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Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Mac® User's Guide

Chapter 9: Automatic Music Features

Band-in-a-Box puts a lot of musical talent in your hands, whether it’s the playing of top session musicians on RealTracks and RealDrums or automatic features that encourage your own creativity.

There are features like the Melodist for generating all or part of an original song arrangement from scratch, you just tell it what type of song you want.  And if you like the song and want to keep it, it’s all yours.

The Soloist generates improvised solos in hundreds of styles in both MIDI and RealTracks formats.  You might use the Band-in-a-Box solos in your finished tracks, or to inspire your own improvisations, or even as exciting (and often challenging) sight-reading and practice exercises.

Likewise, the Guitarist can create polished guitar chord solos in the styles of all-time guitar greats, and it will show any instrument part on the guitar fretboard.

When professionals interpret and perform a song, we expect something more than the standard published arrangement.  That’s because they bring their particular talent and musicianship to the song.  Band-in-a-Box does likewise with the Embellisher, which adds professional style to a recorded track.

Use the built-in musicianship of Band-in-a-Box to make all of your music better.

Automatic Songs - “The Melodist”

Feel like composing a brand-new song?  With Band-in-a-Box you can compose a new song in the style of your choice - complete with intro, chords, melody, arrangement and improvisations, all created by the program!  Just pick a “Melodist” and press [OK] - the program then automatically generates the intro, chords, melody, and arrangement in the chosen style.  It even auto-generates a title for you, to complete your song! 

Launching the Melodist

To launch the Melodist, press the [Melodist] button on the main screen (or shift+F5) to open the Generate Chords and/or Melody dialog.

The left of the screen has the list of the Melodists.

For example, “Swing Tenor” uses “Jazz Easy Style” (J~EASY.STY) and a Tenor Sax patch, and the Melody and Chord settings in the Melody Maker. Scroll down the list and pick a Melodist that you’d like to use.  Once you have chosen a Melodist, examine the group of settings called “Chords and/or Melody.”

This section determines what aspects of the song are going to be generated.

  • If you want to generate Chords, Melody, and an Intro, make sure that these items are selected.
  • If you’d like a Pedal Bass figure during the intro and at the end of sections, select the Insert Bass Pedals option.
  • Selecting Solo in Middle Ch. will generate an improvisation in the middle choruses of the song.  The Soloist is selected with the Melodist Maker [Edit] button, and RealTracks soloists can be used.
  • The Allow Style Changes checkbox, if set, allows a Melodist to load in the style associated with it.  If you don’t want Melodists to change the current style that you have loaded, then deselect this option.
  • If you would like Band-in-a-Box to generate a title for your song select the Auto-Titles option.
  • The Form selection box allows you to choose between a song generated with a specific form (AABA 32 bars) or no form.  The AABA defaults to 32-bar form, which is the most popular song form.
Note: Melodists may alternatively be set to 64 bars (e.g. Melodist # 18 ColeP 64 bar form).  The song “form” refers to the pattern that the verse and chorus repeat.  An “AABA 32” form has 4 sections of 8 bars each - the “a” section is the verse and the “b” is the chorus (or bridge) of the song.  If you would prefer for the song to have no form, you could set the song to “no form” This wouldn’t be a very musical setting but might be useful for practicing or ear training.
  • The # choruses setting determines how many choruses of the song form (Melodies) are to be generated.  For example, if set to 5, the Melodist will generate 5 choruses, enough for an intro chorus, ending chorus, and 3 Middle Choruses.  The # choruses setting defaults to the # choruses present in the current song.

Preset Buttons

There are convenient buttons that will set these settings to popular presets.  For example, pressing the “Chords & Mel” button will set the checkboxes to Generate Chords & Melody (but not Solos).  The “All” button will generate Chords, Melody, and Solos.  The Chords button sets the options to generate Chords only (no Melody), and the Melody button will set the options to generate only a Melody (no chords) over an existing chord progression.

The [Defaults] button sets the Melodist settings back to Defaults.

The Tempo setting determines the Tempo of the song, and defaults to the current tempo of the previous song.  If “Auto-Tempo” is checked, the tempo

will be set by the tempo range stored with the Melodist.  For example, if a Melodist is called “Fast Waltz,” it would have a fast tempo range stored inside the Melodist and the song would be generated at a fast tempo if the “auto-tempo” option is set.

  In songs with an AABA form, it is common for the second “a” section to be transposed.  For example, the first “a” section might be in the key of Eb, and the second would be transposed up to the key of Gb.  Melodists store these settings, and some Melodists are set to transpose the A2 sections.  If you don’t want to allow Melodists to transpose the form in this way, set the A2 transpose to none. If set to “section plus,” it will transpose the A2 section, and might transpose 2 bars early or 2 bars late.  The song will only be transposed if the particular Melodist is set to transpose the section.

The Song Key area determines the key for the song.  If set to Any Key, the program will randomly pick a key for the song, weighed more heavily toward the popular keys like C and F.

The Minor Key % setting determines what % of songs would be generated in minor keys (vs. major keys).

If set to 20, then 20% of the songs would be generated in minor keys.  You can also set the Song Key Pop-up to a specific key or set it to use the current key of the previous song.

The next section of the Melodist Screen allows you to select whether you want to generate the “Whole Song” or just part of the song.  If you select part of the song, you can specify which bar and chorus to start at, and how many bars to generate.  An easy way to set the range of bars is to select the bars by dragging the mouse over the chord area prior to launching the Melodist dialog.  Then the “Generate” form will be automatically set to “Part of Song” and the range of bars will be set to the selected area.

If you were generating a song from scratch, you’d want to set “Generate Whole Song.”  After you listen to the song, you might want to improve on a certain section of the song (say bars 9 and 10 of the first A section).  To do this, from the Chord Sheet window, select bars 9 and 10, and press the Melodist button again.

You’ll notice that the “Generate Part of Song” radio button is set, with the range set to 2 bars starting at bar 9 of chorus 1.  Pressing OK at this point will cause only bars 9 and 10 to be regenerated, preserving the rest of the song.  This allows you to repeatedly generate/re-generate parts of the melody and/or chords until you get the Melody/Chord progression that you’re looking for!

If the form of the song were AABA, you’d normally want the regenerated section to be repeated throughout the form, for example, in all the “a” sections.  The Replace Thru form will set the Melodist to copy the generated bars to the other “a” sections.

If you would like to remove the current Intro, Melody or Soloist Track, press the [Kill Intro], [Kill Melody] or [Kill Soloist] button.

You can press the Search button and then type in part of a Melodist name, memo, style name or other text associated with a Melodist.  This will then cause the Melodist selection to change to the next item containing the text.  Similarly, you can type in a number of a Melodist and press the [Go To #] button.

The Memo area displays a Memo for the current Melodist, as well as the name of the database (e.g. Melody1.ST2) that the Melodist is based on.

Melodists can store patch and harmony settings, and these are displayed in the patch area of the Melodist selection screen.  You can also set the instrument to change each chorus (for example from vibes to guitar to piano). 

You can over-ride the settings of the current Melodist and choose your own patch, harmony, and change instrument settings in these controls. 

The Melodist Jukebox will continuously generate new songs and play them in jukebox fashion.  You can set the range of Melodists to include in the jukebox (using the From…To settings) or keep the Jukebox on the same Melodist by de-selecting “Change Melodists.”  To Launch the Melodist Jukebox, press [Juke Songs Now].

  Normally you’d want the Melodist to be written to the Melody track.  If you’d prefer the Melody to be written to the Soloist track (e.g. for a counter melody) then set the “Write to Track” setting to Soloist.

  The favorites button allows you to pick a Melodist that you have used recently.

If you’d like to create your own Melodists, or permanently change the settings of existing Melodists, press the [Edit…] button to launch the Melodist Maker, which is fully described in the chapter on User Programmable Functions.

Using the Melodist

Generating Complete Songs

Here are some ways that you can use the Melodist by generating complete songs.

  • The most obvious use of the Melodist is that you can generate an entire song – complete with intro, chords, melodies, full 5-part instrument arrangement, pedal bass figures, solo improvisations and even an automatic title.  You can customize the song to your liking, regenerate any of the elements (chords, melody etc.), or any part of the song until you “get it right.”  Either way, the end product is a complete song.  What a great compositional and educational tool!
  • Sight-Reading: You can put the Band-in-a-Box Melodist in Jukebox mode, so that it is continually generating and playing new songs in succession.  By displaying the Melody track in Notation, you can then sight-read along with the Melody.  Since the melodies are unique, this is the ideal type of sight-reading practice; playing along to music that you haven’t heard before.
  • Ear Training: Play along with the Melodies and chords that the program is generating, without looking at the music.  Since Band-in-a-Box is always using intelligent chord progressions and melody phrasing that a professional would actually use, you are learning to recognize chord progressions and melody phrases that you will encounter in real playing situations.
  • Guitarists can extend the sight-reading concept by just watching the on-screen guitar fretboard play the melody notes.  If a student were watching his teacher reading music, he would watch the guitar not the sheet music.  This is because guitar is a very visual instrument.  Similarly, you may prefer to watch the on-screen guitar instead of the notation.

Generate Less than a Complete Song

Here are ways that you can use the Melodist short of generating a full song:

  • Auto-generate / regenerate / remove an intro for an existing song.  You can learn from the intelligent chord progressions that are generated to lead in to the first chord of the song.
  • Auto generate pedal bass patterns over existing songs, to add tension/release effect to your Band-in-a-Box arrangements.
  • Generate chords only, and then compose your own melody by playing or singing along with the chord progression.  This can help composers to write new songs by starting them off with a chord progression that they might not ordinarily use.  And if you’re stuck at a certain bar, see what BB will generate/regenerate as a melody for that section.
  • Generate chords only, and practice playing your musical instrument along with the chord progressions.  Print out the generated lead sheet of chords so that you can see the chords easily on the music stand.  Working with new chord progressions is useful to “get-out-of-a-rut” in your practicing by playing new chord progressions.  You can also improve your harmony ear training, by figuring out the chords as they are being played, without looking at the chord symbol display.
  • Generate Melodies only, over existing chord progressions.

Using Melodist Jukebox

Use the versatile Melodist Jukebox feature to:

  • Generate Songs (Chords & Melodies) in succession.
  • Generate Solos only over generated chord progressions.
  • Generate Solos over the same chord progression (to practice blues soloing for example).

Automatic Intros

The Melodist will automatically generate an introduction for the songs it creates.  It is also possible to generate an introduction for any song. 


Press the [Song Form] toolbar button and select the menu command Generate Intro to open the Generate Chords for Intro dialog.  You can also choose Edit | Song Form | Intro Bars Auto-Generate menu option or use the keystroke control+shift+B.

This will create a chord progression that gets inserted as an intro to the song, based on the optional settings you choose.

Chord Types can be Jazz or Pop.

Intro Length can be 2, 4 or 8 bars to suit the tempo of the song.

Starting Chord (after intro) is lets the intro lead in to the song correctly.

Pedal Bass has a list of pedal bass options, based in the key entered in the box.

Press the [(Re)-Generate Intro Chords] button to auto-generate chords for an intro.

Press the [Remove Intro] button to remove the intro from the song.

Automatic Song Title Generation

The Melodist will optionally give a title to the songs it writes.  Song titles can also be generated on demand with the Edit | Chords | Auto-Generate Song Title menu command (control+shift+S).  The song title will appear in the Title window.

Repeat the Auto-Generate Song Title command until the program comes up with a suitable title for your song.  Band-in-a-Box will keep generating new titles for as long as it takes to get the right one.

Automatic Solo Generation – “The Soloist”

There are two ways to select and add a solo to your song.  The “Best Soloist” feature presents a pre-selected list of soloists to choose from.  The Select Soloist dialog gives you the full list of soloists to choose from, and additional settings you can apply to the solo.  Clicking on the Soloist button shows the two choices.

Pick “Best” Soloist RealTracks

This dialog shows you the best soloists that match the genre, tempo, and feel of your song.  The list is displayed from best to worst.  For example, if you have a Jazz Ballad style loaded (tempo 60), the list will show jazz Soloists that will work well at a tempo of 60 at the top of the list, and something like a fast, Heavy Metal Guitar Soloist at the bottom of the list.

How to Use This Feature

To add a Best Soloist to the Soloist track, press the [Soloist] button and choose the menu option Add Best RealTracks Soloist to Soloist Track.  Alternatively, shift+click on the [Soloist] button.

To add a Best Soloist to any track, use the track radio button (e.g. Piano) and right-click (or double click) to show the menu.  Choose the Select Best Soloist RealTracks menu item.

You will then see a dialog that lists the best soloists for the current style.

It will include Soloists and “Background Soloists.”  You can de-select these if you only want to see Soloists (and not background soloists).

  The [OK and Generate Now] button closes the dialog, entering the currently selected item, and generating the Soloist track.

  You can also make your choice and press [OK] to return to the main screen.  When you press the [Generate and Play] toolbar button, the song will be generated with the new Soloist RealTrack.

Select Soloist Dialog

To select a pre-made Soloist, click on the [Soloist] button on the toolbar and choose the menu option Open Soloist Dialog to choose MIDI or RealTracks Soloist.  Alternatively, control+click on the [Soloist] button.

Now, select the type of Soloist (“Soloist Type” list box) and choose the appropriate style.  This will show you a list of Soloists in that style.  Then, simply choose which one you would like to hear and what instrument you would like the Soloist to play.

When the “All” box is checked, all soloists will be displayed but those that do not conform to the Soloist Type box will be in parentheses.  If this box is not checked, only Soloists that conform to the

Soloist Type selection will be displayed. 

The [Fav] button opens a Favorite Soloist list of the fifty most recently used Soloists, with the most recent at the top.

The [RealTracks] button moves the Soloist list to #361, which is the start of the RealTracks Soloists.  These are Soloists that are audio, not MIDI.  Soloists generated with RealTracks are saved with the song, so you will hear the RealTracks play the same solo when you reload the song.

When you generate a solo using RealTracks, Band-in-a-Box will remember this, and when you go to save the song, Band-in-a-Box will ask you if you want to save that solo (and thereby freeze the Soloist track).  If you say yes, then the solo will play instantly the same way when the song is reloaded.  Of course, you can freeze the Soloist track yourself at any time.  Note that only one solo can be saved.  You can’t generate a bunch of different segments of solos; only the last one will be saved.

MIDI SuperTracks are also listed as Soloist selections.

The [Show All] button removes any filters and shows the full list of soloists.

[Go to] will go to the specific Soloist number that you enter in the box.

Use the [Search] button to search the Soloist titles and memos.  Check the “All” box to search all Soloists, otherwise only the type selected will be searched.

The Memo has information about the selected Soloist and notes about using it.

There are additional settings that let you customize the solo.

When “Double Time” is checked, the Soloist will play twice as many notes in a given space of time. This is useful for ballads or other tunes with slower tempos.

The solo instrument is set by default according to the selected Soloist, but you can override that instrument by clicking on the list box and choosing from the General MIDI patch list.

The [Choose] button opens a list of instruments that typically play in the same register as the default instrument.  You can choose a new solo instrument from the list.

[Clear] will clear the default or chosen solo instrument, useful if you want to keep a previously used solo instrument.

Some Soloists have a harmony assigned.  You can use this setting to override the selection or to add a harmony of your own choosing.  Use [Clear] to remove the harmony.

If a selected Soloist autoloads a new style, that style will be displayed here.  You can [Choose] to load a new style with the selected Soloist, or you can [Clear] the selection so that no style is loaded.

“Change Instrument” determines if and how frequently the Soloist instrument will change.  This could be each chorus, every part marker, every substyle change, or every 4, 8, 16, or 32 bars.

Solo Modes

As well as the normal mode of soloing for a number of choruses while the melody is silent, the Soloist has several other modes. 
For example, Fills will “noodle” over the changes for a percentage of time. 
Other modes are Solo Around Melody, Trade 4s, Solo Wizard, and Custom Solo for a Specific Range of Bars. 

Around Melody option
This option for the Soloist part creates a solo around the melody, that is, at times when the melody is silent.  To solo around the melody, do the following:

Open a song that has a melody, preferably a sparse melody with some space in it that a Soloist might be able to “jump in.” Press the [Soloist] button.  Select the Solo Mode “Around Melody.” Set the Soloist to play in All Choruses and uncheck the “Mute Melody in Middle” option. Press [OK] and the solo will be generated, playing riffs at times when the melody isn’t playing.

Tip: For added effect, add a guitar chord solo to the Soloist part using the Chord Solo button on the Guitar and choosing Solo as the destination.  Or simply choose a Guitar Harmony like 32 J Pass.

Trade Fours Soloing
Band-in-a-Box can generate the first four or the second four bars.  “Trading fours” refers to a solo lasting four bars, usually followed by a different melodic solo (or drum solo) for the next four bars.  It’s fun to solo along with Band-in-a-Box in 4’s mode, letting the computer solo for four bars, followed by your solo.

  In the Select Soloist dialog, you can click on the button beside the “Trade 4’s” radio control to select whether you want the first four bars or the second four bars.  If set to 1st, the soloist will take bars 1-4, 9-12, etc.  And if set to 2nd, it will solo on bars 5-8, 13-16, etc.  The fours are based on the beginning of the chorus, not the first bar of the song.

You can generate four bars trading off with each other in two ways.  The easiest way is to choose the Normal Solo mode and select the “Change Instrument Every 4 bars” option.  This results in different instruments taking four bar solos.

Another method is to choose the trade 4’s option, generate 4’s using the first setting, and then choose Soloist | Edit Soloist Track | Swap Melody and Soloist Track, and then generate a solo again, using the second set of four bars.  This will result in 4’s with one track on Melody and the other on the Soloist track.

Solo Wizard
Additionally, you will find another great feature in the Solo mode list, the “Solo Wizard.”  With this mode selected, the program will play correct notes in the style of the current Soloist as you play notes on the MIDI or QWERTY keyboard.

Beyond impressing your friends with your newfound improvisational prowess, this feature has practical implications as well.  For example, you can concentrate on practicing your solo phrasing and playing in time without concerning yourself with which notes to play.  Band-in-a-Box will supply the correct notes.

Tip: The Soloist will use the velocities you play or pick its own, depending on the setting in the Soloist Prefs“Use MIDI Volume for Soloist Wizard” checkbox.

Custom Solo Generation

You can redo any part of the solo that you don’t like with the ability to generate and regenerate parts of the solo.  There is a [Custom…] button on the Select Soloist dialog.  This launches a custom solo dialog to allow you to set a range for the solo.

Tip: You can have these values preset to the values you’d like by first selecting the range of bars that you’d like from the Chord Sheet screen, and then clicking on the Soloist button.

Usually soloists end a little after a bar end –i.e. they play a couple of extra notes.  Setting the “OK to solo for an extra beat” will allow this.

If you want to overdub a solo and have multiple solo tracks going at once, de-select “Overwrite existing solo in range.

Once you press the [Generate Solo Now] button, the portion of the solo that you have selected will be generated.  The song will then start playing two bars before the new part, so you can quickly hear the new solo.

Remember that the custom solo generation can be used with different soloists, so you can use a “Tenor Sax Jazz” soloist for a few bars, and then insert a custom “Bluegrass Banjo” soloist for four bars and so on.

Soloing over Slash Chords
The Soloist analyzes slash chords (like C/Bb) to determine the best scale type to use (e.g. Bb Lydian).  There is nothing you need to do; this function happens automatically behind the scenes.

Editing Soloists

  If you’d like to create your own Soloists, or permanently change the settings of existing Soloists, you can press the [Edit Soloist Maker] button to launch the Soloist Maker.

Tutorial: Using the Soloist Feature

  • Generate a Soloist and practice the solo by looping it, slowing it down, or printing it out, until you can perform a great solo on any chord changes!
  • Generate a Soloist and attach a Harmony such as “Big Band Brass” to create phenomenally quick and interesting Big Band Arrangements automatically.  Generate a standard MIDI file or print them out for you and your friends.
  • Have the Soloist play a solo according to your accompaniment and arrangement.
  • Trade 4’s with the Soloist (you solo for 4 bars, BB solos for 4 bars, etc.).
  • Concentrate separately on different aspects of your playing with assistance from the “Wizard.”  From soloing with proper phrasing and “feel” (and the best notes) to accompanying a soloist with confidence and authority.
  • Use the Soloist track to record another part in addition to the Melody and other parts provided by Band-in-a-Box.
  • Generate a Soloist on chords/keys that you would like to practice.  For example, if you want to work on your II-V7-I progressions, you can just type the chords you want, and generate a solo to play over those changes.  As the solo plays, you see the notation, you can sight read along.  Pressing the “Loop Screen” checkbox on the notation will loop the notation the screen so you can master each 4-bar phrase (II-V-I) and then move ahead to the next one!

A Few Technical Notes on the Soloist.

  • The Soloist has its own separate channel and settings.  But when the Soloist uses a Harmony, it becomes linked to the Thru Harmony channels and settings.  Since we are already using 12 of the available 16 MIDI channels in Band-in-a-Box, we didn’t want to use up another 2 channels on dedicated Soloist Harmony channels.  So, if you want to hear a Soloist with harmony, use the THRU Harmony settings.  In other words, wherever a THRU harmony is selected, the Soloist part will use the THRU Harmony settings.
  • We have designed the Soloist not to repeat any solo ideas so that the solos are always fresh, with new ideas forming and playing all the time.  As a result, we have included a Refresh Soloist menu item under the Soloist menu that, when selected, will allow the Soloist to “think about” all of its musical notions again.  Choosing the “Refresh Soloist” option (shift+F7) is like telling the soloist “It’s OK, you can play whatever you like, even if it’s something that you played 5 minutes ago.”
  • The Soloist menu contains many options.  It has all of the same editing options found in the Melody menu, so you can treat the Soloist track as a 2nd melody track.  Even if you don’t plan to use the Automatic Soloist feature, you can just use the Soloist track as a 2nd track for counter melodies, overdubs etc.  The result; two melody tracks, two solo tracks, or one melody and one solo track all at your disposal for any song, without having to resort to an outboard sequencer.

Automatic Guitar Chord Solos – “The Guitarist”

With Band-in-a-Box, you can generate a guitar chord solo for any melody.  Band-in-a-Box will intelligently arrange the melody into a guitar chord solo by inserting real guitar voicings throughout the piece.  You can select from among many Guitarists to create your arrangement.  And you can define your own Guitarists, choosing parameters such as strum speed, types of voicings (Pop/Jazz), embellishments, and many more.  You can easily make and learn a professional quality guitar chord solo to your favorite song! 

Generate a Guitar Chord Solo

Load a song with a melody in it.  Then open the Guitar Window by pressing the [Guitar] toolbar button or with the control+shift+G keys.

  And then, launch the Chord Solo function with the [Ch. Solo] button, or select Melody | Generate Guitar Chord Solo.

You will then see the Select Guitarist window.

Here are the steps needed to generate your Chord Solo:

1. Select the Guitarist to Use.

In the main list at the left of the Window, you see the list of Guitarists that is already defined.  For example, you can see that Guitarist #2 is called “Jazz Guitar, single position.”  That will create chord solos that stick to a single position on the guitar neck whenever possible.

2. Select Melody or Soloist track.

You would normally want the Guitar Chord solo to be written to the Melody track, but you can also select the Soloist track as the destination.

3. Confirm the Guitar Patch Selection.

The Guitarist that you pick (see item #1) will already have chosen the guitar patch to use, but you can override it with this setting.

4. Select the Range of the song to use.


You can either generate a chord solo for the whole song, or just a region of the song.  In either case, remember that you need to have an existing melody to work with.  You can use the Melodist to generate a melody if you do not have one.

5. Select the Main Guitar Position to use.

Band-in-a-Box has a setting called “Auto Set” that will set the main guitar position for the solo for you, based on the key signature.  For example, in the key of C, Band-in-a-Box will choose the 5th position as the best position for the chord solo to be played. You can override this. For example, if you wanted the solo to be in the 12th position you could de-select the “Auto-Set” and then set the guitar position to 12th position.

6. Change Guitar channel. 

In case you already have a guitar track that has guitar channels (for example if it was already played on a guitar controller as a single string guitar part), then you might want to tell Band-in-a-Box not to change the guitar positions of the notes that it finds.  Normally you would want to set “OK to change existing guitar channels” to true.

6. Press [OK] to generate the Guitar Chord Solo.

You will now see a message box confirming that a chord solo has been added.

Playing the Guitar Chord Solo

Playback will begin automatically, and you will see the guitar voicings on the guitar neck.

This particular solo will be played in a single position, because those are the parameters of this particular guitarist.  Other Guitarists will play in a range of positions (e.g. Guitarist #1), or in open position (e.g. Guitarist # 8).

As you listen to the solo, you will notice the following:

  • Some of the notes are left as melody, and some are assigned to chords.
  • Wide varieties of guitar chords are used, including some advanced chords.  All of them are popular chords played by real guitarists – there are no theoretical chords.
  • The chords are strummed, to simulate a real guitar player.
  • The Track Type for the Melody has been set to Guitar, and the MIDI file will be saved with the Guitar Channels (11-16) preserved which preserves the fret positions.
Note: All of these items can be customized in the Guitarist Maker, which is launched by the [Edit...] button in the Select Guitarist dialog.

Redo Part of the Solo

Let’s redo part of the solo at a higher fret position.  This particular song GIT_TEST.MGU has 6 choruses, and the last 3 choruses have a much higher range of soloing.  Let’s redo that part of the solo, using a higher fret position.  We will press the [Ch. Solo] button again, de-select the auto-set position button, and choose the 12 position.  Since we only want to regenerate this for the choruses 4 to 6, we set the range to “Part of Song” and the range to start at chorus 4, bar 1, and range of 96 bars.  This will rewrite the solo, by first removing the existing guitar chord solo (if any) and then generating a new one.

Technical Note: Since some of the guitarists can be assigned to strum the chords in a delayed fashion, if you repeatedly re-generate the solo, the melody will become more and more delayed.  The solution(s) would be to choose Edit | Undo Solo prior to re-generating the solo or picking a Guitarist that does not delay the strum.  The Strum delay status is indicated on the “Info” panel of the Select Guitarist screen.

Saving the Guitar Chord Solo

Once you have generated a Guitar chord solo it becomes part of the notation track.  You can edit it like any other part by deleting/inserting notes, etc.
The solo will be saved with the song (MGU) and exported to a MIDI file, with the string positions intact (because we use channels 11 to 16 for the Guitar part).  You can remove the solo at any time, even after the solo has been saved/reloaded, by choosing Melody | Remove Harmony (or guitar solo) from Melody Track.

Editing Guitarists

  Guitarists can be customized using the Guitarist Maker, which is described in a separate topic and is launched by the [Edit Guitarist Maker] button in the Guitarist Maker dialog ([Ch. Solo] button).

Melody Embellisher

When musicians see a lead sheet that has a melody written out, they would almost never play it exactly as written.  They would change the timing to add syncopation, change durations to achieve staccato or legato playing, add grace notes, slurs, extra notes, vibrato, and other effects.  Now you can have Band-in-a-Box do these automatically using the Melody Embellisher.  If you enable the Embellisher, any melody will be embellished as it is played, so that you hear a livelier and more realistic melody - and it’s different every time. 

Using the Embellisher

The Melody Embellisher feature is turned on and off with the [Embellish Melody] toolbar button or with control+option+E keys.

The Melody Embellisher only functions during playback.  If enabled, the melody that plays will be embellished.  You will see the embellished melody on the notation as the melody plays, so you can see the embellished notes.  When [Stop] is pressed, the notation reverts to the original unembellished melody.

The embellishment changes timing of notes, durations, velocities, legato, as well as adding grace notes, additional notes, and turns.  Here is a before-and-after example that shows a typical embellishment of a melody.

Original (unembellished) Melody…

Embellished Melody…

As you can see in the notation examples, the embellished melody adds anticipation in bar 9, and in bar 10 adds extra notes and timing changes to spice up the melody.

If you disable the Embellisher, by de-selecting the Embellisher Melody during playback or by pressing the control+option+E keys, the melody (or solo) will play as normal with no changes.

Melody Embellisher Settings

There is a Melody Embellisher dialog.  It is launched by selecting the menu Embellish dialog or with control+option+L keys.

This allows you to customize the settings of the Embellisher, choose Embellisher type from presets, and make a particular embellishment permanent.

  “Live Auto-embellish during every playback” is the same setting that is on the main page checkbox.  If enabled, embellishment will occur during every playback.  If disabled, embellishment will not occur unless you choose the [(Re-) Embellish NOW - Permanent] button in the dialog. 

Embellisher Presets
The presets allow you to choose a combination of common settings for the Embellisher quickly.

The Memo describes the current embellishment, with statistics counting the number of embellished notes.

  If the song is playing and the Embellisher is enabled, you can update the embellishment by pressing this button.  This is useful if you have changed settings and want to hear what the new embellishment sounds like.

  [Defaults] reverts to factory settings.  [More] opens a dialog with additional settings to fine-tune the Embellisher, and [Stats] displays the same thing that appears in the Memo field but will display it even when there is no current embellishment.

  If the song is not currently playing, you can still create an embellishment and have it applied permanently by pressing the [(Re-) Embellish NOW – Permanent] button.

  Normally the embellishment occurs live when the song is playing and does not affect the Melody track permanently.  But if you like the embellishment, and want to apply it permanently to the melody, you can choose the [Make Current Embellishment Permanent] option.

  The original Melody track is not permanently affected unless you have press the [(Re-) Embellish NOW – Permanent] button.  If you have done this, and want to restore the original melody, you can press the [Restore Original Melody] button.

  The Embellisher is usually referred to as the Melody Embellisher, because you’ll usually want to have it affecting the Melody track.  But if you’d prefer it to affect the Soloist track, you can choose the Soloist track as the Embellisher track.

Embellisher Settings

The settings contain a number of parameters that affect the embellishment.  They can be turned on and off and can be set with certain percentage strength.  The settings are:

Humanize: The velocities, durations (legato), and timing of the notes are humanized.  The original velocities etc. of the notes are ignored.  This is useful when the melody has been entered in a stiff manner.

Adjust Octave: The octave of the Melody is changed to the best octave for the current Melody instrument.  For example, if the instrument were a Piccolo the octave would be raised to the best range for a piccolo. 

There is an additional setting for the octave in the “More” settings dialog.

Anticipations: An anticipated note is played early, or “ahead of the beat,” as in this example.


Embellishment with anticipations on beat 1 and 3

Less Anticipations: This is the opposite of anticipation.  This finds notes that are anticipated, and “embellishes” them by playing them later (on the beat).

Grace Notes: The grace notes are brief notes played just before, and a semi-tone below the original note.  The grace notes intentionally do not show on the notation, so that it will remain easily readable.  They can be heard.

Doubled Notes: Melody notes are doubled with the same pitch.


Embellished with quarter note doubled

Extra Notes: Extra notes are added between melody notes.


 Embellished with extra notes

Note “Turns”: With a note turn, a single note is replaced by a group of notes that includes the original note and the semitone or scale tones above and below.


 Embellished with turn

Vibrato: Vibrato can be added according to the additional vibrato settings available in the “More” dialog.  The vibrato cannot be seen on the notation window, but you can examine the events in the Event List.

  If set, the Melody will be delayed a little, providing a “laid-back” feeling.

  There are additional settings in the Embellisher Additional Settings dialog box.

This allows you to set advanced settings for the Embellisher.  These include,

  • Vibrato Depth: This is the amplitude of the vibrato, ranging from 0 - 127.
  • Vibrato Speed: This is the speed of the vibrato (slow-fast) range 0 - 127.
  • Only use Vibrato if Note is this many ticks: e.g., If set to 120 ticks (one quarter note), then only notes of at least that duration will get vibrato.
  • Start the Vibrato after this many ticks: For notes that will get vibrato, the vibrato will start after this many ticks.
  • Adjust Octave Method: If the octave is to be adjusted, it will either only adjust it if the notes are outside the playable range, or always adjust it to the best octave, according to the setting you make here.
  • Dynamic Range: Refers to the range of velocities used for the humanization.  Useful range 30 to 50.
  • Legato Settings: Refers to the amount of legato for the notes.  Useful range 55 to 75.

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