Chapter 5: DirectMusic Producer

Chapter 5: DirectMusic Producer

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Jason Booth

Wow! That was a lot of theory to take in. Now we're ready to dig into using the program that does it all: DirectMusic Producer. DirectMusic Producer is a complex program with a steep learning curve. While this section is not meant to be artistic, it demonstrates DirectMusic's basics, as well as the fundamentals required to use the program in a production environment. We also revisit some basic ideas key to using DirectMusic, including variation, styles, and chord changes. Our goal is to create a simple blues that uses DirectMusic's recomposition features to follow chord changes.

Getting Started

Insert the CD included with this book into your CD-ROM drive, as we refer to MIDI files on this CD for the note data in this chapter. Open DirectMusic Producer and create a new project by selecting File>New from the menu and selecting a project in the dialog box. Name your project, and choose a storage location for its data on your hard drive. Select File>Import File into Project>MIDI File as Segment from the menu. Navigate to the Unit I\Chapter 5\Tutorial Part One directory on the CD and select the file  Tutorial_Bass_Melody.mid. The Segment opens automatically in the main screen of DirectMusic Producer.

Figure 5-1: A DirectMusic Segment file, created from a MIDI sequence.

This Segment has several tracks of data in it. The first is a Tempo Track, which controls the speed of playback. The second track is a Chord Track, which controls how DirectMusic transposes other Segments over this Segment. The next two tracks are Sequence Tracks containing note data. The final track is a Band Track, which controls the instrument patching.

Often, when importing data from sequencing programs, the data requires some amount of cleanup. In this case, there are several problems; first, the Segment is two bars long, yet the music in the Sequence Tracks is only one bar long. To fix this problem, right-click on the title bar of the window and select Properties.

click to expand
Figure 5-2: The properties dialog box.


Almost everything in DirectMusic has a properties dialog; our Segment itself has one, as well as each track and each piece of data in each track.

Click on the button next to Length, and set the number of measures to one.


The music we imported from the MIDI file is incredibly simplistic. It is a single bar of a bass line and melody and hardly interesting at that. However, music often exists as the collective of small patterns like this one, which play over various chord changes. Our next step is to make this small piece of music play over a series of chord changes, using DirectMusic's transposition functionality to adjust the notes to match the new chords.

Currently, our music is stored as a Sequence Track in our Segment. Sequence Tracks do not transpose to follow chords, and play exactly as the author wrote them. To get our melody and bass line to transpose over chord changes, we need to use a Pattern Track instead.

To create a new Pattern Track:

  1. Select File>New.

  2. Set the number of measures to one.

  3. Select Pattern Track from the menu.

  4. Select the  Segment1.sgp (which was created) from the menu on the left-hand side.

  5. Right-click and select Rename.

  6. Rename the Segment to BassSegment.sgp.

We need to copy the data from our old Segment into the new Segment's Pattern Track. Select the Tutorial_Bass_Melody.sgt Segment and maximize track one's window. This opens the roll editor, where you can view and edit note data.

Figure 5-3: The roll editor displays note data, which you can edit right in DirectMusic Producer.

Select the first note in the window and press Ctrl+A to select all the notes. Press Ctrl+C to copy this data. Open Pattern Track one in our new Bass pattern. Click on the first beat in the measure, and press Ctrl+V to paste the data into the track. You may have to scroll the track up or down to see the note data.

Create a new Segment named Melody.sgt with a Pattern Track, and repeat this process with track two. At the end of the process, you need to point the Pattern Track to channel two by right-clicking on the Pattern Track to bring up the properties dialog box and set the pchannel to two.