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Keyboard Wizard Quick Start Guide

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Your Keyboard Wizard system consists of a MIDI keyboard with sustain pedal, volume pedal, and patch change footswitch; a MIDI interface; a computer running Keyboard Wizard and optional standalone sample players (such as Kontakt or Play); optional external MIDI-controlled sound modules or keyboards; an amplifier, and speakers.

Before beginning, you must:

  1. Be sure you have the correct version of Java installed on the machine on which you are going to run Keyboard Wizard. If you are on a 64-bit machine, then you must install the 64-bit version of Java. If you are on a 64-bit machine, but you have the 32-bit version of Java installed, Keyboard Wizard may still run, but it will behave extremely bizarrely, both visually, and in terms of its MIDI processing. Please first double check that you have the correct version of Java, in addition to having the latest (highest-numbered) version of that correct version!
  2. Have an idea of the Sounds you wish to play/trigger with your keyboard;
  3. Have either a keyboard part to play or a list of the songs/music you will improvise;
  4. Be familiar with the MIDI functions of your keyboards, computers, software sample-players, and external MIDI sound modules;
  5. Set your MIDI controller keyboard to send MIDI data only on a single MIDI channel;
  6. Optimize your computer for audio, as described in the user guides provided with your software sample-players (such as Kontakt);
  7. Quit all unnecessary applications and close all unnecessary windows on your computer;
  8. Understand the following terms as used in Keyboard Wizard:

Sound - a selection of a port, channel, bank, program number, transposition, controller filtering, velocity offset, volume offset and constraints, which is named by the user and then referenced in as many places as desired in the Steps. Your MIDI module's instruments (or samples or tones) can thus be used in various ways, and named whatever you wish. For example, you could create two Sounds using a single honky-tonk piano, with normal volume and a volume offset of -30, and call them "Honky-Tonk Normal Vol" and "Honky-Tonk Low Vol." In fact, you can make many separate copies of Sounds as you wish, with many minor differences between them, and use them whenever you wish.

Step - A collection of one or more Zones that represents a sonic world in which you wish to perform for a portion of your act. The Keyboard Wizard file you create contains a series of Steps which allow you to play individual Sounds or multiple Sounds, splits, layers, and maps.

Zone - a range of MIDI input keys playing a single Sound, with optionally applied transpositions, note maps, velocity offset, volume offsets, or controller filters.

Note Map - a collection of assignments of output notes to MIDI input keys. A note map will allow you to do many interesting things, such as:

  1. Trigger alternate scales and glissandi by playing only the white or black keys;
  2. Trigger full chords by playing single keys;
  3. Play multiple melody lines on multiple Sounds, otherwise unplayable by a single musician.

This guide is divided into two main parts: Setup and Performance


PART ONE: SETUP

Setup of Keyboard Wizard involves:

  1. Installing the software on your computer
  2. Setting up MIDI routing
  3. Setting preferences
  4. Creating Sounds
  5. Creating and Editing Steps

1) Installing the software on your computer

Mac Installation

  1. Install the latest version of Java Runtime on your computer.
  2. For versions of Mac OS previous to Snow Leopard, install Mandolane, available here, so that Java can access your MIDI modules.
  3. Create a folder in your Documents folder named "Keyboard Wizard".
  4. Download KeyboardWizard.jar and put it in your "Keyboard Wizard" folder.
  5. Create an alias as follows: You may not be able to create an alias in the dock for a Java program, but you can add it to the sidebar in all folders by dragging it there, or by selecting it in the Finder and pressing CMD+T, so that it can be opened at any time from any folder.

PC Installation

  1. Install the latest version of Java Runtime on your computer.
  2. Create a folder in your "My Documents" folder named "Keyboard Wizard".
  3. Download KeyboardWizard.jar and put it in your "Keyboard Wizard" folder.
  4. Create a shortcut by dragging KeyboardWizard.jar to your Windows start menu.

2) Setting Up MIDI Routing

Before starting Keyboard Wizard, you must set up your system's MIDI routing. The basic routing of MIDI in a Keyboard Wizard setup is as follows:

MIDI Controller Keyboard

(sending MIDI data only on a single MIDI channel)

Keyboard Wizard

(on computer, processing and sending data on any number of MIDI channels)

MIDI Sound Module(s)

(internal virtual instruments and/or external modules, including instruments on your MIDI controller keyboard, playing with Local "off")

Configuring MIDI Routing Outside of Keyboard Wizard

  1. So that Keyboard Wizard can recognize your devices and properly route the MIDI data, before opening Keyboard Wizard, be sure to connect, enable, boot, and/or power up all of your MIDI devices, including your MIDI interface (or USB MIDI connection), MIDI controller keyboard, and your MIDI modules (whether they are external modules or virtual instruments). Be sure that you have loaded all of the MIDI and audio hardware and software drivers needed for proper operation of your setup.
  2. Disable direct control of your MIDI modules by your keyboard, so as to allow Keyboard Wizard to process the MIDI data before it gets to them.
    1. On a Mac, you will have to set up your internal modules (virtual instruments like Kontakt) to receive MIDI IAC Bus inputs on the instruments you want to use (for help with MIDI IAC, open Audio MIDI Setup, in Applications/Utilities, and choose Help > Audio MIDI Setup Help).
    2. On a PC, you will need to establish MIDI routing to your internal modules with a virtual MIDI cable such as the ones linked here. (Best recommendation for Windows XP: Maple Virtual Midi Cable.)

Configuring MIDI Routing Within Keyboard Wizard

  1. When all of your MIDI devices are up and running, open (or re-open) Keyboard Wizard.
  2. Select View/MIDI Devices.
  3. Select a MIDI device for each MIDI port you plan to use. A typical setup might be as follows:
    1. MAC:

      PORT

      DEVICE

      In 1:

      MIDI Interface In (from keyboard)

      Out 1:

      IAC Bus 1

      Out 2:

      IAC Bus 2

      Out 3:

      IAC Bus 3

      Out 4:

      MIDI Interface Out 1 (to keyboard or external modules)

      Out 5:

      MIDI Interface Out 2 (to keyboard or external modules)

    2. PC:

      PORT

      DEVICE

      In 1:

      MIDI Interface In (from keyboard)

      Out 1:

      Maple MIDI Router 1

      Out 2:

      Maple MIDI Router 2

      Out 3:

      Maple MIDI Router 3

      Out 4:

      MIDI Interface Out 1 (to keyboard or external modules)

      Out 5:

      MIDI Interface Out 2 (to keyboard or external modules)

  4. You can confirm proper connection of your MIDI In port by selecting Setup/MIDI In Monitor and playing some notes on your MIDI keyboard. (Setup/MIDI Out Monitor will only work once you have created Steps using Sounds.)
  5. Once you have set your MIDI devices, you may choose not to display them by unchecking View/MIDI Devices.

3) Setting Preferences

With Keyboard Wizard's Preferences menu you may now set global options, which will apply to all Keyboard Wizard files, as follows:

4) Creating Sounds

When setting up your act with Keyboard Wizard, all Sounds must be defined. After loading samples and instruments in your virtual instrument libraries and MIDI modules, set up each of your Keyboard Wizard Sounds as follows:

  1. Enter Edit Mode by selecting Setup/Edit Mode (F12 or CTRL+E).
  2. Be sure that View/Sounds is checked and the Sounds list is visible.
  3. Click the Add button below the Sounds list.
  4. Select the name field, then type a name for the Sound you are creating.
  5. Select (and press F2 to set) the port, channel, bank, program number, transposition and other parameters for each sound. Whenever you are in edit mode, if you move your cursor over the name of a parameter, a tooltip (or screentip) will appear with supplementary information. In the Sounds window, you can get more help on the parameters Vel, Filter, and Batch, by right mouse-clicking them on your PC, or CTRL-clicking them on your Mac.

You can define virtually unlimited numbers of Keyboard Wizard Sounds using the same port/channel/bank/program information, with variations in transposition, velocity offsets, etc., and use them at will in different Zones and Steps. Of course, you can only hear your Sounds when they are used in Steps.

5) Creating and Editing Steps

As stated above, a Step is a collection of one or more Zones that represents a sonic world in which you wish to perform for a portion of your act. Steps are sequential, in that the player "steps through" the Steps in order. Steps consist of a selection and mix of Sounds and MIDI processing.

To create and edit Steps:

  1. Select View/Current Step.
  2. Enter Edit Mode by selecting Setup/Edit Mode (F12, or CTRL+E).
  3. If you are starting a new file, you should be at a blank step. Otherwise, add a blank step by selecting Setup/Edit Steps (F11) and clicking one of the Insert New Item buttons.
  4. Name the step by typing a name in the name field.
  5. Click the Add button to create each Zone within the Step. Again, each Zone represents a range of MIDI input keys playing a single Sound, with optionally applied transpositions, note maps, velocity offset, volume offsets, or controller filters.
  6. Select a Sound from the Sound pop-up list for each Zone.
  7. Select low and high notes for each Zone (either with the mouse or via MIDI).
  8. Edit any other desired parameters for each Zone. As with the Sounds window, if you move your cursor over the name of any parameter, a tooltip (or screentip) will appear with supplementary information. In the Current Step window, you can get more help on the parameters Vel and Filter by right mouse-clicking them on your PC, or CTRL-clicking them on your Mac.
  9. Each Zone can optionally have a Note Map. To set up a Note Map, check the Map check box for any Zone you wish to Map, then select Setup/Note Mapping for each map, and use the dialog box. (See "Note Mapping Tips" below for more details.)
  10. To optionally preset your Step's volume, click on "No Volume" and select a global volume for the step from the pop-up list. (This volume will immediately be invoked when you switch to the step in performance.)
  11. To play your Step, exit Edit Mode by deselecting Setup/Edit Mode (or by pressing F12, or CTRL+E).
  12. If a step doesn't work as you expect, you may wish to select Setup/MIDI Out Monitor to see what MIDI data is being sent by Keyboard Wizard to your MIDI modules.
  13. To edit ranges of steps, select Setup/Edit Steps to open a dialog box that allows you to select cut, copy, and paste steps as desired.
  14. To make navigating through multiple Steps easily, you may check the Tab button to make any number of Steps "Tabbed" Steps, or select Setup/Bookmarks to set up to 10 bookmarked Steps.
  15. To check your work, you may select options under Setup/Cleanup.

Note Mapping Tips

PART TWO: PERFORMANCE

This section of the Keyboard Wizard Quick Start Guide includes:

Step Navigation

Basic Navigation

One normally navigates from one step to the next, sequentially through the show. The step navigation commands First, Previous,Next, Last are under the Performance menu. In addition, they are represented by four clickable buttons in the View/Current Step view. You can move between adjacent steps by pressing Left Arrow or Right Arrow, as well as via MIDI as set with Preferences/MIDI Remote Control (or F3). The first and last steps in your file are also accessible by pressing Home and End.

Navigating to Tabbed Steps

The Performance menu also contains the Previous Tabbed Step and Next Tabbed Step commands to tab backward and forward to steps that have been designated as Tab in the View/Current Step view. You can navigate to tabbed steps by clicking two additional clickable buttons in the View/Current Step view, or by pressing Page Up or Page Down. The tabbed steps can be directly accessed via the Tabs menu as well. A common use for tabs would be to tab the first step of a song. If this is done, then the Tabs menu in effect displays a list of the songs in the act, and allows immediate navigation to the start of each song. (NOTE: tabs can only be set while in Edit Mode).

Navigating to Bookmarked Steps

You can jump to any of your 10 bookmarked steps from anywhere in the act, by pressing the number keys 0 through 9. Bookmarked steps are indicated under the Bookmarks menu. One suggested use for bookmarks would be to bookmark a step that contains only a piano sound, so that the keyboardist can instantly play a piano sound as needed. Other uses for bookmarks are to go to the top of important sections of a show (like Act 1 or Act 2), or to access vital Sounds for a sound check.

Searching for Steps

The Performance/Find Step command allows the user to search for steps by step number, full step name, or any portion of a step name. The value entered in the text box will appear the next time the command is invoked. Searching is done from the current step forward, until the next match is found. The search wraps from the last step to the first, so you can be on a step at the end of the show, yet find steps at the start of the show.

Smart Note Offs

Keyboard Wizard handles a number of situations specially, and intelligently. One such case is in dealing with note off messages. Such messages are not passed directly through to the MIDI Out devices. Rather, when you play a key, Keyboard Wizard remembers the port and channel to which it has sent output notes. Now, it doesn't matter what happens next, including step changes, patch changes, etc. Keyboard Wizard waits for you to lift that key, at which point it generates the appropriate note off messages for those output notes. This is why there are no hanging notes when the keyboardist plays and holds keys while changing steps. No matter what the ports and channels are in the current step, "held-over" keys will send the correct note off messages to the correct ports and channels.

Keyboard Wizard NEVER actually sends sustain pedal (Continuous Controller #64) messages to MIDI Out devices. Rather, all sustain pedal activity as received by Keyboard Wizard is translated into note on and note off messages.

Smart Program Changes

Keyboard Wizard keeps track of what bank and program changes have been sent out on each channel of each MIDI Out port, and only sends bank and program change messages as absolutely necessary. This means that if two or more adjacent steps use the same port/channel/bank/program numbers, that the bank and program change messages will be sent just once, and not necessarily each time a step is entered. This minimizes the data sent down the MIDI wire, and also prevents unnecessary program changes that could in some situations (depending upon the MIDI device being targeted) disrupt currently-held notes.

To re-send all current bank and program change messages unconditionally, invoke the Performance/Panic command by pressing ESC or via MIDI Remote Control.

Smart Volume

Keyboard Wizard displays and keeps track of the current volume and sends it to all Sounds in the current Step, immediately upon switching to a Step.

Volume Scaling

Volume Scaling is performed automatically by Keyboard Wizard when the user "bumps" the volume via the Performance/MIDI Volume Up or Performance/MIDI Volume Down commands (by pressing the UP or DOWN arrows), or when a step is entered that has a preset volume, as displayed in the Current Step view.

When any of these volume changes occur, the resulting actual volume, as displayed on screen, becomes "out of sync" with the volume values as generated by the volume pedal (Continuous Controller #7). This means when the volume pedal is next moved, a very perceptible and undesirable jump in volume would occur, were it not for the fact that Keyboard Wizard scales the values received from the volume pedal such that abrupt jumps in volume do not occur. The scaling continues until the pedal is moved to the full on (volume value of 127) or full off (volume value of 0) position, at which point the volume pedal values are used verbatim once again.

Panic Button

When Performance/Panic is invoked by pressing ESC or via MIDI Remote Control, Keyboard Wizard turns off all sounding notes, resets all continuous controllers, resends the current program changes, and runs the Java Garbage Collector. This is useful if there are hanging notes (which shouldn't occur!), or if the keyboardist wants to be absolutely certain that the current program changes have been sent to the MIDI Out devices.

Performance Tips and Suggestions

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