If you need help with installation, see the installation guide.
After installing Music_SDP, launch the program. You will begin at the Project Loader Window. This window allows you to create and load projects built in Music_SDP.
To start a new project, click the MSDP logo in the “Start New Project” section of the window.
On the “Save Project As…” screen, select a location on your computer to save your first project.
Select an appopriate location, give your project a name, and hit the “Save” button.
With a new project created, the system board and project settings window open. Close the project window (we don’t need it yet), and navigate to the other open window: The System Board.
Check the System Board to make sure that the Audio Engine is turned on (the power button on the top left should be white instead of grey), and that the Master Volume slider is up reasonably high (to the right of the power button).
Finally, check that the correct audio driver, input, and output are selected for your device (immediately below the power button).
Then, click on the System Board where it says “New Board”
This generates a pedal board consisting of a single blank module. Above the module is a drop-down menu with the words “– Choose Module –”. Open the menu, navigate to the “Instruments” section of the list, and select “Wavetable Synth”. Instruments are sound generators, so anything from the instrument section can be used to make music. Click a key on the keyboard to play a note, then click again to turn the note off. Try turning the scale and smooth knobs, and selecting options for the waveform menu to hear how you can shape the sound.
Below the module is a set of three down arrows. Click the down arrows to generate a new module below the first. In the drop-down menu for this module, go to “Filters” and select “Echo”. In order to delay the sound of the Wavetable Synthesizer, we need to send it’s signal into the echo module.
To route audio from one module to another, we use the Input and Output (I/O) pairs. In the bottom of the Wavetable module is a set of output pairs as a combination of dropdown menus. The first pair sends the signal to the Master Volume out, and on to your speakers. The second pair can be used for routing. Select “A” and “1” as the two values in the second dropdown output pair.
Next, in the Echo module, select “A” and “1” as the combination for your input pair. With the pairs matching, the signal will now come into the Echo module from the Wavetable Synth. Now play some more notes in the wavetable synthesizer. The signal should go out to your speakers AND to the echo module. The delayed signal should also be going to your speakers, so that you hear the sound multiple times.
Try turning the “Delay” dial in the Echo module, which will change the length of the time between delays. Click on any spot on the dial to immediately jump to that value, then rotate your mouse left and right in a circular fashion to turn the dials. If a note is down when this dial is turned, you should hear a fun effect as the delay times change.
Now let’s build something to control the notes of the synthesizer. To the right of the wavetable synthesizer is another series of arrows. Click on these right-facing arrows to make a new module to the right of the synthesizer, and use the dropdown menus to select “MIDI Sequencer”. This is a more complex module, but it allows us to make and send notes to play in the Wavetable Synthesizer. To route control messages (like note messages or parameter automation), we use the module’s unique ID. We can find the ID directly above every module, to the right of the Module Selection menu, and an ID is automatically created when a new effect is loaded.
To connect them, we need to send data from the Sequencer to the Synthesizer using the Synthesizer’s ID. First, copy the module ID from the wavetable synthesizer. In the middle of the Sequencer module we can find a strip of text that says “2 Type Module Name Here”. Replace that text with the ID that you copied from the wavetable synthesizer and hit ‘enter’ on your keyboard. Now turn the Sequencer on by clicking the toggle which currently says “Sequencer Off”. This will start the sequencer, and you should begin to hear and see notes on the Wavetable synthesizer.
Finally, let’s save this board. At the top of the pedal board, click the “Save Board” button. In the “Save Board As…” window, give the board an appropriate name, like “Synth Test”.
Now we have an instrument that is being controlled by a sequencer and delayed by an echo effect. But the timing of the delay may not be synchronized with the note creation of the sequencer. Let’s fix that using the Master Metronome.
Navigate to the System Board, and select the “Full View” toggle on the left-hand side below the I/O selection. This will reveal the full system board window and you’ll see several tabs at the top of the new space.
Click on the Metronome tab, and you’ll see a button telling you to turn the metronome on from the Project Settings window. Click that button to open the Project Settings window, then click the “Metronome Control” toggle. This will load the metronome into the System Board.
While we’re in the Project Settings, let’s click the “Full Screen” toggle, which is set to “on” by default. With Full Screen” mode off, you’ll now be able to see your desktop again as you work. We can now close the Project Settings window, and we should save our work again.
On the System Board, go to the top menu and select “File -> Save” to save your project with the current settings.
If you would like every new project to begin with certain System Board windows activated, or with the Full View mode off by default, you can change the default settings for new projects from “System Preferences”, found under the “File” menu.
Back on the System Board, we can see that the Metronome has been loaded in. The default BPM is 120, and the default meter is 4. Change this if you’d like, but once you’ve set an appropriate speed, turn the metronome “On” with the “Start” button on the left.
Now, navigate back to your saved Pedal Board. We need to make two changes:
In the Echo module, look for the drop down menu that says “8. Tempo Sync”. Select a note value from this menu, and the duration will sync, and stay synced to, the speed of the Master Metronome.
In the Sequencer module, we need to switch the “Beat Source” toggle from “Custom” to Global”. Then, we can choose a note value for “Step Division” (how quickly notes will be made), and “Note Value” (how long the notes will be). Now, all of the processes on your pedal board should by syncronized. We can turn it all off by navigating back to the Master Metronome and clicking the “Stop” button to toggle the metronome back to it’s off state.
Save your board again, and close the pedal board.
You can re-open the saved board at any time by selecting it from the list on the System Board. Go ahead and re-open your saved board now.
If the Metronome is turned off when the board re-opens, nothing should play. Turn the metronome on again, then save the board and save the project. Leave the metronome on for now, and leave the board open.
Try using the default keyboard shortcuts to save your project (Control+S for Windows, Command+S for MacOS). On the system menu, navigate to “File - Project Window”. This will close your project and return you to the Project window. You will be prompted to see if you’d like to save your project one more time. You may save again, but you do not need to, since we just saved.
After this prompt you will be brought back to the Project Window. This should look the same as before, but this time our first project can be selected from the dropdown menu. Select the project to re-open it.
When the project re-opens, your board should re-open with everything saved as you left it. The Master Metronome should also be added to the System Board. However, the metronome will not be turned on, even though we saved the board with the metronome on.
In order to avoid any unwanted sounds on project load, any tools that can be turned on to generate values automatically are returned to their off position when a project loads. The only exception to this rule is the Audio Engine power state, which returns to whichever state you left it at when you saved. Turn the metronome back on and your pedal board will return to making music.
Now we know how to create sound, route signal to other modules, control a module using it’s ID, and we know how to save your progress and syncronize time values across the project. Try making new modules, new boards, and routing effects and control across multiple places. Experiment with familiar and unfamiliar sounds and see what sort of wild and interesting things you can create. Finally, enjoy exploring Music_SDP!