BackupBand

Support & discussion regarding DAWs and MIDI sequencers.

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GordonS
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BackupBand

Post by GordonS »

I've just started looking at BackupBand, j_e_f_f_g's arranger program.

By his own admission, it "Isn't a lovely GUI", though as lovely GUI's can cost CPU time, that's fine by me.

It's actually a really rather neat and effective real-time arranger. It doesn't have lots of "bells and whistles", but again, it's the mess of bells and whistles that make me despair of things like Band-In-A-Box.

There are one or two quirks (I first tried it with the two supplied songs, not understanding that using them locks some controls) and I'm having an issue getting the StyleEdit program to work for me (looks to me like a bug, but may well just be operator confusion).

But, for me at least,.....

It appears to me to be a darned good, darned effective, simple to use program.

So I have to wonder how widely it's used and if it isn't widely used, ask if maybe people just looked at that boxy but pragmatic GUI (which works very well) and decided to not try it. If you haven't and now wonder ... try here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/backupband/

]Note that the above link is to the 'summary' page on sourceforge, which has the current released version, 1.0, for download. If you want to try the proposed 1.1 version, you'll need to download from the 'code' page, here: https://sourceforge.net/p/backupband/co ... ster/tree/

Gordon.
Last edited by GordonS on Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
j_e_f_f_g
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Re: BackupBand

Post by j_e_f_f_g »

I'm working on adding a "song editor" to BackupBand itself (rather than using another Midi seq program, and then using StyleEdit to convert the song data file).

So I've postponed the doc section on Song Sheets until that's completed.

Most folks haven't tried BackupBand because it's a very esoteric app. Although it can be used without a midi controller, the app's value is most significant with a midi controller (ie, keyboard, midi guitar, wind controller, electronic drumpads, etc). And I believe most folks here don't own/use a midi controller.

Secondly, its value is also most significant to a live gigging soloist, or someone wishing to practice his solo skills. Although most everyone fits into the latter category, I believe few people here are live soloists.

Nevertheless, BackupBand is a rather unique Linux app, in that there are very, very few Linux algorithmic composition apps -- especially ones designed to be used live. So if someone wants to check out something that is notably different than all his other Linux apps, he should go to https://sourceforge.net/projects/backupband/files and download BackupBand.zip. It contains the compiled app, all required data files, and user manual. (Instruments.zip is optional). I guarantee you'll say "well, this is different".
tramp
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Re: BackupBand

Post by tramp »

GordonS wrote:So I have to wonder how widely it's used and if it isn't widely used, ask if maybe people just looked at that boxy but pragmatic GUI (which works very well) and decided to not try it.
For me, it's the missing jack support which keeps me away. All my other apps I recently use been jack-aware, but using BackupBand will kick them out.
On the road again.
j_e_f_f_g
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Re: BackupBand

Post by j_e_f_f_g »

actually, the current version supports jack audio, in addition to alsa directly. Of course, I consider the latter to be more stable, and easier to setup. But if you want to endure the pain of Jack, then the option is there. Masochists are no longer excluded.
tramp
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Re: BackupBand

Post by tramp »

Nice to hear, so I'll give it another go. :)
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GordonS
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Re: BackupBand

Post by GordonS »

j_e_f_f_g wrote:I'm working on adding a "song editor" to BackupBand itself (rather than using another Midi seq program, and then using StyleEdit to convert the song data file).
I've been adapting a copy of StyleEdit, yesterday and today, with a view to separating the conversion process from the GUI. That started as a means to extract something from the song files, (at present I'm failing to do that) so I could better understand how songs actually worked. But ... looking at the amount of that code that does the GUI and the amount that does actual work on the data, I wonder whether using something like python+QT for the GUI (and/or TouchOSC?) and then 'under the surface' driving simpler command-line might make life easier. I like the simple big buttons !
j_e_f_f_g wrote:So I've postponed the doc section on Song Sheets until that's completed.

Most folks haven't tried BackupBand because it's a very esoteric app. Although it can be used without a midi controller, the app's value is most significant with a midi controller (ie, keyboard, midi guitar, wind controller, electronic drumpads, etc). And I believe most folks here don't own/use a midi controller.
An awful lot of people use Band-In-A-Box(BIAB) and/or iRealPro for practice. It makes practice much more fun. Of course if one's main interest is "computer music", BUB is likely of little interest, but if one's a musician, it appears an excellent tool. I can tell you that a number of my colleagues use BIAB for practice, like the concept, but dislike the tool because it's become so complicated.
j_e_f_f_g wrote:Secondly, its value is also most significant to a live gigging soloist, or someone wishing to practice his solo skills. Although most everyone fits into the latter category, I believe few people here are live soloists.
Maybe it wants exposure elsewhere, too :-)
j_e_f_f_g wrote:Nevertheless, BackupBand is a rather unique Linux app, in that there are very, very few Linux algorithmic composition apps -- especially ones designed to be used live. So if someone wants to check out something that is notably different than all his other Linux apps, he should go to https://sourceforge.net/projects/backupband/files and download BackupBand.zip. It contains the compiled app, all required data files, and user manual. (Instruments.zip is optional). I guarantee you'll say "well, this is different".
There are several tools around that do very similar(*). I've rather been hunting for one that is good enough and flexible enough that I don't feel I'm fighting the tool, and I think BackupBand looks very like that.

(*) e.g., BIAB, iRealPro, OneManBand, LinuxBand, LeMMA, Impro-Visor, Harmony Assistant, vArranger, Songtrix.
Brian
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Re: BackupBand

Post by Brian »

j_e_f_f_g wrote:Although it can be used without a midi controller, the app's value is most significant with a midi controller (ie, keyboard, midi guitar, wind controller, electronic drumpads, etc). And I believe most folks here don't own/use a midi controller.
I have, quite literally, a whole closet full of MIDI controllers, synths, and do-dads (mostly 80s/90s vintage, and/or homebrew)!

If I'm properly interpreting your description, here and on sourceforge, I should be able to play (for instance) the piano part of The Eagles' Desperado, and your electronic bassist, drummer, and guitarist will fall right in and play along. As I play for my own entertainment more often than for anybody else's these days, that sounds as if it would be ideal for me!

I lost the boot drive for my main Linux box a couple weeks ago, and I've been too lazy to plug a new drive in, format, install the OS, etc. Perhaps this is the inspiration I need to get that done. ;) Will definitely check your program out when I get back up and running. Is this a 64-bit program?


- Brian
GordonS
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Re: BackupBand

Post by GordonS »

GordonS wrote:
I've been adapting a copy of StyleEdit, yesterday and today, with a view to separating the conversion process from the GUI.
That appears to be working in that I can can convert, apparently successfully, between styles and MIDI files.

I'm just not sure that it's actually helped me much. Muse hangs on every MIDI file I've so far tried to import, from wherever.

I have a base .mid file that came with BUB. I'll try converting back and forth, and see whether the results compare.

Time to swap from the keyboard with letters to one that makes sounds :-)

G.
GordonS
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Re: BackupBand

Post by GordonS »

Having worked on the code a bit now, and seen what the code is supposed to do, I've just thought to copy the BackupBand directory tree to my home directory.

StyleEdit then works.

Doing a cmp between its out put Demo.mid and my output Demo.mid shows no difference. So I think that's two wins.

I haven't understood why the alternative path "./BackupBand...." didn't work ... maybe I wasn't where I thought I was.

G.
12strings2hands
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Re: BackupBand

Post by 12strings2hands »

It would be nice if presets could be saved. It has at least one preset in the package I tried, but it's binary and I can't figure out how to create and save new ones.
I enjoyed jamming with it but it is way too buggy. Right now I tried to start it up with Ardour running (non Jack) and it just kept saying 'overun' or something. Shut down Ardour and now I can't start it at all.
j_e_f_f_g
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Re: BackupBand

Post by j_e_f_f_g »

Brian wrote:I play The Eagles' Desperado, and <BackupBand> plays along.
Yep. Everyone plays along except for Joe Walsh.

There are different "chord modes". For example, there's a mode to trigger a chord via one finger. There's another mode if you want to finger the chord with your left hand. And there's a "Full range" mode if you want to play normal two-handed piano, and let BackupBand figure out the chord on its own. Sounds like you want the full range, so you need to go into "Setup -> Accompaniment" and set Chords to "Full".
Brian wrote:Is this a 64-bit program?
The supplied executable is 64-bit. If you want a 32-bit version, you have to compile the source yourself.

Note: I haven't yet updated the SourceForge sources to the latest version. I'll be doing that soon. The supplied executable is the latest.
GordonS wrote:worked on the StyleEdit code
Oh god no. StyleEdit was hacked together in one day just to get something working, and the code is a mess. Humans were never meant to witness it. I'll be rewriting it eventually. In the meantime, the FDA requires me to list medical side-effects of viewing this code: It may cause stomach ingestion, dizziness, nausea, and in rare cases, reduce cognitive reasoning to the level of a Donald Trump supporter. If you feel an urge to vote for Roy Moore, discontinue programming immediately and consult your doctor (i.e. before the republican tax plan causes your HMO co-pays to double).

If you want to know the song sheet file format, look at the beginning comment in SongSheet.c. It would probably be easier for you to adapt the code from loadSongSheet() and FileLoad.c.
GordonS wrote:BackupBand wants exposure
Well, this thread has caused its adoption to explosively double in size.

It has gone from 5 people using it, to 10.

Good thing I wrote it for my own use.
GordonS wrote:if presets could be saved
Are you talking about "Song sheets"? Or the BackupBand0 configuration file?
GordonS wrote:start it up with Ardour running (non Jack)....
Shut down Ardour and now I can't start it at all.
This isn't BackupBand's fault. It's due to JACK not working well alongside apps that use ALSA directly. For one thing, you can't use both simultaneously. Secondly, when a JACK app terminates, the jack daemon continues running and hogging the sound card. You need to run something like QJackCtl and manually "stop" JACK to exorcise that daemon from possessing your system.

It sounds like you've discovered why JACK is the preferred tool of masochists.
GordonS
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Re: BackupBand

Post by GordonS »

j_e_f_f_g wrote:
GordonS wrote:worked on the StyleEdit code
Oh god no. StyleEdit was hacked together in one day just to get something working, and the code is a mess. Humans were never meant to witness it.
That's good to know. I did notice that some bits were decidedly 'hacky' and had probably been recycled from DOS or Amiga or somewhere. A fair bit looks like it was written to squeeze the last ounce of speed from the code, when that now matters not at all.

In my adapted version, I did take the liberty, whilst trying to follow, of rewriting a few little bits, whilst thinking "I hope he'll forgive me". It sounds like you'll forgive me.

Perhaps I should work on some more, then.
I'll look at SongSheet.c and FileLoad.c before I do anything else. My aim with with my 'adjustment' was just to make a command-line driven packaging of the guts. (I might already have hacked a bit out of FileLoad.c and inserted it into my spin-off).

I'm in England, so I don't get to vote for or against The Donald, nor to get directly hit by you tax regime. We have our own challenges at the moment, anyway :-)

It was someone else who wrote about presets and about Ardour.
j_e_f_f_g wrote:...adoption to explosively double... It has gone from 5 people using it, to 10.
Nantucket Sleigh Ride then, watch that bollard smoke! :-)
(Actually, I'm vegetarian and don't do that kind of thing).

G.
j_e_f_f_g
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Re: BackupBand

Post by j_e_f_f_g »

GordonS wrote:England have our own challenges
Don't worry about code hacking. Teresa May is sending Boris Johnson to finish the brexit negotiations.

So WWIII should be starting right after tea and crumpets.

P.S. Donald wants to know if you can recommend any more right-wing anti-muslim web sites. He's going to retweet them to the mayor of London.
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Re: BackupBand

Post by tavasti »

I also tested BackupBand, and I think it is great program. However, I would like to use BB as 'engine' but can't forward midi from it to programs, as it only allows to forward to HW. Best option for me would be possibility to forward all instruments separately, but it is also possible to separate them in qmidiroute.

And plan for song editor sounds great, I found out process of editing on other program, exporting, converting bit too complicated. Keep on going!
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GordonS
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Re: BackupBand

Post by GordonS »

j_e_f_f_g wrote:
GordonS wrote:England have our own challenges
P.S. Donald wants to know if you can recommend any more right-wing anti-muslim web sites. He's going to retweet them to the mayor of London.
There was a nice cartoon in a newspaper here a day or so ago. Three Arabs on camel back, with one looking at his mobile and saying something like: "Someone calling himself God has just tweeted that the boy child will be born in Jerusalem and his name will be Donald".

I fear that in the new 'liberal' world, "eating tea and crumpets" is likely to be classed as a hate crime that carries a sentence of extreme public humiliation, loss of job and a lengthy prison sentence. I despair. Very off-topic, though, so I'll say no more.
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