you could make it easier to play with B-Step without having to program in chord sets. I have mentioned this idea before in the discussions about cythar, but I'll repeat it here.

On the "master settings" page, the bottom two rows could be used to make a piano keyboard type layout showing an octave, with white keys (CDEFGABC) on the bottom row, and sharps and flats (black keys) in the row above. The user could press one of these buttons to select the root note of the key.

On the row above, the 8 buttons could represent different scales (major, natural minor, harmonic minor, pentatonic, etc.) The user would select one of the 8 available scales.

Then, the 8 bar chords (there would be 8 chords available, since there are 8 settings buttons available) could be automatically generated - chord 1 would be the chord that is in the selected key with note1 in the scale as its root note, chord 2 would be the chord with note 2 as its root, etc.

So, in C major, chord1 would be Cmajor, C2 would be Dminor, C3 would be Eminor, C4 would be Fmajor, etc.

You could easily automatically generate these chords in the program - the relationship between the notes is easy to calculate - take the notes in the scale (eg: CDEFGABC), and you could generate the basic chords by just taking the root note of the chord, and adding every second note higher than the rood note - for the C chord, you would skip D and F, and select C+2 and C+4 - so CEG (the 1, 3, 5 intervals). If you wanted to get the chord in the key of C major with A as its root, you'd take A+2 and A+4 - so ACE (A minor)

You would select the bar chord by pressing and holding a Bar Button, to enter Bar Settings mode, and you would select the chord by pressing one of the 8 buttons in the chord select row.

Since the calculation above only gets you three notes, and B-Step has 4 strings (or it could have 6 strings if you get rid of the bar chord buttons on the main launchpad view), and because you don't always want the chord notes in the same order, there could be a new Bar Setting that would shuffle the notes around, transpose some of them into different octaves depending on which of the 8 buttons you chose. Another setting would decide which additional notes to include or repeat to fill up the unused strings (maybe you could include a 7th, 9th, etc. Or you could repeat one or more of the notes from the chord.

Another good reason to switch to basing the b-step chords around a key/scale is that right now it is pretty hard to figure out what key you're playing in. You would have to open up the chord editor, figure out what the chords are and what notes are being played, and then figure out what key those notes and chords fit in. A lot of sequencer people are not very good with music theory (I know I'm not), and even for someone who knows theory, it would be hard to read the B-Step chord editor and figure out the key, since the notes are not layed out in a standard way that people are used to reading - they're just notes near a dial, not in order, etc.

Because it would be difficult to figure out what key you're in, it would be difficult to jam with another person on B-Step - you couldn't easily tell them what key they should be playing in.

Right now, I'm using a hardware device to force all the notes into a scale (a Mutable Instruments MIDIpal)... That works, but I think b-step would be a lot more approachable for new users if it was based around keys instead of arbitrary sets of chords. It would certainly be easier to explain to new users.

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borfo
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Re: Basing B-Step's UI around keys and scales

Post by borfo » 06 Mar 2014, 04:32

Actually, this could be a second mode, I guess - you could have "chord set mode" (the way it is now) and "scale mode".

Anyway, just an idea. I know this would be a pretty big change to the way the sequencer works.

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monotomy
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Re: Basing B-Step's UI around keys and scales

Post by monotomy » 31 Mar 2014, 22:55

Here a first short answer. Scales will come with 1.3.

Later more to your post.
Monoplugs - Unique Music Software

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