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Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Mac® Upgrade Manual

Chapter 2: Summary of New Features

We’ve added over 50 new features to Band-in-a-Box 2018, including...

Video RealTracks

Video RealTracks are a brand-new feature to Band-in-a-Box.  We have over 2,500 available audio RealTracks, and now we have 40 available video RealTracks including two full video bands - Country and Pop Ballad.  When you load a video RealTracks, you can use it just like an audio RealTracks, but you can also generate a video, which will display the musician playing your song exactly as you hear it.  If you load one of the video RealTracks bands, you will have video RealTracks on 5 tracks, and you can make a video of 1-5 musicians.  You can also include a chord sheet or notation in the video.

Built-in Audio Chord Wizard

The Audio Chord Wizard has been redesigned and is now built into Band-in-a-Box.  Previously, the Audio Chord Wizard was a separate app and not tightly integrated into Band-in-a-Box.  This app is still available from the [Audio Chord Wizard] toolbar button, but the improved built-in Audio Chord Wizard can be accessed from the Audio Edit window.

Audio Harmonies Feature Added

Harmonize the Audio track with up to 4 voices.  You can choose one of the 4 harmonizing modes.

  • The “Chords” mode will harmonize the audio based on the chords in your song.  Choose a type of harmony from the “Harmony type” option.  Choose either the intelligent mode, which allows you to select the number of voices, or one of the Band-in-a-Box harmony presets.
  • The “Melody track” mode will add voices (up to 4 voices) to the audio, based on melodies in the Melody track.
  • The “Soloist track” mode will add voices (up to 4 voices) to the audio, based on melodies in the Soloist track.
  • The “Fix Tuning” mode will analyze the Audio track and correct out-of-tune notes in the selected region according to the key of your song.

The Fix Tuning feature analyzes the Audio track and correct out-of-tune notes in the selected region according to the key of your song.  For example, in the key of C, if a C# is detected, then it will be transposed down to C or up to D depending on which one is closer.

You can use the Auto-Transcribe feature to transcribe the audio data to the Melody or Soloist track as MIDI data.

Piano Roll Window

The new Piano Roll window enables precise graphic editing of MIDI data including notes, velocity, controllers, program changes, channel aftertouch, and pitch bend.

Save Notation Window as a Video

With previous versions of Band-in-a-Box, you could make a video of the Chord Sheet, showing the highlighted bars as the song is playing.  Now, you can make a video of the Notation window.  This is helpful if you have a melody or a RealChart (notation for RealTracks) that you would like to see on a video.

Improved GUI

The Toolbar has been enhanced with skins support, and the Display Options dialog has more customizable color items.

Improved Mixer

  • Soloing/Muting functions are improved.  Now you can change the solo and the mute status of other tracks by right-clicking on a blue mute button.
  • The floating Mixer window now has opacity controls.  Left-click on them to change the opacity by a significant amount, or right-click on them to change it by a small amount.

Support for ABC Notation Format

ABC notation is the simple text-based notation system used by musicians worldwide to store chords, melody, and lyrics of songs.  Now you can open and save songs in ABC notation format.  You can find out more information about the songs and ABC notation at

Song Titles Brower Enhancements

  • We’ve added 2,000 new song titles including requests from users, so there are now over 10,000 titles!
  • You can now filter the list by genres, time signature, feel, tempo, and decades.
  • The dialog can list song titles that will work with the current style.
  • Subgenres have been added for most song titles.  Searching by a subgenre name in the text filter will display song titles in that subgenre.< /li>
  • Recommendation of styles has been improved.  When you select a song title and press the [OK - Find Matching Styles] button, the StylePicker dialog will open and show only styles that will work with that song title.  This feature has been improved so that subgenres are also considered, so the style recommendations are more accurate.

StylePicker Enhancements

  • Mixer-like control allows style customization within the StylePicker.  This shows what tracks are used in the highlighted style in the list and color-codes them according to the track types (MIDI/RealTracks/MIDI SuperTracks).  There is also a menu button on each track, which allows you to change the instrument, disable/enable the track, or perform other track actions.
  • A [Save as .STY] button has been added.  When you have customized a style, you might want to save it so that it is added to the StylePicker list and can be used easily.  For example, you might add/remove a RealTracks and save that as a new style.
  • Recommendations of styles is improved when using the [Find Titles] button at the top right of the dialog.  This also displays subgenres and makes it easier to find styles for a certain popular song.
  • New user categories have been added, including Americana; Bebop and Fast Jazz; Bluegrass, Train, and Old Time; Dixieland, Gypsy, and Old Jazz; Fingerstyle Guitar; Funk, RnB, and Soul; Heavy Rock; Singer-Songwriter; and World.
  • The buttons to copy the styles list to the clipboard, set the dialog options, and reset the dialog to defaults have been moved to the [Action] button menu.
  • The two buttons to rebuild a complete or partial styles list have been combined into a single button.
  • Rebuilding the styles list also rebuilds lists in the RealTracks and RealDrums Picker dialogs.
  • The option to change the font size of the text in the styles list has been moved to the StylePicker Options dialog.

Renewed Render to Audio File Dialog

The dialog now has a simpler look and is easier to use.

RealDrums Picker Enhancements

  • You can now demo individual variations of the RealDrums at the tempo closest to your current song by double-clicking on them.
  • The “Set” column shows “VID” if the video RealDrums is installed.  “VNA” means that a video is available but not installed.

RealDrums QuickList

There is now a simpler dialog for choosing RealDrums, an alternative to the RealDrums Picker.  It displays all available RealDrums in a simple list, which can be easily filtered by genre, time signature, feel, and more.  The list can be set to show only RealDrums that are compatible with the current style of the song.  You can also set the highlighted RealDrums as a prototype RealDrums to find alternates to that RealDrums.

Audio Edit Window Enhancements

  • The Audio Edit window now has a nicer looking GUI, with a dedicated settings button and a Marker Mode button.
  • When you select the Audio Chord Wizard or UserTracks for the marker mode, the markers will be visible and editable.
  • Editing features can now apply to the entire track.  Before version 2018, you had to highlight a region to use editing features, but now if no region is highlighted, then they will apply to the entire track.
  • There are some items added to the [Edit] button menu.

Guitar Window Enhancements

  • Clicking on the black area to the left of the zero fret notes in the Guitar window will delete the notes on just the channel of that string on the current notation time line rather than all notes at that time line.
  • Clicking on a note will delete the note from the Notation window if the note is currently highlighted.  If no notes are highlighted in red, then clicking on a note will first delete any notes on the current notation timeline and channel before inserting a new note.

Big Piano Window Enhancements

  • Clicking on the black area to the left of the piano will delete highlighted red notes from the Notation window.  If no notes are highlighted in red, then clicking to the left of the piano will delete any note on the current notation timeline.
  • Clicking on a note will delete the note from the Notation window if the note is currently highlighted in red.

MIDI File Import Enhancement

Now you can import lyrics from a MIDI file to your song.

Open MIDI File in a Single Step

There is now a File - Open Entire MIDI File (mid) to Melody Track menu item, which will open the entire MIDI file to the Melody track.  This was possible before but required you to use the Import MIDI file function, which has more features to figure out the chords, and customizes what tracks you want imported.

Notation Window Enhancements

  • Notation supports 12/8, 9/8, and 6/8 time signatures.  Previous versions of Band-in-a-Box only supported 3/4 or 4/4 notation.  Now you can also select 12/8, 9/8, or 6/8.  This is done by pressing the new button in the Notation window and selecting one of the time signatures from the list.
  • Duplicate previous group of notes lets you quickly duplicate the previous chord (a group of notes on the same location) without having to reenter it.  This is a menu option added to the context menu in the Notation window.
  • The [delete] key deletes all notes that are currently highlighted in red.
  • You can now enter Section Numbers.  Previously, you could enter letters (A-Z) only, but now you can also enter numbers (1-9).
  • The vertical position of a dot of a dotted rest has been adjusted.  A dot used to be drawn on the staff line, but it is now drawn between staff lines.
  • When loading a MusicXML file, if more than 20% of notes are triplet notes, then the overall beat resolution will be automatically set to 3 in the Notation window.
  • Improved algorithms are now used for drawing slurs.  A slur will be drawn with a Bezier curve, which is especially helpful for notes being very close together.

Enhanced Flash Messages

Flash messages are now brighter for clarity.  They also have a close button, which is useful for closing green flash messages without performing the action.  Up to 4 messages can be on the screen at once.  (Previously, only 2 messages could be shown.)

And more!

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