Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows

Posted by: Callie - PG Music

Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/05/17 11:07 AM

Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows boasts over 50 new features and enhancements... including the Build-in Audio Chord Wizard!

The Audio Chord Wizard has been redesigned with Band-in-a-Box® 2018, and is now built in to the program! Previously, the Audio Chord Wizard was a separate app that was not tightly integrated into Band-in-a-Box®. This app is still available from the [Audio Chord Wizard] toolbar button, but now the improved built-in Audio Chord Wizard can be accessed from the Audio Edit Window!

Watch our latest video to learn more:


Video link - Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/05/17 11:32 AM

Oh wow. This has got to be the coolest enhancement to 2018 Band-in-a-Box. This is so-o-o powerful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Can't wait to try it.

I've always thought ACW can be such a powerful tool but I've never been able to achieve the results I want. Watching this video I see with this version I can better understand what is happening and how to make effective adjustments.

I have three or four audio files that I can't wait to try using this version on.

THIS IS EXCITING!
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/05/17 11:47 AM

Jim, you are right; it is a highlight in version 2018. It’s one of those things where describing it isn’t as good as working with it.
Posted by: jford

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/05/17 11:50 AM

Great descriptive video.
Posted by: Rutabago

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/05/17 12:29 PM

The one we have now is highly frustrating. The audio finishes up at double speed, for example.
Posted by: Cerio

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/06/17 03:25 PM

That's my favourite new feature, much better, in my opinion than the old ACW.
Posted by: lambada

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/06/17 11:44 PM

Looks promising. This should be great for creating backing tracks for covers. I also gave up with the previous one.
Posted by: Pumps2

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/23/17 08:50 PM

I was planning to skip 2018 until I watched the chord wizard video. I upgraded today.

I must say my first experience was really unsettling with the GUI misbehaving badly. And nothing I was looking at matched the video. Eventually I stumbled upon the "Fullscreen Chordsheet View" in the Windows menu. Once I checked that, my screen matched the video and the GUI worked a lot better. I suppose that mode has been available for awhile, but I never used it. It is evident to me that the non-fullscreen mode is not very well tested. I stumbled on numerous serious bugs inside the first five minutes. But I think I can learn to use the fullscreen mode all the time, and that seems a lot more stable.

This is life with BIAB -- and I say that in a loving way, considering I've probably had more than a dozen BIAB versions. The program function is amazing and the GUI is really a pain. I am hopeful that by using the fullscreen mode I will be closer to the path that gets better testing.

Now the chord wizard ... Of course it isn't perfect, but I have tried it on 4 widely varied pop and jazz songs this evening and it works better than I expected. The automatic bar detection isn't quite as heuristic as I had hoped, but it is pretty easy to insert a bunch of bar lines manually. There is room for improvement there, but it isn't a big problem.

Detecting the chords is really impressive. I think in the best case, the wizard got 80-90% of them reasonable (not exactly the same spelling I would give the chords, but close enough for a BIAB style to sound like the song.) In the worst case, it was probably 60-70% good.

That sounds like a low number, but it is quite easy to go into the chord sheet to change the chords I don't like. I think this is a potentially very useful work flow.

I did not try any songs that had really dense harmonies or intricate rhythms. I expect it would not really be worth the trouble in those cases, but I could be pleasantly surprised.

I can see many uses for this capability. My particular interest is rather specialized. I often write arrangements for various ensembles -- most often jazz big band. I like to use BIAB in the early stages to preview a structure for the arrangement. I use MIDI-based styles. Once I have the harmonies and chart sequence sounding right, I transfer the basic MIDI tracks (piano, bass, guitar, drums, maybe strings) into Finale so I will have a realistic rhythm section bed. From there, I write the horn parts. By the time I have worked the chart in BIAB, I pretty much know what I want the horns to do, so the scoring usually goes fast.

And in the final stages, I simplify the rhythm section MIDI as needed to print parts that work for those instruments.

That may be the end, but if we need a realistic rendering, then I'll send all the Finale stuff into a DAW where I can give the sound a lot more polish. This may seem complicated, but it actually flows rather nicely and allows me to be more creative by using BIAB at the outset where I can try more ideas quickly.

In the past, the first step of the process has been very manual. If it is a standard tune with a lead sheet available, then I simply enter the chords into BIAB and develop the structure from there. If there is no lead sheet available (say, if covering a pop tune), then I will have to transcribe the chords by ear. That's where the chord wizard can save me some time, even if it only gets the chords 75% right.

It is a big step forward, even if not perfect.
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/24/17 05:35 AM

I enjoyed reading about your workflow to write arrangements for ensembles. It seems to me that if you have a midi file to begin your project and considering all of the song data included in a midi file and the automatic chord interpretation of midi files by BIAB, you would be better served to open a quality midi rather than copy a lead sheet or run an audio file through either version of the ACW unless no midi was available. I know this depends on the particular project you are working on and the availability of either lead sheets, midi and audio. I use both methods and midi most times gives me a big head start on my project.

One thing I often do with ACW chord results is to make note of 'wrong' chords. On occasion they are happy accidents that can really enhance my chord chart using them as substitute chords throughout my chart. I find this causes the BIAB generation to locate different audio phrases that operate similarly to the new natural arrangement feature in BIAB. These wrong chords also sometimes reveal what I call Grace Chords used between major chords changing throughout a song. I would think you have the musical theory knowledge that you understand these happenings without reliance on happy accidents, but for those like me with no formal musical theory experience, their sometimes quite helpful and make us look better at composing than we really are. ;=)
Posted by: joden

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/24/17 09:47 AM

The Audio Chord Wizard is fine for very simple chord progressions, but throw an audo file with slash chords, or chords higher in complexity than a seventh and it really does not work well at all.

I think it is more a "gimmicky toy" and something for a bit of fun rather than a serious tool. ymmv, and jmo of course.
Posted by: Pumps2

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/25/17 08:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
I enjoyed reading about your workflow to write arrangements for ensembles. It seems to me that if you have a midi file to begin your project and considering all of the song data included in a midi file and the automatic chord interpretation of midi files by BIAB, you would be better served to open a quality midi rather than copy a lead sheet or run an audio file through either version of the ACW unless no midi was available.


I have certainly done that for some classical pieces. but with big band charts, there is rarely a MIDI that I really want to use. I do better beginning with the chord I want to use (I reharmonize heavily) and then generate MIDI beds from BIAB.

I realize this workflow has many steps and some people are able to get good results just composing straight into a blank score. I do much better when I can hear things develop organically.


Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle

One thing I often do with ACW chord results is to make note of 'wrong' chords. On occasion they are happy accidents that can really enhance my chord chart using them as substitute chords throughout my chart.


Interesting. I'll keep an ear open for that. And that is a nice part about this particular work flow. If the wizard comes up with a "wrong chord", that may suggest there is some ambiguity, and that can be an opportunity. Ambiguity is the composer/arranger's friend. Even if we don't accept the wizard's opinion, it may challenge us to come up with something even more interesting.

My new year's resolution is to listen to more of the really "out there" organ music. Some of these organ composers are absolutely fearless. They rub notes together like nobody's business and get away with the crime every time. smile

All the best.
Posted by: Pumps2

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 12/25/17 08:46 AM

Originally Posted By: joden
The Audio Chord Wizard is fine for very simple chord progressions, but throw an audio file with slash chords, or chords higher in complexity than a seventh and it really does not work well at all.


I have only done a few songs. You are certainly right that as the chord complexity increases, the wizard is less accurate -- or at least comes up with chord spellings that are less and less like what a human would do.

In my case, I rarely do "cover charts" where I am trying to transcribe literally. I usually intend to change a significant percentage of the chord anyway, so I like the fact that the wizard gives me a pretty quick way to set up the song structure (marking measures, blocking out sections) and getting enough chords in there to be a good starting point. Maybe I will tire of the process after doing it a few times, but so far, I think it does enough to be useful to me.
Posted by: Icelander

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 05/02/18 11:42 AM

It's the 'key change mid song' scenario that always gives me grief with this tool, old or new. Advices on how to best go about this?
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 05/02/18 01:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Icelander
It's the 'key change mid song' scenario that always gives me grief with this tool, old or new. Advices on how to best go about this?


The simplest way I've found is to process the song in sections. I do so for varied reasons but some of the most common are intro's that are at a slower tempo than the remainder of the song, measures at the end of a verse of chorus that are atypical of the song: ie 1,2,3,4,1,2,1,2,3,4..... and modulations like you mention.

Tips that have helped me:

I don't necessarily start at Bar 1 of a song. I go to a measure into a song that I know for sure is the beginning of a bar. Afterward, I will return to the beginning and get the measures correct that are prior to the measure I started at that I am sure of.

I come back and do walk up and walk down progressions independent of the rest of the song.

Learn and use what the colored bars at the top mean. Most times one will indicate the beginning of a measure accurately.

I go through the song and come back and focus on a modulation independent of the rest of the song.
Posted by: Icelander

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 05/02/18 06:46 PM

Sounds clever, if perhaps sluggish.

Thanks for the insight cool
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 05/02/18 07:13 PM

It is a sluggish method but I rarely, if ever, use the ACW as a tool to quickly input chords.
Posted by: David Snyder

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 05/19/18 12:02 PM


One really cool feature about this is that if you analyze a song and lay out a template with the analysis you will see it often "adjusting" to tempo bar per bar to keep up with the "live feeling" of the song it has analyzed. E.g. 92 BPM, to 93, to 94, back to 92, etc.

Once you have that template you can use it to modify/add your own chords etc but still keep something of a live feel with retards etc so that your song doesn't sound like a machine.

I think that is pretty cool.

Yes, I know you can manually do this anyway, but analyzing the pacing in a favorite song and then using that as a template quickly to create your own swing is pretty neat I think.
Posted by: musiclover

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 05/19/18 02:54 PM

I only tried the ACW once or twice and because I didn't get good results I abandoned any more attempts with it.

But I do use the chord detection in Riffstation software on my computer, which I find is not bad at all, though not perfect.


https://pro.riffstation.com/


Would be interested to find out from those who have used both methods which has given them the best results?

Update

And the good news seems to be if I am reading it correctly that this software is now free,

https://play.riffstation.com/chords-tabs/free-all-right-now/siMFORx8uO8

Thanks
Posted by: mhoman7078

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 07/27/18 10:15 AM

Originally Posted By: musiclover
I only tried the ACW once or twice and because I didn't get good results I abandoned any more attempts with it.

But I do use the chord detection in Riffstation software on my computer, which I find is not bad at all, though not perfect.


https://pro.riffstation.com/


Would be interested to find out from those who have used both methods which has given them the best results?

Update

And the good news seems to be if I am reading it correctly that this software is now free,

https://play.riffstation.com/chords-tabs/free-all-right-now/siMFORx8uO8

Thanks


What these demo videos don't empathize is that you need considerable music theory and a very good ear to use this product properly. I am now at a point I can invest more time to figure things out. I am learning and BIAB is helping with hands on application of my new found knowledge but it is very frustrating at times and I have given up on ACW before. I am going to really get into it and I hope I am not waisting my time.

This tip was very helpful for me as I had the hardest time detecting the measures. I downloaded free Riffstation on my Mac and imported the same audio file I was working with in BIAB. I then turned the metronome on loud and saved the audio. When I imported that audio file into BIAB and looked at the wave form the metronome is recorded and the beats are very well defined. I could then use those to line up the bar markers and when finished it was right on with the song.

Now I have an accurate time and number of measures.

On to the next problem of getting accurate chords. Every chord detection program I used comes up with different results (BIAB, Riffstation, and Songs2See Editor) Using all three of those I was also able to come up with the key of the song. The BIAB chords are not sounding at all like the song but I am still working on getting a process down but the BIAB chords do not sound anything like the song that I am using. They do sound more like a song than before as I didn't have the measures correct, so I am making progress. The song may be the problem as it is close to dixieland and there is a lot going on. I will try the demo songs now to see if i get better results.

As another poster pointed out, the BIAB style came out at half tempo. I found that I was not putting the markers in a two beat fashion. When I corrected that the style matched the song. I found that, as mentioned in the video, not putting all the real track instruments helped in that it was just too busy playing with the audio also.

So far my problems have been the result of my lack of musical knowledge but again this a great tool for learning by your mistakes.
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 07/27/18 12:34 PM

mhoman7078, I found a useful way to practice with both versions of the ACW is to use BIAB generated songs from the Users Showcase.

The ACW seems to decode these songs more accurately than some commercial songs.
User Showcase songs typically do not have as many tracks and different sounds to deal with as a commercial song would have.
User Showcase songs normally provide the Key signature, tempo and whether the song is in 3/4, 6/8/12/8 or 4/4 time.
User Showcase songs normally do not have many modulations or odd time signatures scattered throughout the song.
User Showcase songs many times provide the BIAB style used so you can experiment with seeing how accurately you can recreate a song.

Of course you would do this for practice and experimentation and not to reproduce or publish the work but this method will provide you with a lot of information you would not normally have access to.
Posted by: DeaconBlues09

Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows - 07/29/18 01:54 AM

As a huge fan of the ACW (while acknowledging its shortcomings,-for instance its absolute refusal to recognize major 7th chords in some instances and displaying them as slash chords instead), I'm wondering if it's the program or, with all due respect, your workflow.

Is there a specific song you were having trouble with? I'd love to try and see if I can get better results by tweaking various parameters.

All the best,

DB