My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet)

Posted by: MoveToGroove

My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/07/21 07:23 AM

I‘ve already made a couple of suggestions for the next BiaB version(s), but those were either about bugs or smaller things with regard to ergonomics and the like, or they were mainly meant to beware other new users from specific issues. – But for sure, I also have some bigger wishes for myself (which nevertheless will most probably be interesting for other users, too). Among those, I’ve picked the one that I find most urgent at the current state of the software; My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022 or – probably more realistic – for BiaB 2023:

A tool that only generates very simple chords.

Such a tool is very useful for beginners, and sometimes it can even be useful for specific purposes of advanced musicians. Depending on how much both user groups shall feel addressed by this tool, it can be named either something like „E-Z Chords Generator“ or something like „Basic Triad Chords Generator“.

I’m not a total beginner in Music, but I’m a beginner at the piano. I think that this is quite a good constellation for demanding beginner tools. Total beginners in music usually are not yet able to separate or express what exactly they would need most urgently in order to have better learning conditions, and advanced musicians have often already lost the sensibility for beginner’s issues.

The general purpose of the hereby suggested tool is to fill an empty leadsheet with chords (or to replace all chords of an existing leadsheet)
  • that are first of all as simple as any possible from the perspective of beginners at music or just at a specific instrument (only picked from the 7 basic diatonic triads, in case of a minor key only using the natural minor scale, with a user-defined range of chord-density from which the software can choose, and with the option to exclude e.g. diminished chords or even also minor chords or to even practice only a specific chord type as kind of a drill training) – easy understandable and easy playable
  • but also in a way that is as simple as possible from the perspective of beginners at BiaB
  • And also I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible from the programmer’s perspective (not too many interdependent options, fitting in a strictly modular song-creation approach but also to a certain degree usable as standalone-tool)

Also, I’ve tried to keep in mind, that it should be at least possible
  • to take the tool as a basis later for another version of the tool with options for more sophisticated musicians (or to add a button later which would enhance that tool or which would lead to a „More Options“-Window)
  • to design further tools later which can still modify the results of this tool (e.g. in order to: post-enhance chord density, also include harmonic minor, add sus2 chords, add 7ths at about x% of the chords / jazz-up, add dominant 7ths wherever reasonable, and/or the like)
for the case that these things might be desired some years later.

Well, and here’s a sketch of that tool (I’ll add a couple of more detailed explanations right with the next posting of this thread):
Posted by: MoveToGroove

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/07/21 07:24 AM

So here are the more detailed explanations, now:

Time Signature:
The Time Signature is by default assumed to already have been set before the Chord Generator was opened. However, to a certain degree the user still can decide to use another Time Signature:
  • If he had a 4/4 time signature before opening the chords generator, he can still change it into 3/4 within the chords generator
  • If he had a 3/4 time signature before opening the chords generator, he can still change it into 4/4 within the chords generator
  • If he had for example a 2/4 time signature or a 5/4 time signature before opening the chords generator, he now can either keep it or change it into 4/4 or into 3/4
  • If he had for example a 4/4 time signature before opening the chords generator and now wants e.g. a 2/4 time signature or a 5/4 time signature, he has to close the Chords Generator again and first set the Time Signature within the general song settings.
  • The user should also get the option „Random Time Signature“ – which lets the Software decide between 4/4 and 3/4.

Key:
The Key is by default assumed to already have been set before the Chords Generator was opened. However, the user still can change it. All 12 Major Keys and all 12 Minor Keys should be available here – plus three options to let the software choose the key: „Random Key“, „Random Major Key“ and „Random Minor Key“.

Songform:
The Songform is by default assumed to already have been set before the Chords Generator was opened. However, the user still can change it, but within the Chords Generator he only has a few standard options (e.g. Intro-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Outro, Intro-Verse-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Outro, simply an 8-bar-section, a 12-bar-song, „Random“)

Style:
The Style is by default assumed to already have been set before the Chords Generator was opened (or to get its final definition after the Chords Generator has done his work). However, the user can also change the style within the Chords Generator, but here he only has a few standard options (e.g. one simple Blues-Style, one simple Jazz-Style, and a few more very simple styles – and, in this case particularly interesting: „Random from all available Styles“).

Different Chords:
The user can define a range for how many different chords he wants in the result. Examples:
  • If the user chooses the default setting „Min 1“ & „Max 7“, the software will pick a number which will then result into a leadsheet that has either 1 chord only or 2 different chords or 3 different chords or 4 different chords or 5 different chords or 6 different chords or all 7 possible chords (7 chords possible, since only basic diatonic triads and no harmonic or melodic minor will be used)
  • If the user chooses „Min 4“ and „Max 6“, the software will pick a number which will then result into a leadsheet that has either 4 different chords or 5 different chords or 6 different chords
  • If the user chooses „Min 2“ and „Max 2“, the resulting leadsheet will consist out of exactly 2 different chords => a 2 Chords-Song, mainly meant for super-beginners (and not totally unrealistic, see e.g. “Achy Breaky Heart”)
  • The user can even choose „Min 1“ and „Max 1“ – so the whole „song“ will have only one same chord. Why should anybody want that? Well, maybe the user simply wants to let the software decide which one chord he will practice today in all different inversions. Or maybe he wants to practice improvising over one specific chord (he could do this also by looping a bar or a small one-chord section, but within a complete leadsheet to which he can later add a melody it is less boring). Or the like.

Chord Lengths:
With this setting, the user can define that
  • he doesn’t want too quick chord changes => then he changes min. chord length from 1/4 Bar to e.g. 1 Bar
  • he absolutely doesn’t want too long same-chord-phrases => then he changes max. chord length
  • he wants a specific chord length for the whole leadsheet; e.g.: min 1 & max 1 would change the chord at the first beat of each bar, but never within a bar

Chord Type Exclusions:
As already mentioned above, users might want to exclude either Diminished Chords or Minor Chords or Major Chords or even two of them (e.g.: as an almost total beginner to keep it super-easy, or at a later stage to do a drill-training for just one type)

Message in case of impossible combination:

  • There exist for sure a couple of combined settings that are practically impossible (e.g. min number of different chords 6 & max number of different chords 1; or: min number of different chords 1 & max number of different chords 1 & max Chord Length 4 in a 12-bar-leadsheet).
  • There are for sure different ways how the software could treat these impossible combinations – I’ve just chosen one of them here: Putting an according message above the OK-Button and deactivating the OK-Button.
  • The number of potential impossible combinations is still quite small, since the tool is very much reduced to a minimum of needed options – so it shouldn’t be a big problem for the software scripters to define the appropriate If-Then-Commands.

A couple of more remarks, in regard to overall aspects:
  • I also had thought about sliders instead of min & max dropdowns, but that would finally give less freedom to the user (or otherwise would need additional settings like tolerance-degrees or the like, which would finally make it more complicated only)
  • The result of this tool (a very simple leadsheet) would btw allow follow-up-features that might be quite interesting for future developments of the software, e.g. like discussed in this 25-ways-to-bottom-up-harmonize-a-song video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEOKDtkXGtE
  • In regard to the above mentioned strictly modular approach which could surround a Chord Generator as suggested here, you might also like to check out this thread: https://www.pgmusic.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=676320

Well, this was quite a long explanation … but you can perceive that as a sign for how much I “suffer” from not having such a tool available yet ;-)
There are for sure always workarounds with compromises, but – if I may be honest: For this kind of tool I don’t want any workaround. Filling a leadsheet with chords so much touches the core competence of BiaB – and offering this also in a very beginner-friendly version must clearly be in the interest of PG.

Therefore: Come on, guys! ;-)

Final remark: In case of yet too unclear descriptions above, I might edit those explanations a bit more than just correcting spelling mistakes.

Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/07/21 09:25 AM

Until Pipeline creates a magic tool for you smile you can try using the MIDI plugin, +++ Chordz +++. You play one note and the plugin outputs a chord.

Both Band-in-a-Box and RealBand can act as a plugin host.

Developer +++ CodeFN42 +++ has created some really nice free MIDI plugins that can work with PG Music programs.
Posted by: MoveToGroove

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/07/21 11:21 AM

Hey Jim!

I'll definately do so! Thanks for the links!
Posted by: jbrad52

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/13/21 10:42 PM

For now, Just do a search for the most used, popular chord progressions. Load one into a bandinabox template and name it Progression One, and save it. Build your own library of song starters.
Posted by: MoveToGroove

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/14/21 03:41 AM

Hi jbrad52,

I haven't encountered any BiaB progression template features so far, but I'll do some research for it.
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/14/21 05:43 AM

With BIAB having long been a 'teaching aid', other than the name you've devised, BIAB has a tool that does precisely what you're wishing for.

I'm a little confused. It seems to me your Chord generator auto fills the Chord Sheet (leadsheet) to the default settings or to the users custom settings. Am I correct the Chord Sheet is what I think you're calling 'leadsheet'?

If I'm correct that you mean the Chord Sheet, what results is the E-Z Chords Generator is doing nothing more than creating a BIAB SGU file. So, what you're really wishing for is an SGU Player because rather than having to create or modify the SGU file from scratch, it would be easier to choose from a list of existing SGU files and be able to play several SGU files consecutively while having all of the options able to be modified.

For Example:

Create a series of Beginner lessons like you detailed in your comments.

From the list select;

01. A pre-made SGU file chord progression with all of the default settings
02. A pre-made SGU file with modifications for a beginners lesson two
03. A pre-made SGU file with modifications for a beginners lesson three
04. A pre-made SGU file with modifications for a beginners lesson for any following teaching/practice aids.

These pre-made SGU files can be played individually and singularly or an entire list can be composed and played consecutively as a combined single SGU chart.

BIAB can do this...

Charlie
Posted by: MarioD

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/14/21 06:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
............................

Create a series of Beginner lessons like you detailed in your comments.

From the list select;

01. A pre-made SGU file chord progression with all of the default settings
02. A pre-made SGU file with modifications for a beginners lesson two
03. A pre-made SGU file with modifications for a beginners lesson three
04. A pre-made SGU file with modifications for a beginners lesson for any following teaching/practice aids.

These pre-made SGU files can be played individually and singularly or an entire list can be composed and played consecutively as a combined single SGU chart.

BIAB can do this...

Charlie



Charlie, I have been doing this for years for both my guitar and bass students. BiaB is a great teacher and student aid.
Posted by: MoveToGroove

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/14/21 07:07 AM

Hey Charlie,

yeah, "Chordsheet" would be more precise for what I mean. I thought of a leadsheet, but only of its chords-part :-)
Unfortunately I can't edit my initial posts anymore, otherwise I would correct it above, now.

But besides that, I don't understand what you are suggesting. I want BiaB to generate the Chordsheets, not doing it by myself. That's the core function of the suggested tool.

What I do at the moment, just since I have no better choice yet: I type in the chords from Hal Leonard's "E-Z Play Today" Books, so that I have complete songs with simple chords that work. But typing this stuff in from external ressources by myself is a totally dumb time-absorber.

In particular since BiaB indeed can already do something like that - in general, at least:
That feature is included in the melody maker (who knows why it's hidden there), BUT: the user (if he finds it, at all) cannot get only basic triads out of it or exclude minors or determine the chord density and such.

So from this point of view, I just kind of suggest a beginner-version of that already existing tool.

I also could have suggested to enrich the existing tool by the above requested options, but I just have the impression that the existing tools-structure is completely messy and - right because of that - totally maxed out. So I didn't want to even enhance the existing mess of the UI or the software complexity of that existing tool. Furthermore I tried to embedd my tool suggestion into an approach that, in the opposite direction, even would make it possible to demerge all song components' creation processes (in this case: the creation of the chordsheet and the creation of the melody) as far as possible, in the long run / in potential later stages / if demanded.
Posted by: Brille

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/14/21 07:49 AM

Hey, GrooveToMove,
with BiaB's "Melodist" function there is at least already something quite similar available, to what you imagine.
You can access this via the menu item "Melody - Melodist Generate Melody and/or Chords".
You can use this tool to generate pure chordsheets without melody. If you select a very simple "recipe" for generation (e.g. the melodist "201 Slow Pop Children"), Band in a Box will generate very simple chord changes.
The button Melodist maker "...edit" allows you to further simplify the recipe of the song and the chords.
This is of course - unfortunately like so much in Band in a Box - not completely intuitive to use, but it works, so give it a try. The manual and help function explain the various options at least to some extent.
You will find three videos explaining the melodist fun ctions in pgmusics support area on this website.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/14/21 07:52 AM

Couple of quick reactions:

Yes, you have only a few days to edit an earlier post, except for the first one that can be marked Resolved at any time.

BIAB does have a Leadsheet mode, much like a print preview. It’s not interactive like the Chordsheet, and the Chordsheet shows the existence of other things like tempo change, shots/holds/rests, repeats etc.

I like the idea that I think you put in a different thread but mention here, of being able to specify chords in the simplest form, with no extensions.

Yes, it does take a few minutes to key in the chords from a fakebook but my experience is this is time very well spent. I do transcription work professionally. There is no better way to learn and understand the chords of a song than entering them individually. However, are you aware of copy/paste and some shortcut keys that will, for example, duplicate the prior section of x measures? These can save time.
Posted by: MoveToGroove

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/14/21 10:55 AM

Hey Brille,

sounds like a workaround that's worth a trial. The idea wouldn't have come up to me that I might search for a simple sounding melodist in order to influence the chord complexity, and also I didn't know that I can edit the melodist. I'll check that out.
Posted by: MoveToGroove

Re: My personal No. 1 wish for BiaB 2022/23: E-Z Chords Generator (fills leadsheet) - 10/14/21 11:22 AM

Hey Matt,

thanks for the infos in regard to editing a posting (makes sense) and in regard to the views in BiaB (that might explain some potential misunderstandings in communication).

In regard to chord entering: Sure, you can also learn from that. But often you don't think about that much when you do it, and you can for sure also learn about typical progressions while sitting at the instrument, if you want. Plus you first have to obtain the sources, which is also time consuming. All in all, I unfortunately spend much more time with such things than just with playing something.

However, I think that you should do those things - from time to time. It's a bit like making transcriptions: This is very important for ear training and many other aspects of learning music, but nobody has the time to transcribe each song that he plays by himself.