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Topic: BiaB/Garritan Exercises: Episode 1

  1. #1

    BiaB/Garritan Exercises: Episode 1


    1. I am going to assume (and we know how dangerous that is ..u..me) that you have a basic knowledge of using BiaB. If not, it comes with documentation. To get started there are a few things to do. I do not use the Garritan instruments in BiaB. You can, but I do that work in my DAW so why put the effort in twice?

    Below is a simple chord progression. For our purposes go ahead and use the same one (chord progressions are not copyrightable, if they are we would only have the blue, no blues because there’d be only one.) Once you have the chord progression in, you need to select a rhythmic style for performance. Depending on the version you have you may or may not have all the rhythms to select from. If the one I selected is not in your list select one suitable. I am choosing a 60s rock style called CHUKROK Chuck Rock - Basic 60s rock. You can title the piece or leave that for later. It helps to name it because when you save the midi file, it comes with that name.

    Go ahead and press play to listen to your band play the chord progression.

    2. No let’s set the number of repetitions. Circled in red is the number of times the piece will repeat. I chose three which is typical of a performed song. Song - solo - song. At least, that’s how I create my pop tunes. Of course, the song is longer, but this is just an example to get you started.

    Also note that the boxes by Loop and Fake are not checked (by default they are). Loop means exactly that, at the end of the third repetition the song will loop back and start over at 1 ad infinitum... Never used Fake don’t know, don’t ask. Someday I will look it up in the manual.

    3. Now that we are satisfied with our chord progression, we can move on. Our next assignment will be to create a soloist in the middle chorus. You can also have BiaB create a melody (look above and you will see two buttons: Melodist and Soloist. The Melodist creates the melody; I prefer to do that myself. The default setting on the Melodist is to have it also make the chords and we already have a chord progression.) * If you pushed it, you have to start over - oops! Don’t use the standard <ctrl> z to go back, you won’t like the results!

    4. Now we are going to create a soloist passage for the middle chorus. Now press the Soloist button:

    5. You now come to this screen:

    Choose an instrument style. Here I have chosen #167 OLDER Tenor Sax 8ths. You can choose whatever you like but be sure that the red circled area says No Change, otherwise the rhythmic style will change. If you choose one that changes the style, simply hit the Clear button to the far right of that style line.

    We now have a soloist to play our ad lib solo. There are a few parameters you can change to make the solo a bit more satisfying (depends on what you are writing or/and what you want to hear.)

    6. Let’s set those parameters in the soloist to a simple pattern.

    Hit the Edit.... button to take you to the Soloist Edit screen as seen below:

    The area circled in red is where you tell the soloist how long a phrase will be. I use 2 or 4 measure phrases so in beats that’s 8 or 16 beats (in 4/4). This is important just to make sure changes occur at the correct phrase points in the piece.
    Also, you want to minimize the number of ‘incorrect’ or ‘wrong notes’:

    Most I leave at their default settings. It’s the 4th line that I play with the most: ‘Outside’ range. This is the number out of every 9 notes that will not be in the chord structure - non-harmonic tones. The Increase 8th note spacing is a humanizing factor. Now we are ready to make a solo ad lib passage. PRESS OK.

    7. Now we will create the solo passage.

    Be sure that the middle box (the 2nd chorus) says Yes-solo. If it does not, use the drop-down list to select Yes-solo. Now all you have to do is PRESS OK and magically a solo is created for the 2nd chorus. The 1st and 3rd will have no melody (we haven’t written it yet, but the 2nd chorus will have the solo sax tooting away for you.

    8. Now let’s save it as a MIDI file - this is the file we will be doing our work on in our DAW.

    When you press the MID button you get this screen:

    Click the File on Disk button:

    And your titled piece is displayed ready to be saved as a midi file anywhere you choose. Save this file for our next episode.

    Here is what my audio file sounds like: My Rock Song with no solo or My Rock Song with solo

    These are straight dumps from BiaB no DAW work yet.

    Now, this is where I begin using my DAW (Sonar X1 - but you can use any DAW. The principles are the same. I will be showing you the Sonar X1 screens for these examples. Tune in for episode 2 to see this happen.

    As an aside: I write my melodies in Finale and then import to Sonar as a midi.
    Last edited by wrayer; 09-21-2012 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Added audio file
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  2. #2

    Re: BiaB/Garritan Exercises: Episode 1

    Wow, Bill - This is great! Sounds very clear, looks like you have plenty of detail to make the steps easy to follow, and it's super that you solved the picture posting issue so you can have all these helpful screen shots, complete with graphic annotations.

    Almost makes me want to have BiaB!


  3. #3

    Re: BiaB/Garritan Exercises: Episode 1

    Goodness me! That was quick work.

    Now I must look through the introductory documentation and get to grips with the s/w asap.

    Then I shall have a go at what you've put together for us (thank you very much).
    At first reading it seems very logical and with lots of screen shots (always helpful to visualise things) it's easy to follow.
    I'm used to using XGworks which has a similar process using Yamaha style files to generate a backing.
    It was for more advanced styles (and the s/w being on special offer last year) that I purchased a copy of BiaB 2011.
    Just never got round to using it somehow. ... other projects.

    Now you've provided me with the incentive.
    Thanks for that too.

    Kind regards,

  4. #4

    Re: BiaB/Garritan Exercises: Episode 1

    VERY NICE tutorial. I have owned BIAB for many years and use it sparingly.
    When I needed a jazz accompaniment for a song, I would use it to get me going.
    For a few song in my children's musical I have used it to create the piano part for me and it did a great job of "composing" for me. I would add to it, but the basics were there for me.
    MacPro 2.66 - Tiger & Snow Leopard / 16GB RAM / several TB of HD space/ Garritan Libraries / EWQLSO Platinum PLAY / Omnisphere/ Kontakt 2 & 3 / Finale 2010 /DP5/ a VERY patient wife!

  5. #5

    Re: BiaB/Garritan Exercises: Episode 1

    Randy, John and Indiana,

    Thanks for looking. I use BiaB for my backup band when I do shows for local Nursing Homes, weddings, etc. People won't/can't afford a large band, so I bring my BiaB. Most of my charts (Pop, Rock, Standards) are accompanied by BiaB. I provide the trumpet and the vocal or if I can get my buddy to come along, I also add Tenor Sax. So We have a band of Trumpet/Sax (Live) and the instruments of BiaB.

    This first tutorial is only BiaB, the 2nd will be Sonar (DAW) using Garritan instruments.


    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  6. #6

    Re: BiaB/Garritan Exercises: Episode 1

    So glad you started this. I've been a BIAB user for years, and I'm still getting the hang of Garritan instruments... and I am just starting with Sonar. Excellent timing, and many thanks!
    Tom Smith

  7. #7

    Re: BiaB/Garritan Exercises: Episode 1

    Episode 2 will be coming soon, please look for it by the end of this week.

    Welcome aboard, filkertom

    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

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