130. Can I record and edit multi-channel MIDI files in Band-in-a-Box®?

Band-in-a-Box® isn't a dedicated multi-track sequencer, so it isn't as easy to edit multi-channel MIDI files as it is with our program PowerTracks Pro Audio. In Band-in-a-Box®, you only have two tracks to work with - Melody and Soloist. The other tracks - Bass, Drums, Piano, Guitar, and Strings - are used by Band-in-a-Box® to generate its arrangements. However, the Melody and Soloist tracks don't have to be used for ONLY a melody and solo - you can have whatever you want on those tracks, including multi-channel MIDI data. Here are some tips:

  • The Melody and Soloist track type need to be set to 'multi-channel' when you are working with MIDI data on more than one channel (more than one instrument). The default track type is 'single-channel'. When the track is single-channel, all MIDI data is re-channeled to the default channel for that track (channel 4 for Melody and channel 8 for Soloist). The track type can be set by selecting the appropriate option under the Melody or Soloist menu.

    Note 1: When you import a MIDI file using File | Open MIDI File, Band-in-a-Box® will automatically set the track type to multi-channel.

    Note 2: When you save a Band-in-a-Box® song with a multi-channel Melody or Solo track, the song is saved as an .MGX file so that you can identify it easily.

  • You can record directly to the Soloist track in the same way that you record to the Melody track. To do this, go to the Soloist menu | Edit Soloist Track | Record to Soloist Part. Band-in-a-Box® will record to the Soloist part by default for the remainder of your Band-in-a-Box® session. To switch back to recording to the Melody part, go to the Melody menu | Edit Melody Track | Record Melody.

  • With Band-in-a-Box® 2006 and higher, you can record more than one part/channel to the Soloist or Melody tracks. To do this, first make sure your Melody or Soloist track type is set to multi-channel, then record your part. When you have finished recording, you will get a dialog with a pull-down menu that will allow you to select which channel you want to place the recorded MIDI data on. Note that since Band-in-a-Box®'s accompaniment tracks use channels 2-10, it is best to use channels 11-16 to avoid conflict, although if you will not be using the Band-in-Box arrangement this isn't an issue.

  • If you don't want to hear the Band-in-a-Box® generated style parts - ie, if you are only interested in hearing what you have on the Melody and Soloist tracks - you can do any one of the following:

    • Choose one of the blank styles from the StylePicker dialog (BLANK.STY (even 4/4), BLANK34.STY (even 3/4), BLANKSW.STY (swing 4/4), or BLANK3SW.STY (swing 3/4).

    • Disable the style by going to the Style menu and clicking on Style is enabled (this will de-selects it).

    • Rest the first chord in the chordsheet by entering the chord symbol followed by a period. For example, you could type "C." at bar 1. If there is more than one chord (if Band-in-a-Box® interpreted the chords in your MIDI file), then you will need to copy the rest to the entire song using the Edit | Copy Rests menu command.

  • When you import a MIDI file into Band-in-a-Box® using File | Open MIDI file, the entire MIDI file is imported to the Melody track. If you would like, you can separate one or more channels to the Soloist track by using the Edit | Copy/Move Tracks menu item (this is also possible to do from the Sequencer Window in Band-in-a-Box® 2006 and higher). Copying an individual channel to the Soloist track allows you to use the Notation Window to easily edit the notes on an individual channel.

  • The Sequencer Window in Band-in-a-Box® 2006 and higher is an easy way to change the patch and volume for any channel in an imported MIDI file. To open the Sequencer window, click the green [SEQ] button in the bottom Band-in-a-Box® toolbar and select 'Sequencer on Melody track'. You can choose a new patch using each of the patch pull-down menus, and you can use the Edit [...] buttons to change the volume, re-channel, or move a channel to the Soloist track so that you can edit it separately.

  • The Event List editor can be used to insert other controllers such as pan, reverb, and chorus. To open the event list window, click the [#] button in the Notation Window toolbar. Use 'Insert ... Control Change' to insert a reverb (# 91), chorus (#93), or pan (#10) controller. Make sure that you insert it on the correct channel. You can find out what channel each instrument is on in the Sequencer Window.

  • The Piano Roll window in Band-in-a-Box® 2005 and higher allows graphical editing of note timing, duration, and velocity, as well as precise and easy editing of controllers, Program Changes, Channel Aftertouch, Pitch Bends etc. It is similar to the type of MIDI editors found in many sequencer programs. You can edit/view each channel individually. Click on the Piano Roll button in the bottom toolbar or go to the Window menu | Piano Roll window. You can also graphically edit Note Velocity, Controllers, Program Changes, Channel Aftertouch, or Pitch Bends, and you can select specific channels to work on.

  • To save your song as a MIDI (MID) file rather than a Band-in-a-Box® song (MGU/SGU/MGX) file, click the [.MID] button on the main Band-in-a-Box® toolbar.

  • You may wish to investigate other ways to use MIDI files in Band-in-a-Box®. Since Band-in-a-Box®'s primary purpose is to be an intelligent accompaniment program, try using the Interpret Chords from MIDI File feature (File | Import Chords from MIDI File) to have Band-in-a-Box® figure out the chords and melody in your MIDI file - then you can generate the accompaniment tracks using a Band-in-a-Box® style. You can also use the Style Wizard (Style | Style Wizard) in Band-in-a-Box® 12 and higher to have Band-in-a-Box® generate a style based on your MIDI file. The Melody | Edit Melody Track | Import Melody from MIDI file option allows you to import part of a MIDI file (usually the melody) into your current Band-in-a-Box® song.

Alyssa - PG Music