1. I need more than the five style tracks and 2 melody tracks that are in Band-in-a-Box®. How about some more? We've added 16 more tracks in Band-in-a-Box® 2021. We call these Utility Tracks. You could use them for audio, MIDI or RealTracks, and they are fully editable. You can copy tracks from the style tracks, to create songs with up to 23 tracks of a combination of style generated tracks mixed with your own recorded tracks.
2. Sometimes I generate a solo using RealTracks, and it's good, but I'd like to fix it up by regenerating parts of it. Please add that. With the new Utility tracks, you can generate a RealTracks (or move an existing one to the Utility track), and then edit it as you like. You can select a precise region, and then regenerate that portion only, to achieve a bar-by-bar generation of a RealTracks.
3. I generate harmony tracks to my vocals on the audio track, but they are merged to a single track. I'd prefer separate tracks for this. We have done this. Now you can generate harmonies to your vocals, and each harmony will be generated to a separate track. This allows you to customize them, on the mixer (volume, panning) as well as editing the audio tracks individually.
4. I'd like more control over the style tracks, like the RealTracks, to volume shape them etc. This is possible now by using Utility Tracks. Move the RealTracks to a Utility track, then edit it as regular audio to volume shape, remove sections, add effects as needed etc.
5. The Audio harmonies are good, and I hear the audio harmonies, but I don't see notation for the harmonies generated. We now generate the notation for the individual harmonies, so you can view or print them out to use for sight, singing, practicing, etc.
6. I have generated a RealTracks Guitar Solo. It would be cool to be able to harmonize it in thirds. Yes, you can now harmonize RealTracks. Open the Audio Edit Window for the RealTracks that you want to harmonize. Press Edit-Harmony button and choose the type of harmony and the destination tracks for the harmonies. You'll get a MIDI version as well showing the harmonized notes that will show up in notation as well.
7. I’d like to be able to generate multiple RealTracks on a single track. Yes, you can select any region of a Utility track and choose Edit > Generate > Select and Generate RealTracks… For example, you might want to generate a Rhythm guitar over the verse of your song, and generate a Soloist guitar over the chorus of your song. You could then regenerate specific regions of the Soloist if you want to try different licks/riffs.
8. With some RealTracks, I sometimes hear notes that don't fit with what I want for my song, and they sound "wrong" to me. Like a natural 5th playing on an augmented chord. Is there anything I can do about that? This can sometimes happen with RealTracks where embellished notes which are appropriate in some instances sound "sour" in other instances. With Band-in-a-Box® 2021, we've introduced an "auto-fix sour notes" feature which will change individual notes within polyphonic audio to match the current musical situation, either for the generated RealTracks or any audio track. There are also options, for example to force all notes to chord tones or notes within the current key (including key changes within the song).
9. I'm used to 24 or 32 bit mixing in my projects, because it results in higher quality. Could this be added to Band-in-a-Box®? Yes, we now mix in 32-bit float, which is higher precision than 24-bit, resulting in cleaner tracks with higher fidelity.
10. My audio interface is 24-bit and I prefer to record and playback using that. Band-in-a-Box® now matches the settings on your interface, so it allows you to record or playback in 16-bit, 24-bit, or 32-bit (float).
11. I like the tempo stretching and pitch shifting done with the audio in Band-in-a-Box®, but I notice artifacts at extremes of tempo stretching or pitch shifting. We now enable the "highest quality" pitch/tempo stretch Elastique modes to achieve the best possible results.
12. For rendering to audio, I prefer them flat (no EQ), dry (no reverb), and center (no panning). There is now a setting for this in the render dialog, and if you select it the renders will be flat, dry and center, and the render time is faster.
13. I've read that CPU's support specialized instructions for audio processing, that take less time and enable many tracks to be processed with less CPU usage, and lead to smoother audio playback. Could Band-in-a-Box® use these? Yes. Band-in-a-Box® now supports SIMD (SSE2, SSSE3, AVX, AVX2) features in your CPU. This means that audio DSP (Digital Signal Processing) will be at least 4 times faster, depending on your CPU. This allows more tracks, more plugins, higher quality élastique stretching, etc. during playback without causing audio dropouts.
14. I use the Mixer a lot but notice that it covers other windows like the notation window when both are open. We have made a mode where the mixer doesn't overlap the notation, audio, or chord sheet windows.
15. I'd like more flexibility with the mixer. We've added ability to only show tracks in use, select custom group of tracks to show, change panel heights using mouse scroll, and a settings dialog. Since the mixer now shows 24 tracks with the 16 Utility tracks, these settings come in handy. The sliders can now be set using the mouse wheel, active when you mouse move over the slider. Track names can easily be changed by a double click on the track label.
16. I've noticed that the volume settings on the mixer are from 0 to 127, which sounds like the MIDI standard. I prefer using dB (decibels). We've added this option to the settings button on the mixer. When set, the volumes and panning will be adjustable and displayed in dB instead of MIDI volumes.
17. My DAW allows me a simpler more modern method to choose plugins, by showing a list that is filterable by text. Band-in-a-Box® now has a similar method, where a full list of plugins (VST and AU) appear, and can be easily filtered by typing text. This is done directly from the mixer, instead of needing to go to an older style plugin window.
18. I use various MIDI plugins. Some of them do/don't support MIDI reverb, MIDI volume, MIDI panning or tone controls. If they don't, I'd like Band-in-a-Box® to control the reverb, volume, panning and tone using audio techniques. We have these controls now: Attenuate Synth Output Volume and Panning: This will change the gain of the plugin's audio output based on the Volume and Panning controls on the Mixer. Filter Synth Output: This will apply high/low-pass filtering to the plugin's audio output based on the Tone control on the Mixer. Send Synth Output to Master Reverb: This will send the plugin's audio output to the Master Reverb based on the Reverb control on the Mixer.
19. I use WAVES VST plugins. There are lots available (from waves.com), and very high quality. But they aren't working with Band-in-a-Box®. We've added support for WAVES plugins with Band-in-a-Box® 2021.
20. I want to be able to edit audio or MIDI on any track, including the style tracks that generate RealTracks and MIDI etc. You can now edit MIDI on ANY track, and Audio on all tracks except the original style tracks. But, the audio on those tracks CAN also be edited simply by copying or moving them to an empty Utility track.
21. When editing audio on a track, and I remove a section of audio, I'd like the MIDI (notation) to also be removed. Yes, this happens automatically in Band-in-a-Box® 2021.
22. Some DAWs have a better way of zooming in/out. We agree and have enabled options in the audio edit window to "zoom to the edit cursor (instead of mouse pointer)" and "center screen to edit cursor when zooming." If you select these, then once you click on a time in the window, zooming with the scroll wheel will center and zoom to that time in the audio edit window.
23. I use the Audio Chord Wizard to figure out chords to songs on my mp3 files. Sometimes it puts jazz chords into a rock song, or over complicates things. We've added settings to control this. After selecting the Audio Chord Wizard from the Mode menu on the audio edit window, you can press the settings window. This allows you to choose a Chord Set (triads vs 7ths etc.) and specify if you want chords interpreted more than once per bar. It also has a setting to interpret chords when the source is out of tune (between the cracks).
24. I'd like the Audio Chord Wizard to be more accurate. We've worked on it and improved the accuracy from 80% to 85%.
25. I'd like to see the Audio Chord Wizard show notes from the analysis that it does. This isn't a polyphonic transcription, because it does "snapshots" every 8th note, but the notes it finds can be now transcribed to the Audio Track as MIDI every time it's analyzed. So you can view the notation to help you determine the correct analysis of the audio in the song.
26. I mostly use the chord sheet. I like to change the display based on the type of song I'm doing. For example, on a song with few chords, I might set 8 bars per screen instead of 4, and it's time consuming to change this. We've added zoom buttons on the chord sheet window (bottom right). These allow quick control of number of columns and number of rows on the chord sheet. And it works with the mouse wheel too. In addition, the chord sheet doesn't overlap with the mixer, they stay on separate panels.
27. I'd like to be able to save a chord progression as simple text, that I could insert in a message etc. like this: |C | F | Em7 | A7 | , and I want Band-in-a-Box® to be able to read that as my song. We've added this paste text to Band-in-a-Box® song feature. Just select text like that, and copy it to clipboard, and then choose Edit-Paste Special menu item. Band-in-a-Box® will import the chords into a new song or your existing song according to your settings in the dialog.
28. I'd also like Band-in-a-Box® to output its songs in a simple text format like that. Similar to the method for paste, whenever you choose Edit-Copy in Band-in-a-Box®, the chords will get written to the clipboard so that they can be pasted as text. You can also save a whole song as text, or a folder full of songs as separate text files, or a folder full of songs as a single large text file. Similarly you can paste-special a whole song, or a single (or multiple) song from a single (or multiple) txt files.
29. I do my own programming, and would like to have routines that would allow my program to create chord progressions for Band-in-a-Box® to play. Sure, use the text format method above and you could copy/paste the chords from your program to Band-in-a-Box®.
30. How about more options when copying tracks? I'd like to choose whether to copy audio and/or MIDI. And I'd like the RealTracks to copy as audio so I can use them on another track. All of these have been added in Band-in-a-Box® 2021. See the options in the Edit-Copy Special – Copy/Move Tracks dialog.
31. I use the 'k' quick copy command a lot, because it's easy to type k8 to copy the last 8 bars of chords. How about some more shortcuts like that? We've added insert using 'in', so that in4 will insert 4 bars, and ink4 will insert 4 bars and copy the last 4 bars of chords into the inserted region. Also, typing kk4 will first show the dialog allowing specification of what you want copied. We've also added new items for "lyrics," "section text," and "part markers."
32. For auto-generating intros, how about controls over what instruments participate in the intros? Yes, we've added control over which instruments play. For example, you can set which of bass, drums, piano, guitar or strings you want in the intro and when. There are presets to start with, for example, drums and then add bass during the intro.
33. For some styles, instead of a drum click-in, I'd prefer two bars of the drummer playing time. Yes, we've added this in the Edit-Song Form -Intros dialog. You can specify a custom count-in for the song, that might be drums playing time, or fills, A vs B substyle or more. This is also seen in the preferences and can be a global setting for all songs too.
34. I'd like to set my song or a portion of the song to something like 5/4 or 7/4 easily. We've added this in the [main menu] edit – Set Time Signature dialog. You can choose the time signature you want, and the range for the time signature to be played. This item is also accessible from the notation window, time signature button.
35. I like loading MIDI files and playing them with Band-in-a-Box®, but it puts everything on a single track, so it's hard to edit. With Band-in-a-Box® 2021, you now load the MIDI file to multiple tracks and have independent control of the tracks. You can see how many events are on each channel by hovering over the channel, and choose what types of events to exclude/include, including continuous controllers and pitch bend.
36. I use the Titles dialog for several things. Such as finding keys, tempos and feels of popular songs. And then opening the StylePicker which is sorted to show the best styles that work with those songs. But some songs are missing. We've added 7,000 more titles to the database, including many requested by users. Now there are over 21,000 and chances are the song you're looking for is in there.
37. It's great that you've added charts to show the drum notation for the RealDrums. But this is only for some of the real drums. How about adding more. Yes, we've now added this for all of the RealDrums (and all of the MIDI styles too), so you'll see drum notation. And it's not just drum notation - this is MIDI data that you can export and play as MIDI data in your favorite DAW (or copy it to a Utility track and play it in Band-in-a-Box®). That way you can use your favorite MIDI drum plugin to play the tracks using your sampler. And these transcriptions are not quantized, they are the same timing as played by the RealDrums artists.
38. I'd like to use different colors for the part markers in a song. Just as indications for myself as markers that I understand. You can now use the right click and "Define C-D using same style" menu item. Then you'll get 4 part markers, with 4 different colors, that you can use to colorize the song.
39. The StylePicker allows filtering by feels like Swing 8 and Even 8. But how about combinations of simple "8th." Good idea. And we've added new filters for Even (Even 8th or Even 16th), Swing (Swing 8th or Swing 16th), 16th (Even 16th or Swing 16th), and 8th (Even 8th or Swing 8th).
40. I use the "Avoid transpositions" to generate RealTracks that aren't pitch shifted, whenever possible. I like that, because it ensures that the guitar parts are realistic for guitar, and can be used for learning purposes (correct open strings etc.). But I need more control as to what tracks this applies to. We've added settings for applying the "no transpositions" setting to specific track(s), or globally (all songs all tracks). This is in addition to the previous setting, that was all tracks for current song.
41. The Medley feature to allow multiple RealTracks on a single track does everything in mono if the first track is mono. I'd prefer that it switches to stereo if any of the tracks are stereo, and then the panning settings would apply. Yes, this has been added, and you'll hear stereo if there are any stereo RealTracks in the medley.
42. I'd like a simple way to find out where a feature is, and what is the menu item, toolbar or hot key is for it. We have that, and it's called the "Feature Browser." We've expanded on it with 2021 release. To invoke it, you use the menu item Help – Feature Browser. You can also use the hotkey "/" and "return". Then you'll see a dialog that lists hundreds of features. You just type a partial name of the feature you're interested in, and the list will filter down to show the details of that feature. This includes a description of what the feature does and how it's used, by menu item, toolbar location, hot keys etc. For example, if you don't know what harmony features are available, just type the word harmony (or part of it), and you'll see the notation features like the notation window and how to open it by menu item, hoy keys etc.
43. I realize there are a lot of add-ons in Band-in-a-Box®, for Styles, RealTracks, RealDrums, MIDI SuperTracks etc. I'd like an easy way to see what I have. Now, in the StylePicker dialog, there's an "Add-Ons" button that shows you all the Styles, RealTracks etc. that are found/not found. There's also an info button that takes you to pgmusic.com for more information, including links to purchase & download the add-ons.
44. When I buy an add-on, like the Loops-with-Styles PAKs or the XPro Styles PAK 1, they show up in the StylePicker as "Miscellaneous" for the set name, instead of the actual name I bought. So it's hard to know what I have. Good point. We've added the descriptive names to the StylePicker column for set Name, so you can see them there and sort by those names too. Also, in the text filter if you type "XPro" or you type "Xtra" you'll see any XPro or Xtra Styles Sets you bought. Similarly, if you want to know if you have RealTracks Set 374, type RT 374 in that filter and you'll see just that list.
45. I have several different folders that I use frequently to open or save songs to. I'd like an easy way to open a song from one of those favorite folders. There are new menu items for File – Open Special – Open Favorite Folders that first shows you a list of your favorite (recently used) folders and then you pick one, and it then shows an open dialog from that folder. There is also an item from the Song button to open the song picker in a favorite folder. There is a similar menu item for saving songs to a favorite folder. Hotkeys are available for these items and are shown on the menu items.
46. I have a MIDI keyboard connected to my Mac. I'd like to enter chords by playing them and enter them into Band-in-a-Box® chord sheet that way. If there is more than one name possible (e.g. G7sus or F/G), I'd like to see the various options and choose the name I want. This is added in a new MIDI Chord Detection window. This can be accessed from menu Window > MIDI Chord Detection...
47. I use the Big Lyrics Window, for Karaoke sized lyric display. That shows note based lyrics that I entered on the notation window. But it doesn't include the Bar Lyrics that I enter on the chord sheet. We've added the display of the Bar Lyrics to the Big Lyrics window, so that you see any type of lyrics. This also includes Section Text too.
48. I prefer entering lyrics using Bar Lyrics, because they are simpler to enter, but have some old songs using note-based lyrics. I want to convert them. We've added a conversion menu item for this, on the main menu – Window – Lyrics menu.
49. I use the Note colors feature to show the Scriabin colors for the notes in the notation window, so that I can associate notes with colors. But this is only applying to the melody track, I'd like it on all tracks. We've added this feature to all tracks. Of course, it's optional, and off by default. You turn it on in the notation window – options dialog.
50. I loved the jazz styles in Band-in-a-Box® 2020 that focused on very common progressions such as rhythm changes and jazz blues, but I'd really like to work on minor-key blues. What can I use for minor blues? There is a whole new set of RealTracks that are specifically designed to work very well over a variety of jazz minor blues progressions. Of course, like all RealTracks, these can be used over ANY progression in ANY key, but work PARTICULARLY well over minor blues progressions.
51. I'm a big fan of the Hawaiian "Slack Key" style of guitar playing. Are there any styles in Band-in-a-Box® with this distinctive sound? There is a new set of slack key guitar styles, featuring both rhythm styles and soloists. And, part of the distinct sound is that different keys use different tunings, which is a big part of the sound, and depending on what key and progression you're using, you'll be hearing these distinctive sounds right in Band-in-a-Box®!
52. I play styles like Bluegrass, that are notated in 8th notes, but played with a 16th note feel. I want to see them notated like in a music book, in 8th notes. But I want them to work with existing styles that are in a 16th note feel as they are in Band-in-a-Box®. Yes, in music that's called "Cut-Time" when a song is played in 4/4 but notated in 8th notes so that it is readable. It is called Cut Time, because it has the effect of cutting the bar into two bars. This can be done from the Notation window time sig button, and you can choose cut time for any 4/4 style. This is useful for styles that are about tempo 90-100 that are 16th based, and you'll see them notated using 8th notes instead of 16th if you chose cut time. Note: the time signature for cut time is actually 2/2, but that scares most people, and so instead it is written as a C with a line through it, indicating the "cut," as it can just be read as if it is 4/4 at a fast tempo.
53. I've loved the hard rock and punk styles that I've previously seen in Band-in-a-Box®, but I haven't heard any authentic "grunge" styles, which are distinctly different. How can I write songs with great-sounding grunge guitar playing? We've added 12 new grunge guitar styles in Band-in-a-Box® 2021! There are 4 distinct "grooves", each with MULTIPLE guitars playing the same groove, which is an important part of this distinctive sound.
54. I really love the sound of the Dulcimer, but I've never seen any styles with this instrument in Band-in-a-Box. We've added 6 Dulcimer styles to Band-in-a-Box® with RealTracks Set 363: '60s Coffeehouse Guitar & Dulcimer with Quinn Bachand. This set ALSO features great '60s folk styles with authentic vintage acoustic guitars!
55. I've used your previously released Reggae styles, but I wish there were more options for grooves & tempos. We've added new Reggae styles in RealTracks Set 365. This includes bass, drums, percussion & guitar, as well as RealTracks firsts: marimba & steel drum!
56. I use the vocal RealTracks in Band-in-a-Box® all the time, but I wish there were more options. We've added a new set of "Swingin' Shuffle" vocal RealTracks, which features 6-part background vocal arrangement, as well as vocal "background soloing" (also known as "melisma").
57. I love having vibes as a background instrument, but I've only been able to find jazz vibes, which don't really suit my pop tune. We've added new simple pop vibes, which are very useful for giving your pop/country tune a smooth "sheen."
58. I'm a big fan of world music, and I enjoy the world music styles currently in Band-in-a-Box®, but I'd really love to see more, in particular 6:8 grooves. We've added TWO new sets of world music, with drums, percussion, guitars & basses! There are Partido Alto styles, Beguine & Cascara, and the requested "Nanigo" groove, which is a 6:8 groove with African origins.
59. I really enjoy writing with Celtic and Train-beat grooves. But, while the styles all SOUND good to me, they don't match up to the bars/notation in the way I'd expect. For example, I want to write a train-beat song at 200 beats-per-minute, and I found a style that SOUNDS right, but it's displaying at 100 beats-per-minute, which throws me off. Many styles can be thought-if in terms of "16th-note-based" at a slower tempo, or "8th-note-based" at a faster tempo, even though when you're listening, they are exactly the same. For MANY of our 16th-note-based "Train-Beat" and "Celtic-Reel" styles, we've now made NEW DEDICATED 8th-note-based versions of these, so they display in Band-in-a-Box® at twice the tempo, even though they sound exactly the same. The REVERSE is also true of Sambas, where previously we had many Samba styles at FAST tempos, but we've made versions of the same styles where they SOUND exactly the same, but the tempo is HALVED.
60. I really love the versatility that MIDI offers, so while I do enjoy the RealTracks, I also really like using MIDI styles and tracks. There are lots of new options for MIDI in Band-in-a-Box® 2021! We have new MIDI SuperTracks, as well as many new RealStyles that UTILIZE these MIDI SuperTracks. In addition to that, there are new "Look Ma, More MIDI!" styles that combine the old-school midi style patterns with MIDI SuperTracks.
61. I have various Macs, including a new Apple Silicon M1 Mac. And various OS's including Catalina and old ones back to 10.6. Can you make Band-in-a-Box® work on those? We added support for the latest Apple Silicon M1 and latest OS 11 (Big Sur). And it's backwards compatible on all OS's from the current Big Sur (OS 11) back to Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.8) inclusive. Intel and Silicon M1 Macs.
Callie Marketing Representative PG Music Inc.
When you order any PG Music products directly from www.pgmusic.com (or www.bandinabox.com) you'll receive immediate links to start downloading your order! Even if you choose to have a backup copy of your Band-in-a-Box® packages shipped, you'll still have the download links available to you - no need to wait!
We've made it even easier to get started with Band-in-a-Box® with the Easy Payment Plan 4 - when you choose this payment option you'll pay four equal monthly payments starting on the day of your order.
Choose your Band-in-a-Box® for Windows package & order here.
You may have noticed when you were installing Band-in-a-Box® for Windows that you were asked if you would like to Associate Band-in-a-Box songs and styles with Band-in-a-Box? But, what does that mean?
It's actually pretty simple - basically, if you select this option while you're installing the program, files with the extensions .SGU, .MGU, and other Band-in-a-Box files will open directly in the program if you select them from outside the program.
Missed this option during your setup, but you'd like to apply it now? Go to File | File Utilities | Associate File types with Explorer within the program.
Head to the Practice Window in Band-in-a-Box® for Windows, and you'll see fun games that are fun ear training options for kids: Music Replay & Pitch Invasion.
Of course, you don't have to be a kid to like these games, I think there a fun way to learn at any age!
Music Replay is just what it sounds like - the program plays a 1-bar melody, and the user plays it back. Get it right, and you'll keep building that melody (and skill) within the game - get it wrong, and you'll be met with a warning tone and have to try again... it's quite addictive, and a lot of fun!
If you like a classic arcade game, then you'll love Pitch Invasion! We've managed to incorporate aliens with pitch-recognition skills in this exciting game, where you'll match the pitch of the alien ship descending towards your planet trying to destroy your collection of instruments - match the pitch and you've saved your instruments, make a mistake and the ship keeps coming... you'll have a few tries to get it right, if you're quick, but if all your instruments are destroyed - it's game over! The game speeds up as your skills improve, and you'll earn points along the way, with bonus points available throughout the game.
Open up your Band-in-a-Box® for Windows today to give it a try!
How to Make Backing Tracks with Band-in-a-Box®, by Nick Kellie
Band-in-a-Box® endorsing artist Nick Kellie recently got his hands on the newest Band-in-a-Box® 2021 for Mac, and put together this video showing off just how easy it is to make backing tracks in Band-in-a-Box®!
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