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Blue Notes

A "Blue" note is a note that is 1/2 semitone sharp or flat from a normal equal-tempered Western music note, such that it would be "in the crack" on a piano keyboard. Blue notes are typically used in Jazz.

The Pitch Track note stream consists of only equal-tempered notes (MIDI numbers 0-127). If you are tracking a live voice or whistle, or an instrument that allows arbitrary notes (like a slide trombone or violin), you may want to experiment with setting a wide Pitch Track Hysteresis value and using Note Bend to follow the pitch continuously.

Any note can then be Blue, although this method does expose any unintentional pitch deviations, both in the performance itself and also due to Pitch Track inaccuracy.

For DaqMusiq or KaleidoSynth performances from a random note stream, you typically want normal notes for most of the performance, using a low Hysteresis (0.5) and no Note Bend. You can use the '+' character in a Note Pattern to specify that a note will be played 1/2 semitone higher than the input note. A '-' character will play a note 1/2 semitone lower than the input.

For example, you might use the Buffer Copy command to copy an arbitrary sequence of notes from the input stream to a buffer, for use as a muscial motif or theme in a performance. (You could instead use the Buffer Fill Bf option to fill with a random or oscillating note stream.)

You might then make whatever note falls at a particular position in that sequence be played 1/2 semitone higher. Let's say you want that to be position 7 in Voice 2. You could manually enter the '+' into the Note Pattern, or use N2.7="+" to do it from the Changes script. (The script allows you to make the position variable from one performance to the next, by using, for example, a random or oscillator value in place of the '7'.)

The above method specifies +/- 1/2 semitone relative to an input note, so it can't be used directly if you want to also specify the note number or name. For example, you might want to set up a favorite progression that includes certain Blue notes. You can enter all the note letters into a Note Pattern, but you can't enter both a letter and a '+' or '-' at the same position.

A work-around is to enter all the letters normally, then use Buffer Copy to copy the pattern to any input buffer, and select that buffer to be the input for that stream. Now you can use the N command as above to set a '+' or '-' to any position you choose in the Note Pattern. Where there are letters in the Note Pattern, the input is always ignored and the absolute note is played directly (relative to the Pattern Key). But where there are numerals or symbols (like '+' or '-'), the note is played relative to the input stream... which holds the original note in the buffer copy. (All the other notes in the copy are superceded by the letters in the Note Pattern.)

Note that Blue notes apply to all notes of a chord, not just the chord root. So you can manually or via a Changes command enter a chord character into the Chord Pattern at the same position as a Blue note, and the whole chord will be played Blue.

See also Changes Script Tips and Tricks, Changes Script Overview, Changes Script Editor, MIDI Voice Setup Dialogs, Pitch-to-MIDI dialog, Pitch Track Toolbox - Overview


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