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#442804 - 12/05/17 11:07 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows
Callie - PG Music Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 1233
Loc: Victoria, BC
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
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Callie
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PG Music Inc.

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#442810 - 12/05/17 11:32 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Callie - PG Music]
Jim Fogle Offline
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Registered: 08/20/11
Posts: 3325
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC USA
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!
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Jim Fogle
2018 BiaB (509) UltraPlusPak RB 2018 (Build 4)
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#442818 - 12/05/17 11:47 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Callie - PG Music]
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 16550
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
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.
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#442820 - 12/05/17 11:50 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Callie - PG Music]
jford Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
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Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Great descriptive video.
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#442827 - 12/05/17 12:29 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Callie - PG Music]
Rutabago Offline
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Registered: 01/20/07
Posts: 325
Loc: Ottawa Canada.
The one we have now is highly frustrating. The audio finishes up at double speed, for example.

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#443096 - 12/06/17 03:25 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Callie - PG Music]
Cerio Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 773
Loc: Spain
That's my favourite new feature, much better, in my opinion than the old ACW.

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#443185 - 12/06/17 11:44 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Callie - PG Music]
lambada Offline
Expert

Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1041
Loc: Hong Kong
Looks promising. This should be great for creating backing tracks for covers. I also gave up with the previous one.
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#446965 - 12/23/17 08:50 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Callie - PG Music]
Pumps2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/02/15
Posts: 42
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.


Edited by Pumps2 (12/23/17 10:54 PM)
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#447006 - 12/24/17 05:35 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Pumps2]
Charlie Fogle Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4117
Loc: South Carolina
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. ;=)
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#447043 - 12/24/17 09:47 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Callie - PG Music]
joden Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 02/12/10
Posts: 658
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.

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#447156 - 12/25/17 08:41 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: Charlie Fogle]
Pumps2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/02/15
Posts: 42
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.
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#447157 - 12/25/17 08:46 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Video - The Audio Chord Wizard in Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows [Re: joden]
Pumps2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/02/15
Posts: 42
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.
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Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Windows customers can download this free patch update at http://www.pgmusic.com/support_windowsupdates.htm#509

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