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Xsong™

Visual Songwriting Program

User Manual
Version 0.9.6

Written by Nick Prudent


Last revision: August 2nd 2010

www.xecretcode.com
Xsong V.1.0 2

Content:
Part 1 – Introduction ........................................................................................................ 4
1.1. Installing Xsong™.................................................................................................. 5
1.2. Licensing Xsong.................................................................................................... 6
1.3. About Xsong™ ...................................................................................................... 7
1.4. What Xsong™ Is Not .............................................................................................. 7
1.5. System Requirements............................................................................................ 8
Part 2 – User Interface...................................................................................................... 9
2.1. UI Elements......................................................................................................... 10
2.2. Key-Independent Notation .................................................................................. 17
2.3. Generator Tracks ................................................................................................ 18
2.4. Media Playback ................................................................................................... 19
2.5. The Search Field.................................................................................................. 20
2.6. Alphanumeric Mode ............................................................................................ 22
2.7. Drag and Drop .................................................................................................... 23
2.8. Recording Audio ................................................................................................. 24
2.9. Exporting............................................................................................................ 25
2.10. Printing............................................................................................................. 26
2.10. Shortcuts .......................................................................................................... 28
2.11. Menu ................................................................................................................ 33
Part 3 – Organize View ................................................................................................... 36
3.1. Draw Modes........................................................................................................ 37
3.2. Data Model ......................................................................................................... 37
3.3. Creation Commands ........................................................................................... 38
3.4. Supported Media................................................................................................. 42
3.5. Song Closed/Open .............................................................................................. 42
3.6. Drag-And-Drop .................................................................................................. 43
3.7. Rating ................................................................................................................. 43
3.8. Lead Sheet Editing............................................................................................... 43
Part 4 – Edit View ........................................................................................................... 44
4.1. Draw Modes........................................................................................................ 45
4.2. Data Model ......................................................................................................... 46
4.3. Inspect Lead Sheet .............................................................................................. 47
4.4. Presets................................................................................................................ 47
4.5. Creation Commands – Front Section.................................................................... 48
4.6. Changes Per Bar.................................................................................................. 50
4.7. Creation Commands – Back Section..................................................................... 52
4.8. Music Draw Mode................................................................................................ 54
4.9. Section................................................................................................................ 55
4.10. Progression Inspector ....................................................................................... 56
4.11. Voxline ............................................................................................................. 57
4.12. Bar/Change....................................................................................................... 59
4.13. Chord Inspector ................................................................................................ 61
4.14. Melody Inspector .............................................................................................. 63
4.15. Drums Inspector ............................................................................................... 64
4.16. Mixing Bay ........................................................................................................ 65
4.17. Media Bay ......................................................................................................... 67
4.18. Text Draw Mode................................................................................................ 68
4.19. Text Elements ................................................................................................... 68
4.20. Tab Key ............................................................................................................ 71
4.21. Return Key ........................................................................................................ 71
4.22. Auto-Complete ................................................................................................. 71
4.23. Using The Mac OSX Dictionary........................................................................... 71
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Xsong V.1.0 3

Part 5 - Circle View ........................................................................................................ 72


5.1. Circle Of Fifths .................................................................................................... 73
5.2. Tonic and Mode .................................................................................................. 75
5.3. Roman Numerals................................................................................................. 76
5.4. Variants .............................................................................................................. 77
5.5. Circle In Alphanumeric Mode............................................................................... 79
5.6. More About The Circle Of Fifths .......................................................................... 80
Part 6 – Instrument View ................................................................................................ 82
6.1. Instrument View.................................................................................................. 83
6.2. Playback Instrument............................................................................................ 83
6.3. Sequence Bar ...................................................................................................... 84
6.4. Keyboard Instrument .......................................................................................... 86
6.5. Guitar Instrument................................................................................................ 88
6.6. Bass Instrument ................................................................................................. 91
6.7. Drums Instrument............................................................................................... 93
Part 7 - Appendix .......................................................................................................... 95
Appendix I - File Handling ......................................................................................... 96
Appendix II – Nashville Numbering System................................................................. 96
Appendix III – Songwriting Books ............................................................................... 98

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Xsong V.1.0 4

Part 1 – Introduction

A quick introduction to the Xsong™ software.

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Xsong V.1.0 5

1.1. Installing Xsong™

To install, simply drag the Xsong.app icon into your Applications folder. Xsong™ is
self-contained and does not install any additional components to your machine. To
uninstall, simply drag the Xsong.app file into the trash bin.

When you first start Xsong™, it will automatically create a library folder in your
/MyMachineName/Music/Xsong/ folder (iTunes uses /MyMachineName/Music/iTunes/
). This means that you can easily back up your song library by copying the content of
this folder to a safe place.

If you are familiar with Apple products such as iTunes™ and GarageBand™, you will find
Xsong™ quite intuitive to use as it follows similar GUI concepts.

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Xsong V.1.0 6

1.2. Licensing Xsong

Xsong™ comes in as a limited demo, which can be unlocked by purchasing a license.


After purchasing a license you can go back to Xsong™ and use the “Purchase->Unlock
Xsong” menu to access the licensing Section.

Note: Your Xsong™ license is unique to your email address. Therefore, it is important
that you provide an email that is not likely to change or disappear in the future.

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Xsong V.1.0 7

1.3. About Xsong™

Xsong™ is a visual songwriting program. It lets you create songs by manipulating song
objects - graphical representations of song elements such as notes, chords, instruments
and circles of fifths. Xsong™ lets you dictate exactly how and when instruments are
played in a song. Songs can be exported as MIDI, audio or integrated web pages.

Because it’s fun to use, songwriters, music educators and song enthusiasts can enjoy
the magic of song creation without being held back by the steep learning curve of
traditional music programs.

1.4. What Xsong™ Is Not

Xsong™ focuses on real-world songwriting, which is different from mixing and/or


recording. Therefore, Xsong™ is not:

• Not a MIDI editor Although songs are exported as MIDI songs, Xsong™ does
not let you load and edit arbitrary MIDI files. MIDI files can
be loaded and played back as reference or starting point
for a song.

• Not a multi track Although several audio files can be saved as ideas, only
recorder or mixer one audio track (usually lead vocals and/or instrument)
can be played back with each song.

• Not a database Although Xsong™ has chords and word dictionaries, it’s
not a database. All chords in Xsong™ are synthesized on
the fly using universal music theory principles. For
example, there’s no need to archive thousands of chords
when what you need are the best chords that fit a song.

• Not a word The word processor included in Xsong™ is highly tuned for
processor songwriting and should not be used in the place of a
generic one.

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Xsong V.1.0 8

1.5. System Requirements

Mac

• Mac Intel
• OSX 10.5 (Leopard) and above
• 1 GB of ram
• 1 GB of hard-disk space

Windows

• Intel® Pentium® 4 processor or better


• Microsoft® Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 or
better.
• 1 GB of RAM
• 600MB of available hard-disk space
• OpenGL-capable GPU (NVIDIA, ATI or Intel GMA)

Notes

Both Mac and Windows versions look and operate virtually the same way. However,
platform differences will be noted as they occur.

Most of Xsong™ was developed and tested on a 2008 White MacBook™ with integrated
graphics (the slowest option), 4 GB and a resolution of 1280 x 800. Therefore, anything
equal or better will generally do.

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Xsong V.1.0 9

Part 2 – User Interface

Introduces the elements of the Xsong™ user interface: views, keyboard shortcuts and
menus.

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Xsong V.1.0 10

The Xsong™ user interface is divided in two main views: Organize and Edit. Switching
between the two can be done via the toolbar or using the following shortcut:

2.1. UI Elements

Toolbar

The toolbar provides access to:

• Global view switching between Organize and Edit.


• Printing panel when in Edit Text view.
• Playback control: Record, Back To Start, Play/Pause & Loop.
• Title of Playback media.
• Creation command for the active global view.
• Global volume control.

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Xsong V.1.0 11

Source List

The source list allows filtering of the global song list into
categories. Those categories are based on an assigned level of
completeness for each song: Ideas, In Progress and Complete.

Note that in Organize view, items can be dragged & dropped into a
target category.

Work View

The work view is the main area where songs and song elements are
edited.

In Organize view, the user is presented with a virtual board on


which song media (Lead Sheet, )audio, MIDI and images) are
“nailed” together to indicate that they belong to the same song.

In Edit view, the user is editing the content of a Lead Sheet media
(a song Lead Sheet), made up of Sections. Each Section represents a
Copyright
song © 2006-2010
section: XecretCode
intro, Corp. All rightschorus,
verse, pre-chorus, reserved.bridge, solo and
outro. Sections can be “flipped” by pressing the TAB key to reveal
their chord progression and connectors.
Xsong V.1.0 12

(a song Lead Sheet), made up of Sections. Each Section represents a


song section: intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, solo and
outro. Sections can be “flipped” by pressing the TAB key to reveal
their chord progression and connectors.

Flipping Sections
Flip to the back Section using the TAB key to access the
progression connectors. Pressing the TAB key again flips back to
the front Section.

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Xsong V.1.0 13

Inspector View

The inspector provides access to the parameters of the


currently selected item. Its content is therefore dynamic and
changes according to what’s currently selected.

This inspector allows Xsong™ to have very few popup


Sections, thus reducing clutter in the UI.

Tabs Allows navigation between multiple


inspector sheets.

Parameters Exposes parameters of the currently


selected item and provides a way to edit it.
If several items of the same type are
selected, their parameters are changed all at
once.

Voicing Preview Provides a preview of the selected voicing


for guitar chords, keyboard chords, melody
and drums.
Voicing Slider Allows browsing through all available
voicings.

Circle View

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Xsong V.1.0 14

The circle view provides access to the circle of fifths, which is


the main tool for understanding and generating chord
progressions.

Like the inspector above it, the circle view changes


dynamically to show the parameters of the currently selected
item. For example, selecting a Section with a different key will
show a change in the circle’s composition.

The current key is shown at the center of the circle,

The circle of fifths can be played in real-time using the mouse


or keyboard. Chords generated in this fashion are played using
the active instrument in the instrument view.

Instrument View

The instrument view provides note entry and visualization.


Virtual instruments can be played directly in real-time via the
mouse or keyboard or indirectly by playing the circle of fifths.

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Xsong V.1.0 15

Dashboard View

The dashboard view provides controls over the global


synthesizer. It also shows the state of the global metronome,
BPM (beats per minute) and playback/recording count-off.
When active, you can use the Up/Down arrow buttons to put
the focus on the active BPM, Tap Tempo or count-off.
BPM and count-off values can be changed either by using the
left/right keyboard arrow keys or by right-clicking on the field
to pop a contextual menu.

Active BPM BPM for the active Lead Sheet, audio or


MIDI media.
• Right-click to pop a list of BPM values.
• When focused (drawn blue), use the
left/right keyboard arrow keys to
decrement/increment the BPM value.

Tap Tempo Used to define a new tempo by “tapping”


in real time.
To define new tempo:
• Click several times on button using the
mouse or…
• When focused (drawn blue), use the
right keyboard arrow key to tap several
times.

The new tempo will appear on the button


once tapping is done.
To apply new BPM value:
• Right-click on the button to access the
tap tempo popup menu and select
“Apply”.
To reset and clear the tap tempo field:
• Right-click on the button to access the
tap tempo popup menu and select
“Clear” or…
• When focused (drawn blue), use the left
keyboard arrow key to clear the button.
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Xsong V.1.0 16

keyboard arrow key to clear the button.

Mic Level Shows the active microphone’s gain level.

Output Level Shows the active output’s gain level.


Metronome Toggle the metronome playback on (blue)
or off (black).

Count-Off Period Number of bars to count-off before playing


the active Lead Sheet.
Count-Off Toggle the count-off period playback on
(blue) or off (black).

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Xsong V.1.0 17

2.2. Key-Independent Notation

In Xsong™, all notes and chords are stored in key-independent notation. This means
that instead of using a MIDI note number (E.g. C1 = 24) to represent notes, Xsong™
uses a Roman + Octave + Accidental.

For example, the following indicates note D1# in the key of C major:

Roman Octave Accidental

II 2 #
The main advantage of this notation is that a song can remain structurally unchanged as
one moves from one key to another. This means that you can easily change the key (C,
D, E, etc.) and mode (Major, Minor, etc) of a song without having to individually
transpose every note.

This technique is widely used among studio and live musicians to allow them to
transpose a song on the fly. Xsong™ goes one step further by applying key-independent
notation to melodies as well.

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Xsong V.1.0 18

2.3. Generator Tracks

In the background, Xsong™ maintains a MIDI song with a set of predefined tracks. These
tracks are called generators: each of them will produce one or several MIDI tracks. For
example, a keyboard chord generator track can produce a background pad as well as a
lead piano groove. Generator track visibility dictates what can be seen on screen. What
you see is what you hear. If it’s not on screen you can’t hear it.

The predefined generator tracks are:


Vox Melody Define the vocal melody. Arguably the most important
element in a song.

Lead Melody Defines the lead instrument’s melody. This could be a


guitar lick, a sax line or any other monophonic lead
instrument sound.

Bassline The monophonic bassline for the song.

Guitar Chord Guitar chords for the song.

Keyboard Chord Keyboard chords for the song.

Drums All drum & percussion for the song.

Audio Unused.

MIDI Unused.

Switching generator tracks on and off can be done through the main menu or by right-
clicking anywhere in the work view’s background.

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Xsong V.1.0 19

2.4. Media Playback

In Xsong™, media playback is context-sensitive, depending on the view mode (Organize


or Edit) and the type of the currently selected songwriting object (Lead Sheet, audio, or
MIDI). The toolbar displays the file names of the editable media file (E.g. Song01.xml)
and the associated file used for playback (E.g. Song01.mid).

Record Prepares for recording. Recording starts the next time you
start Play.

Forward To Start Go back to the beginning.

Play/Pause Play or Pause current media playback.

Loop Toggles loop playback where the playback restarts from the
beginning after reaching the end.

Edit File File being edited.


An asterisk (*) next to the name indicates that the file has
been modified.

Playback File File being played back. When editing a Lead Sheet media,
the song values are saved in a xml file while a MIDI file is
used for playback.
An asterisk (*) next to the name indicates that the file has
been modified.

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Xsong V.1.0 20

2.5. The Search Field

Search For Songwriters


Xsong features a search field optimized for songwriting. It can be used to find the notes
in a chord, scale or key as well as closest rhymes and synonyms.

Search Prefixes
A typical search is done by typing a one or two letter prefix before followed by a search
term. For example, typing “c Am” will show the notes of a “A minor” chord.

Typing “H” in the search field lists all available search prefixes as shown in the following
table:
Name Prefix Description
Key K Type key(s) and get their chords + degree.
Fit Key FK Type a sequence of notes and get chord name.
Chord C Type chord(s) and get their notes.
Fit Chord FC Type a sequence of notes and get list of chords.
Scale S Type scale(s) and get their notes.
Title T Search for songs titles (default in Organize view).
Rhyme R Type a word and get the list of RHYMES.
Synonym Y Type a word and get the list of SYNONYMS.
All Chords C* List all available CHORD types.
All Scales S* List all available SCALE types.
All Modes M* List all available MODE types.
All P* List all available PROGRESSION types.
Progressions
All D r u m s D* List all available DRUMS PATTERN types.
Patterns
All Current * Lists all the chords in the current key & mode.
Chords
Help H Shows this help panel.

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Xsong V.1.0 21

Most Recent Searches


The 16 most recent searches are accumulated and retrieved using the popup arrow
located under the search field. This allows you to go back to the result of a previous
search.

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Xsong V.1.0 22

2.6. Alphanumeric Mode

The Alphanumeric mode lets you use your computer keyboard to “play” the circle of
fifths or a virtual instrument (keyboard, guitar, bass & drums) in real-time. Playing the
circle of fifths is a great way to test out chord progressions.

Entering Alphanumeric Mode


To engage Alphanumeric mode, click on the appropriate icon at the lower-left corner of
the Circle view or Instrument view. From that point on, all keyboard entries will be
processed by the circle of fifth or the active instrument.

Leaving Alphanumeric Mode


To exit Alphanumeric mode, click again on the same button. Keyboard processing then
returns to normal. Note that only one view at a time can receive alphanumeric input.
This means for example that clicking on the instrument view’s alphanumeric button
while the circle view is already taking input only transfers the input from the circle view
to the instrument view.

Using The Mouse


The mouse can be used for occasional note entry by clicking directly on the circle of
fifths or on the surface of the active instrument.

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Xsong V.1.0 23

2.7. Drag and Drop

Drag and drop is used extensively in Xsong™ for reordering and copying song elements
(internal Drag-and-drop). It’s also used to bring external file elements into the program
(external Drag-and-drop).

Internal Drag-and-drop – Reordering and copying song elements


You can drag a song element into another.
Drag and drop behavior depends on the active view:

In Organize view: Everything can be reordered.

In Edit view: The Sections can be reordered but everything inside the
Sections can only be copied.

Drag-and-drop to Reorder Drag-and-drop to Copy


• Song (Organize View) • Source Category (Source List)
• Media (Lead Sheet, audio, midi & • Section elements (Edit View)
image) o Text Line
• Section (Edit View) o Bar/Change
o Chord
o Melody
o Drums
o Progression (back of
Section)

Pressing the COMMAND key while


dragging reassigns the source as
UNASSIGNED.

External Drag-and-drop – Loading external files


You can drag files from the desktop or finder into Xsong™. The active view mode will
dictate the type of files that can be dragged.

In Organize view: Text file (song Lead Sheet)


MIDI file
Audio file
Image file

In Edit view: Text file (song Lead Sheet)

External Drag-and-drop – Selected Text From Other Applications


You can select text from another application and drag it into Xsong™.

In Organize view: Creates a new song Lead Sheet.

In Edit view: Create Sections to fit song Lead Sheet found in the
dragged text.

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Xsong V.1.0 24

2.8. Recording Audio

Xsong™ provides simple audio recording as a way to quickly notate your song ideas.

1) Click on the "Record" button

2) When ready, Click on "Play" button


• After a count-off period, an audio recording session will start.
• Click on "Bed Track" button, if you want the Lead Sheet's MIDI bed track to play
back at the same time.

3) When done, click the "Stop" button. Depending on the active view, the new audio file
is created differently:

• In Organize View:
A new audio media file will be created depending on the context:
a) If a song is selected and open: new recording will be added as a media in
that song.
b) Otherwise, a new song will be created with a new audio recording as it's
only media.

• In Edit View:
A new audio media file will be created and added to the song currently being edited.

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Xsong V.1.0 25

2.9. Exporting

In Xsong™, exporting is done through the File menu.

Figure 31. File Export Menu

Export is context sensitive, and applies to the currently selected media. In Organize
View, a media file can be selected directly for export. In Edit View, the Lead Sheet that is
being edited is the object being exported.

Export Section
The export Section confirms which song object is being exported and lists the
supported export file formats.

Figure 32. Export File Section

Exporting options can be found in the Preferences Section.

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Xsong V.1.0 26

2.10. Printing

You can print the song currently in the Edit Text View by using the “File -> Print…”
menu option.

PDF-printed page in Apple’s Preview™ app.

Additional Printing Information


When printing the following information is added to your page:

1) Song Title
2) Author
3) Publisher

This Author and Publisher names can be configured from the Preferences Section:

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Xsong V.1.0 27

Preference Panel showing print options

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Xsong V.1.0 28

2.10. Shortcuts

The following is a detailed breakdown of the application’s shortcuts:

Global
Visually Open Song Object.
Flip active Section.

Play/Pause

Xsong™

Show Preferences Section…

Show Audio MIDI Setup Section…

Hide Xsong™

Hide Others

File

Add Media From File

Add Folder Content

Save Selected Item

Save All

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Xsong V.1.0 29

Export Lead Sheet (Lyrics +


Chords)…

Export MIDI

Export Audio

Export Image

Edit

Undo

Redo

Cut

Copy

Paste

Duplicate selected item

Create

Create Lead Sheet

Create Audio

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Xsong V.1.0 30

Create MIDI

Create Image

Create Section

Create VoxLine

Create Bar

Create Note

Create Connector

Create Progression Connectors.

Playback

Record

Toggle Loop

Toggle Metronome

Toggle Count-Off

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Xsong V.1.0 31

View
Switch between Organize & Edit

Organize: Switch between Icon & List draw


modes.
Edit: Switch between Music & Text draw
modes.
Edit: Toggle Mix Bay.

Edit: Toggle Media Bay.

Switch between circle of fifths & variants


circle views.

Automatically advance selection in Bar &


Note entry.

Toggle Alphanumeric Circle

Toggle Alphanumeric Instrument

Use Keyboard Instrument

Use Guitar Instrument

Use Bass Instrument

Use Drums Instrument

Organize: Inspect Library


Edit: Inspect Lead Sheet

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Xsong V.1.0 32

Zoom Out

Zoom In

Window
Toggle Alphanumeric Section.

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Xsong V.1.0 33

2.11. Menu

The following is a detailed breakdown of the menu entries:

Xsong

Preference Section.
Audio MIDI Setup Section.

File
Add new file to the library.
Add a folder’s content to library.
Save selected item.
Save all unsaved items.
Re-compute library entries.
Rewrite library entries
Pop Export Section.

Edit
Undo last command.
Redo last undone command.

Cut selected item(s).


Copy
Paste
Delete selected item(s)

Duplicate selected item.

Merge content of selected songs.


Explode selected song into individual
songs.

Replace Section’s connectors with items


parameters.

Delete Section’s connectors.

Clear Section Changes

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Xsong V.1.0 34

Create
Create Lead Sheet Media.
Create Audio Media
Create Midi Media
Create Image Media

Create Section
Create VoxLine
Create Bar
Create Note.
Create Connector.

Create Progression Connectors.

Create Fitted Connectors From Notes To


Roman.

Create Connectors From Roman To Notes.


Playback
Arm for recording.

Set current position to start.


Play or pause MIDI/audio playback.

Toggle looped playback.


Mute global audio/midi.

Toggle metronome on/off.


Toggle count-off on/off.
View
Switch between Organize & Edit
Switch between Icon & List mode

Switch between circle of fifths & variants


circle views.

Automatically advance selection in Roman


& Note entry.

Toggle Alphanumeric Circle.


Toggle Alphanumeric Instrument.

Switch instrument to keyboard


Switch instrument to guitar
Switch instrument to bass
Switch instrument to drums

Select parent for inspection.

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Xsong V.1.0 35

Window
Minimize main view.

Toggle Alphanumeric Section

Bring all views to front.

Help
Start OS-X Help Viewer for Xsong™.

Authorize Xsong™ program.


Go to Xsong™ demo video web page.

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Xsong V.1.0 36

Part 3 – Organize View

Explains the Organize View where songs and media files are managed.

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Xsong V.1.0 37

The organize view is the entry point to the application. It allows you to organize the
various media files and group them into songs.

3.1. Draw Modes

The list of songs and children media files can be seen and manipulated as icons or as a
textual list.
Icons List

Organize View - Icons Organize View - Lists

3.2. Data Model

The following diagram illustrates the parent-child relationship between a song and its
media files:

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Xsong V.1.0 38

3.3. Creation Commands

The creation commands are accessible from the toolbar and the Create menu.

Lead Sheet Creates a blank song Lead Sheet document with one verse
defined.

T i t l e – Title of the Lead


Sheet. Usually the same as
the parent song.

Lead Sheet – The song’s


Lead Sheet in ABACAB
notation where A, B, C are
verse, chorus and bridge
respectively. The ABACAB
notation does not encode
intro, pre-chorus, solos or
outro.

Key(s) – Keys found in the


song.

Meter – The meter for the


song. For now always 4/4.

B p m – The tempo of the


song in “beats-per-minute”.

Preset – Preset last applied


to the song. Presets are
predefined patterns and
MIDI programs applied to
chords, melody and drums
elements. They change the
Copyright © 2006-2010 XecretCode Corp. All rights reserved.
sound of a song without
altering its Lead Sheet..
Xsong V.1.0 39

elements. They change the


sound of a song without
altering its Lead Sheet..

V o x – Indicates which
instrument to use for vox
melody.

L e a d – Indicates which
instrument to use for lead
melody.

B a s s – Indicates which
instrument to use for bass
melody.

Preset - Preset last applied


to the song. Same as on
main sheet.

Vox Mel – Program for vocal


melody.

Lead Mel – Program for lead


melody.

Bassline – Program for bass


line.

Gtr Chord – Program for


guitar chords.

KB Chord – Program for


keyboard chords.

Metronome – Toggles
metronome.

Beat - GM MIDI sound for


regular beat.

Accent – GM MIDI sound for


accented beats.

CountOff – Toggles count-


off at the beginning of the
song.

Period – Count-off period


in bars.
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Xsong V.1.0 40

Audio Creates a blank audio file on which to record.

F i l e – Source audio file


name.

Spl Rate – Audio sample


rate.

C h a n n e l s – Number of
audio channels

Size – Disk file size.

Length – Playing length.

MIDI Creates a blank MIDI file.

F i l e – File name of the


source MIDI.

Tracks – Number of MIDI


tracks in the file.

BPM – MIDI file’s beats per


minute.

L e n g t h – Length of MIDI
file.

Image Creates a blank image file.

N a m e – File name of the


source image.

Resolution – Image
resolution in pixels.

Depth – Pixel depth. Usually


24 or 32.

Format – Image format. E.g.


Jpg, BMP or TIFF.

P a t h - Path name of the


source image.

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Xsong V.1.0 41

Size – Size of source image


file.

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Xsong V.1.0 42

3.4. Supported Media

Xsong™ supports the following media types:

Text TXT (plain text), RTF, DOC and XML


(Lead Sheet) Used to add previously created text files made using word
processors.

Xsong™ keeps all lyrics in a kind of song object named


Lead Sheets.

Typically, these files include lyrics and/or basic chord Lead


Sheets and notes.

• Note that the XML format is for songs that were


exported by Xsong™ and you wish to move back into
the system.

Audio WAV, M4A, MP4 and AIFF


Used to add previously recorded audio recordings.

• Note that MP3 are not directly supported for licensing


reasons.

MIDI MID and SMF


Used to add previously sequenced MIDI files.

• Note that Xsong™ can export MIDI but cannot edit


previously-sequenced files.

Image JPG, PNG, BMP & TIFF


Used to add previously generated images. These images
can be embedded into the text of a song for additional
visual annotation.

3.5. Song Closed/Open

In Icon draw mode, songs first appear as a stack of items hanging from a 3D nail.
Double-clicking on this song “opens” it and provides access to the individual media files
that are grouped under it. To “Close” the song, double-click on the Lyre icon – which
represents the song itself.

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Xsong V.1.0 43

3.6. Drag-And-Drop

This view uses drag-and-drop to allow real-time visual grouping. You can drag files
from the outside or move media files from one song to another. When a file is first
added to the system, it is categorized as idea and is put into its own song.

All media files must be part of a song - they cannot exist on their own.

Organize allows you to drag-and-drop medias such as audio, midi and text files and
group them into songs.

You can also drag songs into the Source List view to migrate it to a different category.

3.7. Rating

Songs and media/ideas can be assigned a rating value, so that you know if you have
enough hooks to form the basis of a song.

3.8. Lead Sheet Editing

The actual song is kept in a song Lead Sheet. Double–clicking on it sends you to the
editor. One advantage of this modular design is that one song can have multiple Lead
Sheets, each being a rewrite of the same song. A rewrite could have a different key,
sections, lyrics etc.

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Xsong V.1.0 44

Part 4 – Edit View

Introduces the elements of the Xsong™ user interface.

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Xsong V.1.0 45

The Edit View provides tools for writing and editing a song.

4.1. Draw Modes

A song’s Lead Sheet can be seen and manipulated as Sections or as text.


Music Text

Edit View - Sections Edit View - Text

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Xsong V.1.0 46

4.2. Data Model

The following diagram illustrates the parent-child relationship between a Lead Sheet,
its Sections and included song objects:

Edit View Data Model

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Xsong V.1.0 47

4.3. Inspect Lead Sheet

In order to be inspected, the Lead Sheet object has to be selected. Clicking the “Inspect
Lead Sheet” button, which selects the active Lead Sheet object and presents its
parameters in the inspector view does this.

The Lead Sheet’s inspector view can be used to:


• Select a preset to apply to the whole song.
• Select individual programs.

See section 3.3. (Creation Commands) for a breakdown of Lead Sheet’s inspector sheets.

4.4. Presets

Presets are snapshots of patterns, programs and mix parameters for a song. Once
you've defined your song's chord Lead Sheet, it's often interesting to try different
“sounds” without altering the Lead Sheet.

Presets are named as one instrument over another. Example: Clean guitar on Strings,
etc.

Presets encode:
• Volume & pan for each generator track.
• The variants (or chord quality) to be used.
o For most pop songs, triads, 6th, 7th & diminished are enough.
o For jazz, 9th 11 and 13th can be used.

Applying presets does not overwrite user patterns.

There are two ways of defining MIDI programs for Generator Tracks.
1) Select Lead Sheet & Inspector --> Progs tab
2) Mix Bay --> Click program name to select + editing program inspector

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Xsong V.1.0 48

4.5. Creation Commands – Front Section

The creation commands are accessible from the toolbar and the Create menu.

Section Creates a new Section. If another Section is currently


selected, the new one is inserted right after it. Otherwise
the new Section is inserted at the end.

Section – Intro, verse, pre-


chorus, chorus, bridge, solo
or outro.

K e y - Keys used for this


Section.

Mode – Mode used for this


Section. Minor, major, etc.

C h a n g e s – Number of
changes per bar. 1 or 2.

Bars – Number of bars for


this Section. This is non-
editable.

Start Bar – Index of first bar


in this Section.

End Bar – Index of last bar


in this Section.

Voxline Creates a new voxline. If another voxline is currently


selected, the new one is inserted right after it. Otherwise
the new voxline is inserted at the end.

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Xsong V.1.0 49

Lyrics – Lyrics text.

Syllables – Syllable count.

Rhyme – Rhyme scheme.

Vox Mel – Notes in vox


melody.

Lead Mel – Notes in lead


melody.

Bassline – Notes in bass


line.

Bar/Change Creates a new bar. If another bar is currently selected, the


new one is inserted right after it. Otherwise the new bar is
inserted at the end.

Roman # - Roman number.


I, II, III, IV, V, VI or VII

Octave – Octave for roman.


–1 to 9.

Accidental – Natural, flat or


sharp.

Variant – Available chord


variations: minor, major, 6th,
7th, 9th, etc. Default is
major, minor or diminished
triads.

Bar – Index of bar


containing this change.

Start – Start time in beats.

Duration – Duration time in


beats.

Note Creates a new note. If another note is currently selected,


the new one is inserted right after it. Otherwise the new
note is inserted at the end.

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4.6. Changes Per Bar

Through the Section inspector page, it is possible to specify the number of chord
changes for each bar. When set to “2 changes per bar”, two roman changes are used
for each bar. These changes only contain guitar and keyboard chords while using
Melody (vox, lead, main) and drums common to that bar.

“Change Per Bar” Parameter in Section Inspector

The following figure shows an 8-bar Section set to 1 change per bar:

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Xsong V.1.0 51

The following figure shows an 8-bar Section set to 2 changes per bar:

Notice that both Sections have the same number of bars – just twice as many chord
changes.

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Xsong V.1.0 52

4.7. Creation Commands – Back Section

The creation commands are accessible from the toolbar and the Create menu.

Connector Creates a new connector between two connectable objects.

For example selecting a progression and a bar, then


clicking this command will create a connector between the
two.

Source – Source element &


vale being passed. E.g.
“Roman – B Major”.

Target - Target element &


vale being passed.

A c t i v e – Tells if the
connection is active or not.

Connect – Tells what’s beng


passed: pitch or rhythm.

Progression Creates a new note. If another note is currently selected,


the new one is inserted right after it. Otherwise the new
note is inserted at the end.

Fit Creates a new note. If another note is currently selected,


the new one is inserted right after it. Otherwise the new
note is inserted at the end.

Arpeggiate Creates a new note. If another note is currently selected,


the new one is inserted right after it. Otherwise the new
note is inserted at the end.
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Xsong V.1.0 53

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Xsong V.1.0 54

4.8. Music Draw Mode

Lead Sheet in Edit View (zoomed out):


The Edit Music draw mode presents the content of a Lead Sheet media file. A Lead
Sheet is made up of Sections, each representing a song section. Each Section contain
voxlines and bars. The number of bars determines the duration of a piece of music.
Additionally, Sections can be flipped using the TAB key to reveal connections between
its sub-components.

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Xsong V.1.0 55

4.9. Section

A Section represents a song section (verse, chorus, etc). On the front, you can change
the order of a sequence, while the back provides access to the various connectors
between song elements (progressions, bars, notes & melody).

Back Section connectors serve two purposes:


1) Connecting an automatic progression to bar entries. This allows to try out
common chord progressions globally without having to set individual roman
value.
2) Connecting melody with voxline notes. This lets you visualize the connection
between lyric lines and melodies.

Here’s a breakdown of a Section and its sub-components:

Section – Front & Back

Voxline Shows how each line of lyrics is associated with the


melody content.

Bar Tells which chord, drum pattern and melody to play for
one bar (measure).

Section Color Area of the Section color-coded based on section type.


Indicator For example, b l u e=verse, r e d = c h o r u s and
magenta=bridge.

Progression Used to automatically assign roman values to bars using


connectors.

Connectors Connectors allow you to visually link one song element to


another using patch cords. Each connector can affect
pitch, timing or both.

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Xsong V.1.0 56

Outlets Contact points for connector cables.

4.10. Progression Inspector

Whenever a Section’s progression object is selected, the inspector view can be used to
access its parameters. Note that the progression element is only accessible when the
Section is flipped.

Here’s breakdown of the progression object inspector page:

Selected progression in back Section

Progression – Selected progression.

Romans – Roman entries in the chosen


progression.

Sign – Direction of the progression:


plus or minus.

Coverage – Number of bars for each


progression entry. From 1 to 8.

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4.11. Voxline

A voxline shows how each line of lyrics is associated with the melody content. The
number of vox lines is independent of the number of Bars.

A vox line contain the lyrics, plus the notes for the following melody lines (these are a
subset of the previously mentioned generator tracks):
• Vox Melody
• Lead Melody
• Bass Line

Here’s a breakdown of a voxline and its sub-components:

Selection Box Clicking on it selects the whole voxline.

Text Line A line of lyrics.

Text – Lyric line text.

S y l l a b l e s – Number of
syllables.

Auto Count – Enables


automatic syllable count.

Rhyme – Rhyme scheme.

Syllable Count The number of syllables in that lyric line.

S y l l a b l e s – Number of
syllables.

A u t o - C o u n t - Enables
automatic syllable count.

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Rhyme Tag Tag used to keep track of recurring rhymes.


• Unused for now.

Rhyme – Rhyme scheme.

Internal – Tells if rhyme is


internal. An internal rhyme,
or middle rhyme, is a
rhyme that occurs inside a
single line. E.g. "In mist or
cloud, on mast or shroud"

Note Sequence of single notes forming a melody.


Usually associated with one or several melody objects
(see bellow).

Roman # - Roman number:


I, II, III, IV, V, VI or VII.

O ct av e – Octave of MIDI
number: -1 to 9

Accidental – Natural, flat


or sharp.

* Note that there’s no correlation between the number of voxlines and the number of
bars. Voxlines are merely used to monitor the metering of each line of lyrics and see if
they fit a melody line.

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4.12. Bar/Change

A bar tells which chord, drum pattern and melody to play for one measure. The chord is
represented by a roman numerical value such as “I”, “II”, “VI”, etc. The full chord name
depends on the active key. For example, Roman “I” in the key of “C” is a C major chord.
Using Roman numerals instead of chord names is a common practice among studio
musicians, songwriters and live performers.

Here’s a breakdown of a bar and its sub-components:

A bar object

Roman Numeral Assigned roman numeral value. Goes from I to VII. This
value is independent of any key. Can be automatically
defined when part of a progression connection chain.

Chord Name Final chord name when roman, key and mode are
factored in. This name will change if any of the three
factors are changed.

Guitar Chord Chord name as applied to a guitar instrument. Can be


assigned a voicing, pattern and arpeggiator.

Generator Track: Guitar Chord

Keyboard Chord Chord name as applied to a keyboard instrument. Can be


assigned a voicing, pattern and arpeggiator.

Generator Track: Keyboard Chord

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Connection Indicates the status of the connection in the back:


Indicator Invisible
No connection in the back.
Green
Connection is active and the source object is
assigned.
Red
Connection exists but is either non-active or the
source object is unassigned.

Pattern Indicator Indicates if a pattern is assigned to a guitar or keyboard


chord.

Arpeggiator Indicates if a arpeggiator is assigned to a guitar of


Indicator keyboard chord.

Vox Melody Monophonic vocal melody.

Generator Track: Vox Melody

Lead Melody Monophonic lead melody.

Generator Track: Lead Melody

Bassline Melody Monophonic bass melody.

Generator Track: Bassline

Drums Drum pattern to be played for the duration of the bar


(one measure).

Generator Track: Drums

As you select a bar’s sub-components, you’ll notice that notes that make up an object
are highlighted in the active instrument view.

Instead of manipulating midi events directly, you manipulate song objects such as bars,
notes, chords, patterns and progressions to get a finished song. This is a lot faster and
allows the exploration of different arrangements while preserving the melody and
harmonic Lead Sheet of a song.

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4.13. Chord Inspector

Whenever a chord is selected, the inspector view can be used to access its parameters.
Note that the parent bar object dictates the chord root note value.

Here’s breakdown of the chord inspector pages:

Selected guitar and keyboard chords

Guitar Chord

Name - Chord name inherited from


parent bar element.

Octave – MIDI number octave. From –1


to 9.

Voicing – Active keyboard or guitar


chord.

Muted – Mutes chord. No MIDI note


Keyboard Chord
will be produced. Used to temporarily
silence a generator track.

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Start – Start time in beats.

L e n g t h – Chord length in beats.


Usually fixed to 4 beats.

Velocity – MIDI velocity. 0 to 1.0.

Pad A – Time padding after start.

Pad B – Time padding before end.

Arp – Assigned arpeggiator.

Pattern – Assigned predefined chord


pattern.

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Xsong V.1.0 63

4.14. Melody Inspector

Whenever a melody is selected, the inspector view can be used to access its parameters.
Note that the parent bar object dictates the root value.

Here’s breakdown of the melody inspector pages:

Selected melody

Type – Vox Melody, Lead Melody or


Bassline.

Rhythm – Rhythmic pattern.


predefined or user-defined.

Pitch – Pitch scheme to use. Root,


Root+5, Root+5+7, etc.

Muted - Mutes melody. No MIDI note


will be produced. Used to temporarily
silence a generator track.

Start – Start time in beats.

L e n g t h – Chord length in beats.


Usually fixed to 4 beats.

Velocity – MIDI velocity. 0 to 1.0.

Pad A – Time padding after start.

Pad B – Time padding before end.

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Xsong V.1.0 64

4.15. Drums Inspector

Whenever a drums object is selected, the inspector view can be used to access its
parameters. Note that the drums object is always exactly one bar long.

Here’s breakdown of the drums object inspector pages:

Selected drums object

P a t t e r n – Assigned drum pattern.


predefined or user-defined.

Muted - Mutes drums. No MIDI note


will be produced. Used to temporarily
silence a generator track.

Start – Start time in beats.

L e n g t h – Chord length in beats.


Usually fixed to 4 beats.

Velocity – MIDI velocity. 0 to 1.0.

Pad A – Time padding after start.

Pad B – Time padding before end.

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Xsong V.1.0 65

4.16. Mixing Bay

In the Edit view, the mixing bay is a Section that slides down to provide basic control
over the generator tracks. When done, simply click on the icon again to hide the sliding
Section.

There are eight generator tracks, each with the following controls:
• Volume
• Pan
• Assigned program

Toggle Mixing Bay from the UI

Toggle Mixing Bay shortcut

Mixing Bay

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Xsong V.1.0 66

Device – GM (General MIDI) or specific


MIDI device registered through the
Audio MIDI Section.

C a t e g o r y – For GM: Predefined


category (guitars, keyboards, etc.)
For MIDI device: Bank (A, B, C, D).
E.g.
Program – Program number.

Percussion – Yes or No.


Assigned program inspector sheet
C o m b i – For MIDI device, tell if the
patch is a Combi.

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Xsong V.1.0 67

4.17. Media Bay

In Edit view, the media bay is a Section that slides from the right to provide access to
other media files belonging to the same parent song. To play back select an entry and
click the toolbar’s play button (or space key).

Toggle Media Bay from the UI


Toggle Media Bay shortcut

Media Bay

When done, simply click on the icon again to hide the sliding Section.

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Xsong V.1.0 68

4.18. Text Draw Mode

Edit View - Text

The Edit Text draw mode presents an uncluttered text editor optimized for songwriting.
Beside usual text editing features such as real-time correction, it allows you to specify
the chords and the number of bars in each section. It also uses auto-complete so you
don’t have to remember any keywords.

This is possible because Xsong™ keeps a musical representation of the song while you
are editing in Text mode. This means that when you switch back to the Music draw
mode, the Sections will have changed in accordance to the content of the Text draw
mode.

4.19. Text Elements

A text element is a paragraph of text with its own font, line spacing and justification. All
are single-line paragraphs, except for lyrics, which can span across multiple lines. Each
text element is drawn using different paragraph styles to make it easier to tell them
apart. Section and lyrics are drawn using a black “Helvetica” font, while technical details
are drawn with a blue “Courier” font.

There’s always an active text element, indicated by the Text Element popup button in
the view’s caption. Switching text element can be done either by clicking on the Text
Element popup button and selecting an entry or pressing the TAB key.

Edit View – Text Element popup button

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The following illustrates the various text elements as they appear in the text view:

Sample Text Elements

The following table is a resume of the text elements and their possible values:

Tempo Indicates BPM (beats-per-minute) and time signature.

Example:

120. 4/4

Section Indicates the type of a song section, like verse, chorus and
bridge.

Example:

verse

Harmony Specifies the key, chords and the number of bars in each
section.

Because this effectively tells Xsong™ how long the section


is and which chords are to be played, the harmony text
element is required if a song is to be played back.

Specifies the harmonic content for a song section using the


following format:

Key. Chord///|chord///|chord///|chord///

Where:
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Xsong V.1.0 70

• Key: key for the section.


• Chord: name of chord in a bar.
• /: represents a beat.
• |: separator between bars.

Examples:

Amin. 1///|3///|4///|1///

Amin. C///|F///|G///|C///

Pattern Indicates which sounds (programs) and patterns to use


during playback, using the following format:

object (chord program. chord pattern. bass pattern. drum


pattern)

Where:
• Chord program: playback chord program.
• Chord pattern: playback chord pattern.
• Bass pattern: playback bass pattern.
• Drum pattern: playback drum pattern.

Example:
all (classical-guitar. strumming. follow-kick. metronome)
guitar (classical-guitar. strumming)
keyboard (acoustic piano. none.)
bass (slap bass. follow-kick)
drums (rock verse)

Lyrics The song’s lyrics.

Example:

Lyric line
Lyric line
Lyric line
Lyric line

Melody Defines a melody line Vox (vocals), lead or bass line


object [1-2-|….|1..2|2---]
Where:
“1,2,3,etc” = note value in scale degree.
“A#, B, C, etc.” = explicit note value
“.” = silence beat.
“-“ = sustained note beat.

Example:

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Xsong V.1.0 71

vox [1-2-|….|1..2|2---]
lead [1-2-|….|1..2|2---]
bassline [C-A-|….|C..D|C---]

Comment Optional comments. Use this to add anything that doesn’t


fall in any of the above categories.

Example:

*Not sure how to end this section*

4.20. Tab Key

The Tab key is used to cycle between the most logical text elements. This allows you to
concentrate on the task of songwriting without having to constantly change the active
element through the elements popup button.

4.21. Return Key

When the cursor is in the text view.

4.22. Auto-Complete

Auto-complete allows you to type faster by proposing a list of valid keywords based on
the active text element. For example, if Section is the active text element, typing “v” will
propose “verse”, “c” will propose “chorus” and so on.

4.23. Using The Mac OSX Dictionary

Xsong lyrics editing view contains with a handy inline dictionary. To use it, simply select
the word you want to look up and press "control + command + D".
Note that you can use the same shortcut in many Mac OSX applications such as Safari,
TextEdit and Preview.

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Xsong V.1.0 72

Part 5 - Circle View

This section shows how to use the circle and instrument views.

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Xsong V.1.0 73

The circle view provides access to the circle of fifths, which is the main tool for
understanding and generating chord progressions.

5.1. Circle Of Fifths

The Circle view is divided into the following sections:

Progression Active chord progression. When in Edit View, shows the


progression assigned to the target Section. Each roman
number corresponds to the note degree of the root of a
chord.

Auto-Advance Automatically advance the selection of a note or bar


Selection object to the next entry.

This way, it’s possible to “record” roman chord changes


in one pass.

Disabled when the currently-selected object is not a bar


or a note object.

Next Entry Plays the current entry in a progression and move to the
next entry.

Allows to control note durations by playing the chord


until the mouse button is released.

Circle Of Fifths These are the entries numbered from I to VII.

Key & Mode Active key and mode.

Right-clicking on either field pops up a menu of new


value.
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Xsong V.1.0 74

value.

Changing the key/mode from the Circle View also


changes the active Section’s key/mode.

Alphanumeric Toggles Alphanumeric mode on and off. When switched


on, all keyboard entries are sent to the Circle View and
plays the chord associated with the keyboard key.

Show Variants Switch between circle of fifths and variants views.

Navigating Through Circle Entries


You can use the mouse and keyboard’s arrow keys to navigate the circle entries.

Use the left mouse button to:


• Select active progression entry.
• Play circle entry.
• Select circle focus: key signature or mode.

Use the right mouse button to:


• Pop up the key signature selection menu.
• Pop up the mode selection menu.

Use up/down arrow to up and down the currently focused


list.

Use left/right arrow to toggle the circle focus between


key signature and mode.

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Xsong V.1.0 75

5.2. Tonic and Mode

The circle of fifths shows which chords are to be played for a given key. A key is made
of two parts: a key signature and a mode. For example, for the key of F Major, the key
signature is F while the mode is Major / Ionian. The most useful modes for songwriting
are the Major / Ionian and the N. Minor (Natural Minor) / Aeolian. Other modes are
rarely used and included here for completeness.

Generally, the key signature tells how many flats or sharps are in a key while the
mode tells you the roman number (scale degree) and the type of chord to use
(major, minor, diminished, etc.)

Xsong™ presents the key signatures and modes in the following order:

Key Mode
B# Lydian
E# Major / Ionian
A# Mixolydian
D# Dorian
G# N. Minor / Aeolian
C# Phrygian
F# Locrian
B
E
A
D
G
C
F
Bb
Eb
Ab
Db
Gb
Cb
Fb

By default, Xsong™ is set to the key of C Major, which has no flats and no sharps. From
there, going down the tonic list introduces the flat keys, while going up shows the sharp
ones.

The white entries in the Tonic column show the fifteen classic major key signatures
from C# (seven sharps) to Cb (seven flats). The grey entries are more rarely used, and
are listed here for completeness.

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5.3. Roman Numerals

In music theory, Roman numerals (also called Nashville number system) are used for
notating musical ideas using numbers instead of chord names. For example, in the key
of C major, the chord D minor 7 can be written as "dm7", "2m7", or "ii7".

In the key of C, C=1, D=2, E=3, and so on for all seven notes in the key. So, the chord
progression C///F///G///C/// would correspond to 1///4///5///1/// in Nashville
notation, while G///C///D///G/// in the key of G would also become
1///4///5///1///.
This method of notation allows musicians who are familiar with basic music theory to
play the same song in any key.

Upper-case Roman numerals indicate major triads while lower-case Roman


numerals indicate minor triads, as the following chart illustrates:

Major Mode Minor Mode

Roman Scale Degree Roman Scale Degree


I tonic i tonic

ii supertonic ii° supertonic

iii mediant bIII mediant

IV subdominant iv subdominant

V dominant v dominant

vi submediant bVI submediant

vii° leading tone bVII subtonic

vii° leading tone

Lower-case Roman numerals with a degree symbol indicate diminished triads. For
example, in the major mode the triad on the seventh scale degree, the leading tone triad
is diminished.

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5.4. Variants

Clicking on the “Show Variant” button presents the variant list indicating the chord type
of an entry on the circle of fifths. Usually set at major, minor or diminished. Variants
let you apply extended chord types beyond the basic triads and use such types as major
7th, minor 7th, 9th and augmented.

Variant Variant entry with the following format:

IV * F * Major -------------- 1/17

Where:
IV = The roman number for the chord.
F = Name of root note for the chord.
Major = Chord type.
1/17 = Index in available variants.

Reset To Triads Reset all variant entries to basic triads.

Navigating Through Variant Entries


You can use the mouse and keyboard’s arrow keys to navigate the variant entries.

Use the left mouse button to select an entry.

Use the right mouse button to pop up the variants


selection menu.

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Use up/down arrow to up and down the list.

Use left/right arrow to change the chord quality for the


selected entry.

Also, just like in Circle view, Alphanumeric mode allows you to play back the individual
variants by typing on the computer’s keyboard,

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5.5. Circle In Alphanumeric Mode

The circle of fifths can be played in real-time using the computer’s keyboard. Chords
generated in this fashion are played using the active instrument in the instrument view.

Keyboard mapping spans 3 rows:

1 to 7 Chords with root base notes.

Q to U Chords with first inversion.

That’s when the second note in the triad is used as


root. For example, in a C major triad chord (C-E-G),
the first inversion would be (E-G-C)

A to J Chords with second inversion.

That’s when the second note in the triad is used as


root. For example, in a C major triad chord (C-E-G),
the second inversion would be (G-C-E)

The mapping is illustrated in the following diagram:

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5.6. More About The Circle Of Fifths

The Circle of Fifths is an invaluable tool in writing 12 tone music. It's a very common
graphic that illustrates the key signatures. The outer circle is moving clockwise in the
dominant direction, that means each note is followed by its fifth note. The inner circle is
moving counterclockwise in the subdominant direction. If you start with C the next note
in dominant direction is G, in subdominant direction F. You can go through the whole
circle and end after 12 steps (the 12 notes) again at the starting note. Nothing new so
far. Note the enharmonic notes, which have the same pitch but different names like G -
Abb. The important thing is the sound of the fifth chord of each scale - played as 7th it
will always resolve back to the root (tonic) chord.

Useful for:
1) Chord Progression
For Blues guitar based on the I-IV-V progression this circle makes it simple to
find the right chords. If you play a Blues in E you need the chords E(I), A(IV) and
B(V). Locate the E note and you'll find A in subdominant and B in dominant
direction - that's all. If you really want to know how a Blues in G# may sound,
take C#(IV) and D#(V) - easy!

It's getting even better - the pentatonic scale can also be described from the
circle of fifths (= penta!). Let's take the major pentatonic scale in C. Notes are C-
D-E-G-A-C. Now start from the root note C and go up using the circle of fifths:
C-G-D-A-E. Order them and you get the right scale!

2) Modulation
Tonal music often modulates by moving between adjacent scales on the circle of
fifths. This is because diatonic scales contain seven pitch classes that are

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contiguous on the circle of fifths. It follows that diatonic scales a perfect fifth
apart share six of their seven notes. Furthermore, the notes not held in common
differ by only a semitone. Thus modulation by perfect fifth can be accomplished
in an exceptionally smooth fashion. For example, to move from the C major scale
F - C - G - D - A - E - B to the G major scale C - G - D - A - E - B - F_, one need
only move the C major scale's "F" to "F_."

In music theory, the circle of fifths (or circle of fourths) shows the relationships among
the twelve tones of the chromatic scale, their corresponding key signatures, and the
associated major and minor keys. More specifically, it is a geometrical representation of
relationships among the 12 pitch classes of the chromatic scale in pitch class space.
Musicians and composers use the circle of fifths to understand and describe those
relationships. The circle’s design is helpful in composing and harmonizing melodies,
building chords, and moving to different keys within a composition.

For more details, see the Wikipedia entry on the subject at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_fifths

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Part 6 – Instrument View

Introduces the Instrument view and its various forms.

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6.1. Instrument View

The Instrument View is a central element of Xsong™. Instruments are used for 3 things.

1) During editing, to show a preview of the selected note, chord , melody or drums.
2) To perform real-time note input using the mouse or the alphanumeric keyboard
input.
3) During playback, showing the notes, chords or drum pattern being played.

Each instrument Section is has 3 elements:

Instrument View

Sequence Bar 16-step sequence pattern used for encoding melodies


and chord patterns.

Object Name Displays the name of the object currently selected or the
note/chord currently being played.

Draw Modes Switch between four available instruments: keyboard,


guitar, bass and drums.

Instrument Interactive instrument surface.

Alphanumeric Toggles alphanumeric mode for the intrument view.

6.2. Playback Instrument

• During playback, the content of the target GenTrack is shown on the active
instrument.
• To set the target GenTrack, just select an instrument-enabled item. For example,
selecting a drum object will result in the drum instrument being shown during
playback.
• During playback, the key changes are reflected in the circle view.

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6.3. Sequence Bar

The sequence bar is 16-step sequence pattern used for encoding melodies and chord
patterns. It is quite powerful, yet simple to use.

Sequence Bar

Melody
A Melody is a mapping of notes onto an instrument. When a melody object is selected,
the sequence bar makes it possible to link instrument notes with the sequence’s cells,
thereby creating a melody.

By default, melody notes start on the 4th octave, except for the bass where they start
one octave lower (on the 3rd octave).

Cell State
Each cell has three possible states:

Off Cell is silent.

On Plays a new note/chord at this a cell location.

Sustain Continue playing the last note/chord.

Cell Selection & Modification


When the Instrument View is active, a blue bar indicates the selected cell. The cell can be
selected and changed in two ways:

Use the left mouse button to select a new cell.

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Use the right mouse button to pop up the state selection


menu.

Use the left/right arrow buttons to move to


previous/next cell.

Use up/down to cycle between state values.

Assigning notes/chords to selected cell


The cell state can be set in two possible ways:

Via Instrument Select a sequence cell and play an instrument note or


chord.

Draw Connection Drag a connection curve between an instrument note cell


Curve and a sequence cell.

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6.4. Keyboard Instrument

The instrument view provides note entry and visualization on the following four
instruments:

Keyboard Instrument

Keyboard In Alphanumeric Mode

Melody Sequencing On The Keyboard

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6.5. Guitar Instrument

Guitar Instrument

Melody Sequencing On The Guitar

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Guitar In Alphanumeric Mode


By default, the keyboard is mapped to the four lower strings:
1 to =  G string
Q to ]  D string
A to ‘  A string
Z to /  Low E string

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Holding down the [SHIFT] changes the keyboard the mapping to the four upper strings:
1 to =  High E string
Q to ]  B string
A to ‘  G string
Z to /  D string

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6.6. Bass Instrument

Bass Instrument

Bass In Alphanumeric Mode


The keyboard is mapped to the bass’s four strings:

1 to = G string

Q to ] D string

A to ‘ A string

Z to / Low E string

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Melody Sequencing On The Bass

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6.7. Drums Instrument

Drums Instrument

Drums In Alphanumeric Mode

The keyboard is mapped to the standard GM drums percussions:


BD Bass (kick) drum.
RIM Rim part of a snare drum.
SD Snare drum.
LTOM Left side tom.
MTOM Middle tom
RTOM Right side tom
CLAP Hand clap.
CRSH Crash cymbal
RIDE Ride cymbal
OPEN Open hi hat
CLOS Closed hi-hat.
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Factory And User Patterns


Factory patterns are drawn in blue while user patterns are indicated as white. As soon as
a factory pattern is edited, it is automatically defined as a user pattern. A user pattern is
saved with the Lead Sheet file.

Accent
An accented drum note is played with higher volume than a normal note. Accents are
applied to an entire column (pattern step). Accents are toggled on and off by clicking on
the column number while pressing the SHIFT key.

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Part 7 - Appendix

Additional information for using Xsong™

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Appendix I - File Handling

Xsong™’s file management is similar to that of Apple’s iTunes™. This design makes it
easy to backup your song library simply by copying the content of the Xsong™ directory.

Note the following differences:

• Xsong™ always makes a copy files that are added to it.

• You can only add files through the UI. Copying files manually to Xsong™’s folders
won’t allow Xsong™ to “see” them.

• Xsong™ maintains its library in a file named “Xsong™ Library.xml “ saved near
iTunes default library location:

o Users/YourLoginName/Music/Xsong™/Xsong™ Library.xml

• All media is kept in the following locations:


o //Audio//
o //MIDI//
o //Lead Sheet//
o //Image//

If a text file is added to the library, it is converted to a Lead Sheet media xml file.

Appendix II – Nashville Numbering System

The Nashville numbering system is a form of music notation where the chords are
represented by numbers instead of letters. The number shows how a chord relates to
the notes of a major scale of a particular key.

Here is a C major scale, and each note gets a number.

CDEFGAB
1234567

In the Nashville numbering system you might see something like this.

1///|4///|5///|1///

That translates to these chords.

C///|F///|G///|C///

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You will use chord modifiers, like m, 7, sus2 etc to tell what type of chord will be played.
So if you see something like this.....

1///|2m///|5///|1///|

.....it translates to this....

C///|Dm///|G///|C///

Here is a G major scale

G A B C D E F#
1234567

So in the Key of G.....

1///|2m///|5///|1///|

....would mean...

G///|Am///|D///|G///

The numbering system allows guitar players to understand how the chords relate to
each other, yet not writing specific chords. This is helpful, especially when the key of a
song may need to be changed to accommodate a vocalist in the studio on the spur of
the moment. Or for using a capo.

If there is a root of a chord that is different from a note in the major scale, the b (flat) or
# (sharp) symbol is used before the number.... b2m or b3 etc.

So if you see something like this for the key of C.....

1///|b3///|b7///|1///|

.... it would translate to.....

C///|Eb///|Bb///|C///
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E would be 3, so Eb is b3. B would be 7, so Bb would be b7.

This system is really a lot like the numbering system used for traditional music theory.
In music theory, you use Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV)...to serve the same purpose. So
instead of seeing......

1///|2m///|5///|1///|

....you would see this.

I///|IIm///|V///|I///|

Now the people that read your Nashville numbering charts will need to know music
theory in order to understand what chords to play.

Appendix III – Songwriting Books

Songwriting is a very rewarding mean of expression. It can be done either for one’s own
enjoyment or professionally for others. Like learning a musical instrument, songwriting
requires practice and dedication. Xsong™ is your faithful companion along your journey
toward writing the perfect song.

You can read more on the subject of songwriting by obtaining the following books.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and only represent what we consider to be the
most useful available references on the subject.

6 Steps To Songwriting Success


Jason Blume
2004, Billboard Books

The main book on which this software is based. Blume has a very
practical approach to songwriting and goes on to explain the basics
without boring the reader with music theory. Sure music theory is
important, but the reality is that it is just one more tool in the
songwriter’s tool chest

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Writing Music For Hit Songs


Jai Joseph
1996, Cambridge University Press

Joseph’s approach is more academic and does require a short


refreshing course in music reading. Once this hurdle is passed
however, Joseph goes to show, using well known hit examples,
what works and what doesn’t. Music theory plus striking examples
are for a winning combo.

Songwriters On Songwriting
Paul Zollo
1997, Da Capo Press; Expanded edition

A fascinating compilation of interviews with legendary songwriters


talking about their craft. Obviously, there is a bias toward artists
songwriters (Madonna, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan) as opposed to
traditional melody or lyrics writers (Sammy Cahn).

Producing In The Home Studio With ProTools


David Franz
2005, Cambridge University Press

This book is the definitive guide for the recording songwriter. Franz
is himself a songwriter so he spends some time discussing
production and creativity. Although the emphasis is on ProTools,
most of the concepts are applicable to any DAW. Strongly
recommended

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www.xecretcode.com

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