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Workbench Drummer Tutorial

This tutorial aims to build a setup containing a drummer, a metronome and a talker that controls them.

Start by:

  1. Loading a blank setup.
  2. Adding the instrument manager (a Pico Manager for pico or an Alpha Manager for Tau and Alpha).
  3. Add a console mixer and an audio agent
  4. Connect the audio outputs of the mixer to the audio inputs of the audio agent.
  5. Edit the audio agent and select the desired sample rate and audio output.

This is the starting point for almost every setup, and is covered in Workbench Tutorial 1 and Workbench Tutorial 2. Save the setup to avoid having to recreate it all the time.



  1. Add a metronome and a drummer agent.
  2. Connect the metronome output to the drummer input (at the top level, ie directly from the metronome to the drummer rather than from any individual output port)
  3. Connect the drummer to a free channel on the console mixer.
  4. Create a talker agent and connect it straight to the instrument keyboard.


Now we have all the agents we need, and what remains is to set up the talker phrases that control the drummer and metronome. Editing talkers is covered in Editing a Belcanto Talker.

  1. Expand the newly created talker and add a new key.
  2. For that key add a new action.
  3. Edit the talker properties.
  4. Set the action for key 1 to be 'metronome 1 hey toggle start'. Do this by typing the phrase in the text field, and then either pressing return, or clicking the 'Set' button.
  5. Set the row/column of key 1 to row 1, column 3. On a Pico this will position the key on the first round switch just above the main keyboard. On an Alpha or Tau this will position it on the first key in column 3, so set the row/column according to your instrument.


The talker should appear as a red light, and pressing the lit key will toggle it to green and back to red. Nothing can be heard yet since no loops are enabled in the drummer.

Expand the drummer agent, and we should see there is one voice already created by default. Edit the properties of the drummer, and you can enable this default voice by ticking its 'enable' tickbox. Now when you start the metronome with the talker key you should hear the default drum loop.


To add more voices, click the '+' button on the voices port of the drummer agent. This brings up a dialog each time with the number for the new voice, and is automatically filled with the next available number. Repeat this 3 times to make 3 new voices, bringing the total to 4.


Now edit the drummer properties again and we can browse for drum loops to go in our 4 voices.


Finally, to be able to toggle the four loops from the eigenharp keyboard, go back to talker 1 and add 4 new keys, each with 1 action. Position them in column 1, rows 1 to 4, and assign them the belcanto phrases 'drummer 1 hey 1 toggle play', 'drummer 1 hey 2 toggle play' etc, up to 4.

The final setup for our drummer talker will look like this: