Re: Midi drums - single patches ?

D F Tweedie


LOL ... I should have read this email with your excellent explanation before posting my more ham-handed reply to Ian.


From: "'David H. Bailey' dhbailey52@... [Band-in-a-Box]"
To: Band-in-a-Box@...
Sent: Friday, March 3, 2017 3:20 AM
Subject: Re: [Band-in-a-Box] Midi drums - single patches ?

On 3/3/2017 4:41 AM, 'Ian Graham' idgraham@...
[Band-in-a-Box] wrote:
> Morning, DF
> I accept everything you say, except 'empty' and possibly 'unlabelled'.
> (What is or would be an 'empty patch' ? )
> In a full spec for any midi synth, there will be (numbered) details of
> single percussion patches. Their exact attributions probably vary from
> synth to synth - that could be a reason why the Biab drop-down list goes
> no further than numbers. There are elements of this elsewhere in Biab
> e.g. @ {Preferences>Drumkit>set drum volumes}, and {edit styles> drum
> grid}. So if you are suggesting that all the slots other than the kits
> are sort of 'ghost slots', I'm not convinced.
> Nothing from PG yet.
> In other news, I have discovered that RealBand has a feature/wizard
> which is said to split a midi drum track into individual constituent
> tracks - which would be a very useful process. As RealBand is (as I
> understand it) natively 'RealSounds', I suspect there may be additional
> hoops to go through to get a midi drum track in the first place.
> For myself, I've never used RealBand, and am not yet sufficiently
> desperate to achieve my original purpose, to embark on a whole new
> learning curve in order to do so.
> Thanks for your continuing interest.

I think what DF meant by 'empty' or 'unlabelled' was that they don't
have any values assigned to them. So they are merely place-holders in
the list. And my limited programming knowledge/experience leads me to
believe that the reason there is such a long list of them is that the
code for that list was simply copied from another program module within
the program where there are values for all the entries in the list. But
that is just speculation.

I also think that you're confusing the midi note numbers of the drums
channel with patch numbers equivalent to the patch numbers of the
various other instruments. So, for example, Acoustic Grand Piano
(usually patch 0 or patch 1 depending on the numbering system a
particular synth maker uses) has 128 different pitches all sounding like
an acoustic grand piano. When you see a list of the drum sounds in the
owner's manual for a particular synth, even though it also has numbers
from either 0-127 or 1-128, those numbers are actually midi note numbers
within the patch assignment for that particular drum kit (jazz kit,
brushes kit, 909, rock kit, whatever). Be careful not to confuse those
note numbers with patch numbers.

So for example if in a particular drum kit list you see '60-high bongo',
if you're on any other channel besides channel 10 and enter patch number
60 for that channel you'll actually get a muted trumpet sound. But if
you've got a particular drum kit patch number entered for channel 10 and
then you play note #60, you'll get a muted trumpet sound. Which you'll
also get for every other note number.

Here's a link to lists which can help demonstrate what I'm saying:

RealBand is not natively anything -- it's merely a DAW waiting for the
user to import or create data for it to work with. You can load up midi
styles from BIAB and RealBand will create the parts like BIAB does.
Once you create the drum track and use RealBand's ability to break the
drum track to individual constituent tracks you'll be able to assign
different sounds to whatever drum-kit instrument you want. That's done
by assigning different midi note numbers to the track (i.e. transposing
the track) not by assigning different patches, since in the GM spec
there are not separate patch numbers for the various sounds within a
drum kit, but rather all the drum sounds are assigned to different
pitches within a drum-kit patch which is assigned to channel 10 by default.

The reasoning behind this, as I understand it, is that the GM spec has
128 slots for instruments which was then expanded to include higher
banks each of which had 128 slots which held similar instruments to the
same slot in bank 0 (the original GM bank.)

Since 'drum-kits' need so many potential sounds there was no way to
build the various drum sounds into the GM spec as individual patches, so
all 128 pitches (i.e. midi note numbers) can each hold a different
percussion sound thus allowing a GM user to still have 128 different
instrument patches while also having up to 128 different percussion
sounds on channel 10.

Remember that the midi spec was originally developed before the
widespread use of personal computers and was originally to be used from
keyboard to keyboard to keyboard without any computer in the chain.
That it has survived so efficiently into the world of personal computers
demonstrates what a wonderfully robust spec the original GM was. Which
also made it easy to add to it with the advent of a drum channel
(usually channel 10) which held 128 different sounds of its own and also
the addition of higher banks as the keyboards became more capable and as
personal computers entered the scene.

David H. Bailey

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