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Band-in-a-Box® 2021 for Windows® Upgrade Manual

Chapter 2: Summary of New Features

We’ve added over 80 new features to Band-in-a-Box 2021, including...

Utility Tracks

There are 16 new editable tracks, which can be used for audio and/or MIDI.  You can generate RealTracks on the Utility tracks, where you can hear and edit the audio RealTracks, or view and edit the RealCharts MIDI.  You can record audio or import an audio file to the Utility tracks to play, edit, or harmonize the audio.  You can copy or move audio, MIDI, or both from other tracks to the Utility tracks.  You can record MIDI or import a MIDI file to the Utility tracks for playback, notation display, or editing.

High Bit Depth Audio Playback

Audio playback is no longer restricted to 16 bit, and the highest setting available will be used, either 16, 24, or 32 bit depending on your audio interface.  Also, user made Audio tracks are not restricted to 16 bit, so you can edit your audio and save it with minimal data loss.

Auto-Fix “sour” Notes

There is a new feature to auto-fix out-of-tune notes in polyphonic audio, either for the generated RealTracks or any audio track. This means that if a chord is played with multiple notes at once, this feature can fix certain notes within that chord so that the note won’t clash with the chord progression or other tracks.  For example, if a G# note is played on a CMaj7 chord (C, E, G, B), that note will be pitch corrected down to a G note.  This feature can be applied as a track setting for any RealTracks or can be used for editing the Audio or Utility tracks.

Improved Audio Rendering

Rendering is faster.

The default bit depth is 24 bit.

The highest quality tempo stretching setting for élastique is used when rendering.  You may be using a lower quality setting for playback in order to increase performance, but this is not necessary when rendering to an audio file.

When generating separate audio files for each track, Band-in-a-Box can ignore the Mixer settings of each track and use the default settings (Volume = 0 dB, Pan = 0, Reverb = 0, Tone = 0) instead.

Higher Audio Playback Performance

Band-in-a-Box and RealBand now support SIMD (SSE2, SSSE3, AVX, AVX2) features in your CPU.  This means that audio DSP (Digital Signal Processing) will be at least 4 times faster, depending on your CPU.  This allows more tracks, more plugins, higher quality élastique stretching, etc. during playback without causing audio dropouts.

Improved Mixer

The floating Mixer can be resized vertically.  Horizontal resizing is less limited, which allows it to be more compact.

The Mixer can be embedded in the main screen and is horizontally resizable to allow more room for the Chord Sheet, Notation, Piano Roll, or Audio Edit window.

In the normal screen mode, the Mixer can be embedded at the top right of the screen or the bottom right.

You can select the tracks to display in the Mixer.

The Mixer can scroll visible track panels.  Use the arrow buttons at the bottom right corner, or the mouse wheel if it is not used for controlling sliders and dials.

The Mixer automatically shows active tracks and hides unused tracks when playback starts.

You can change the track panel heigh by moving the mouse wheel while holding down the Ctrl key.

When resizing the window, the track panel height will be restricted to the customized settings

A Settings tab is added to set options for the Mixer.

You can set Volume and Panning to display as decibels instead of MIDI values.

The Mute and Solo states of each track will be saved in the songs and will be loaded the next time you open them.

You can use the mouse wheel to control sliders and dials.

You can double-click on the track label to rename it.

Improved Plugin Control

Plugins can be accessed directly from the Mixer.

Each MIDI track can send its MIDI output to another track.  By default, all accompaniment tracks route to the default synth, but now you can choose a plugin on another track.

MIDI plugin’s audio output can be controlled in the Mixer with 3 new settings.  This allows MIDI plugin’s sound to be controlled the same way as audio tracks (RealTracks, RealDrums, etc.
- Attenuate Synth Output Volume and Panning: This will change the gain of the plugin’s audio output based on the Volume and Panning controls on the Mixer.  When this is enabled, MIDI controllers for volume will not be sent to the plugin.  This setting is useful for plugins that do not respond to MIDI controllers.
- Filter Synth Output: This will apply high/low-pass filtering to the plugin’s audio output based on the Tone control on the Mixer.
- Send Synth Output to Master Reverb: This will send the plugin’s audio output to the Master Reverb based on the Reverb control on the Mixer.

Multiple plugins GUI windows can be used simultaneously.

WAVES VST plugins are now supported.

Improved Audio Editing

You can view audio on any track (Bass, Piano, Melody, etc.), not just the Audio track, and copy regions of audio to Utility tracks.  The track selector button launches a menu for selecting the track, or you can just use your mouse wheel over it to quickly shift through tracks.

New options are added to the Audio Edit Settings dialog.
- “Synchronize insert/delete edits with MIDI on track”: If this is enabled, then when inserting or deleting regions of audio, MIDI on the same track will be shifted accordingly to keep the MIDI and audio in sync.
- “Mouse wheel zooms to edit cursor instead of mouse pointer”: If this is enabled, the mouse wheel will zoom to the edit cursor instead of zooming to the mouse cursor.
- “Center screen to edit cursor when zooming”: If this is enabled, the edit cursor will scroll to the center of the window when zooming with the mouse wheel.  This is only applicable if “Mouse wheel zooms to edit cursor instead of mouse pointer” is enabled.

The Cut and Copy menu items are added to the [Edit] button menu.

Hotkeys are added.
- [Home] will move the cursor to the beginning of a track.
- [End] will move the cursor to the end of a track.
- [Shift]+[Home] will move the left cursor of the selected region to the beginning of a track.  If no region is selected, this will select a region from the cursor to the beginning of a track
- [Shift]+[End] will move the right cursor to the end of a track. If no region is selected, this will select a region from the cursor to the end of a track.
- [Ctrl]+[A] will select the whole track.

Multi-Track Audio Harmonies

Audio harmonies can now be generated onto individual tracks.  This way you can use the Mixer to control the volume and panning, adjust reverb, add effects, etc. for each voice.

You can view a RealTrack in the Audio Edit window, select a region, and harmonize it to new Utility tracks.

Improved Audio Chord Wizard

The chord analysis is more accurate.

The wizard analyzes audio files that are out-of-tune.

There is an option to limit chords to at least one bar in length.

There are presets to limit chords to certain chords in the key.

The wizard now transcribes MIDI notes to the same track.

Improved Chord Sheet

The new zoom buttons control the number of rows and columns displayed on the Chord Sheet without visiting the Display Options dialog.

You can also use the mouse wheel to change the number of rows and columns instantly.
- Moving the mouse wheel while holding down the Ctrl key changes the number of rows.
- Moving the mouse wheel while holding down the Shift key changes the number of columns.

Time signature changes can be displayed on the Chord Sheet.

Visual Transpose Setting on Key Button

The Visual Transpose setting is now displayed next to the song key on the main toolbar.  Clicking on it will launch a menu for selecting the setting.

Copy/Paste Chords as Simple Text

Chords can be copied as a simple text format, and then be pasted into another song in Band-in-a-Box or a text file in a program like Notepad.

You can also copy chords and other data in all songs in the selected folder to the clipboard, or you can save them as individual text files or a single text file.

You can type chords in a text file and paste them into a Band-in-a-Box song.

Improved Copy/Move Track

You can now copy or move audio from one track to another.  Previously, you could only copy or move MIDI.

Hovering the mouse cursor over the channel selector checkbox shows you the number of events on that channel.

When copying MIDI, you can now filter out various types of events.

Improved Copy Chords/Melody

Typing kk opens the Copy Chords and/or Melody dialog.  Typing kk followed by two numbers separated by a comma opens the dialog with presets.  For example, hitting kk4,1<Enter> at bar 9 opens the dialog with presets to copy 4 bars from bar 1 and paste them to bar 9.

The dialog now has a setting to include part markers.

There is now a “Close” button, so you can make presets and apply them to the k copy command.  (Note that k and kk copy command will preserve the current settings in this dialog.  Use kk or Edit | Copy Special | Copy From.. To.. if you want to change these settings.)

Bar-based lyrics and section text layers will be copied when the “Copy Lyrics” option is enabled.

Track Selection for Auto Intro

In the previous version, we added the option to play the auto-generated intro by “all tracks,” “drums only,” or “bass and drums only.”  Now, you can also select “drums then drums and bass,” “bass then bass and drums,” any track (e.g. “piano only”), or any combination of tracks.

MIDI Import Feature Improved

You can now choose the destination track for multi-track MIDI files.

Hovering the mouse cursor over the channel selector checkbox shows you the number of events on that channel.

There are separate settings for filtering Continuous Controller events and Pitch Bend events.  Previously, there was a combined setting for these.

7,000 More Titles for Song Titles Browser

We’ve added 7,000 more song titles including requests from users, so there are now over 21,000 titles.

RealCharts for all RealDrums

We’ve added over 300 additional RealChart (with accurate Drum Notation and MIDI to trigger drum sounds) for RealDrums.  This means that now all RealDrums have RealCharts.

Similar Style Selection

Band-in-a-Box can show a list of styles that are similar to the current style, sorted by similarity.  Access this feature from the [Style] button, right-clicking on the style on the main screen, or File | Load Style Special menu item.

Define C/D Using Same Style

There is a new option “Define c/d using same style” in the right-click menu on the Chord Sheet.  This is the same as the existing “Define c/d” option, except it would not open the StylePicker.  It would just treat as if you went into the SylePicker and picked the same style. It’s for being able to define c/d for display purposes without caring about the style itself.

More Feel Filters in StylePicker
The StylePicker has Feel filters added for Even (Even 8th or Even 16th), Swing (Swing 8th or Swing 16th), 16th (Even 16th or Swing 16th), and 8th (Even 8th or Swing 8th).

Avoid Transpositions for RealTracks Settable for All Songs and Individual Tracks

All songs and individual tracks in the current song can be set to avoid transpositions for RealTracks.  Previously, only all tracks in the current song could be set for this.

Panning Support for Medleys with Mixture of Mono and Stereo RealTracks

Previously, RealTracks medleys that contain a mixture of mono and stereo RealTracks did not support panning.

Improved Timing of Pushes on Swing 8th RealDrums

Swing 8th RealDrums now play pushes at a better timing.

Custom Lead-in Option

You can set the lead-in option (count-in yes/no and count-in type) for the current song.  This is in the Song Settings, Generate Chord for Intro, and Count-in and Metronome Options dialogs.

Improved Bar-based Lyrics

Bar-based lyrics now display in the Big Lyrics window.

You can convert note-based lyrics to bar-based lyrics.

Track Selector with Full Track Names

In windows like Notation, Lead Sheet, Audio Edit, Piano Roll, etc., the track selector buttons that showed the initials of the track names have been replaced by a track selector that shows the full track names.  You can press it and select a track from the menu, or just hover the mouse cursor over it and use the mouse wheel to quickly switch tracks.

New Notation Features

The time signature button has a better menu with options to select alternate notation display and to open dialogs like Set Time Signature and Edit Settings for Current Bar to change the time signature.

A hint is added to the time signature button.

A button is added for the visual transpose.  Click on the button and type a number of semitones to transpose.

Track selection buttons for each track have been replaced with a single button.  You can press it and select a track from the menu, or just hover the mouse cursor over it and use the mouse wheel to quickly switch tracks.

If the song is in 4/4, there is an option to display it as cut time.  For example, a bluegrass song that is currently displaying with 16th notes will display using 8th notes.  This allows easier readability and is ideal for displaying the notation of songs that were specifically written in cut time.

If the song is in 4/4, you can display it as 2/4 instead of 4/4, without changing the main time signature of the song to 2/4.  This special 2/4 notation display mode lets you continue to generate better sounding RealTracks, etc. than if you had switched the main time sig of the song to 2/4

The time signature displays with a better size.  The height of the time signature fills the whole height of the staff.

Auto Vertical Scroll Option in Piano Roll Window

Previously, the auto scroll was always on, but now the new option allows you to disable it.  

New Hotkeys

There is a hotkey to insert N bars at the current location.  For example, in8<Enter> would insert 8 bars at the current location.  This command is also added to the right-click menu on the Chord Sheet.

There is a hotkey to copy the last N bars and insert them to the current location.  For example, ki8<enter> or ik8<Enter> would copy the last 8 bars and insert them to the current location.  This command is also added to the right-click menu on the Chord Sheet.

There is a hotkey to copy N bars from the bar M and insert them to the current location.  For example, ik8,9<enter> or ki8,9<enter> would copy 8 bars from the bar 9 and insert them to the current location.  ikk8,9<enter> or kki8,9<enter> would do the same, but launch a dialog that allows you to choose what to copy.

Alt+Shift+T will auto-generate a title to the current song.

Alt+Shift+F will open the Favorite Folders dialog.

Alt+Shift+S will save the current song to a favorite folder.  This command is also added to File | Save Special submenu.

XML Improvements

NEW: When saving to XML, there is a new option to save the exact chord text to XML rather than relying mainly on saving the chord type and degrees.

FIXED: If an XML part was transposed in the XML file, then the wrong notes would be loaded into Band-in-a-Box because the transpose element value wasn't being taken into account.

FIXED: If a group of notes had a top number like, say, 5 notes or 6 notes the timing of the group wasn't written correctly to XML

FIXED: Redundant tie stop element was written to XML that would sometimes cause problems with ties or errors when loading the XML file into other programs.

FIXED: There was an issue with accidentals being written to XML. Sometimes it could, for example, write naturals when they weren't supposed to be written.

FIXED: There were various xml issues that could potentially result in inconsistency errors, such as too many notes for a measure when loading into a program like MuseScore. (Sometimes it just had to do with other programs not behaving well in response to the <backup> element being used too many times to switch back and forth between clefs when writing a measure even though the spec itself allows this. Other times it had to do with note and/or rest durations not being written correctly in the case of a song with a triplet feel that had swing 8ths.)

FIXED: If a compressed musicXML file (.MXL) contained an XML file with a different name than the name of the MXL file, then nothing would be loaded.

…and more!

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