49 of your Problems solved? List of 49 Requests fulfilled in Band-in-a-Box 2019.
With Band-in-a-Box version 2019, 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 2019, 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 49 requests/problems that we (hopefully) have solved with the release of Band-in-a-Box 2019. We hope that many of them are relevant to you as well. And please keep suggesting new ones, we appreciate that.
Q. Almost all of my music apps are 64 bit, as is my Windows OS. But Band-in-a-Box is 32 bit. I’m concerned that someday only 64 bit apps will be supported. Can you make a 64 bit version?
A. Yes, we’ve done this with Band-in-a-Box 2019. The app is 64 bit and the executable name is bbw64.exe (instead of bbw.exe which is the 32 bit version).
Q. I have 64 bit plugins that I want to use with Band-in-a-Box. But they only work with 64 bit apps. Can I use them with Band-in-a-Box 2019, without having to use any special software for this?
A. Yes, 64 bit apps work natively with the 64 bit version of Band-in-a-Box (bbw64.exe). This means you can use your 64 bit plugins, including ones that use huge amounts of memory (more than 2GB).
Q. I love MIDI sounds, but I wish you had a better MIDI synth for Band-in-a-Box.
A. There are two additions that help you get much better MIDI sounds. The first is that we include a synth called VSTSynthFont. That is a 64 bit synth allowing you to load any GM soundfont to use as your main synth. The second is using a third party GM synth like the Roland/Cakewalk TTS-1 (see next item)
Q. I have heard that there are some great GM synths available for free, and I’m hoping that they might work with Band-in-a-Box.
A. Yes, there is a free version of Cakewalk (available free from www.bandlab.com/cakewalk
), and this includes a great GM synth called the TTS-1. This is a synth from Roland/Cakewalk. You can use it with the 64 bit version of Band-in-a-Box by selecting it from the MIDI Drivers dialog (choose Use DXi/VST) and then select the TTS-1 from the list of synths that appears.
Q. I liked some of my 32 bit synths and plugins and hope that they will also be available in 64 bit. These include the PG Music plugins (Reverb etc.) as well as synths like the Coyote GM. Are they available at no cost with Band-in-a-Box 2019?
A. Yes. The Coyote GM synth 64 bit is included (starting in build 611), as well as the PG Music plugins (starting in build 612)
Q. Will the 64 bit version of Band-in-a-Box also allow me to use other 32 bit plugins that I have purchased from third parties?
A. Yes, if you have jBridge installed, then you can use almost any 32 bit plugin. Note that you can buy jBridge from us for $10.
Q. When you make a 64 bit version, please don’t forget about the 32 bit customers. Some of my machines run on XP and would work better with the 32 bit version.
A. Yes, we also include a 32 bit version, with the same set of features. That version is still called bbw.exe. The files, styles and content are all completely compatible between the 32 and 64 bit versions of Band-in-a-Box.
Q. I mainly use Band-in-a-Box to generate tracks that I use with my DAW projects. I wish I didn’t have to leave my DAW, and could just generate the Band-in-a-Box tracks within my DAW (Cakewalk, Reason, Pro Tools etc.).
A. We’ve created a VST plugin for use directly inside your DAW! This is called “Band-in-a-Box DAW VST Plugin”. You can load it directly inside your DAW, type in chords, pick a style, and generate audio and MIDI tracks, to drag/drop into your DAW. All without leaving your DAW. And when you save your project, the chords and other settings you’ve typed into the BB plugin save with your DAW project.
Q. I wish Band-in-a-Box had more tracks available for a song. It has seven, but I could use more, to add additional rhythm or
A. Our VST DAW plugin has up to 14 tracks available -twice the number of the desktop version!
Q. There is a cool feature in RealBand called Multi-Riff. This allows me to generate 7 different variations of a riff or any section of a song. I wish this was available inside Band-in-a-Box.
A. We’ve added Multi-Riff to the VST plugin version of Band-in-a-Box. That allows you, for example, to create a guitar solo, generate 7 different versions of it at once, and then drag the 7 tracks to your DAW (Cakewalk, Reaper etc.), and choose the best portions from the solos for your song.
Q. I would like a single dialog that contains all the Band-in-a-Box songs in my library, that I can access, rebuild and filter quickly.
A. We’ve added a brand-new SongPicker that allows you to access your library up to 50,000 Band-in-a-Box songs. The library can be rebuilt very quickly, about 100 songs per second. Advanced filters exist for restricting to a certain subfolder, genre, tempo, feel, TimeSig, style, melody, lyrics, and more. And you can have multiple libraries covering different folder/subfolder trees on your PC.
Q. I’d like to search by songs by year of creation, to find songs I made in years 2010-2012 for example
A. This has been added, you can songs by year the file was created in the SongPicker.
Q. I’d like to search for songs by similar chord progressions. For example, I might want to find all songs that have the minor II-V-I progression like this |Bm7b5 | E7b9 | Am7 | |
A. This has been added. You can now find all songs that have the chord progression you are interested in. Just visit the SongPicker, and type in the custom chord progression as above, and the song list will be filtered to show only songs containing the chord progression you’ve specified. With each song found, a memo tells you what portion(s) of the song match your progression. An example use of this feature would be to find out which jazz songs have the same chord progression, or what pieces by Bach have the same chord progression (searching through Bach pieces in our Classical MIDI-FakeBook)
Q. I’d like to be able to search my Band-in-a-Box song library for all songs that contain a melody fragment that I specify. For example, I might want to find songs that have this sequence of notes C, E,G, Bb, A
A. You can now search by melody fragment. Use the new song picker, and specify the melody fragment you’re searching for and the SongPicker will only show you songs that have that melody fragment, and a memo tells you what part of the song has that melody fragment. For example, you may discover that the melody fragment you are using in your composition was also used by Bach, and then discover what Bach did with the melody following the fragment.
Q. I’d like to see a simple preview of a song form and chord progression before I open it, to make sure it’s the song I want.
A. We’ve added a preview in the song picker. It shows you the preview of the song (form, chords, key, tempo, feel, style)
Q. I’d like to be able to get a simple text list of the chords for a Band-in-a-Box song. For example, a simple Blues in F could just be this text | F | Bb | F | % | Bb | % | F | % | C | Bb | F | % ||
A. We’ve added this. In the SongPicker, simply select the song you’re interested in, and select the chords in the preview and copy them (Ctrl-C) and then you’ll get a simple chord text list like above.
Q. I use the RealTracks picker to find the best RealTracks to add to my songs. But there are now so many RealTracks (over 2,000) that it’s hard to filter them to what I want.
A. We’ve added an advanced filter, indicated by the hash (#) symbol with 14 Filters: by type, feel, TimeSig, RT #s, Set #s, Tempo Range, Direct Input, Simple version, RealCharts. Charts with Tab, Hi-Q transcriptions, 12-Keys, Video RT available, RT Artists with instruments, Genres. These are available in the RealTracks picker, Best Soloist dialogs, MIDI SuperTracks and RealDrums picker and RealDrums QuickList picker.
Q. There are hundreds of RealTracks and RealDrums artists. I’d like to be able to explore the styles from a certain artist, also finding out what instruments they have played. For example, I might want to see all RealTracks that have been done by Brent Mason.
A. There is a special filter added in the RealTracks picker for “RealTracks artist”. This lists all of the artists, and what instruments they have played. It allows you to then choose an artist, as well as see what instrument they have played, and then a list of all the RealTracks that they have played on. Press the # in the RealTracks picker, Best Soloist dialogs, RealDrums picker or MIDI SuperTracks picker for this feature.
Q. I use Band-in-a-Box to help to learn to play like some of the great artists that you’ve recorded. I generate a solo and then follow along with the generated guitar tab, notation and on-screen guitar. I notice that some of the guitar RealTracks are better for this than others, because they have very detailed and accurate transcriptions, and have been recorded in all 12-keys so are always playable. How can I get a list of these RealTracks so I can study the best notation available?
A. Yes, we call those “Hi-Q” transcriptions and also “12-Key” RealTracks. You can use the # filter to only show you RealTracks or MIDI SuperTracks that are the highest quality notation so you can learn from them.
Q. The StylePicker takes a long time to rebuild. Especially when there are lots of styles.
A. We’ve sped this up, and it builds in half the time. A list with 7,000 styles rebuilds in about 20 seconds on a typical PC. We’ve also added a progress bar to indicate the progress of the rebuild of the style list.
Q. When I open the StylePicker, I sometimes get a message dialog telling me that the StylePicker needs to be rebuilt. I’d prefer to not have to dismiss a dialog like that.
A. We’ve added a more subtle message, and it doesn’t require you to dismiss it.
Q. The Xtra styles that you make are hard to track in the StylePicker. For example, they all just show “XtraPak” and I can’t see which Xtra Pak set they are from, or filter to see just a certain Xtra Pak set.
A. You can now see which XtraPak each style is from, as well as selecting a certain XtraPak set using a dialog that also describes the Xtra set.
Q. Sorting the StyleMaker by Set# doesn’t group the Sets by type (MIDI, RealStyles)
A. The set field in the StylePicker now shows you the Set# and type and they are grouped and sorted by number.
Q. I’m sometimes looking for a style, but unsure if you’ve called it country, folk or something else, because those can be similar. Is there another way to find them?
A. We’ve introduced a new variable for this – called “Genre Score”. That describes a style by a simple number from 1 to 100. This “genre score” works as follows” “quiet, classical, acoustic, jazz, folk” would have low genre scores (1 to 30) “loud, aggressive, heavy rock” have high genre scores (80-100), and light-medium pop would have mid-range genre scores. So if you’re looking for a quiet “living room” type style, use the StylePicker filter to only show styles with a genre score less than 40 – that might show jazz, classical, folk or other quiet-acoustic styles.
Q. If I’m checking out a RealTracks or RealDrums, I’d like to be able to find out which styles in the StylePicker use that RealTracks.
A. We’ve added a filter that allows you to choose the RealTracks, and then you’ll see the style that uses it. Same idea for MIDI SuperTracks or RealDrums.
Q. I like to show all styles in the StylePicker, even including N/A styles that I don’t have. But whenever I press the clear button, this setting is lost. I’d like a way to preserve this setting.
A. We’ve added a setting in the StylePicker options called x Default display includes all styles, including N/A styles. Default is false, so no change in typical usage for existing users.
Q. I’d like to be able to make styles that have more than 7 instruments.
A. We now added the ability to have up to 70 instruments, which is 10x the usual limit. This is accomplished by using the Medley feature which has been added to the StyleMaker. You can select up to 10 RealTracks for each of the seven instrument slots. You can assign volumes to each one (using dB offsets).
Q. I use the Medley feature, to make medleys of RealTracks, but there’s no way to control relative volumes of each RealTracks. The Sax soloist might be louder than the mandolin soloist – what to do?
A. We’ve added a volume control to each of the Medley RealTracks.
Q. I’d like to make styles with instruments that change during the style. For example, I might want the bass track to change from one funk groove to another, every part marker.
A. We’ve added medleys to the StyleMaker. So you can have different bass RealTracks on the bass track, changing each part marker if you want.
Q. When I make a style, I’d like to be able to add all the same type of information that PG Music adds, such as memo, examples, genre types, recommended tempo range, feel etc.
A. We’ve added a “Style Memos etc.” dialog, that lets you add these settings to your style. You can pre-fill the data by importing data from another (similar) style, and just change the information that you want to. Your information will then show up in the StylePicker which can be searched for in the filters etc.
Q. I want to be able to make a MIDI instrument in a style quieter or louder easily.
A. This was previously only possible with the RealTracks but not for MIDI styles. We’ve now added a setting in the StyleMaker to allow MIDI velocity changes which will make the MIDI track louder or quieter.
Q. Your MIDI harmonies in Band-in-a-Box use passing harmonies, which is more realistic than just harmonizing with chord tones. But when I use the audio harmonies that you added, and I use the Voices Above and Voices Below, I just get chord tones used for the harmonies, instead of passing tones.
A. We’ve enhanced the audio harmonies so that they use passing tones for the harmonies. These are much more sophisticated than using chord tones only, as they use diatonic, chromatic or dominant 7th chords for the passing tones. These are for the audio harmonies that you get when you choose the “harmony” from the audio edit window, and then choose N voices above and N2 voices below.
Q. The browser for popular song titles is good but is missing some popular or recent songs
A. We’ve reviewed the song requests that people added to the forum for this, and have added 300 songs to the list. Now it has over 10,000 songs (note: these are just meta data for the songs, like tempo and genre, not the chords or melody). But it you want to find a style for a song like “Amazing Grace” you can just choose that song, and the StylePicker will show you compatible styles, without you having to filter by waltz and gospel feel etc.
Q. YI use the Melodist to generate songs with melodies. But the styles are always MIDI only, where I much prefer the RealStyles with real instruments.
A. We’ve updated the Melodist, so that it uses RealStyles when creating melodies and a style backing. The Melody is still MIDI, but the background sounds more realistic, and this makes the whole thing sound more realistic.
Q. Your metal guitar RealTracks could be improved. It is noticeable when they are being transposed, as the timbre changes because of all the effects and distortion.
A. We’ve made some new metal guitar comping RealTracks that are in all 12-keys, so they don’t have timbre changes when transposed.
Q. The Metal Guitar comping tracks could use some of the lower tunings that Metal guys use these days.
A. We’ve made some “LowMan” RealTracks that have low pitch guitar, going to a low C instead of the typical low E on a guitar.
Q. Where’s the Drum Notation? You have notation for all other instruments, why not typical drum notation?
A. There is now Drum Notation! All drum MIDI styles now show this drum notation. And some of the RealDrums also show Drum Notation
Q. How about some transcriptions of the RealDrums, to be shown in Drum Notation.
A. There are 21 styles that have been transcribed so far. Use the # filter in the RealDrums picker to see which styles have transcriptions. You’ll also see a green line under the RealDrums name on the main screen to indicate that a drums transcription exists.
Q. Music-XML files that you write or read should support Drum Notation
A. Yes, we now read and write the drum track using drum notation.
Q. If I enter drum music on the melody track, I’d like to use drum notation rather then MIDI note numbers.
A. You can now set the Melody Track-type to Drums, and then your note entry and notation display will be entered and displayed as drum notation. You see the clef change to drum note names so you know where the various instruments are.
Q. For entering notation, I’d like a simple method that just involves keystrokes. I’m often on a laptop and don’t want to mess around with the trackpad making precise clicks.
A. Good point! We’ve added the keystroke-only “N” mode where you can enter notation by simply using cursor left/right to change current time, and pressing “N” and to inserts a note at the current time location, and then cursor up/down changes the pitch, and then move on changing time location again. With only 5 keystrokes involved in note entry (4 arrow keys and “N”) , its quite simple, fast and accurate!
Q. I’d like more hotkeys to do common operations.
A. We’ve introduced all kinds of new hotkeys. Here are some examples,
Typing the TimeSig you want at a certain bar sets that bar time sig 4/4 3/4 2/4 1/4 0/4 (clears)
Typing S<enter> opens the StylePicker, and S#<enter> opens up various style dialogs where # can be from 0 to 9
Rt<enter> opens up RealTracks picker, RT#<enter> opens up various RealTracks dialog where # is 0 to 5
Rd<enter> opens up RealDrums picker, RD#<enter> opens up various RealDrums dialog where # is 0 to 2
Rl<enter> opens loops dialog
Q. The popular song database is good for listing lots of songs. It would be helpful to be able to search for easy or hard songs to learn.
A. We’ve added two new search filters. Chord complexity (# of chords in the song, range 1 to 9) and Chord density (how often the chords change in the song). A song with chord complexity of 9 would have lots of chord types and if its density was 4, the chord changes would be about every 4 beats.
Q. I love Brazilian music, and would like some nice styles.
A. We agree. We made some nice Brazilian styles with Ramon Stagnaro and Alex Acuña (weather report drummer). Also some new Mexican Rumba Flamenca
Q. How about more Funk!
A. We have some great new modern Funk styles. Built upon some great bass tracks from Alex Al, and adding top NYC session players - guitars (Bob Lanzetti, Mark Lettieri ), percussion (Keita Ogawa), and drums (Sput Searight)
Q. I love Blues. Keep making more Blues styles.
A. We have the great Nashville Guitarist Sol Philcox back with his great Texas Blues styles – comping and soloing. And we have LD Miller (whose instrumental blues harmonica won him runner-up for America’s Got Talent). And there’s a great Blues Horn Section.
Q. How about some more Nashville Country!
A. We have blistering country soloing from the legendary Johnny Hiland – Chicken Pickin’ and Country Swing. Lots of new Pedal Steel, both trad country and modern edge. And six new Amazing RealTracks from the Legendary Brent Mason.
Q. I’d like more cello!
A. We have amazing Celtic cellos (9) by Natalie Haas, which includes options both for the common “Celtic Chopping” technique, as well as ballad styles that utilize long, flowing lines .
Q. Don’t forget about MIDI!
A. We agree, and have lots of new MIDI material. First off, 64 bit opens up MIDI soundfonts larger than 2 GB (loadable to the included VSTSynthFont). And there’s a great GM MIDI Synth TTS-DXi that you can download from BandLab.com/Cakewalk (free). And we’ve made a new all MIDI styles disk “Look Ma – All MIDI” (these are in the included bonus set, and in the 49 bonus Pak). The included Sforzando MIDI synth is updated to 64 bit (for SFZ sounds larger than 2GB). And there is a new MIDI SuperTracks set (piano, organ and accordion).. with world-champion Cory Pesaturo, and Nashville CMA Winner Mike Rojas.