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Software: Sax or other alternate key mappings? Breath controller output settings?

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written by: v8media

Thanks, I had not seen the fingerings that include the electric sax patch. That seems to be working more like I was expecting. I'm going to have to make myself a stripped down version of that with less alternate fingerings, as that's way too much to remember on a new instrument.

written by: v8media

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:29:54 +0100 BST

Hi there, I've looked through a bunch of the forum and elsewhere trying to find different ways to map the keys for my Pico. I've played around in Workbench but didn't really figure out something that made sense. If someone can either share a file of the sax keymapping I've seen reference to, or describe how you would set that up in Workbench, I'd love it.

I also haven't been able to figure out in Workbench how to map breath to something that would usable in Aalto being used as a plugin. Any pointers would be most appreciated.

The references I've seen for these were for earlier versions, and so don't seem to be applicable any longer. It would be great to get updated versions of tutorials and help files. Looks like I'm on 2.0.74 stable, and this is on OS X.



written by: TheTechnobear

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:35:49 +0100 BST

sax fingering
ok, im not sure how close you are going to get to a sax layout, or even if you really want to try :)

anyway, first stop, should be to load up the experimental/pico/fingerer setup.
(the fingerer setup loosely gives a wind instrument type setup, i.e. only outputs midi when you use breath pipe)
start workbench,
edit the fingerer 1 agent , click browse next to fingerer, then select pico simple sax.
(note: i don't play sax, and I've never tried this fingerer setup, so I've no idea if its at all close :))

whilst you're there you can then edit the audio unit to select a VST/AU to play.

I'll say it again (as i did on madrona website), personally, Id recommend you don't go down the route of trying to mimic something else, its better to learn the pico as an instrument in its own right. (at least initially)

breath mapping
bring up the AU/VST configuration, select configure this then brings up a matrix where you can assign inputs (columns) to outputs (rows)
(this is done in eigenD NOT workbench, as is saved when you save the eigend setup)

the easiest way to do this with Aalto is assign breath (col 4) to midi CC, breath (tab 2, row 3), the defaults when you click on it will be fine.
Then in Aalto, select mod +1 (= CC 1 +1 = 2!) and drag a wire from there too (e.g) cutoff and dial in the mod amount (as per aalto manual)
(btw, the alternative, is you can assign breath directly to a automation value, e.g. 116: filter_cutoff, depends if you want to use per patch or not)

of course this route, is how you also make many synths breath enabled, by routing breath to say volume or sustain levels.

written by: john

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:03:52 +0100 BST

Hi Ian

You shouldn't find any of the documentation is out of date for 2.0. It's worth checking that you have 2.0 (or 2.1 if you are using that) selected at the top of the documentation wiki page, it's an easy error to make to have this set to a much earlier version. The default one is currently 2.0, and that should be selected for you of you have not changed it.

You _will_ find quite a few out of date references on the forums, it's not really practical to version those in any sensible way I'm afraid, and forums are what they are given they've been going for many years. The 'official' documentation Wiki should be in a consistent state though, I had a good purge of old and out of date stuff a year or so ago, so if you find anything that seems to be wrong for 2.1 please let us know and I'll tidy it up.

Regarding the Sax layout, TheTechnobear is right, if you want a fingering style layout then the experimental Fingerer setup is the place to start. Bear in mind that the Fingerer is still considered a fairly experimental Agent, it seems to work quite well but no tutorial materials exist for it as yet. There is documentation on the Agents list in the Wiki for it, and for the fingering definition file format, so you can play with your own fingerings. If you do have a go at that and have time afterwards we would all love it if you could contribute a tutorial, there's no better person to write one than a person who's just gone through the learning curve..

If you want a normal 'note per key' style layout, its actually very flexible the way the keys are mapped. There's a section in the Workbench tutorial 'Building Your First Setup' that covers this:

If you follow that you can see the section where you set the Keygroup up, you need to edit the musical mapping to represent the order of keys you would like - with a little tinkering you can get any order you want using that.Just click on the 'edit' button next to the musical mapping for the Keygroup and have a play. Remember to save your setup as something else first.


written by: v8media

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 06:31:33 +0000 GMT

Thanks, good info from both of you. Looks like installing Yosemite took down EigenD, so I'll have to get a computer back to working with this before I can try things out. I remember not being able to get any output when trying the experimental settings, but I'll have to get things back to working to try that out again.

I understand that you might not want a fully legit sax fingering. Since this isn't shaped the same way, something else might make more sense. I just want to figure something out where there are 12 notes per scale before I put time into learning a set of fingerings. I find the two sets of 8 note scales type of fingering to be really strange for some reason. Still have had fun playing around with that though.

written by: john

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 08:40:38 +0000 GMT

Hi Ian

You might want to try just reinstalling EigenD on Yosemite, and using the new 2.1 release. This hasn't yet been tested by anyone on Yosemite, so you'll be trailblazing there, please let us know how you get on.

In the meantime, if you're interested in different fingering patterns, the manual page for the fingerer Agent is here:

and the brief description of the user fingerings file is here:

The file itself contains a brief description of it's syntax, and is pretty easy to edit using a text editor. You can reload the file on the fly while EigenD is running, so it's really easy (and kind of fun) to experiment with different fingerings, and it should complain if you make a syntax error in the fuile rather than crash. The manual page tells you how to do the dynamic fingering reload.

Remember to let us know how you get on with Yosemite. Very brave, installing Apples's latest and greatest, I must confess I wait until the .1 release at least and for my studio machine I only just upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mavericks, which shows me to be a great coward in the sound department! Years of having Apple break everything in my studio by upgrading their OS has made me very, very cautious. They are not a careful company in the same way Microsoft are, astonishing as it is for me to say that, speaking as a long time Windows hater..


written by: v8media

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 08:57:36 +0000 GMT

Looks like that was just having to select my audio interface when starting off a fresh patch. Is there a way to set a default interface?

Got sound going, and finally found the fingerings text file but have had no luck deciphering it. While holding the Pico like a sax and using the simple sax setting, the top right key is the only key that does anything by itself, and it's an octave above holding nothing, so I guess the right column is the first column, and we're counting down, but pressing the two top keys on the right column isn't the next note in the scale, and then nothing really makes much of a change. It looks like pressing the two top right keys and then adding the 3rd, then the 4th so you're then holding the top right four keys you should get 3 notes in a row as you're doing that, is that right? Does modifier mean octave key? Sorry if I'm being dense, but it's either not working or completely not making sense to me right now.

[pico simple sax]
finger 1 = open * +11.0
finger 2 = 1,1 1,2 1,3 1,4 2,5 2,6 2,7 2,8 1,8 * +1.0 ;bflat
finger 3 = 1,1 1,2 1,3 2,5 2,6 2,7 2,8 * +2.0 ;c
finger 4 = 1,1 1,2 1,3 2,5 2,6 2,7 * +3.0 ;d
finger 5 = 1,1 1,2 1,3 2,6 2,7 * +4.0 ;eflat
finger 6 = 1,1 1,2 1,3 1,4 2,5 * +5.0 ;f
finger 7 = 1,1 1,2 1,3 1,4 * +6.0 ;g
finger 8 = 1,1 1,2 * +7.0 ;a
modifier 1 = 1,1 * +12.0

Are you able to play a 12 note octave with the simple sax layout? Doesn't look like it from the note names listed. I also didn't see a fingering listed for the electric sax option in there.

How do I turn off the pressure sensitivity while I'm trying to figure out the fingerings? Might have just found that, the hard threshold on the keyboard pico at the top left in workbench? It would be great to be able to toggle various parts of the patch on and off, or at least make notes (which you may be able to do, I haven't looked for that yet). I'm going to have to open a fresh patch to find that original threshold value.

In the workbench, the rollover text is blocking things sometimes. It would be great to have the rollover text be in one standard place instead of having it follow your cursor around.

That's enough for tonight.

I definitely see the Pico as an instrument, so I know it's going to take a while to figure things out. I've gotten some very musical noises out of it controlling Aalto and using the 8 note scales.

written by: john

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 10:54:18 +0000 GMT

Good to hear that things seem to be working on Yosemite. If you save your setup it should save the audio interface you have selected at the same time, for that setup. There are not really any 'global' settings in EigenD, everything gets saved with the setup.

The file format of the fingerings files is described in the top of the User Fingerings file (which is the one with the daft little 'programmer' tutorial fingering in it), you should find that in your Library/Eigenlabs/Fingerer folder. The Factory fingering file has a selection of fingerings in it defined in the same way, and you can view that file either in /usr/pi/release-2.1.0-experimental/plugins/Eigenlabs/plg_finger for the 2.1.0 release, or more conveniently there's a copy on the Wiki linked off the agent description (just above the link to the User Fingerings file) here:

You'll see that in the User Fingerings file there is a description of what the modifier keys can do - you can have as many of these as you like and they just add (or subtract) their value from the pitch in scale degrees (so a tone or semitone for a diatonic scale, semitone for chromatic), so you can use them to define sharp/flat keys, or octave keys for example. Remember that the Fingerer comes before the Scaler (which turns scale degrees into actual frequencies using a scale definition), so if your scale in that is set to chromatic then you will see that the increments defined in the fingering are semitones, but if your scale is set to pentatonic (for example) then your scale increments are variable depending on where you are in the scale, as you might expect. If you don't want to get fancy with scales and just want something close to a Sax then set your scale to chromatic in the Scaler, your tonic to b fkat (or whatever you are used to) and the scale increments in the Fingerer to appropriate ones for you - either a diatonic scale with a semitone modifier key or a straight chromatic progression.

If you want to modify a Factory fingering, best thing is to cut and paste it into your User Fingerings file (don't edit the Factory File as your changes will get lost on a reinstall), change the name (remember to use a Belcanto name, so the easisest way is just to add a number to it, say 'electric saxophone 2'), reload the fingerings and it will appear in your selection list, as well as being available to load via Belcanto, so you can set up a Talker to do that for you then if you wish.

The 'simple sax' is really that, extremely simple, it's more a tin whistle by the look of it. If your base scale is set to be chromatic it'll only cover 8 semitones, if it's set (as is more normal) to diatonic it will cover an octave. It doesn't have a set of sharp/flat modifiers, so it's not terribly useful for anyone but a total beginner. I think 0berons 'electric sax' is probably better and richer starting point for you, it looks like a playable arrangement. All of these are still quite experimental, by playing with them you are joining a select band of pioneers and you should not assume that because something isn't already done that it can't be, or shouldn't be - please go ahead and experiment as much as you can, all of us in the community would love to see more development in this area.

I'm not sure how to get sound out without an activation signal from the breath pipe, there's probably a way, perhaps someone else might comment on that?

I hope you have fun, keep us posted as to how it's going.


written by: geert

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:04:44 +0000 GMT

FWIW, I'm using EigenD 2.1 on Yosemite also and have no issues.

written by: v8media

Tue, 28 Oct 2014 02:12:43 +0000 GMT

Thanks, I had not seen the fingerings that include the electric sax patch. That seems to be working more like I was expecting. I'm going to have to make myself a stripped down version of that with less alternate fingerings, as that's way too much to remember on a new instrument.

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