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le blog de divide.

MidiXGTracker


2.1 release - January 2002 - (c) 2001-2002 Divide

WHY MIDIXGTRACKER ?

I’ve used a long time an old tracker named “FastTracker”; it introduced me to the world of trackers:
this kind of programs shows something like a grid where you can place notes; this is very useful because you know exactly when your note will be played, and this is very simple to use.
Next I discovered the MIDI with my first MIDI keyboard. This really amazed me because the instruments quality and the effects were really impressive (well, hum, not with the poor FM synthetisor of my SB16 card… I installed the SYXG 100 Yamaha soft synthetisor, which replace the default MIDI instruments played with soundcard hardware by excellents samples).
So I searched after good MIDI trackers which can fully use MIDI capacities, simply… but I didn’t find anything !
Or too old to exploit Windows MIDI capacities.
Well, there are excellent programs like Cubase or Cakewalk, but… too complicated for me ! And I’m really attached to the tracker concept.
So… I decided to program my own Midi Tracker. XG is for the yamaha mode supported by the program.
Call it MXT, it’s faster and easier to pronounce :-)

MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENT

To run properly MidiXGTracker, you must have minimum a PII 233 Mhz - Not a lot of RAM is required, just to run Windows correctly :-)
All Windows releases are supported ( except 3.11…. ;-) )
About the MIDI capacities, two possibilities:
-You have a good soundcard with a good MIDI bank, able to produce the differents MIDI effects
-Like me, you have a soundcard just able to say “Beeep ! Bepbepbep Beeeep !” when playing a MIDI file… and you need a soft synthetisor.
Don’t use Microsoft soft synthetisor, it’s not fully compatible, and it doesn’t have all the MIDI functions.
Yamaha SYXG 100 is an excellent one.

Here is a test of some soundcards and soft synthetisors:

Soundcard / Soft Synthetisor Quality
Creative Sound Blaster 16 X
Microsoft soft synthetisor X
Creative Sound Blaster 64 XX
Creative Sound Blaster 128 XX
Creative Sound Blaster Live Player XX
Guillemot MaxiSound XXX
Yamaha SYXG 50 XXX
Yamaha SYXG 100 XXX


NB: Soft synthetisors requires faster processor. For the Yamaha SYXG 100, I suggest to have a 300 Mhz processor minimum.

HISTORIC:

MidiXGTracker 1.0 alpha:
First release

MidiXGTracker beta 1.1:
-alpha bugs fixed (keyboard bug with some softsynth banks, uncompatibility with some soundcards, etc..)
-user interface optimisation

MidiXGTracker final 1.2:
-.mid files exportation
-new edit functions: velocity change and transpose
-new effects
-automatic keyboard recognize (until now only french keyboard was fully supported)
-possibility to choose the default velocity, when “record velocity” is unchecked
-tutorial added in readme
-new file format: .mxt - of course MidiXGTracker still compatible with the beta files (.dmt)
-now compatible with more screen resolutions
-possibility to activate/desactivate effects and tracks
-some bugs fixed, etc…

MidiXGTracker 1.2 SE:
-edit bugs corrected
-.mid export bug corrected
-MXT can be now used even if you don’t have Midi In port
-Totally new installer (Thanks to MJSoft !)

A mailing list has been created (have a look at the end of this file)

MidiXGTracker 2.0:
-new interface
-dialogbox less: type directly your values in the cases
-more visible colors for the notes velocities (red/blue)
-more XG instruments (around 300)
-instruments can be previewed directly in instrument selector
-layout fixed for Windows XP
-.mid rhythm export bug fixed
-some other bugs corrected

Note that MXT is not a freeware anymore (launch MXT for more infos)

MidiXGTracker 2.01:
-midi input/output bug corrected for some configurations
-instrument selector bug corrected
-boot bug corrected


MidiXGTracker 2.02:
-some bugs corrected

MidiXGTracker 2.1:
-Realtime record function added
-bug with some midi keyboards corrected

THE INTERFACE

Rec step:
Number of lines jumped after a note has been recorded
BPM:
Beats Per Minute: the tempo
Length:
Number of lines of your music
LPB:
1 beat is represented by a red line, in the left column; you can decide the number of lines between these “beat lines”.
XG effects:
Only available for soundcard or soft synthetisor which can use the Yamaha XG mode.
Bookmarks:
Put in memory the position of your cursor, so you can fastly jump to any defined part of your music.
Record velocity:
If you have a MIDI keyboard able to record velocity (strength when you hit keys on your keyboard) you can choose to record it or not.
NB: a MIDI keyboard is not necessary to use MidiTracker. You can use your pc keyboard as a piano.
Follow the cursor:
When you play your music, MidiTracker always display your cursor position
Extended area:
This option enlarge the area where you record your notes.
Play from beginning:
Each time you push the “play” button, your music will be played from the beginning.

The menus:
File:
New/Open/Save/Save as/Quit I think you know this… There is also the possibility to export your musics in the midi file format (.mid)
Edit:
the well known functions cut/paste/copy, velocity change and transpose - this menu is also available with a right click on the selected area
Input device:
this allow to choose an other midi input device (port where you have connected a midi keyboard) next time you run miditracker
Output device:
by default, miditracker use the midi bank used by windows; but you can choose other banks.
Track:
here you can add and deletes midi tracks

KEYBOARD CONFIGURATION:

In red:
This is the piano part. The high octave in the upper part, and the low octave in the down part.
In blue:
It add a “stop” in your record, that stop the note that was playing (the [<-] key works also as a del key in the effect column).
In green:
Here you can choose the octaves you play in the red part. Shortcut keys:
space bar is a shortcut to the record function
right ctrl can be used as the “play” button

TUTORIAL:

The basis of MidiXGTracker…
If you have already done something with MXT, clear this with the File/New command.
Ok, here we are. We’re going to learn how to record some notes and apply effects on them.
The first track is a drum track. Create an instrument track using Track/add instrument track.

Now choose an instrument by clicking on the instrument line, where is written “grand piano”. A list will appear, select strings1 (around the middle of the list) and click ok. Now the strings1 instrument is selected for this track.
Select the first block in the track: this is where we’re going to record our first note. Click the Record button, and next hit a key on your midi keyboard or on your pc keyboard if you don’t have a midi keyboard: a note has appeared and the cursor has moved to the following block. (you can choose the move step with the Rec step parameter)
Continue to record the notes until you have something like this; the stop record has been made using one of the two stop keys of the pc keyboard (see keyboard configuration part of the Readme). stop is used to stop the sound generated by the previous note.
Now we’re going to add effects; active the Volume and Pan effects by clicking on their respective Active rows.
Volume effect is shown (look at the show column: there is a “yes” at the volume line) so it means the values we see on the right of the notes (grey column) are the volume values.
Click the first one (it’s a red “127″) and affect it a value of 30 (delete the old value using the del key [<-]).
Next go to the line 10 (this is hexadecimal: it’s the 16th line) and affect a value of 110.
MidiXGTracker will interpolate between these two values, so we can make soft transition (a creshendo for our example).
Show the pan effect by clicking on the appropriate row in the show column…
…and enter these values. (Note the two key values placed side by side “1” and “127“: this has been done to keep a constant value between the 1st and 7th line, and between the 8th and 16th line.)Well it’s finish… check play from the beginning and click the play button: you should hear a violin sound coming creshendo on the left and suddenly on the right, at the 8th line.
Now you know how works MidiXGTracker, makes beautiful compositions…