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Mike Davies

Sax notation in Staff view

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

I am using Cakewalk as an aid in trying to learn Alto sax and I have run into an issue.  For those not familiar the Alto Sax is a transposing instrument and music written for it is written on a Treble clef stave and it plays 9 semitones lower than as written.  I have found the "Key+" facility in the Track Inspoector and the page on "Music notation for non-concert-key instruments" on page 1258 of the latest manual but I have an issue as follows :

For example, say I want to score the following notes for the AS in a key of C Major : Bb,  B,  C, Db (concert pitches  Db, D, Eb, E) it is usual for the part to be written as in the first pic below named "0key_as_cmaj.jpg".  BUT, if I try to do as is suggested on pg 1258 of the manual and notate for the instrument then add (-9) in the "Key+" field of the Track Inspector the Staff view gains 3 "#" symbols turning it from C Major to A Major with the C notation changing to C♮ and the Db to C without any accidental applied as per the second image file "9key_as_amaj.jpg" attached (but of course the A Major scale does have the C# in the key signature so it is technically correct as far as that goes).

Is there any way to have the minus 9 semitone offset I require for the output to sound at the Alto sax pitch, while still having the notation that is normal for the AS in the Staff view ?  I tried messing around with key signatures but it seems they have no effect on the notation in the staff view, only on the note snapping as you enter notes.

To be completely clear, what I need is for the music I enter on the Staff view to remain unaltered when I apply the (-9) offset in the Key+ field but just for the output pitches to be lowered. 

Thanks,

0key_as_cmaj.jpg

9key_as_amaj.jpg

Edited by Mike Davies
Typo

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Posted (edited)

The Alto sax is a Eb instrument. When you play a C note it will be the Eb on a piano or guitar.
So all you need to do is take any midi  backing tracks and transpose them +3 ( or -9) semi tones. Now you can play along in tune. 
Apparently Cakewalks staff View is a weak point. Not the easiest way to make music with Cakewalk 

Edited by John Vere

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4 minutes ago, John Vere said:

The Alto sax is a Eb instrument. When you play a C note it will be the Eb on a piano or guitar. So all you need to do is create your backing tracks in concert pitch and then you transpose them +3 semi tones. I’m not sure we’re you get 9 from that’s A. 

Come on. 3 + 9 = 12.  If you count 3 up from C, that's Eb.  If you count 9 down from C, that's Eb.  

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, User 905133 said:

Come on. 3 + 9 = 12.  If you count 3 up from C, that's Eb.  If you count 9 down from C, that's Eb.  

I saw my mistake and corrected it while you answered I thought they said +9 

Edited by John Vere
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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, John Vere said:

I saw my mistake and corrected it while you answered I thought they said +9 

Glad you noticed and corrected that. 

Edited by User 905133
correct --> corrected
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1 hour ago, scook said:

Try using MFX Transpose in the MIDI FX rack instead of the Key+ setting

 

45 minutes ago, John Vere said:

The Alto sax is a Eb instrument. When you play a C note it will be the Eb on a piano or guitar.
So all you need to do is take any midi  backing tracks and transpose them +3 ( or -9) semi tones. Now you can play along in tune. 
Apparently Cakewalks staff View is a weak point. Not the easiest way to make music with Cakewalk 

If I do that with an offset of (-9) then MFX changes the MIDI itself so that the Staff view is shown with the music transposed 9 semitones lower as in the pic "0key_cmaj_transp_minus9.jpg" below.  This is also not what I need which is for the Staff view to remain unchanged but the sounded output to be shifted down by 9 semitones.

I should say that I'm completely blown away by how good Cakewalk is as free software, just a pity I don't seem to be able to get exactly what I need from this.  Is there an enhancements "suggestions box" for the developers anywhere ?  I'm sure there are lots of transposing instruments players out there who could do with the facility I am looking for.

Thanks for the replies,

 

 

0key_cmaj_transp_minus9.jpg

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12 minutes ago, Mike Davies said:

Is there an enhancements "suggestions box" for the developers anywhere ? 

It's the Feedback Loop section in these forums.

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3 minutes ago, rsinger said:

It's the Feedback Loop section in these forums.

Thanks.  It does seem as though the intended behavious of the Key+ facility is as I need though, from the manual on page 287 :

Quote

Adjusting the Key/transposing a track (Key+)
Each MIDI note event has a key number, or pitch. On playback, the key offset (Key+) parameter transposes all notes in the track by
the designated number of half-steps. The value can range from -127 to +127. A value of 12 indicates that notes will be played back
one octave higher than they are written. This parameter does not affect the note number that is stored for each note event. When the
clip is displayed in other views, like the Piano Roll, Staff, or Event List view, you will see the original notes as they are stored in the
file. To permanently change the pitches, you can edit them individually or use the Process > Transpose command.

Thanks again,

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I what you are trying to do is play along with a midi track while sight reading the midi tracks staff view then it’s very simple. 
Copy the track to a new  midi track. Transpose the new track and set it’s output to the synth you were using

Now mute the track you are sight reading. 

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Posted (edited)

image.png.2b48fcf8e48e565e99e5d522eda6b104.png

7 hours ago, Mike Davies said:

This is also not what I need which is for the Staff view to remain unchanged but the sounded output to be shifted down by 9 semitones.

When I put the MFX Transpose plug-in on both tracks and pitch them down 9 half-steps, both sounded lower by 9 half-steps.

Does that fit the description of what you want?  Track 1 looks like it is written in C but with the MFX Transpose set to -9, it sounds like Track 2 looks.

 

Edited by User 905133
various edits

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Posted (edited)

deleted

Edited by Base 57
I'm stupid and it's late

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Posted (edited)

Nevermind. It is too late, I mean early to be doing theory. 

 

 

 

Edited by Base 57
aaarghhh

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As I posted on the thread in the Feedback Loop forum I think I have found it :

Quote

OK, I think I have found it :  I need to apply an <Insert Effect> instead of <Process Effect> in the above chain as follows :

<Right-click on track to select MIDI data><Insert Effect><MIDI Effects...><Uncategorised><Transpose> and set <Offset> to <3>

That leaves the notes in the Staff view unchanged while lowering the pitch of the produced sound...

Thanks to all who contributed to helping me out,

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Posted (edited)

I think this problem and alternative solutions provides a good example of a number of things.  To help sort things out for myself, I broke down the method that I used yesterday (which worked--one of several possible solutions) and tried to make a visual representation that supplements the discussion of options, midi flow, etc. both in this thread and the second thread the OP created. (I elongated the final note in the C major scale example to illustrate the result of the Transpose MFX plug-in on both (1) the chord analyzer MFX plug-in [midi data coming from the FX bin FX Rack in the midi track] and (2) MeldaProduction's MTuner plug-in [audio data coming from the FX bin FX Rack in the TTS-1 soft synth track].

Track 1 has a series of three MFX plug-ins. The first chord analyzer shows the midi data before the transposition (Transpose MFX). The second chord analyzer shows the midi data after the transposition.  So, the C played in Track 1 gets transposed to an Eb [aka D#].  

The staff view of track 1 stays the same (the C Major scale example).

The MTuner plug-in in Track 3 's FX bin FX Rack shows that the audio for that sustained C is played as an Eb/D#.

If this helps, great. If not, just pretend you never saw this.    

 

image.thumb.png.ea1b6bd99a01f047a783e69accd3553b.png

Edited by User 905133
(2) to change "FX bin" [archaic] to "FX rack" [current wording] per scook; (1) to add a link to MeldaProduction's FREE!!! MTuner (in case the OP or any one else is interested)

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47 minutes ago, Mike Davies said:

As I posted on the thread in the Feedback Loop forum I think I have found it :

Quote

OK, I think I have found it :  I need to apply an <Insert Effect> instead of <Process Effect> in the above chain as follows :

<Right-click on track to select MIDI data><Insert Effect><MIDI Effects...><Uncategorised><Transpose> and set <Offset> to <3>

That leaves the notes in the Staff view unchanged while lowering the pitch of the produced sound...

Thanks to all who contributed to helping me out,

Try adding the plug-in to the MIDI FX rack. This applies the plug-in to the whole track, The "Insert Effect" in the clip context menu adds the plug-in to the clip FX rack.

Just like audio FX racks, every track has one. Every clip has an FX rack too but, the OP a track level application.

Instrument tracks do not show the MIDI FX rack in the track view, it is on the MIDI tab in the inspector.

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Question for the sax players: does this apply to altos specifically, or to all saxophones?

I've long marveled at the way my band's sax player can quickly transpose in his head. I'm too lazy to even try. Fortunately, I play keyboards and there's a button for that. But if he's using different rules when switching between, say baritone and tenor (which he sometimes does mid-song) that would be an even more impressive skill.

 

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My bad, I called them FX bins, not the FX Rack.

The alto sax is an Eb instrument; the tenor is a Bb instrument so the transpositions would be different.  I never played the baritone sax, but the internet says it also uses the treble clef (and is also an Eb instrument).

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