The Composer

alekz49 edited this page Sep 30, 2011 · 28 revisions

**The Composer**
The Composer is the user's overall picture of his project. Here, he can set global project settings, record music, data, automation, in a canvas that contains all the tracks he has in his project. The Composer is linear, and tracks are read and played from left to right. OOM differs a little from other sequencers, with the resource centre on the left, which is tabbed, and contains all information about a specified track, our unique designed and built OOM Patch Sequencer, with which the user can automate much of the work involved in handling large sample library banks and patches, and the global feature TrackViews, which has also been designed and built by our own team at the OpenOctaveProject.

In addition to these general headings, there are additional pages for various features in the sidebar and footer.

This page contains the following sections:

  • Main Canvas
  • Composer Menus
  • The Orchestra Pit
  • General Navigation
  • Parts
  • Ruler
  • Playback
  • Mixer Dock
  • Transport and Toolbars
  • Track and Part Colours

Main Canvas

At first glance, the Composer window may seem a little...spartan in appearance compared to other DAWs. Contrary to what seems to be a case of one DAW following another, OOM starts with minimal defaults, and non-essential toolbars are not loaded by default. You can change this by right clicking on a vacant space in the window, and select which toolbars you want to see. Our Orchestra Pit will, in time, contain many more functions, browsers, and menu items in unique tabs, and this will include in the future some toolbar items that the user is unlikely to use more than once or maybe twice in a session, if at all. Why have we done this? To give the user the maximum space in the main Composer canvas as possible, and only load those commands and functions directly associated with working in the project.

The Main Canvas is your creative pallette, where you add tracks, and perform the 3 main DAW tasks, input,edit and remove, for your entire project. Whether you are viewing all your tracks, or selected tracks using the TrackView feature, the main canvas is likely to be where you spend most of your time, and with that in mind we've made it as efficient to use as possible.


In this picture, which has been compressed for this wiki, we've opened everything at once to show some of OOM's powerful features at a glance.


Composer Menus

We've endeavored, where possible, to reduce the number of entries in menus. Some actions and functions remain, and more information about the Composer Menus can be found in the wiki page:

Composer Menus

The Orchestra Pit

OOM is a little different to other DAWs, with many functions normally found in often long menus and sub-menus transferred to the Orchestra Pit.

On the left of the Composer window is the Orchestra Pit, and this tabbed dock is your space for track parameters, the Patch Sequencer, midi tracks settings, Comments, Track Views, and other functions. User friendly in layout, and at the same time powerful, the Orchestra Pit is a working tool to aid your workflow and promote more efficient use, reducing the admin involved in creating music on a computer, and giving you more time to create that music.


The Orchestra Pit is more thoroughly explained in this wiki page:

The Orchestra Pit

TrackViews, a Tab in the Orchestral Pit, and an integral part of the OOM workflow, deserves its own wiki page:

Track Views

The Conductor Tab contains the Patch Sequencer, and more detail for this powerful OOM feature can be found here:

Patch Sequencer






















General Navigation

Navigation is an important part of any DAW workflow, and all too often applications miss the point when designing heavy workflow interfaces. We've worked hard to bring workflow elements together in the quest for maximum workflow efficiency where possible.

The Canvas and Orchestral Pit

When you click in the Conductor Tab, on the Patch List, or Patch Sequencer, the outline of the selected panel will light up with a yellow border, as a reminder of where the current focus is. This is also true for the Views, and Routes Tabs. You can quickly return the focus to the Main Canvas, using the CTRL + ENTER shortcut and this shortcut is cyclic, meaning it will in turn highlight panels in a set order before returning focus to Main. A simple example of this is the Patch List and Patch Sequencer. Highlight the Patch List, then use the shortcut. It will switch to the Patch Sequencer, then the main canvas. We've done this deliberately to remove the frustration of "endless" TAB key chains trying to navigate between windows and panel using a shortcut, particularly with windows that get used frequently.

To switch between Tabs on the Orchestral Pit, click on the Tab you want.

In any Tab in which there is a list format, you can click on a selection to highlight it, and click in the checkbox on the left to make an entry active or inactive. Once you've clicked in one the Tabs in list format, you can also use up and down arrows to navigate the lists, and use the Spacebar to check or uncheck an entry checkbox.

Track Headers

Navigating Tracks can be carried out using the mouse or shortcuts.

Mouse

Click on the track, and if you wish to select multiple tracks, then click on one, hold ShIft, and click on additional tracks keeping the Shift key pressed.

Shortcut

Click on a track (if not already highlighted), then use CTRL + UP/DOWN arrows to travel up and down the track headers, highlighting each one in turn. As an even quicker shortcut action set, if tracks have parts in them, then just use the UP and DOWN arrows, and your track header highlight will switch between tracks with existing parts.

User Tip. If you have a particularly large template, without any parts in it as yet, then add a part to the template at the start of each instrument type section, so for example, add a part at 1st Violins, 1st Flute, 1st Horn, Tympani, etc... With half a dozen empty parts spaced over your template, and saved as part of the template, you'll fly using the Up and Down arrows....

Parts

Parts in OOM are, as the most basic of definitions, windows for data, be it Midi or Audio. The user can Create, Copy/Paste, Remove, Clone, and extensively Edit parts, using the tools in the Composer and Performer.

We start this section with the right click menus for parts:

Midi Part rightclick menu

The first entry in the midi part right click menu leads into a sub-menu where the user can set the colour scheme for the part. A detailed list of colour options available to you can be found at the bottom of this page.

  • Parts Layer This is an entry leading to a sub-menu where the user can set the selected part order in layers with other parts.
  • Cut The standard cut command to remove a selected event, in this case a part.
  • Copy The standard copy command
  • Select Clones This action will, when applied to a selected part which has been cloned, highlight the clones. You could say it sends in the clones.
  • Rename Use this action to rename the Part
  • Delete Use this action to delete a part
  • Split This action will split the part at the playback cursor position, or at the pointer position
  • Glue This action will add the next part to the right, to the currently selected part, or a part that is clicked with the mouse when this action is selected.
  • De-Clone This action de-clones a part, changing it's status to one of a normal part.
  • Performer This action will open the Performer, with the selected midi part as focus in the Performer canvas.
  • List This action will open the List Editor, where midi data for the part is presented in list format, which you can edit.
  • Export this action will enable you to export the part as an individual file (the prefix is .mpt) which can then be imported into any OOM project.

The Part Layers sub-menu

This submenu is used to set the layer for the part, if you have overlapping parts.




Empty Midi parts can be created in the Composer, at the playback cursor, using the shortcut CTRL + Insert

Audio Part rightclick menu

The first entry in the midi part right click menu leads into a sub-menu where the user can set the colour scheme for the part. A detailed list of colour options available to you can be found at the bottom of this page.

  • Parts Layer This is an entry leading to a sub-menu where the user can set the selected part order in layers with other parts.
  • Cut The standard cut command to remove a selected event, in this case a part.
  • Copy The standard copy command
  • Select Clones This action will, when applied to a selected part which has been cloned, highlight the clones. You could say it sends in the clones.
  • Rename Use this action to rename the Part
  • Delete Use this action to delete a part
  • Split This action will split the part at the playback cursor position, or at the pointer position
  • Glue This action will add the next part to the right, to the currently selected part, or a part that is clicked with the mouse when this action is selected.
  • De-Clone This action de-clones a part, changing it's status to one of a normal part.
  • Export this action will enable you to export the part as an individual file (the prefix is .mpt) which can then be imported into any OOM project.
  • File Info This action will open a dialog showing file information for the selected part.

The Part Layers sub-menu

This submenu is used to set the layer for the part, if you have overlapping parts.



Part Navigation

The user can select, move, copy and clone parts, using the mouse, and function entries in the Edit menu. The same can be achieved using shortcuts.

Select a part.

Mouse

Click on a part.

Shortcut

Highlight the track header for the part you want to select. and use the left and right arrows to move between parts on the track. This function is partly automated, where navigation between tracks using the part shortcuts Up and Down arrows will highlight a part in each track in turn.

Select Multiple parts

Mouse

Click on a part, then holding SHIFT, click on additional parts.

Shortcut

Highlight the part you want, then use the appropriate shortcut to add additional parts. SHIFT + Left/Right arrows will add parts to the left and right of the existing selection. SHIFT + Up/Down arrows will add the nearest parts from the tracks above and below to the existing selection.

Copy a part

Mouse

  • Open the Edit Menu and click on the Copy entry.
  • Press Shift, then click and hold on the part and drag the copy to the new location.

Shortcut

Highlight the part, then press CTRL + C

Clone a part, and paste

Mouse

Copy the part as described above, then position the playback cursor where you want the clone to appear. Enter the Edit menu and select Paste Clone.

Shortcut

Copy the part as described above, position the playback cursor where you want the clone to paste, and press CTRL + SHIFT + V

Note in mouse and shortcut cases for Clone and paste, that if you wish to clone a part to a different track, then that track must be highlighted.

Extra Notes

You can drag a part (mouse click and hold) into empty canvas space below existing tracks, and OOM will create a new track for you, to house the part.

This is true for moving a part from one track to another, or Copies and Clones of parts. All parts can be copied or cloned anywhere to a track of the same type (or added as new to house your moved part)

When you select a Midi part, the Snap/Grid settings remain the same. When you select an Audio part, the snap/grid settings are set to Off by default. This is intended to give you more initial control over the playback cursor at a fine scale to trim Audio parts, and perform other small scale functions, but you can change this by simply pressing an appropriate grid setting, using the numerical keys on the qwerty, or clicking on the grid dropdown menu at the bottom left of the window, and choosing an alternative.

Composer snap grid value shortcuts

  • Off = 0 (zero)
  • Bar = 1
  • 1/2 = 2
  • 1/4 = 3
  • 1/8 = 4
  • 1/16 = 5

The Ruler

Above the main canvas is the ruler window. This is your timeline, and an "always on" visual reference of where you are in your project. The ruler contains not only time measured in bars and beats, but a marker strip where you can make note of reference points in your music. The ruler also has 2 indicators, left and right, which function as recording points, as well as left and right range indicators for things like copy pasting Automation.

These are Punch In Punch Out indicators, so you can set a range using left and right, move your playback cursor (PB for short) to a point before the leftmost marker, and press record. Recording will only take place between the indicators, and will cease once the PB has passed the rightmost indicator. The indicators can be moved to the desired location with the left marker obeying the middle click on a mouse, and the right marker with the right click, when the mouse pointer is hovered over the ruler.

To read in more detail about the Punch in and out indicators, Marker dialog, and their functions, go to the wiki page

Punch Loop Marker

Playback

Playback in OOM is consistent with workflow in most modern DAWs. The Space bar will start and stop playback, the **R** key on your Qwerty enables record. The playback cursor is manually moved across the canvas using either a mouseclick in the ruler to set a new PB cursor position, or the Global shortcuts **SHIFT + Left/Right arrows**. The PB cursor will traverse the screen according to the grid designation set in the snap/grid dropdown menu at the bottom left of the window. You can also set the grid value with shortcuts, and in the Composer these are:
  • Off = 0 (zero)
  • Bar = 1
  • 1/2 = 2
  • 1/4 = 3
  • 1/8 = 4
  • 1/16 = 5

MixerDock

The MixerDock is a powerful OOM feature designed to give you instance access to mixer strips for the current Composer View. It has its own wiki page here:

MixerDock

Transport and Toolbars

OOM's Composer has an extensive range of Transport and Toolbar options for the user, designed to improve your speed of workflow. for a more detailed explanation of each of the icons and their functions, go to this wiki page:

Transport and Toolbars

Track and Part Colours

OOM has a defined Track and Part colour scheme, with a considerable selection, so we're fairly confident that users will find something to their particular taste.

Importantly, this variety enables the user, through colour recognition, to create templates and projects that visual work for them.

Selected colours can be used per track and per part. The user may create a default for a particular track in a template, but in a project may decide to change some part colours in a track to emphasize a particular phrase, or indicate a Verse, or Chorus. The choice is yours.

Here's the right click menu selections for colours in OOM, and their names. We've put these in themed directories, and hope we've come up with unforgettable names, that users will be quick to identify as preferred, or favourites.

Splash

Frostings

Day Off

Drinks

Designer

Glow Sticks

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Naturals

OOM Colours


*Work in progress.....*