Getting Prepared

Band in a Box does require a bit of musical knowledge to use effectively. Once you have chosen the piece you want to arrange, you will have to analyze a few of the elements in order to do an arrangement that works.

Band in a Box supports music written with three beats per measure (3/4) or four beats per measure (4/4) naturally. With a bit of ingenuity, it is possible to arrange music with other time signatures, but that is for advanced users.

On the right we see the two most common time signatures. Knowing the number of beats is essential in choosing a style.

The next thing you need to determine is the key signature. This requires some musical knowledge or at least access to a musical dictionary or basic book on music theory. Much folk and popular music is written in fairly simple keys with few sharps and flats, it is possible to find some where the composer was showing off and using a key signature like C# - see below.

No matter how complex the key sigature, Band in a box can handle it. It will be entered in the field shown in the main user interface.

Finally in order to choose a style that works well, we need to determine the feeling of the music, and this comes not from the notation, but from you. Is the music even, or does it swing? If it is jazz, it most likely swings, but a lot of folk and ethnic music does as well. If you guess wrong, it is not a disaster. You can change the style later.

It does make a difference in how you enter the notes, if you are using the notation feature and we will cover that aspect when we get there.

Choosing an Initial Style

Until you have the time to become familiar with the rich variety of styles that Band in a Box includes in its Megapak offerings, it might be wise to start off with the most simple of styles and choose a final style once you have the chords entered. PNOSIMP3 is the choice if you are doing a waltz or anything in 3/4 time and PNOSIMP4 for anything in even time. These are the most basic of styles, they only play the chord where entered, so listening for mistakes is made easy.

Remember, you can always change the style to something more appropriate and entertaining later. At this point, all you need is the most simple of styles so you can make sure you have made no errors in entering chords and music.

Please click "Next Section". You can also get a summary of the features you will be using in the user interface or style picker by clicking those buttons. Index will take you back to the beginning of the tutorial and Home will take you to the gateway page of the Larry Bolch web site.