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MIDI Auto-Accompaniment Systems

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ was summarized from questions of RMCA Pro and MAAS users. As for the answers I might not always have used the right words or expressions, because my native language is not English. However, I hope that everybody can understand, what was meant. 

  • Q: Do you have a utility to convert your format to the Roland format?

A: No, I am sorry. My styles can only be saved as MIDI files.A complete style can be saved as a MIDI file as follows: Open the "creator window" -> select from the menu "3. - Save style as MIDI file". Style parts can also be saved as MIDI files. Please take a look at the corresponding part of the help file (contents -> special tasks -> export a style) ...

  • Q: Where is the chord information in the midi file? Is there a midi sequencer that can read in the chord information (maybe as text, maybe as "lyrics") and print them out along with the notation for the melody?
A: No, I am sorry. The information is encoded and stored within special controllers (usually on channel 10). It isn't visible for sequencers or other MIDI software. Naturally, RMCA Pro can read the information and can show the chords.
  • Q: When I have saved a song done in RMCA Pro as a MIDI file there are some unknown controllers and other messages within the file. Some MIDI files also cannot be edited with a sequencer.
A: You should think about the material with which you have created your MIDI song. It was a STYLE. At creating a style from a MIDI file a software must do a lot and has to insert special MIDI messages. So, at the end of each style part the messages for setting the controllers 64,66,123 to zero (sustain=0, hold=0, all notes off). Please take a look into the event list of a voice with your sequencer software. There you will find a lot of instrument settings etc. which you would have for example to delete at first, if you would like to make permanent changes. In addition there can be a problem with "long notes". RMCA Pro somtimes must "cut" sounding voices to work correctly. Therefore a sequencer perhaps cannot find within the MIDI file corresponding note-off-message.
  • Q: For instance, can you import a melody, and automatically put music to it with RMCA Pro?
A: NO. However, you can build a song (record a chord sequence in real time in which an external keyboard isn't needed !), using a style and then overdup it with a melody. The result can be saved as a standard MIDI file (RMCA Pro).
  • Q: I have changed my MIDI configuration and added a device. Now RMCA presents an error message.
A: If there are problems with MIDI-devices then you should select from RMCA Pro's main menu: Help -> Reset RMCA Pro or you can delete the file "rmca.ini" respectively "maas.ini" (to find within the program's directory, e.g. ...\RMCA respectively ...\MAAS). Now restart the tool. However, if you have deleted the ini-file then you have to switch the program free again, using your registration information!
  • Q: When I select "Options/Send Chord Codes: and then "File/Export MIDI" and try to export the generated chords, I get a MIDI file with two tracks, one containing the original melody, the other containing a long list of CONTROLLER commands but not a single note.
A: This is OK. The long list of controller commands ARE THE CHORD CODES! As described the software implements CODES (not NOTES) into a MIDI file. These codes represent the different chords (only accessable with RMCA Pro). If you open the stored MIDI file (with RMCA Pro) and play it, you should see the created chords within the keyboard window. Please note: "send chord codes" only equips a MIDI file with special controller values. If chord codes are stored in a MIDI file you can use for example the melody Ad-Lib function to jam to the music ("Options/Receive Chord Codes" (main menu) must be activated (default)). Notes cannot be stored because the software doesn't "know" the rythm or the "feeling" of playing chords. However, you can add chords (and other notes) "live" to your melodies using only C-maj keys (C-E-G ...).
  • Q: When you generate the chords to a midi file, do you automatically disregard the notes in the drum track (usually track 10) or do I have to manually erase that track before I input the midi file so the notes of that track are not counted?
A: The chord controllers (in general) don't influence the notes of a track or other controllers. So you have to do nothing as to decide whether the chords shall be recognized / implemented into a song or not (main menu: options - Send Chord Codes, Receive Chord Codes (default)).
  • Q: Where are the options for the chord recognition and the style formation explained ( mean the options that say no chord, chordnotes etc. and the one that says major, simple etc).
A: Oh, there isn't a help for this, except for the hints, I am sorry. However, this may serve ...

a) Mode ...
Major: all notes (of the selected range: 2/4, 1/2 ...) will be summarized into major chords
Simple: ...... will be summarized into major, minor and 7th chords
Normal: ..... will be summarized into major, minor, 7th, sus4 etc ( max. 10) chords
Special: ...... will be summarized into major, minor and 7th chords (max. 16) chords

b) Sensitivity ...
Sensitivity of chord change (no need to explain this)

c) Convertmode ... (Strength of modification)

NC = no change (for intros and endings) 1 = only transposing; 2 = transposing and selecting major, minor, 7th etc. 3 = the notes, that represents a chord will be changed (default!) 4 = ... (suspect convert mode) 5 = ... (needfull if no.3 doesn't give good results!) 6 = all notes will be transposed into C-major chords (very clear).

It's to difficult to explain this function, which is "the heart" of the style maker. You should try different selections with your MIDI material to get a feeling about the convertion process.

  • Q: Can I operate the fills, basic, extended, etc. form a controller keyboard? How?
A: Yes, you can operate the filles and bridges from a MIDI controller keyboard. Please take a look at the help file (section: MIDI keyboard) and open the "Global settings" window (main menu -> windows -> Global settings) to define which keys you would like to use.
  • Q: I tried to download and install your software with my arranger keyboard. For some reason it cannot recognize chords in 'fingered' mode, and only swiches chords on one key, in the same way I can do it with a mouse on a 'keyboard screen' or on ASCII keyboard.
A: If you are a practiced musician, using a top-quality keyboard or an extended MIDI controller, please be sure to SWITCH OFF its - AUTO ACCOMPANIMENT MODE - TRANSPOSE MODE - AFTERTOUCH MODE - KEYBOARD SPLIT. Configure it like a normal piano with 6,7 or more octaves, and connect it directly to your computer's sound card. My software reacts ONLY on MIDI note on/off messages and needs in "fingered mode" at least 3 notes to recognize a chord. The predefined auto-accompaniment section reaches from E4 to B5. In addtion it's a good idea to select from RMCA Pro's main menu: Keyboard -> Use all keyboard keys.
  • Q: How do I connect an external keyboard perfectly to RMCA Pro?
A: To do this, there are some things that have to be pointed out ...

1. Make sure, that you have selected the right MIDI In- and Out- ports. (RMCA Pro's main-menu: -> Windows -> Global Settings -> Button "MIDI" near the bottom of the window).

2. Now press "OK" and check at "Global Settings" - label: "MIDI keyboard" whether you have selected the right keyboard keys for stylepart changes AND the right accompaniment section with a view to your keyboard. The default values are C4 (36) = Fill in - Variation (style part) C#4 (37) = To Basic (bridge) D4 (38) = Ending (style part) Eb4 (39) = To extended (bridge) E4 (40) = Lowest accompaniment-section-key B5 (59) = Highest accompaniment-section-key C6 (60) = Lowest melody-section-key

3. The software in "fingered"-mode normally recognizes the following chord types (Base: C)

Chord Keys: C C-E-G-C C-m C-Eb-G-C C-7 C-E-G-Bb C-m7 C-Eb-G-Bb C-dim C-Eb-Gb-A C-sus4 C-F-G-C C-9 C-E-G-D C-5b C-E-Gb-Bb C-M7 C-E-G-B C-aug C -E-G#-C C-6 C-E-G-A C-mM7 C-Eb-G-B C-m6 C-Eb-G-A C-m9 C-Eb-G-D C-m5b C-Eb-Gb-Bb C-aug7 C-E-G#-Bb C-sus7 C-F-G-Bb. You must know that chords are recognized within time ranges that are specified under Global Settings "Quantize" (default: 1/4 measure). At this the MIDI input routine simply (and only) reacts on MIDI-note-on AND MIDI-note-off messages and needs min. 3-4 pushed keys to identify a chord. This is called: 3-4 keys have to be pushed AND holded before the next (var: 1/4) measure begins and the chord shall change. So it is very important that you - if necessary - SWITCH OFF the transpose-mode, the aftertouch-mode, the accompaniment-mode and the split of your keyboard if necessary. It should react as a normal keyboard with 6,7 or 8 octaves. Think about this, that RMCA Pro needs non of the keyboard features, but only notes (tones - nothing else!).

4. If the keyboard doesn't create the right chords after making the above described selections then there may be a hardware problem or a MIDI configuration problem. In this case please note: MIDI realtime processing needs SHORT MIDI cables and NON interferences between MIDI-In-port and MIDI-out-port! The software uses only standard MIDI routines of the Windows® MCI, and it was especially designed, to work even with simple and low-expensive MIDI-controllers.

So, if you want to check whether your keyboard at all transmits the needed tones (MIDI-note-on and MIDI-note-off messages) it should be at first connected directly into the computer's sound card, using the corresponding MIDI-In-port. And don't forget to dissable the accompaniment mode and other special modes of your keyboard!
  • Q: I downloaded RMCA and installed it, connected my keyboard to my soundcards midi interface and configured the keyboard as you recommend. When I open a midi file in RMCA, the sound comes out perfectly from my keyboard. But when I press a key on my arranger keyboard, the sound is delayed for aprox. half a second, and sometimes it isn't played at all.
A: I assume that it isn't possible to use ONE MIDI peripheric tool for both MIDI-input and MIDI-output. Please note: processing MIDI realtime messages is very difficult and time sensitive. The MIDI configuration needs short cables and perhaps separated modules. To check whether your keyboard can be used with RMCA Pro you should do the following: 

aa) Make sure that all arrangement functions of your keyboard are switched off.

bb) Connect the keyboard's MIDI-out port directly into your computer's sound card and use the card and NOT your keyboard for MIDI out! Disconnect the keyboard's MIDI-in port from your sound cards MIDI-out port (use only 1 MIDI cable: Keyboard -> PC MIDI-in).

cc) Now try out whether your played chords are recognized by RMCA Pro. If yes, then I see no chance to install the configuration that you have described (this may depend on your sound card or on your keyboard). If no, you would have to find out what happened on the way from your keyboard to your sound card.
  • Q: Where can I find further information about older versions of RMCA and MAAS?
A: Additional and perhaps useful information about RMCA Pro and MAAS can be found on the old web pages of 1998 - 2003 ( RMCA Pro Samples ). However, the older versions of RMCA Pro can not be compared with the current version. In particular, they lack the processing of foreign styles and all functions for generating and playing automatic chord progressions, mute BASS and/or GUITARS for practicing, the Style-Playlist functions etc.

Versions

  • RMCA Pro: 4.2.8.0
  • MAAS: 2.2.2.1

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 RMCA Pro audio & video clips 

RMCA Pro and MAAS are particularly suitable for creating
backing tracks in a few minutes and jamming along to them.


Example 1 Ballad in Bb-major/G-minor   -   RMCA Pro + Guitar Modeling (recorded live, MP3)

 



Example 2:  Blues/Rock in Bb-major   -   RMCA Pro + Guitar Synth & Modeling (recorded live, MP3)

 



Example 3:  Slow Blues in A-minor   -   RMCA Pro + Guitar Synth & Modeling (recorded live, MP3)

 



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