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Topic: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

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  1. #1

    Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    hi,
    I am thinking of buying GPO 4 but my MIDI keyboard has only a PITCH wheel. Will I be able to assign MOD functions to that PITCH wheel, in order to use all the sound changes available in GPO ?

    thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    Depends if your keyboard has some programmable pitchwheel, only then you can assign controller value 1 to the pitchwheel. But don't do this, it is quite frustrating, because a pitchwheel behaves differently (positive and negative direction) and is unfit for MOD.

    Can't you program a slider to CC#1, to behave like a MODwheel?

    Raymond

  3. #3

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamadza View Post
    hi,
    I am thinking of buying GPO 4 but my MIDI keyboard has only a PITCH wheel. Will I be able to assign MOD functions to that PITCH wheel, in order to use all the sound changes available in GPO ?

    thanks
    Hi, Jamadza

    In a word, No--sorry, but that won't work. Pitch Bend is in a category by itself, and isn't considered a MIDI controller, even though it does control the pitch. The controllers all have numbers, 1, 7, 11, 64, etc. while Pitch Bend is only that--no assigned number.

    A Pitch Bend wheel has a middle detent position, with the value either going up or down, as you know, since your keyboard has that. A Mod Wheel sweeps through from bottom top, and reverse, without that stopping point in the middle. It's the thing that controls MIDI controllers well, since you need access to all 127 levels of data that are possible.

    Mod Wheels used to be more commonly hard wired to send out only cc1, modulation. But most keyboards now have a wheel which is assignable to any controller you like. And of course many keyboards have sliders and buttons which can be assigned to any variety of controllers you want.

    This is my chance to encourage you to get a new keyboard - BUT, the good news is that it doesn't need to be expensive or all that fancy. You would need a sequencing program to record your GPO work, and the sequencer can pick up anything your keyboard may not be capable of-including cc1 which is used for volume control in GPO. You could draw that data into a sequencer if you had to. The sequencer can perform anything that your keyboard may be lacking.

    For several years now, I've used a keyboard which cost me all of $49. It was an eBay item - the venerable old MK-4902 which is the humblest keyboard you can imagine. 49 keys, a Pitch Bend wheel and a Mod Wheel which can be assigned any controller that exists.

    I can say, with all modesty, that people find my work pretty good, more than adequate I dare say, and I do it all with that funky little keyboard and Sonar.

    So - Maybe that'll encourage you to look for a good used keyboard, and to look for one that doesn't have all the bells and whistles. As I said, as long as you have a sequencing program--or notation program, you can make good use of GPO. The keyboard you currently have isn't going to cut it.

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    Sorry Randy, but I have to disagree with you on this one.

    It's possible to remap pitch bend to send modwheel data. You just need a utility in between your keyboard and sequencer. On Windows, the best option is MIDI-OX. On Mac, I believe there is a program called MIDI Pipes that functions similarly. Max/MSP will also do the trick, but it would be overkill for this job.

    I'll walk through Windows and MIDI-OX, but Mac should be a similar approach. It's really fast to configure.

    You'll need to download and install two utilities from http://www.midiox.com
    1)MIDI-OX 7.0 - this is the program that manipulates data
    2)MIDI Yoke NT - this is a set of virtual MIDI cables, which we'll use to route the information between applications

    Now that they're installed, launch MIDI OX and your Sequencer.
    In MIDI OX:
    1.) Options -> MIDI Devices. Select your MIDI keyboard as the input and one of the MIDI Yoke ports as an output.
    2.) Options -> Data Mapping. Enable the checkbox next to Turn Map On (after OK). Click Insert to bring up a new MIDI routing matrix. Set the options to those in the image below:


    (alt text in case image gets removed: input channel any, event type pitch bend, LSB and MSB maxes and mins all have a value of -1; output channel matches input, event type ctrl, control# min and max=1, amount min and max =-1; 0ms delay; use input value 2=checked; use input value 1=unchecked)


    3.) In your sequencer, use the MIDI Yoke port you specified as an output above as an input. With MIDI OX running and the mapping applied, it should behave just as if it were your keyboard, only pitch bend is now sending mod wheel data.

    The only difference between it and a traditional mod wheel is that the wheel will set itself to the middle of the range value instead of staying put when you take your hand off of it. This is important if you're recording a part, but if you aren't touching it, playback of the CC data should not be affected.


    So what's going on? Randy is correct in stating that pitch bend is not the same type of MIDI data as continuous controllers, but you can tell MIDI OX how to interpret it. All MIDI instructions are sent as packages of 3 bytes, each having 8 bits. The first byte informs the receiving device what kind of information it is (notes, controller data, pitch bend, etc). The second two contain information specific to the information.

    For notes, the second byte is the note number (C3, D4). The third is the velocity.

    For controllers, the second byte specifies the controller (0-127). The third specifies the value of the controller.

    Pitchbend has much higher resolution than a controller (as do RPNs and NRPNs). This was initially done to remove the staircasing effect that would be caused by zipping between two pitches in 128 discrete steps. Both bytes are used to transmit this information, in a place-value style.

    The second byte is termed least significant byte (LSB). The third byte is termed the most significant byte (MSB). As you move the controller from its zero position upwards the LSB's climb. When they hit 128, the value in the MSB is increased by 1 and the LSB resets to zero. It's highly unlikely that you'll encounter a piece of hardware capable of representing 13,684 unique values, but some pitch wheels definitely hit more than just 128 over their range of motion.

    MIDI can only transmit integers, so a fully bent downward pitch wheel has LSB=0, MSB=0. A neutral wheel sends a middle value of LSB=0, MSB=64. Your MIDI equipment and sequencers make internal adjustments for what signals mean to raise and which mean to lower the pitch.

    In the above mapping, we're remapping the 0-127 range of only the MSB, which gives us the whole range of motion of the modwheel.

    The first bit of each group is used to distinguish between the header byte and the trailing bytes. Headers have a 1 for the first bit. Trails have a 0. This leaves 7 useable bits in each group to carry information. 2^7 = 128, which gives us MIDI's commonly encountered range of 0-127.

    Hope this helps and was informative,

    Reegs

  5. #5

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    may I add a point too... using any onboard pitch-bend wheel, rotator, thing-a-ma-jig will never work worth a crap, because they are almost always spring loaded,... that is no way to make smooth musical mod-wheel data.


    Dan

  6. #6

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reegs View Post
    ...Sorry Randy, but I have to disagree with you on this one...
    Hiya, Reegs - No need to be sorry. Your detailed explanation of how a pitch bend wheel can be forced to be a controller wheel just underlined my point. And Dan's post underlined it again. Yeah, it's not as if it's impossible, but you really don't wanna go there, that's why I didn't think it was a good idea to go there in the first place.

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    thank you guys for your help.

    my midi keyboard is an old Yamaha DGX-300 so I am pretty happy that I can use it at least to play MIDI notes along with a sustain pedal .

    Thank you for the hint on MIDI OX. I will look at that. Anyway I will stick with my current MIDI keyboard since when I decide to buy a new one, I want it to be a high quality one. However, at this time it is not on my "shopping list"

    I am using Sonar 8.5 so maybe the automation will help.

  8. #8

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamadza
    I am using Sonar 8.5 so maybe the automation will help
    Although very tedious in my opinion you can draw in CC1 data rather than record it.

    Steve Winkler

  9. #9

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    Quote Originally Posted by swinkler View Post
    Although very tedious in my opinion you can draw in CC1 data rather than record it.

    Steve Winkler
    Tedious, yes, but it's generally how I do it (edit: for strings, at least). Here are a couple of examples:

    http://robntweber.wordpress.com/2009...a-little-bach/

    Oops, I guess I only have one. I was also thinking of this one: http://robntweber.wordpress.com/2008...i-soprano-sax/
    But the volume data (dark blue peaks) here is input directly from the wind controller, and I put in the vibrato data (light blue and yellow envelopes) after the fact.

  10. #10

    Re: Using the PITCH wheel as a MOD ?

    When I first decided to start composing music thru a midi keyboard, I had no idea what I was doing, so I bought a close to top of the line Casio that was deeply discounted in price. Later I realized why it was so cheap. The mod wheel is not a wheel but a button that pushes in and out. So it is completely useless for CC1. I told someone here about it and he recommended that I use a Gaming Joystick. He told me what free software would make it all work inside of Sonar, but I never had any luck getting it to work. So ever since, I just draw in all of my CC data by hand. I think it works for me and here is an example

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=70037

    When I want to automate something else (like a volume envelope) in an audio track, I just use the controls inside of Sonar and my mouse. Again, it is not the best way to do things, but it works for me.

    Ron
    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein

    http://composersforum.ning.com/profile/RonaldFerguson

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