45 of your Problems solved? List of 45 Requests fulfilled in Band-in-a-Box 2018.

With Band-in-a-Box version 2018, we have a lot of new features, and 202 RealTracks and more. We get the ideas for the new features and new RealTracks from our users. There are several sources, our Wishlist and general forum, support phone calls, trade shows, etc. In most cases, customers are not describing a new feature – they are describing a problem they have that they would like to have solved.

So here is a list of our features and additions in Band-in-a-Box 2018, presented from a unique perspective. It is from this customer list of "problems they would like solved." These are not exact quotes, they are paraphrased from our discussions with our customers. They explain what problems and requests they discussed with us, that resulted in the various new features and RealTracks. Hopefully this answers the question "why did you add this feature/content?"

So, without further ado, here are the 45 requests/problems that we (hopefully) have solved with the release of Band-in-a-Box 2018. We hope that many of them are relevant to you as well. And please keep suggesting new ones, we appreciate that.


Q. I am learning guitar. The RealTracks are very helpful in that I can hear great guitar players, and most of the tracks have tab and notation as well. But there is much more to guitar, could you include some videos of some of the RealTracks Artists? Because I would learn much more from seeing a guitarist than just hearing them.

A. We have a major new feature called "Video RealTracks." These work and sound like RealTracks, but you get to see a video of the Guitarist (or whatever instrument) playing as well. The amazing thing is that this works with any chord progression you type in. So, if you want to learn to play like the great guitarist Brent Mason, for example, you can type in chords to any progression you are interested in, and then hear and see a video of Brent soloing over your progression. Now you can learn much quicker, as it helps to see how a musician is performing, as well as to hear.


Q. I use the feature to make a video of the chord sheet from a Band-in-a-Box song. I use it to make backing tracks and upload them to YouTube. But these don't include any notation for the melody and lyrics of my songs. My viewers would like to see the melody and lyrics too. Is there a way you can include the melody in the video? I've tried recording this with screen capture programs, but it's time consuming, recording in real time, and the audio quality and sync are not that good.

A. Yes, BiaB 2018 can do this now. You can save your song as a video of the notation track. So that includes the notation, guitar tab, and lyrics. And saving the whole video and audio just takes a few seconds, much faster than real time recording. Just load in your song with chords, melody, lyrics, and/or guitar tab, and press Save-As Notation Video. Your song will be up on YouTube in no time!


Q. I love the Audio Chord Wizard, as it figures out chords from MP3 and other audio files. But it is a separate program from Band-in-a-Box, and I can't go back and forth to change things easily.

A. We've solved that, as BiaB 2018 has integrated the Audio Chord Wizard directly into Band-in-a-Box. Now load an audio file into BiaB, open the Audio Edit Window – Audio Chord Wizard mode, and let it automatically figure out the bar lines and chords for the song.


Q. I am songwriter and uses Band-in-a-Box to make backing tracks for my productions. I'm starting to make videos and upload them to YouTube. Can Band-in-a-Box help with my production videos?

A. BiaB 2018 can now make videos with Video RealTracks, of the musicians performing the RealTracks. And they are playing along to your song's chord progression. You can include these videos in your own song performance, which adds a nice visual element.


Q. I use the Audio Harmonies in Band-in-a-Box. But I find the harmonies simplistic, in that they are mainly using chord tones. The Band-in-a-Box MIDI harmonies are more sophisticated, using passing tones. Why can't my Audio Harmonies work like that?

A. We've added support for new types of Audio Harmonies in the Audio Edit Window. These do allow you to choose any BiaB MIDI harmony that has passing tones or sophisticated jazz voicings (adding 4 parts to make a 5-part jazz voicing for example). BiaB automatically figures out the MIDI version of your melody so it uses this to create the harmonies.


Q. For saving audio files, I would like one simple dialog, that allows choice of the various formats. Your existing dialog is complicated with older options that I would never use.

A. We've redesigned the Export Song as Audio File dialog exactly like. Simple choices of audio format, , as well as other options (normalize, include acid, and Batch render)!


Q. The new toolbar is nice, but needs more color options. Too much grey! How about skins?

A. We've added support for skins, and you can choose color or grey scale options for toolbar, mixer etc.


Q. I like to use the mixer on screen, but it covers part of the chord sheet. Help!

A. We've made a transparency setting, so that you can see through the mixer to see the chordsheet as well! Choose how much transparency you want.


Q. Your Popular song titles Databased browser is good. I use it to suggest what styles would work for a given popular song. Although you have 8,000 songs, there are many of my favorites missing. I've posted these titles in your forum with the hope that they get added.

A. We listened, and have added the songs suggested by the users, as well as many more, and we now have 2,000 more song titles profiled with metadata – now 10,000 songs!


Q. When I have a style loaded, I often wonder – what popular songs would work with this style? How can I find this out?

A. With 2018, when you enter the Popular Song Titles dialog (which has metadata on over 10,000 songs), the list automatically gets filtered to show only songs that will work with your style. For example, if your style is a country waltz, you'll see a list of popular country waltzes, to give you some ideas of what song to make yourself. (note: The song titles dialog just has metadata info like title/ composer/ tempo /feel – it doesn't contain the actual song chords, lyrics or melody). It does include links to YouTube or Spotify where you can hear the song.


Q. The Song Titles Database dialog listing all the popular songs is useful, but a little overwhelming with 8,000 songs. How can I zero in on the songs I'm interested in.

A. We've added filters in the titles dialog, to filter by genre, tempo, time signature, feel Ev/Sw, and Decade. For example, if you want to find funk songs around tempo of 100 with Even 16 feel, from the 1970's you can set these filters.


Q. There are over 600,000 abc song files on the internet. These are mainly folk songs from around the world, but are all genres including jazz and pop songs. It is described on abcnotation.com. This is a simple text format that can be put in an email or on a web page, so is easy to copy and paste. I'd like to be able to import and export abc notation chords and melody from Band-in-a-Box, but this isn't possible.

A. We've added abc notation support in BiaB 2018. You can open them directly, and see the chords and melody. And the of course, choose a BiaB style, and play them. You can also save your BiaB Song compositions in abc format to share with others, as simply as pasting some text into an email or forum message etc.


Q. Band-in-a-Box should support 12/8, 9/8, and 6/8 notation. This is essential for folk music. Please add this!

A. We've added support for 12/8, 9/8, and 6/8 notation. Simply choose this from the notation window. You can go back and forth instantly from 12/8 to 4/4 or 6/8 without losing any data or timing of the notes. And better still, the styles all work with these time signatures. For example, a 4/4 style will play in a 12/8 notation and vice versa.


Q. I like MIDI, so please keep adding MIDI styles to BiaB.

A. Yes, we like MIDI too! There are 40 new MIDI SuperTracks, which represent over 40 hours of MIDI performances by the top studio musicians in the world. There are now over 225 MIDI SuperTracks. And we've made new MIDI styles using these MIDI SuperTracks. These MIDI SuperTracks are much more sophisticated than our older MIDI styles, because they are based on actual performances, and not "patterns" that get repeated and mapped to different chord types.


Q. I like to enter melodies to my Band-in-a-Box files. I'm not a keyboard player, so can't just play them in on a keyboard. I play sax. I'd like to play my sax, and have Band-in-a-Box notate it, especially for melodies.

A. We've added support to automatically transcribe an audio track. This means you can record your sax playing the melody, and then choose ‘transcribe' to see the performance on the melody track, in notation. This works for single note instruments like sax, or guitar playing single notes (you can't play polyphonic chords)


Q. When I record myself singing in Band-in-a-Box, I'd like to be able to fix my pitch on certain notes, or maybe the whole performance at once!

A. Yes, you can record your vocal performance, and now, on the audio edit window, you can choose "Fix Tuning" either for a selected region or the whole song. This fixes your pitch to the closest semitone.


Q. I use the Popular Songs Database to suggest styles for a certain song. I'd like it to do a better job by selecting the best styles for my song.

A. Yes, we've enhanced the match, by including sub-genres as well as genres. So instead of matching only funk styles to a funk/disco song, you'll get a match for styles that are funk and disco.


Q1. I use the StylePicker as the entry point for setting up a song. But when I select a style, it's hard to see what instruments are used in the style. I'd like to see what instruments are going to be used for a selected style
Q2. In the StylePicker, I'd like to be able to change the instruments, all within the StylePicker, instead of having to go to various places within the program. For example, I might want to remove the guitar, and add in a pedal steel, and then load the style like that.
Q3. I'd like to be able to customize and then save a new style within the StylePicker, that shows up in the StylePicker, so I can choose it next time.

A1. Yes, we've added all that! There is a new mixer like area in the StylePicker, that clearly shows what instruments are used in the selected style.
A2. You can change them by pressing the change button and you then can choose from other RealTracks or RealDrums that will work with the same feel and genre of the selected style. Or you can disable (remove) the instrument from the style.
A3. There's a "Save-As Style" button that lets you save the customized style with a new name, and it will show up in the StylePicker, so you can select it next time easily. For example, you could change a trio into a quartet by adding a guitar, or remove a piano from a trio to get a duo, and save that as a style.


Q1. For choosing RealDrums, I'd like a simpler dialog, that just lists all the RealDrums that I have, including all the variations. Easily filterable.
Q2. I want to hear what the various RealDrums variations will sound like, both ‘a' and ‘b' substyle.
Q3. I want to be able to see what RealDrums would be similar to the current RealDrums (or the style) I have, so I can find alternatives to what is currently selected. For example, I might have a current RealDrums that uses sticks and I want brushes, in the same feel.

A. We agree, and have added a dialog like that. Its called the QuickList RealDrums dialog.
A1. It is a simpler dialog than the RealDrums picker, with less clutter.
A2. It has a list of all RealDrums, including variations. You can double click on any variation and hear the ‘a' and ‘b' substyle for each variation.
A3. You can easily see alternatives to your currently selected RealDrums or Style. Just press the "Set to Current RealDrums" or "Set to Current Style" button, and the list of RealDrums is filtered to only show compatible/similar RealDrums. And it has filters on it for genre, tempo, Feel, and TimeSig that you can customize.


Q. I like to enter guitar music on the notation window, by clicking on the guitar. Please enhance this with some time saving features.

A. Yes, now when you click on the guitar, the notation still gets entered on the fret and string that you clicked but there are enhancements:
- clicking on the black area to left of the zero fret notes will delete any highlighted notes that are currently highlighted in red. Otherwise, any note on current time of editable notation will be deleted.
- clicking on a note will delete that note if it is currently highlighted in red, otherwise doing this this will first delete any notes on same time and string before inserting a new note.



Q. I like to enter piano music notation, by clicking on the Big Piano and having the notation entered. Please enhance this.

A. Yes, we've enhanced this.
- clicking to left of the piano will delete currently red highlighted notes if there are any highlighted notes, otherwise will delete all notes on current notation time.
- clicking on a note will delete the note if it is highlighted in red.



Q. When entering notation, I often to repeat the same group of notes that I have just entered. Please make a shortcut for that.

A. Yes, duplicate previous chord in notation lets you quickly duplicate the previous chord (group of notes on same peg) without having to reenter it. This is a menu option added on notation window.


Q. I'd like to easily be able to delete a group of notes that I've selected on the notation by highlighting them in red.

A. Yes, use the chord advance (Ctrl-Right Arrow) and highlight note in red, and then you can use the new menu command to delete the red notes.


Q. Could we have some BB song files with singing? Some nice public domain folk tunes, professional sounding RealTracks arrangements with lyrics included? So I can sing along and learn these tunes.

A. Yes, we have added an Artist Performance Set with Quebec singer Béatrix Méthé, with 8 folk songs, arranged in Band-in-a-Box with melody, lyrics added. This is an add-on, included with the 49 PAK.


Q. How about some background singing RealTracks. There are none in BiaB!

A. Yes, we've added 4 part vocal background singing. Six voices, (4 male/2 female). One set doing "oohs" and the other "aahs". You can select either oohs, aahs or a combination changing with ‘a'/'b' part markers, or changing randomly.


Q. Where is the Americana in Band-in-a-Box? Please add more!

A. Americana is the mixing of traditional American "folk/roots" instrument/styles with contemporary music. BiaB already has lots of this, but with BiaB 2018 we've focused on Americana to fill in any gaps that we might have. This has resulted in 20 new Americana RealTracks from Brent Mason, Colin Linden and more. Guitars/Vintage Elec. Piano/ Bass and Drums. And we have lots of Americana styles, both in the 2018 release, and in the new "Folk and Beyond" section of Xtra Styles Pak 4. Also, in the StylePicker, load in the Americana category to see hundreds of Americana styles.


Q. Celtic styles are good, but where is the piano?

A. We agree. We found the best Celtic Pianist in the world – Dave Milligan – and recorded him in Scotland. He has recorded many new piano RealTracks for Celtic and folk music.


Q. How about some melodic Background Country Harmonica RealTracks - there aren't any, as you just have Blues Harmonica.

A. Yes, we've added this in BiaB 2018. "Jelly-Roll" Johnson recorded 6 Harmonica RealTracks, to be used as background to your Country tunes.


Q. How about some Klezmer RealTracks?

A. Yes, we've added Klezmer RealTracks in BiaB 2018. Accordion/Guitar/Bass/Drums. Eight Klezmer styles including 3-3-2 feel. This includes world leading musicians (multi-world-champ Cory Pesaturo on Accordion), Neil Swainson bass, Terry Clarke Drums, Quinn Bachand guitar. And also, foot stomp!


Q. Please add some traditional Canadian Old Tyme.

A. We grew up with "Don Messer's Jubilee" so are happy to add these Canadiana Old Tyme styles with banjo, guitar, bass, and foot stomp.


Q. How about some Guitar Singer Songwriter RealTracks, playing the most common styles that singers play accompanying themselves. Often that's all I need to accompany my singing.

A. We've added 11 Singer Songwriter Acoustic Guitar styles, suitable in solo or band situation. Played by great guitarists, including Brent Mason, Colin Linden and Fintan O'Brien.


Q. More accordion styles, with European influence.

A. Yes, world champion Accordionist Cory Pesaturo is back with 14 French, Italian and Swedish styles.


Q. Why no Modern Jazz RealTracks – you just have traditional or ‘smooth' jazz.

A. We've added some Modern Jazz Grooves – piano (Jeff Lorber), bass (Neil Swainson), and drums (Terry Clarke).


Q. How about some super-fast jazz styles.

A. OK. We've got a new smokin' tempos up to 350 . Jazz trio – Neil Swainson, Terry Clarke (drums), Miles Black (piano).


Q. I use the Crooner BigBand style a lot. But it is background, for a Crooner singing. How about a "shout" chorus Big Band style, where the BigBand lets loose, and takes a solo!

A. We agree, and have added this Crooner Shout BigBand. You can use this as a soloist to spice up your jazz songs.


Q. I'd like some lush Jazz Strings, for ballads

A. Yes, we've added a lush JazzPad Ballad style, perfect for background in a jazz ballad.


Q. How about some Southern Pop grooves – like Muscle Shoals (Alabama) music?

A. We're delighted to have seven soulful southern grooves from legendary Muscle Shoals drummer Land Richards.


Q. How about a really slow set of RealTracks – your current lowest pop tempos are around 60, and some Americana grooves are slower than that.

A. Yes, we've added two Americana grooves at an ultra-slow tempo of 40, a 12/8 feel and a waltz.


Q. We need more single percussion instruments, to add to existing drum grooves.

A. Yes, we've added lots more singles, and now have 60 variations, including congas, cowbell, tambourine, shaker, woodblocks, and afuche-cabasa.


Q. How about some Fretless Bass? I Love the slinky, slidey sound of a Fretless Bass.

A. We hear you. And we've added 3 Fretless Bass RealTracks from top session fretless bass player Rene Worst to Bans-in-a-Box® 2018, including Pop Ballad 85, Slow 12/8 65, and Rock Ev 120.


Q. Pedal steel guitar brings my country songs to the next level. Please add more pedal steel styles!

A. We have more great pedal steel RealTracks in Band-in-a-Box® 2018, recorded in all 12-keys and performed by Eddy Dunlap.


_________________________
Webmaster
PG Music Inc.