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#176373 - 03/21/00 07:03 PM Re: JammerLive: Changing Styles
Clif Anderson Offline

Registered: 02/17/00
Posts: 532
Dear David Castles

I want to thank you wholeheartedly for your contributions to music lovers and to this forum. I have been waiting many years for a program like JAMMER Live. Often I would read advertisements for “autoaccompaniment” programs, hoping they would be what I wanted. However, the critical real-time feature was missing. Judging by the responses in this forusm JAMMER Live meets a long-felt need. I believe the only two-page thread in this forum addresses JAMMER Live.

With any important new software introduction, there is a learning curve, both on the parts of the users and the developers. I think those with a mature respect for complex software will take time to learn the capabilities of JAMMER Live before trying to integrated it with other types of software. I think a little patience would have avoided some of the “sour grapes” attitudes.

I think the complaints about having to preload are largely unfounded. Of course it would be better not to have to preload. However, hardware arrangers have styles preloaded into ROM. Inherent in any RAM based system is the need to transfer stuff to RAM before using it. I do not see the need to preload as limiting creativity. All musical instruments have limitations. Acoustic instruments have limited sound palettes and no arranger functions. The styles in hardware arrangers are limited in complexity. JAMMER Live offers the most flexible format available for real-time accompaniment styles.

Those concerned with creativity forget that just because you have JAMMER Live does not mean that you have to use it all the time. Styles generally are canned to some extent. What JAMMER Live does do is to allow a musician to choose any keyboard and turn it into an arranger. You do not have to pick a 61-key PSR-9000 or Solton X1, and give up two of five octaves for chording. You can use the full capabilities of your favorite 76-key Triton or 88-key Kurzweil, or two-register Roland Hammond imitation, and add (or not add) auto-accompaniment at will.

We need to thank you for making JAMMER Live available at an irresistibly low price. Of course, a computer is needed to run it, but its cost can be amortized over other applications. When it is time to upgrade, the hardware arranger will have to be replaced, while a software update will suffice for JAMMER Live. Over the short and long run the economics are compelling in favor of JAMMER Live.

The most promising aspect of JAMMER Live is your willingness to contribute to user discussions of your product. I found the explanation of the decisions that were made regarding JAMMER Live very illuminating. I think with this sort of engagement, the future of JAMMER Live is very bright.

Here’s to the further development of JAMMER Live, including “mega-versions” with expanded style sets.


#176374 - 03/21/00 11:35 PM Re: JammerLive: Changing Styles
Alex K Offline

Registered: 12/03/99
Posts: 731
Loc: Phoenix, AZ USA
I just got home after playing in front of 150 people. Although every show is different, I must concur with Uncle Dave - in a live performance spontaneiety (is this how you spell it?) is the key. Being able to switch between styles and sounds is a key ability for a musician in my situation. No matter how hard you work on your repertoire and try to arrange the music in sequence, each gig will inevitably demand them to be played in different order. And with the crowd of dancing people, I do not have the luxury to stop the music to preset the next song - I have to do it without stopping the beat. Of course, I use G1000, and it's usability leaves much to be desired (I am sure many of you remember my not so complementary posts before), but I am still able to switch the accompaniment style, or the solo voices with a few (very careful) button clicks.

If I were playing at home, this would not have mattered, but on stage it does.

A note to David Castles - I welcome your participation in this forum, and I think this says much about your company's commitment to your customers. I am sure that you will be able to learn of many requirements which the arranger keyboard players consider essential in their instruments. For example, my Roland keyboard will not switch the styles in mid-bar (only at the beginning of the next bar), but it will allow me to change chords to my heart's content within a bar. For many songs, this is essential. The other capability it allows is differentiation between the accompaniments playing in major, minor, and 7th chords. Granted, I have the ability to make all three sound the same (while still responding to the chord changes in the recognition region), but I also have the ability to make all three sound different. Is it useful? - for some songs yes, very. I guess this is not essential, as I understand that Yamaha does not do this on their keyboard (someone with a Yamaha keyboard, please correct me if I am wrong).

I do not have the Jammer Live at present, so I can not comment on the specific features of the software.

I am glad to know that you and your colleagues at SoundTrek are also experienced musicians. Having played with an orchestra in my younger days, I find that the skill set, the environment, the type of pressure in that situation is totally different from being on stage as a solo or a duo live gig with an arranger keyboard. Although I will admit that my instrument technique was much better in those younger days, then it did not require the ability to follow the crowd and to adjust the program to the changing demands and moods of the party.

A full-featured easy-to-use instrument allows me the ability to do that, and the features about which the session musician does not care about, are detrimental for a guy like me.


#176375 - 03/21/00 11:57 PM Re: JammerLive: Changing Styles
DonM Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/25/99
Posts: 16730
Loc: Benton, LA, USA
I just got in from "the gig" and was browsing through the forum. Uncle Dave's comments got me to thinking about tonight's job.
On a four-hour job, I probably played 50 songs, and at least 40 were requests. Most of the requests were songs I had no intention of doing ahead of time. Tomorrow night will be more of the same, but the requests will be for different songs. I don't see how the "Jammer" system will ever be suitable for professional live use if it has to be prepared ahead of time.
And I totally agree with the problems that the Karaoke Mentality is presenting. I wish all the Karaoke units could be rounded up and sent to Japan. People are running around doing Karaoke for $40 a night, and I don't want anybody to confuse me with them.
Incidentally, wouldn't it be great if somebody in charge at Yamaha, Roland, Solton, Technics, Korg, GEM, etc. would take the time to visit our discussion like David Castles did? I never get the impression that they listen to musicians or care about what we want or need.
While I'm rambling, I had a job in Texas last weekend. I told them I couldn't come back until gasoline prices went down, or I'd have to raise the price by $60. That's what it takes to fill the Suburban with gasoline at today's prices.
I have vented sufficiently to get a good night's sleep now.

#176376 - 03/23/00 05:14 PM Re: JammerLive: Changing Styles
elle Offline

Registered: 02/19/00
Posts: 95

I got this back from Soundtrek. Maybe it is of help to you.

>It is a shame that Jammer Live does not seem to want to work with GS.

JAMMER Live works with GS, I'm using it with a Roland Sound Canvas which is
the definition (and originator) of GS. I've yet to ascertain exactly what
isn't working. This is why I haven't contacted Nemesys yet - I want to have
more information so that the discussion doesn't go like this:

Me: "JAMMER Live doesn't seem to be working with GigaSampler".

Nemesys: "How so?".

Me: "I don't know".

I know that the current version of Live does not pass through patch changes played live on a MIDI controller, but the upcoming update will address that issue. I'm wondering is this the issue Frank is talking about, or is he not able to get any patch changes to work at all? If that's the case he needs to make sure the bank select method is set properly (based on what GigaSampler wants) and of course to get the actual bank and patch numbers correct (depends on how the samples are loaded up).

With some sound modules, if the wrong bank select method is used or the wrong bank number(s) / patch number(s) are used, the result is silence. An easy way to check this out: First, clear the GM soundfont bank (bank 0) using the Creative Labs soundfont utility in AudioHQ. The reason I have you
clear bank 0 is that the Sound Blaster live "falls back" to bank 0 - i.e.
when an unused bank / patch is sent or when an improper bank select method is used the SB Live card defaults to playing the oundfont that is in bank 0. Not all sound modules do this. Go to Cakewalk and start a new song. Go to a track and enter a few notes in the piano roll. Now, load a sound font into bank 1. Next, set the track's MIDI channel to channel 1, assign it to bank 1 and choose a patch (the soundfont patch name for the chosen bank / patch should show in the track view). Make sure that the track's bank select method is set to controller 0 only (double click on the patch or bank field to set this). Press play and you should hear the MIDI notes.

Now, rewind and change the track to bank 2 and play again. What do you hear? Silence! Change back to bank 1. Sound again. Now change the track's bank select method to normal instead of controller 0 only and what do you get? Silence. This should illustrate what I'm talking about - given the fact that this experiment can be done with Cakewalk and a Sound Blaster Live card shows that it's likely a setup issue and not directly a problem with either JAMMER Live or GigaSampler.

Seeing that it works fine with Cakewalk, and if I understand GigaSampler correctly, it just looks like a standard Windows MIDI device to Windows applications, it should work fine in either app. Maybe Cakewalk has added GigaSampler specific support but I really doubt that Nemesys would require
applications to code explicitly for GigaSampler instead of using the standard Windows multimedia services, kinda defeats the purpose. Those should be the only two pieces to the puzzle - get the bank select method right and send the appropriate bank and patch numbers (based on the device
and style patch configuration) and all should work fine. If not, then at
least I know the configuration is sound and I then have enough information to approach Nemesys to figure out what's going on. Until then we need to make sure that his system is set up properly.

I really wish Frank would contact us about this. I've received a few emails from him a while back but none addressing this issue. If not for you, I wouldn't even know of the problem.

>Even using the Hubi drivers, MIDI communication just will not happen.

Are you sure that MIDI communication is not happening? Or is it a bank select method / bank / patch problem? It could certainly be a JAMMER Live problem, but without more information and communication there's no way to know and absolutely nothing we can do about it.

>I have no trouble at all with Cakewalk - AND - all program changes work faultlessly
>(with the full GM set pre-loaded). When a new sequence is loaded (from within Cakewalk, not by dragging it onto GS), it is ready to play instantly.
>If Cakewalk can work, it seems logical that Jammer could be made to work as well if Soundtrek were motivated to do so.

Since Cakewalk works, he might want to compare the bank select method used in Cakewalk to that used in JAMMER Live.

>While Frank is understandably disappointed that the GS/Conexant/JLive does not seem at this point to be a viable replacement for a Yamaha PSR-9000,

I'm not convinced of that yet! If there are features of the Yamaha that Live doesn't have, great let us know - they will be great ideas for the future. But it seems like the the complaints I read were about such things
as load times from GigaSampler but I hardly see how JAMMER Live can do anything about that. Maybe GigaSampler isn't the answer, but that's _not_ a JAMMER Live issue. This loading problem simply does not exist with a
hardware sampler / sound module. We should be able to get JAMMER Live
sending MIDI messages to GigaSampler though.

>I cannot agree that the Conexant GM kit suffers by comparison with the 4 meg
>Roland set or any soundcard in my acquaintance. I have been putzing around
>with GM sets for years and I can tell you I am DELIGHTED with the Conexant set!

Well, you know sounds are completely subjective

Richard Grant

#176377 - 03/23/00 07:41 PM Re: JammerLive: Changing Styles
David Castles Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/00
Posts: 3
Hi Folks,

Maybe I can clear this style loading thing up.

The load time for a style in JAMMER Live is about 2 seconds.

This is a pretty insignificant delay unless you're trying to do a "dance mix" thing where you run one song into another and the music never stops. If this is your desire, then you can create one mega-dance style that has 20 grooves in it and jump between them any way you like with no delay and with all the spontaneity of a bottle rocket with the stick chopped off.

The only other situation I see that would require advanced preparation in JAMMER Live is if you wanted to play a song that used Groove A from Style 5 and Groove B from Style 9. This sounds like it would be more than you'd want to keep up with during a live performance even on a hardware arranger, and the button pushing would require a degree from the Commander Data school of live performance.

If we're not talking about one of the above two cases, then we probably have the typical gig where you end a song, the crowd starts to applaud, you say thank you as you select another style from the style window and press start. Two seconds later you're jammin again, long before the applause ever came close to dying down or anyone even thought about leaving the dance floor. Of course, every now and then, you'll want to grab a sip of your drink and toss out a one liner. And JAMMER, like any good backup band will join the toast, laugh at your jokes, and wait patiently for you to call the next song.

keep jammin,

dave castles

ps: JAMMER Live can change chords and/or styles on any quarter note, eighth note, triplet eighth note, sixteenth note, triplet sixteenth note... or any clock value for that matter, and the quantize for each can be set to whatever value you like as well

ppss: BTW, have any of you experimented with the interactive modes in JAMMER Live for doing custom fills at the end of a section or for doing experimental composition? It's not something that you'd use much in a ballad or a real straight ahead pop groove, but theres a lot of open ground in stuff like jazz improv, fusion, dance and electronica.

just wondering... dc

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