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Topic: Bug when using percussion (Read 1283 times) previous topic - next topic

Bug when using percussion

I am using NWC 2.0. It seems there is a bug. If I have a percussion staff, then all other staves play as percussion, note heads change to X and it's just all wrong. Please help. Is there a bug fix upgrade for this?

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #1
Can you tell us what you mean by "percussion staff"? Is it
- a staff with MIDI channel 10?
- a staff which you started with a percussion clef?
- a staff where you changed the notehead form to X before you started writing the staff?

Then, it would be helpful if you just attached your problem file to the posting here, if this is ok for you (or maybe a shortened score with e.g. only the first 3 or 4 measures of each staff).

(And, could you check the precise version of NWC? - it is under Help->About and says something like Version 2.75a.2)

H.M.

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #2
I created the percussion staff as a regular staff with a percussion clef. I added a single note with an X note head.

The problem is the Violoncelli staff. It is using Midi channel 10 (whatever that means). The instrument selected is "Cello."

The file was created in 2.0 and I just upgraded to 2.75 and it did not fix the problem.

(Trying to attach the .nwc file but I can't see how to do that here)

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #3
It seems that the bug was: (at least when the score was created in 2.0:)

The staves get MIDI channels numbered 1, 2, 3, ... When it hits 10, that staff (in my case the cello part) got MIDI channel 10 because it was the 10th one I created. This seems to make it a Percussion staff.

I hope this bug has been fixed in 2.75a.2 but I don't want to go back and recreate the score. Changing the MIDI channel to 12 now it sounds like a cello.

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #4
Hi Topquark.
Just by way of an FYI, MIDI channel 10 is always the percussion channel*.  This is part of the MIDI standard.  Using a percussion clef does not define the staff as a percussion staff as far as NWC is concerned, it is there for correct appearance on the printed page.  You could also use a bass clef and get the right sounds, but the wrong appearance.  NWC doesn't care what MIDI channel is assigned to a staff, BUT your synthesizer does.

I agree it can be a bit of a "gotcha" when NWC automatically increments the MIDI channel number for each additional staff and the 10th staff created gets channel 10, but I'm not sure I'm ready to call it a bug...  It is however, something to be aware of.  Perhaps programming around auto assigning channel 10 might be a good idea and worth being made a suggestion.

When you change the notehead shape (E.G. to an X) it will remain the new shape until changed again.  This is always a manual action.

* there are specific exceptions to this but they are basically irrelevant in this context.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals, youfonymums 'n tubies.

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #5
No, this behavior has not changed - it was never seen as a bug, however, exactly because the assignment of MIDI channels is easily changed. And that assignment is quite "heuristic" anyway: If you have more than 16 staves, the lower staves will all get channel 16; or, in important cases, two or more staves need the same channel (e.g. piano; maybe also organ) etc.etc.

So, in the end, NWC expects its users to understand (or find out?) the "strange channel 10 behavior" - which is in the MIDI standard, far away from NWC; so we all live with it - and manually assign channels ... preferably in templates that are used for writing scores (that's what I do).

I hope this helps ... but you found the main problem anyway.

(What I dont understand: You wrote: "all other staves play as percussion, note heads change to X" - but that's not what would happen if just one staff accidentally had MIDI 10 assigned to it. Can you give a hint why that did happen??).

H.M.

 

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #6
When you change the notehead shape (E.G. to an X) it will remain the new shape until changed again.  This is always a manual action.
You can change that behaviour via <Notes><Persistent tools>, see attachment.
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #7
Regarding automatic note heads: I cannot find that option on Staff Properties. Does that feature even exist? Jut press X note head when composing that staff. I'm not sure what I did wrong that one time.

There are a lot of nuances to this software. I have had great success with it, given my limited knowledge. Now give me a few months to glean everything I can from these fora.

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #8
So, are you saying I cannot have more than 16 separate instruments (ie. MIDI channels?) If I combine organ and piano grand staves, that helps, but then I can't add a piccolo part because I already have 16 channels in use? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to turn this into a full discussion of the MIDI standard. I'ts probably here somewhere else on this forum.

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #9
are you saying I cannot have more than 16 separate instruments
Let say 15 if you exclude channel 10 (percussion).

Workarounds:
  • you use more MIDI playback devices. 16 (15...) channels for each device. Very good but very unportable.
  • you share the same channel with various instruments. Not always easy but often feasible.

The trick in the case 2 is to reuse the same channel for a different instrument (staff) when the others instruments are silent.
When a new instrument must take the place of another you simply put an "instrument change" in the new instrument staff selecting the old instrument channel. That's it.
Of course this can be repeated at wish.

Many years ago I had a GEM keyboard who had only 5 patches (channels...) at once. Imagine how many instrument swaps!

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #10
...you use more MIDI playback devices. 16 (15...) channels for each device. Very good but very unportable...
I only use this strategy. Any MIDI/instrument-portability of scores with more than a few instruments is a chimera, in my eyes: The sounds of the virtual instruments or sound fonts on the importer's side will be so different and therefore, most probably, in their relationship, horrible that there is no reason whatsoever for exporting MIDIs with more than a small handful of instruments (two; maybe a string quartet). Thus, nowadays I only export MP3s or player videos created by me, so that I'm responsible for the sound, whether good or bad.

I use loopMIDI as virtual cable, where I can have as many devices as I want; and Reaper as DAW. Setting up a full orchestra is no problem (technically; it is, musically).

H.M.


Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #12
Hi TopQuark,
So, are you saying I cannot have more than 16 separate instruments (ie. MIDI channels?)
<snip>
No, as Flurmy said, you could have multiple synths or share channels. 
Quote
<snip>
If I combine organ and piano grand staves, that helps, but then I can't add a piccolo part because I already have 16 channels in use?
<snip>
Actually, it's not really that difficult, or quite as limiting as it seems.
Firstly, combining an organ and a piano is probably not the choice I'd make...  But using the same channel for identical or very similar instruments is exactly what I do.

This gets a bit long-winded.  Sorry 'bout that:

Using a Concert/Military/Marching/Wind band score, you might lay it out like this:
Midi ChannelInstrument
1Flutes (and maybe piccolo but using a flute patch*)
2Oboes
3Bassoons
4Clarinets
5Alto Saxes
6Tenor Saxes
7Baritone Saxes
8Horns
9Trumpets
10Un-pitched Percussion
11Trombones
12Guitars
13Piano (both hands)
14Basses (either Double(string) Basses or Bass Guitar)
15Tuba/Euphonium**
16Tuned Percussion (***Glock, Marimba, Tubular bells etc. excluding Tympani****)

* Using a flute patch for piccolo is probably not the best idea, but if you have some flute players on flute and some on piccolo at the same time and not enough channels then this might be an acceptable compromise.  Just make sure the octaves are correct for the instrument.  Add an instrument change to a staff that changes the transposition and this will not affect other staves on the same channel.  E.G. Piccolo is an octave higher than flute, so an instrument change that transposes up 12 semitones will give an octave change on that staff only.  Later you can restore the octave with an instrument change with a 0 transposition when it goes back to flute.  Piccolo is normally written an octave lower than it sounds (written C4 sounds a C5) so the instrument patch is the easy way to go.

** there is no Euphonium patch on the MIDI standard so I use a tuba patch - the instrument construction is basically identical except for size so this is a reasonable substitution.  Euphonium (Bb) is 9 feet, BBb tuba is 18 feet long - both are conical bore construction.  At a pinch you can even use the same trick for Baritone (Bb, 9 feet) and Tenor (alto) Horn (Eb, 7 feet) if your synth/soundfont is good enough as they also have a conical bore construction, but please note the rate of change of the bore diameter is less and the relative bore itself is also less so the real thing sounds "thinner" than a Euphonium or Tuba in the real world.  In the MIDI world you don't really have a choice as there are no Baritone or Tenor Horn patches.  If it's really necessary you could even use a Tuba patch for a Flugel Horn (Bb, 4 feet 6 inches) but this is stretching things a little...  The tuba patch would need to be pretty good.  There are other ways around these substitutions if you have access to suitable soundfonts/virtual instruments, but this reduces the portability of your score to other NWC users and of any exported MIDI file.

*** you would need to have in staff instrument changes.  However, if you need say, Marimba and Tubular Bells at the same time then you'd need to find another available channel.

**** In this example there aren't enough channels for Tympani as well, though you might be able to use channel 13 as most bands of this type don't have a piano.

You don't have to use this exact schema, it's simply an example.  The sharing of channels for the "same" instrument is quite reasonable.  After all, if 3 staves are, say, Trumpet, they're all using the trumpet patch anyway, so sharing a channel is fine.

The Tuba/Euphonium example is also logical as explained above.

Channel 10 is percussion.  Actually untuned percussion, so using this channel for every untuned percussion instrument/part is essential anyway.  You could easily have many staves on this channel depending on how many percussion parts you choose to write.

If you're really stuck for channels, you could combine similar instruments.  The easiest would be Alto and Tenor Saxes.  In the real world there are definite timbre differences, in the MIDI world you could get away with using either a Tenor or Alto patch for both and put them all on the same channel, thus freeing a channel up for, say, Tympani.  If you're really stuck you might even be able to add the Baritone Sax to this combo but the effectiveness of this would depend greatly on your synth.

If you don't need a guitar, then you have a free channel to assign as needed, again E.G. Tympani.

Ultimately, the key is to combine identical or similar sounding instruments on the same channel.

This example is for Concert Band (etc.) type scores, but you can use the same technique for an Orchestral score, or a Big Band score, or whatever you need.  At first glance, 16 channels seems very limiting, but a little creative thinking can stretch those 15 non-percussion channels a looong way.
Quote
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to turn this into a full discussion of the MIDI standard. I'ts probably here somewhere else on this forum.
No worries.  I hope the above is helpful.

<edit> the lengths of the brass instruments in ** are not exact but close.  The Eb Tenor Horn length has been edited a couple of times as I've tried to confirm it with conflicting data - pretty sure it's about right now.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals, youfonymums 'n tubies.

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #13
Firstly, combining an organ and a piano is probably not the choice I'd make... 
We didn't want to "combine" (assign the same MIDI channel to) an organ with a piano, but only the 2 piano staves; and, separately, the 3 organ staves ... ... ... obviously  ;)

H.M.

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #14
We didn't want to "combine" (assign the same MIDI channel to) an organ with a piano, but only the 2 piano staves; and, separately, the 3 organ staves ... ... ... obviously  ;)
Fair enough, that wasn't clear to me in TopQuark's post.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals, youfonymums 'n tubies.

Re: Bug when using percussion

Reply #15
About the instruments not included in GM, it's possible you can get them on GM2, GS and/or XG.
XG it typically Yamaha and GS Roland. GM2 is quite similar to GS.
Anyway those are standards, so using them shouldn't be so odd.

By the way: the GM2 standard requires that, if your instrument has not a specific instrument (patch), then the closest sounding one is automatically selected. Previously, that instrument simply didn't play.