Band-in-a-Box® 2023 for Mac® User's Guide
Band-in-a-Box offers a variety of notation and printing features for viewing parts on-screen as they play, editing MIDI tracks, and for printing parts as sheet music.
The grand staff notation scrolls by onscreen as the song plays. A time bar indicates the song position while notes highlight in red as they play. The onscreen notation allows you to follow and read along as the song plays. It’s a great way to practice your sight-reading or sight singing.
Band-in-a-Box notation features engraver spacing for clean, uncluttered display without note overlap. It handles Jazz eighth notes and triplet figures correctly with a Jazz font option for letters and chord symbols. Automatic options like “auto durations,” “clean notation,” “mono display,” “minimize rests,” and “engraver spacing” produce very musical and readable notation. The Notation window is also a powerful editing tool.
In Editable Notation mode, notes can be entered in step time (clicking with the mouse on the staff, or on the onscreen piano), or in real time from a MIDI keyboard. Drag and drop editing allows notes to be changed and moved. There is also a Staff Roll mode, similar to a piano roll.
The Staff Roll mode supports moving and changing of MIDI notes, and it allows the editing of note velocity and duration. This is a very powerful feature for fine-tuning the dynamics of a performance.
The Lead Sheet window shows multiple staffs, with options to show several different tracks or harmony parts.
Print out any combination of chords, notes, and lyrics (or blank paper)!
You choose what to print out (notes / chords / lyrics / bar numbers), and what clefs to include (treble / bass). You can print out the first chorus, last chorus or the whole song. Margins are available, so you can make a left margin to produce a printout to go into a 3-hole binder for example.
Band-in-a-Box prints a lead sheet style of notation, so it will attempt to auto-fit your song onto one page. Use this feature to print a library of your favorite songs.
To view the notation, open the Notation window by pressing the notation button on the main screen. Close the Notation window by pressing the notation button again.
Band-in-a-Box Notation screen displaying the melody track in Standard Notation mode.
Band-in-a-Box offers multiple modes of notation for different purposes. The notation defaults to Standard Notation mode, other modes are selected with buttons on the Notation window toolbar.
Standard Notation to display or print Notation and enter lyrics. The grand piano staff and/or guitar tablature with notes, chord symbols, and lyrics.
Editable Notation to enter or edit notation. A special staff with time divisions for mouse-based editing.
Staff Roll Notation, to enter or edit notes, velocity, and duration. The note heads are shown with editable velocity and duration lines.
Lead Sheet Notation to display or print notation as full arrangements or in fake sheet style. This is a full screen notation window with notes, chord symbols, and lyrics.
With the Notation window open, the toolbar at the top of the window gives you access to its many features and options.
This opens the Notation Window Options dialog box.
Press to launch the Lead Sheet window.
Press this button to print the notation to any printer supported by your system.
3-stage buttons to select a Notation window mode - Standard Notation, Editable Notation, or Staff Roll mode.
This box displays the name of the note that will be inserted when you click the mouse.
These determine whether a Note or a Rest will be inserted when the mouse is clicked.
When this is selected, the notation is entered as monophonic (one note only) to avoid extra notes in a single note melody line.
The Clean Notation Mode cleans up the notation by eliminating display of redundant grace notes and glitches for easier reading.
Notation supports various time signatures (4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 2/2, 12/8, 9/8, and 6/8). Press this button to select one of the time signatures from the list.
This button allows you to visually transpose the notation
Click on the button to select a track to display, or hover the mouse cursor over it and use the mouse wheel to quickly switch tracks.
If you press the button and select Enable Playable lTrack from the drop-down menu, any notes you enter will be heard during playback unlike RealChart notes, which are silent.
You can edit events including all MIDI events and lyric events using the Event List Editor.
To enter note-based lyricsr press the Lyrics button on the Notation toolbar.
The zoom buttons make it easy to increase or decrease the font size of the notation.
Add or edit Section Text on the Notation.
When this button is pressed in, you can drag the mouse over notes to hear them.
This allows you to quickly change the number of bars per line.
This allows you to display notation with larger font size and note names within note heads. Press the button again to return to the normal size.
This will generate a vocal track using an online third-party vocal synthesizer called Sinsy for a MIDI melody track with lyrics.
While a song is playing, click the “LoopScn” button and the song will loop the bars shown on the notation screen.
Play the song and open the Notation window. Then, select the Drums track and you will see drum notation.
In the clef area, you see a guide telling you what drum notes are used in that line of notation (e.g. Kick, Snare, HiHat).
For the Melody or Soloist track, you need to set the track type to “Drums” either in the Notation Window Options dialog or with the menu Melody (or Soloist) | Track Type. (Note: For this to work properly, you need to have the Melody track with drums that are using GM Drum notes.)
The Standard Notation window displays the notation for any individual track and allows for the entry of chords and lyrics. Features include:
- As the notation plays, the notes that are sounding are highlighted in red. This helps with sight-reading or following the music.
- You can set the notation to scroll either 1 or 2 bars ahead of the music without interfering with your view of the current notation.
- Handles Jazz eighth notes and triplet figures correctly.
- Automatic options such as auto durations, clean notation, mono display, minimize rests, hard rests, and engraver spacing produce very musical and readable notation.
- Double-clicking on the window or pressing the space bar plays the song from the current time location.
- Beamed notes are automatically given slanted beams.
- Groups of 5 notes will automatically display as groups of 3+2 or 2+3, or can be set this way manually. If you would prefer to see them as a group of 5 notes, you can right mouse click on the timeline, and set the resolution to 5 for that beat.
Right-click menu for Standard Notation
This menu opens with a right mouse button click in the Standard Notation window. Use it to access major editing features and dialogs.
Enter the Editable Notation mode from the notation screen with a single mouse click on the Editable Notation button.
In the Editable Notation mode, the timeline is visible as it a yellow wide transparent vertical line. You can enter, move, and edit notes and rests using standard mouse techniques– point and click, drag and drop, and right-click to open the Note Edit dialog box.
This is the screen for step-entry of a melody or for editing existing parts. Notice the grid of vertical lines, which sub-divide each beat. These lines indicate where the notes will be placed according to the resolution of the song.
When mousing over notes in this window, summary information about the note is displayed (pitch/channel/velocity/duration). To enable this feature, click on the [More..] button in the Notation Options to open the Other Notation Options dialog. Then select the “Show Popup Hint for Note Properties” checkbox.
Click on the string (on the tab), then click on the note (on notation, or on-screen guitar) to get it entered on that string/fret. To access this feature, for melody (or soloist) track, first set menu-Melody- Track Type to Guitar. Then open the Notation Window and choose editable notation. You will now see Guitar Tab below the Treble Clef. You can now highlight a note, using Shift+Arrow Right (or Left). When a note is highlighted in red, you can click on the tab on the string that you would like the note played on. This will change the note to that string, and the tab will be updated to reflect this.
For Editable Notation with Guitar Tab, you can now easily change the string for a note, by dragging the note from one tab string to another.
Select the Melody track in the Notation Window.
Enter the Editable Notation.
And set the track type to Guitar (via main menu Melody - Track Type = Guitar).
Now you have Editable Notation and tab. After you insert notes on the Notation, you can drag notes from one tab string to another to change the channel and fret position that plays on the guitar.
For example, here you can drag the “1” down a string to have the middle C note played on the third string instead of the second.
The above example is in Jazz Swing style so Band-in-a-Box has automatically set the grid resolution to 3 per beat (triplets). This resolution can be changed in the Notation Options dialog, but the program automatically sets the resolution to the correct value based upon the Band-in-a-Box style that is in use.
- Swing styles use 3 lines to divide each beat into eighth note swing triplets.
- Straight styles use 4 lines to divide each beat into sixteenth notes.
The user can manually set the resolution for any beat in the Beat Resolution dialog, which opens with a right click on the black vertical time line. You can also open this dialog by right-clicking on the window and selecting Change Beat Resolution from menu.
Setting the Treble Clef Resolution for this beat to 5 allows a group of five notes to be placed on one beat.
To insert a new note on the staff, move the mouse to the location that you want. If you want beat 1, move to the first dotted line in the bar. Click on the staff over the note that you want.
Confirmation dialogs show warnings to prevent accidental entry of a duplicate note (same pitch near same time) and of a very high or very low note (large # of ledger lines).
The Current Note box in the toolbar will give you the name of the note that you are on.
Click with the left mouse button to insert the note:
- To insert a sharp: Hold down the shift key as you click the note.
- To insert a flat: Hold down the control key as you click the note.
- To insert a natural: Hold down the option key as you click the note.
How is the length of the notes determined?
Band-in-a-Box uses an intelligent auto-duration feature to determine how long the note should be. Auto-durations mean that you can enter a lead sheet style melody by just clicking once per note, dramatically speeding up the entry of notation.
Any note that is entered will initially have duration of 2 bars (2 whole notes). When the next note is put in 2 beats later, Band-in-a-Box will adjust the duration of the previous note to just shorter than 2 beats. This means that you don’t have to worry about durations at all and can simply point and click to enter the notes where you want them. If you want to override the auto duration, you can edit the note using the right mouse key, which will permit you to type the exact duration that you want.
There’s a keystroke entry mode, which lets you enter and edit a melody entirely using keystrokes.
N: Enter a note at the current time line.
M: Add a note a third above the current note on the time line
R: Enter a rest at the current time line.
Up Cursor: Change the pitch of the highlighted note by 1 semitone up.
Down Cursor: Change the pitch of the highlighted note by 1 semitone down.
Right Cursor: Move the time line forward.
Left Cursor: Move the time line backwaonrd.
shift+L/R Cursor: Highlight the current note on the time line.
command+option+R Cursor: Change the time of the highlighted note by +5 ticks.
command+option+L Cursor: Change the time of the highlighted note by -5 ticks.
Hit the N key to enter a note at the current time line.
While the note is highlighted, use the up/down cursor keys to change its pitch.
If you want to add a note a third above the existing note on the current time line, hit the M key.
Use the right/left cursor keys to move the time line.
Hit the R key to enter a rest at the current time line.
You can enter drum notes to the Drums track or the Melodist/Soloist track with the track type set to Drums. Right-click on the window and use the Insert (or change) Drum Note menu item. For drum notes shown on the left in the drum guide (e.g. China, Splash, Crash2, etc.), you can click on the corresponding vertical position of the drum note you want.
You can customize the RealTracks (or RealDrums/MIDI/MIDI SuperTracks) performance by adding your own notes. You will then hear those notes using a Hi-Q sound created from the RealTracks recording. This means you can get the RealTracks to play the notes you want at key parts of the performance, either augmenting or replacing what the RealTracks is playing, for any sections in the song.
For RealTracks, the notes you see are RealCharts, which are silent MIDI. You can see them, but they don’t actually play during playback. With the Playable Track feature, you can make some of these notes playable.
To enter Playable Track notes, press the [PT] button and select Enable Playable Track from the drop-down menu. You will then see a message to confirm that a Hi-Q patch plugin will be installed on the track. Press OK to proceed.
Now, the button gets the green borders to indicate that you are in the Playable Track mode. In this mode, any note you enter will be heard during playback unlike RealCharts notes.
The notes you have entered show in green and will be heard during playback along with the RealTrack audio. But you would want to have your own notes play in place of the RealTrack audio. So, press the [PT] button, select Make a Mute Region to mute generated accompaniment from the drop-down menu, and set a region in the dialog. This will add a green line at the top. When you play the song, the RealTracks audio in that region won’t be heard, but the green notes you have entered will be heard. If you regenerate the RealTrack, it will be outside of this is region.
There are other useful tools in the [PT] button drop-down menu. For example, Make notes in selected area playable notes allows you to change all notes in the region you specify to playable notes. There are also options to change volume of the playable notes in the selected area, choose a different SFZ sound, etc. Set MIDI Volume (and velocity) of Playable SFZ Sound opens a dialog with settings for MIDI volume and velocity. MIDI volume is 0-90, so if it is 90, you can’t make it higher, but the MIDI velocity can be set separately and you can make that louder or softer.
Insert a rest by holding the back-quote key (tilde key without pressing shift) then clicking on the notation window. Another way to enter a rest is to click the Rest checkbox and then point and click where you want the rest to appear. This automatically shortens the duration of the previous note.
This allows you to insert a rest in the notation, which will be in effect even if you have Minimize Rests set to false. For example, we can display a 16th note rest even though the Minimize Rests feature is on. To do this, click on the [Rests] button and then click on the notation at the location that you’d like a 16th note rest. The Hard Rest will show up in blue in the editable notation window and can be removed by holding the [DEL] key and clicking on the rest.
If you want to change the start time of a note, drag the note with the left mouse button to the new location. This is a simple way to move the note. Alternatively, you could edit the note numerically with the right mouse button.
Similarly, you can drag the note vertically to change the note value and release it when you are on the note you want. Hold down the shift, control, or option key to have the note inserted as a sharp, flat, or natural respectively.
In the Editable Notation window, any note can be made into a bend by right-clicking on the note and selecting “Guitar Bend” in the Note Edit dialog.
The “Quarter Step” option will make a bend displayed as a quarter step below the target note.
A right-click of the mouse in the Editable Notation window will open this menu.
Use it to edit chords, insert or edit lyrics, add or edit section text, add section letters, and add notation symbols.
Edit Note opens the Note dialog and lets you edit the current note.
Delete Note deletes the current note.
Forced Accidental lets you quickly add an accidental to the current note.
Insert (or change) Drum Note enters a drum note. (Note: This menu item will appear for Drums track or Melody/Soloist track with the track type set to Drums.
Edit Current Chord opens a text box with the name of the chord at the current location. Type in any changes and press Enter or Tab to return to the Editable Notation window.
Duplicate previous groups of notes quickly duplicates the previous chord (a group of notes on the same location) without having to reenter it.
Delete Highlighted Red Notes delete all notes that are currently highlighted in red.
Insert Lyrics opens the Lyric Edit window.
Edit Lyrics opens the lyrics event list editor.
Edit Section Text opens the Event List Editor list where section text can be inserted, edited, or deleted.
Precise Placement Section Letters - Select a letter or number from the list and it will be inserted at the current location of the time line bar. Use this same item to remove section letters/numbers.
Bar-Based Section Letters - Select a letter or number from the list and it will be inserted at the top of the bar line so that it doesn’t overwrite chords or notes.
Notation Symbols for Expression and Articulation:
The Notation Symbols are entered from the Notation Event dialog, which is accessed from the right-click menu in the Editable Notation window. This dialog lets you insert (or remove) notation symbols such as, Slur, Crescendo, Decrescendo, Staccato, Accent, Legato, Marcato, Staccatissimo, and Trill.
Select a notation symbol from those listed and the Notation Event dialog will open. In this dialog, you can further define the event and its precise location, and then press [OK - Insert Event] to insert it into the notation. Use the [OK - Remove Event] to delete an existing event that is no longer needed.
The Event Type list box lets you choose the event type (slur, decrescendo, etc.).
The Length of Event field determines the length of a slur, crescendo, or decrescendo. The length is specified in beats and ticks. If an event is a “single-peg” event, such as a staccato or accent, then this field will cause multiple events to be inserted if the range is greater than zero (and the range spans multiple pegs). If you had highlighted an area of the Notation window prior to right clicking on it (to launch the pop-up menu and choose the notation symbols menu item) then this field is set based on the length of the highlighted area. (Note: The highlighted area does not actually include the very last peg at the very edge of the highlighted area.)
The Clef field, if present, indicates the clef in which the event will be inserted (or removed from). Most events affect only one clef at a time, and therefore you must choose the clef and this field will be preset based on where you had initially right-clicked with the mouse on the Notation window (you did this to get the pop-up menu that launches this dialog). For example, if you had right clicked on the treble clef, then this will be set to treble.
When Snap to notes toward beginning / end of range is enabled slurs, crescendos, and decrescendos will be based on notes that exist at the beginning and end of the specified range.
The Offset field, if present, lets you adjust make adjustments to the vertical position of an event, e.g. slurs or chord height.
The Start Time field is the start time of the event (in Measures:Bytes:Ticks).
[OK – Insert Event] exits this dialog and then inserts the event into the notation track.
[OK – Remove Event] exits this dialog and then REMOVES the event (if it exists in the specified time range) from the notation track.
Cleanup Orphaned Notation Controller Events: This command will remove notation symbol events (such as staccato) that are no longer close enough to a note to display properly.
Chord height adjustment: Use this to adjust the height of a certain chord by adjusting the “Offset:” value in the Notation Event dialog. Note that a positive value moves the chord symbol lower, and vice versa.
Notation Mode / Editable Mode / Staff Roll Mode: Clicking on another notation mode will change to that screen while staying at the same location in the song.
Vocal Synth (Auto): Your Melody or Soloist track with lyrics can be rendered to a vocal audio track by sending it to the 3rd party vocal synthesizer Sinsy. Choose the language, Japanese or English, and one of the female or male vocalists. You can adjust the gender of the voice in a range from -0.8 to +0.8. Higher values are more masculine. If your track does not include lyrics you can enter a syllable to use for notes with no lyrics. With the “Auto” command, your song will be sent automatically to the song server and returned as an audio file on the Audio track. This may take a few minutes.
Manually generate Vocal Synth track: With this command, Band-in-a-Box will generate a file named Sound.XML and save it in Band-in-a-Box/DataSRequest. Use your browser to navigate to www.sinsy.jp and upload the xml file. A file named sound.wav will be returned and loaded into the Audio track of your song.
Right click on a note. This brings up a variation of the right-click window with added commands for editing or deleting notes. Click on Edit Note to launch the Note dialog.
In this dialog, you can manually change the characteristics of a note by entering the exact values you wish for any given note. For example, you can change the velocity and duration by increments of 1 tick, as well as the note’s pitch and relative positioning in the bar.
Click on the [Delete] button in the right-click menu to remove the selected note from the Notation.
Select a region of notation to edit
To select a region of the notation you can shift+click on the end point to easily select a large area.
Force Accidental - If a note is being displayed as a sharp, but you want it to appear as a flat (or vice versa), you can force that here. Notes like Fb, Cb, E#, B# can be entered. To do this, right click on a note (like F), and set the forced accidental to #, and the note will appear as E#.
Note Type - You can choose for the note to be Normal, Invisible (note will sound but will not appear in regular notation), Guitar Bend (a B will appear above the note), Hammer-On, Pull-Off, or Guitar Slide. Note that the guitar bend is for notation only and does not affect the sound of the note.
Click on the Staff Roll notation mode button to enter the Staff Roll mode.
This mode is similar to the Editable Notation Mode, except that the beats begin right on the bar line. You can see the duration of the note visually represented by a horizontal blue line and the note’s velocity displayed as a vertical blue line.
Using the Mouse to Edit Velocity and Duration
There is an additional function available in this mode; right mouse drag. Place the mouse cursor on the note head and hold down the right-mouse button. Then, starting at the note head, drag the cursor horizontally to set the note’s duration, or drag it vertically to set the note’s velocity.
Press the [Opt.] button in the Notation Window to open the Notation Window Options dialog.
You can set the track type to use for the Melody or Soloist treack. Normally, you would leave the track type set to Single Channel, but you can also set it to Multi-Channel, Guitar, or Piano.
Multi(16)-Channel: All MIDI channel assignments are preserved and output on playback. This would be useful for importing an entire MIDI file and playing it from the Melody channel using a silent style.
Guitar: MIDI channels 11 to 16 are assigned to the guitar strings 1 to 6. Correct guitar tablature replaces the bass clef, the notation will be up an octave, and guitar channel assignments are saved with MIDI files.
Piano: In this mode, channels 8 and 9 are treated as the left and right hand of a piano part.
If the track has drums that use GM Drum notes, you can select Drums to see drum notation
Triplet Resolution (Swing): Band-in-a-Box automatically sets the resolution whenever a style is loaded. When a style has a triplet feel (such as Jazz Swing or a Shuffle style), Band-in-a-Box selects Triplet Resolution. This ensures that Jazz eighth notes (swing triplets) are handled correctly. When a style with a straight feel loads (Pop, Latin) the Triplet Resolution setting is automatically turned off. Then the notation shows even eighth notes, not triplets, and each note and duration is rounded to the nearest sixteenth note when displaying the music.
Show Bar/Beat Lines: This setting is for the Staff Roll mode only. When turned off (unchecked) only the staff lines will show, helpful for editing note Duration and Velocity lines.
Show Note Durations: This is a Staff Roll mode setting to show or hide the horizontal Duration lines.
Show Velocity Lines: This is a Staff Roll mode setting to show or hide the vertical Velocity lines. Line color is determined by the Duration Line Color setting.
Duration Line Color (Green /Blue): There are two color choices for the Duration lines, green or blue.
Snap to grid lines: If this is checked, the inserted note will be lined up with the closest grid line. This is similar to the way a graphics or typesetting program aligns elements accurately on a page. This means that you do not have to click exactly on the beat to have the note inserted precisely on the beat.
Highlight playback notes in Red: Good sight-readers who like to read ahead can use this option to disable the highlighting of notes in red as the song is playing so it won’t be distracting.
Scroll Ahead: The Notation window can be set to scroll 1 or 2 bars ahead of the music without interfering with your view of the current notation. To enable this feature, select the number of bars you wish to scroll-ahead in the Notation Window Options (1 or 2). Select zero bars to disable this feature. When the notation scroll-ahead feature is enabled, the lyrics will also scroll ahead.
Note Colors: Notation can display notes in different colors based on absolute note names or relative to chord or key. The color scheme is one that was introduced by the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915). Colored notes will appear in color for printout on color printers or when saved in a color graphics file.
Note Names: There is an option to display note names in the center of the note head. You can display absolute note names (A, Bb etc.) or you can display numbers relative to the key or the current chord. This is helpful for learning to read music. Combined with the ability to display large font sizes, this achieves the big note of “EZ-2-Play” music books. Channel numbers can also be displayed on the notation. When editing notes, it is often helpful to see the channel number of each note. By setting Note Names to “Channel Numbers” you will see the channel number for each note written into the note head of the notes. This is useful when viewing an entire MIDI file that you have loaded onto the Melody track, and want to examine the channel information, or for editing a guitar track that uses channels 11 to 16.
Notation Fonts: You can use the PG Music fonts or Jazz fonts for your chords and notation. Or you can choose Arial or any other font on your system for chords, lyrics, text, and titles. The Jazz fonts have the “handwritten manuscript” look. It’s a great alternative to music fonts that look too “computerized.”
To select just the Jazz music font, select the Use Jazz Music Font option, then choose your Chord, Lyrics, Text, and Title fonts.
The Lyrics and Text fonts appear in the Notation window, the Lead Sheet and the printout.
The Title Font” is used for the Titles, Composer, and Styles names that appear on the Lead Sheet window and printout.
The Slash Font” is used for slashes / / / / which appear in the empty bars.
The Bar # Font” is used for bar numbers.
The Bar Lyrics Font is used for bar-based lyrics.
Bars/Screen: This option lets you to choose the number of bars per line for both the on-screen notation display and printing.
Tab: When set, the Guitar and Bass parts will print tablature notation.
Load notation layout w/songs: When this box is checked your Notation Option settings will be saved with the song and restored the next time you load the song.
Show Key Signature: If turned off, you won’t have the key signature box displayed on the Notation Screen. This will save some space on the screen.
Use chord scale for enharmonics: The sharps and flats in Band-in-a-Box notation are context sensitive to the chord names. For example, if you are in the key of Eb, and the chord is E7, a G# note will show up as G#, and not Ab. This means that the notation accidentals will automatically show up correctly. For example, on an F#7 chord in the key of Eb, the Ab note is part of the F#7 scale (as a G#, the 2nd of the scale), but is also part of the Eb key of the song. If you want to display based on the chord scale, setting “Use chord scale enharmonics” will display the note as a G# instead of an Ab.
Engraver Spacing: This is another one of the program’s intelligent features, which spaces the Notation appropriately to avoid overlapping notation while accounting for space required by accidentals, rests, etc. This feature is visible only in Standard Notation mode.
These preset transpose settings for non-concert instruments like brass and woodwinds will auto-select the correct transpose settings and clef split points for the instrument. For example, Trumpet +2 will write the music up 2 semitones, and the split point will be adjusted to display the music in treble clef. Guitar and bass settings are also included. If a Chord Sheet or Notation window transpose setting is in effect, a yellow hint message opens on boot up as a reminder.
Transpose: The Transpose setting lets you manually adjust the Notation window to display notes either higher or lower than their actual pitches.
Clefs split at: This setting determines the split point for placing notes on the Bass or Treble clef. The default setting is C5, displayed as C5* to indicate it is middle C. Use a higher split point, such as C6, if you want notes up to a B above middle C written on the bass clef with ledger lines.
Max Ledger Lines: You can specify an upper limit of a note range so that high notes won’t result in an excessive number of ledger lines. The default is 6, which would show a maximum of 6 ledger lines above the treble clef staff.
Tick Offset: The Tick Offset on the notation options is one of the keys to great looking notation. It accounts for playing that is before or behind the beat. The track is automatically scanned to determine the best tick offset so that you do not have to set this yourself. This results in better looking notation. You can change/override this setting in the Notation Window Options dialog box, but normally the best tick offset is set automatically. For example, to properly notate Jazz performances, it is sometimes necessary to set the tick offset to approximately -15. This effectively adjusts for a performance that has been played slightly “behind” the beat or, in Jazz terms, “very laid back.” In Editable Notation mode, notes entered with the mouse take the notation offset into account. So, if a note is clicked on the beat 1:1:0 will get entered at 1:1:7 if the notation offset is -7. This gives a more human feel to the arrangement.
Auto Set Tick Offset: If enabled, Band-in-a-Box will automatically determine the tick offset by analyzing the notes on the track. Disable this if you want to set the tick offset manually.
Minimize Rests: When checked, Band-in-a-Box will eliminate unnecessary rests. For example, if staccato eighth notes are displayed as sixteenth notes separated by sixteenth rests the setting will remove the rests and show the notes as eighth notes.
Detect Fine Resolution Notation: Improved auto-transcription identifies and correctly displays up to 128th notes. If for some reason you prefer to disable it, there is an option to do so. To set a beat to a certain specific resolution right mouse-click on the Time Line located at the top of the Notation window. You will then see a Beat Resolution dialog where you can set the resolution for both the Treble and Bass clefs.
New Line each: Use this setting to automatically start a new line on each chorus, on each chorus and the intro, or on each part marker. It applies to the Lead Sheet notation screen and to printing. If you want to control how many bars per line get displayed, use the Edit Settings for Current Bar (F5) options, and select “Notation - Start a New Line” on bars that you’d like a new line of notation. That setting, in combination with the Notation Window Options setting for “Bars/Screen,” and “New Line each” allow you to save custom settings for bars per line in non-fake sheet mode.
R/L Cursor Edits: This is used in the Keystroke Note Editing features.
Bar Number Font and %: Select any installed font for the bar numbers and adjust its size in a percentage range from 10% to 1000%. These settings affect the notation, lead sheet, and printout.
Display Font Size %: To select the notation font size for display, enter the Display Font Size as a percentage, either more or less than 100%. The same setting is available in the Lead Sheet window and the Print dialog.
Chord Vertical Position: This controls how high the chords will be written above the staff. If set to 5, the chords will be written 5 notes above the top of the staff. If your piece contains many high notes, then set the chord position to a high setting.
Lyric Position: You can adjust the height of the lyrics by setting the lyric height (smaller values like –8 are higher on the notation).
Auto-Hand split Piano track: When checked, the Piano track (not any other track) will be displayed on both clefs with intelligent hand-splitting. You can print out the Piano track with the hands separated.
Display Patch Names on Notation: When this box is checked, the patch name for the track is displayed on the notation, lead sheet, and printout.
Show Slashes (/) for blank bars: If this is enabled, slash marks / / / / will show for empty bars.
Restate Chords: If this is set to “Don’t Restate,” then the program works as in previous versions, and if the chord stays the same, it will never be stated again in the arrangement until it does change. If set to “Every Bar,” “Every Line” or “Every Page,” then the Notation, Lead Sheet and Printout will restate the chord every bar, line or page. The setting of “Every Page” is the default, which means that the first bar of the Lead Sheet Window will always have a chord as will the top of each Notation Window screen.
The [Update] button applies the changes made to the Notation Window Options. Pressing [OK] will have the same effect.
Inserted Note Defaults: These settings determine the default values for notes that you enter manually.
Duration %: Notes are not always played for their full duration. If a whole note is inserted with a duration of 80%, the note would play for 80% of 4 beats = 3.2 beats.
Velocity: The loudest possible note has a velocity of 127; a velocity of 0 is silent.
Channel: Assign the MIDI channel of the inserted notes.
Play Inserted Notes: When checked, notes that you insert will sound briefly as they are inserted. This lets you hear that the note you inserted sounds correct.
Confirmation required to enter a note more than _ ledger lines: To prevent accidental entry of very high/low notes, this means that a confirmation dialog would be needed to enter notes with more than X ledger lines.
Chord Note Separation in MS / Chord Total Separation in MS: This lets you set the width of chords. Band-in-a-Box will display a new group of notes on the notation for every chord. If you know that a track is single notes and therefore couldn’t have any chords, set the chord note separation to a small value like 10ms and then every note will be displayed on a new note stem. The chord width parameter is also used for the “chord step advance” feature.
Glitch Duration in MS / Glitch Velocity: When set properly, “Glitches” will not be shown on the notation. Any note less than a certain length of time or less than a certain velocity can be filtered out.
Line Thickness Settings: These settings allow you to control the thickness of various line elements of the notation. For example, if you set the Bar Line width to 200%, the bar lines will be twice as wide, and easier to see. This affects display and printout.
Line Thickness Settings: These settings allow you to control the thickness of various line elements of the notation. For example, if you set the Bar Line width to 200%, the bar lines will be twice as wide, and easier to see. This affects display and printout.
Options for BeStPlain Chord Symbol Font: With these options, you can see a triangle for major, a minus sign for minor, and a half or full circle for half or full diminished chords when you use the BeStPlain chord font.
Show Popup Hint for Note Properties: If this is checked, the note properties pop-up will open when you hover the mouse cursor over a note in the Editable Notation window.
The Lead Sheet window displays a full screen of notation with one or more parts. Other options include a selectable number of staffs per page, clefs to show, font size, margin, scroll-ahead notation, and lyrics. If you like to sight-read along with Band-in-a-Box, this is the window for you.
Launch the Lead Sheet window from the main screen by pressing the [Lead Sheet] button or with the Windows | Lead Sheet Window menu option.
As the notation scrolls ahead, you can read ahead without waiting for a page turn. During playback, blue rectangles highlight the current bar.
The Lead Sheet is also useful as a kind of “Print Preview” feature, as it offers you the ability to correlate the on-screen notation to a printout.
You can move around the Lead Sheet window with mouse clicks. This will move a small blue rectangle around the screen, which lets you type in chords at that location. Double-clicking the mouse at any bar will start playback from that position.
Click on the track selector button and select a track from the menu to view notation of that track.
To view multiple tracks, first select the track that you want to show at the top, and then click on the [+] button and select the tracks in the order that they should appear from top to bottom. To remove an extra track from the display, click on that track name and select remove from the menu. To remove all extra tracks, click on the [+] button and select remove extras from the menu.
The Show chords above each track option in the Lead Sheet Options dialog to display the chords above each track, or just the top track of the notation.
If you press [Print] from the Lead Sheet window, you will be able to print out the multiple tracks of notation.
To display the Lead Sheet in the Fake Sheet mode, enable the “Fake Sheet Mode” checkbox on the Lead Sheet window toolbar.
Harmonies can be displayed on the Lead Sheet window (or printed) with separate notation tracks for each harmony voice. View each harmony on a separate track, or view/print a single harmony voice. To examine the harmony display features, load in the song “Night_T.MGU.” The melody of this song was previously converted to a harmony using the Melody | Convert Harmony to Melody Track option, so there is a harmony on the Melody track.
Open the Notation window and you will see all four voices of the harmony on the same treble clef.
Now open the Lead Sheet window. Band-in-a-Box now recognizes that this is a harmony (generated by Band-in-a-Box) and displays each voice on a separate track of the lead sheet.
Press the [Print] button to print out “Voice 2.” If needed, press the [Notation Options] to first visually transpose the instrument to Eb for an “Alto Sax” chart.
Pressing the [Opt.] button in the Lead Sheet window launches the Lead Sheet Options dialog.
The settings in this dialog are applicable to the Lead Sheet window only. If you want to set options that are shared by the Lead Sheet window and the Notation window, press the [Notation Options…] button.
Treble clef / Bass clef: These checkboxes choose which clefs will display in the Lead Sheet view.
Auto-set clefs: When set, Band-in-a-Box will attempt to pick the clef for you automatically displaying the bass clef when you are on the bass track or any other track with low bass notes. It will show both clefs when on the piano or drum track.
Clef sign every line / Key signature every line: By default, the Clef and Key will be shown at the beginning of every page, but if you want one every line, you can check these options.
Show bar #s: Choose whether the bar numbers will be shown for each bar, only at part markers, or not at all.
Show title: If set, the song title will be displayed along with other information like Composer Names and Style information that is set in the Print Options dialog of the Notation window.
[Restore Default]s: You can reset all the Lead Sheet Options back to default settings by pressing the [Restore Defaults] button.
[Notation Options]: To set Options that are shared by the Lead Sheet window and the Notation window, press the [Notation Options…] button.
Margins: Set margins for the Lead Sheet window, just like the margins in a word processor. For example, if you want the lead sheet window to only take up the top part of the screen, set a bottom margin (of, say, 2 inches) and then make the lead sheet window smaller by pulling the bottom up. This feature has no effect on printout; the Print Options dialog has its own margin settings.
Show chords above each track: When using multiple tracks of Notation, this determines whether each track will show the chord names or not.
Show track names for multi-track notation: If checked, the Band-in-a-Box track names will be inserted at the start of each part in the multitrack notation display.
[Convert Harmony to track] will add a harmony to an existing Melody.
[Remove] will remove the harmony from the track.
Split Harmonies to different tracks enables the splitting of the harmonies to different tracks on the lead sheet.
Show Harmony Voice allows you to select ALL tracks, which will cause each track to display on a different track on the Lead Sheet, or select a specific Voice to display only that voice. For example, if you choose “Voice 2” and press OK, you will now see just voice 2 of the harmony.
You can control the volume of the selected harmony voice relative to the other voices in the harmony. The “Play Volume of harmony voice” setting can be set to:
- Normal: Harmony plays as normal.
- Solo: Only the selected voice will play.
- 50% Solo: Selected voice is much louder than other voices.
- Quiet: Selected Voice is much quieter than other voices.
- Muted: Selected Voice is muted.
These settings are useful to sight-read along on harmonies and learn to hear inner voices of a harmony.
Staves per page: The number of staves shown in the lead sheet can be set by typing in a number or using the [+] and [-] buttons.
Font size: Choose the font size with one of thepreset buttons for popular sizes or type a number between 45% and 300% dialog.
Band-in-a-Box supports lyrics in three different ways: Note-based lyrics, Bar-based lyrics, and a Big Lyrics (Karaoke) window. Note-based lyrics can be entered on the Notation Window, and bar-based lyrics can be entered on the Chord Sheet.
In the previous versions, there were line-based lyrics, which could be entered for each line on the Notation window. You can longer enter this type of lyrics, but if your existing song has line-based lyrics, Band-in-a-Box can convert them to bar-based lyrics. In the Global Song Override dialog, there is an option which allows you to choose how the conversion should occur when the song with line-based lyrics opens.
The default is “Always (auto-split),” which will convert line-based lyrics to bar-based lyrics and splitting them into 4 bars. If you choose “Always (don’t split),” line-based lyrics will be converted but they won’t be split into 4 bars. You can also choose not to convert line-based lyrics automatically. If the current song has line-based lyrics, you can press the [Convert now] button to convert them to bar-based lyrics.
Bar Lyrics are editable bar-based lyrics (up to 255 characters per bar) that are loaded and saved with the song.
To enter Bar Lyrics, display the Bar Lyrics layer by clicking on the [Chord Display] toolbar button and selecting Layers | Bar Lyrics.
Note-based lyrics offer accurate placement of lyrics by placing a word under each note.
You can enter note-based lyrics by pressing the [L] button on the Notation toolbar to open the Lyric Edit window.
As you enter the lyrics, the note is highlighted. Pressing the Tab or Enter key moves to the next note. You can “undo” lyrics with the Edit | Undo command.
The [Line] button enters a forward slash “/” line break marker in the current lyric.
The [Para] button enters a backslash “ \” paragraph break marker in the current lyric.
The [Enter] button enters the current lyric, equivalent to hitting Enter key or Tab key.
The [Close] button closes the Lyrics Edit mode, equivalent to hitting the [L] button again.
The [Section Text] button enters the text in the lyric box as section text at the current bar.
The [Edit] button opens the Edit Lyrics dialog where lyrics and section text can be edited.
When you are finished a line of lyrics, hit the [Line] button. This enters a line break marker in the current lyric.
Note-based lyrics are saved with the MIDI file, so you can use them in your other MIDI programs.
Vertical placement is set in the Notation Window Options dialog. A setting of -10 puts the lyrics directly under the treble clef, higher values put them lower.
You can edit the lyrics using an event list as well. This allows you to enter lyrics at any point, not just tied to a note.
Press the [#] button on the Notation window toolbar. Then, press the [Edit Lyrics] button. You can then see the Edit Lyrics dialog.
From here, you can Edit lyrics, Insert new lyrics, Append lyrics to the end of the track, or Delete lyrics. A single lyric event can be 128 characters.
The Edit | Lyrics | Copy Lyrics to Clipboard menu command open the Options for Copy Lyrics to Clipboard dialog, which allows you to copy bar-based and/or note-based lyrics to the clipboard so that you can paste them in another program.
The dialog has options to allow note-based and/or bar-based lyrics to be copied to the clipboard.
With either option, you can choose to include the chord symbols, have double or single line spacing, and make margin settings.
The Big Lyrics window is great for sing along or Karaoke. It opens from the Windows menu, with the keystrokes control+Y or with the [Big Lyrics] toolbar button.
Each word is highlighted as it plays, and the window can be customized by clicking on the [Options] button. Click on any word in the Big Lyrics window to start the song playing from that point.
Add chord symbols, customize your color scheme, choose a favorite font, and select a size in the Lyric Options dialog.
Chords can be displayed on a row above the lyrics on the Big Lyrics window.
If you set Show chord symbols above the lyrics, you then see the chords written on a separate line. When there are no lyrics for a few bars, the Big Lyrics window displays the chords in a line divided by bars so that they are easy to read.
Separate chord colors are used for the Chords and Lyrics, allowing these elements to be visually separated.
Chord Color: You can also select the color for the chords in the options dialog.
With the Scroll lyrics a page at a time option selected, the Big Lyrics scroll a page at a time. When the lyric cursor reaches the next-to-last line of the lyrics it will scroll to the top of the page, allowing uninterrupted reading of lyrics.
If you have the Lyrics window option Auto-open lyrics window for songs with lyrics selected, and a MIDI file (or .KAR) containing lyrics is opened, the lyrics window will open to show the lyrics.
The popular Karaoke file format (.KAR) can be opened directly into Band-in-a-Box just like MIDI files. Chord symbols are displayed (Band-in-a-Box intelligently analyzes the chords of the song), as well as the lyrics from the Karaoke files.
Click on the [Print] button to print the Big Lyrics and chords on an available printer or to a .PDF file.
The [Copy] button will copy any existing lyrics to the clipboard. They can then be pasted into your word processor (e.g. Write) for print out.
Band-in-a-Box prints Lead Sheet style notation with chords, melodies, lyrics, and text notes. It will also print instrument parts from your Band-in-a-Box arrangements, either individual instruments or multiple parts. Most songs will fit on one page, so your printout will look like a standard fake book.
You can easily make and print out a custom fake book of all your tunes. Instantly transpose and print parts for brass or reed instruments. Print options include title, bar numbers, composer, style, and copyright information.
Pressing the [Print] button launches the Print Options dialog box. Print options include title, bar numbers, composer, style, and copyright.
Chords: If selected, this will include the chords of the song on the lead sheet. Remember that you can set the height of the chords in the Notation Window Options Dialog.
Notes: If you want only a chord lead sheet with no Notes, then turn this off. Otherwise, it should be ON.
Staff Lines: Set to off (uncheck) to print a “chords only” fake sheet with chord symbols and bar lines but no staff lines or notation.
Tab: This enables tablature display and printout for guitar and bass tracks.
Regular chord position when no staff lines: When staff lines are not included in printout, this option allows you to see chords above instead of inside each bar.
Treble Clef: Normally you will want to include the treble clef unless you are printing a bass part or left hand piano part alone and want to save space.
Bass Clef: For melodies or solos, you probably won’t want the bass clef printed. For other parts (piano, bass, drums, etc.) you should set this option to YES.
Auto-Set Clefs: With this setting, the program will print only the clefs that are necessary. For example, a Melody would probably print with just the treble clef, while a bass part would use only the bass clef, and a piano part would use both clefs.
Clef Split at: This determines where the notation will split the treble and bass clefs. Middle C is normally considered C5, and C4 is one octave below. For a melody or soloist part, you will probably want the entire part to be printed on the treble clef, so you could choose to split the clefs at C4.
Show Bar #s: There are options to include the bar # on the printout (e.g., every bar, every part marker, every row, every page).
Bar #s below by: This sets the vertical position of the bar numbers in the printout between 1 and 7. 1 is closest to the staff and 7 is farthest from the staff (lowest).
Clef Sign Every Line: Leave this unchecked if it’s not needed and you want an uncluttered look.
Key Signature Every Line: Most modern fake books do not include the key signature every line. If you would like to see a key signature at every line, set this to “Yes.”
Print Note-based Lyrics: Set to “Yes” to print the Melody part with Lyrics or turn off to print just the music for the melody line.
Bar Lyrics: Bar lyrics can be printed either above or below the treble clef. If “Lyrics Below” is selected, you can adjust the position of lyrics with the “Lyrics Below By” option.
Bar-based lyrics position: This allows you to adjust the vertical position of the bar lyrics.
Template: There are print templates in the print dialog to achieve various printout styles - Normal/Lyrics Only/Chords and Lyrics/Chords Only/Blank Staff Paper. Select the desired print template. To return to default settings choose the “Normal” template.
Print Range (First Chorus/Last Chorus/Whole Song): You can print the First chorus, the Last chorus, or the whole song. When you change this setting, Band-in-a-Box will reset the number of staves per page setting in order to auto-fit the printout to one page, if possible.
[Custom]: A specific range of bars can be printed, either by highlighting a region or by entering a range of bars. To print out, for example, bars 11 to 16 of a song, press the [Custom] button, and enter the range bar 11 for 5 bars. The song will then print only that range of 5 bars.
Allow ending with fake sheet: If this is enabled, an ending will be included when printing the fake sheet as a whole song.
Include Lead-In Bar: If your song has a lead-in (pickup) to bar 1, then make sure you have checked the Lead-In. Actually, Band-in-a-Box sets this for you by looking for notes in the lead-in measure. You can override this automatic setting, if necessary.
Staves per page: Band-in-a-Box will automatically auto-fit on 1 page, use this to override the auto setting. Remember that the title takes up 1 stave. The “Auto-Set” option will set the number automatically and will try to fit the lead sheet on a single page.
Font Size: This is the font size for the printed music. Changes will be seen in the Print Preview.
Bar Line %: This allows you to set the bar line thickness.
Number of Copies is how many copies of the song will be printed.
Title/Style/Tempo/Composer/Copyright : Enter this information in the fields provided. If the title is long the font size will be reduced, and the title won’t be underlined. Titles are limited to 60 characters.
- Click on the [A] button to print the title in upper case.
- The [T] button automatically inserts the current tempo setting for the song.
- The [©] button will insert the copyright symbol into the copyright field.
- The [S] button will enter the full style name into the Style field.
Press the [More] button to set margins and more.
You can also select the Always fill tempo option, which automatically writes the current tempo on the song sheet.
On print out, if “Include ‘a’ / ‘b’ part markers” is set bar numbers will include ‘a’ or ‘b’ after them (the name of the substyle).
Use “Offset Bar Numbers by” to offset the display of bar numbers on the printout or lead sheet. For example, if you want bar 1 to display as bar 17, enter an offset of 16.
[Setup Printer]: This launches the setup dialog box for your printer. If you choose a new printer, Band-in-a-Box will automatically set this as your default printer.
[OK - Print Chords Only]: This button lets you quickly print a “chords only” fake sheet.
[OK - Print]: Press this button to print your song.
Printing Multiple Parts
To print more than one track of notation:
1. Open the Lead Sheet window.
2. Click the mouse on the track that you want on the top stave.
3. Control+click (hold down the control key and click the mouse) on the tracks that you want below the top stave.
You will then see a group of tracks displayed in the order you selected them.
Press [Print] from the Lead Sheet window to print the multipart Band-in-a-Box notation.
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