You now own one of the most powerful and user-friendly tools for computer-assisted music-making. This software will quickly become an essential aid to your inspiration.

The software includes its own on-line documentation. All objects, menu options and dialog boxes are self-documented. When you point to any object with the cursor, an explanation is displayed in the help window. The document you are reading describes everything that is not described in the help window.
You'll find here the basic concepts of music theory, a set of questions and answers, a concrete example to use with the software and some thematic chapters.

In addition, more than 100 interactive video tutorials, available from the "Windows>Tutorials" menu, explain the basic and advanced features. You can search the tutorial list for a topic by typing its name.  For example, "staves" will show tutorials that deal with staves.  The tab key will jump to the next tutorial in the list.

You are invited to view the "How to view video tutorials." video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

The document you are reading right now covers topics not directly related to objects in the program. You will find here basic ideas of music notation, a step-by-step concrete example, tips to use the software better, a set of frequently asked questions, and thematic chapters.

You are invited to view the "How to use the integrated help system: help line, search the manual by keywords. " video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu option in the program.)

Lastly, in Harmony Assistant, extra features enabled by the MyrScript scripts are described in the "Scripts>About scripts..." menu option

Important: At the end of this document is the Software license chapter. You must read it before using the software.



Here are short descriptions of all our music-related products.

Melody Assistant (shareware - US $25 / Europe: 20 €)

Enables you to enter, play and print musical scores with astonishing ease. But its capabilities are much greater: a digital sound database is integrated so you can hear your tunes with high-quality sounds, even if you do not own professional hardware or an external MIDI keyboard.
With this technology, you will also be able to record your own sounds and use them as instruments in your tunes.
An extended "Gold" sound database, even more complete, can be ordered.
Guitar, Bass and Harmonica players will also be happy with Melody Assistant, since it is possible to calculate tablatures and chord diagrams automatically from a tune.

Available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux.

Question: What is meant by "shareware"?
You can try Melody Assistant free. If the program meets your requirements, you can then order a personal registration number (for US $25 or 20 euros if you live in Europe) and access the software's most advanced features. In this documentation, the options available only to registered users are clearly indicated.

Harmony Assistant (commercial product - US $85 / Europe: 70 €)

Harmony Assistant can be considered Melody's "big brother". All the Melody Assistant features are, of course, included, but a wide range of new tools are added: full-page editing, engraver mode, chord grid calculation, automatic generation of harmony accompaniments or rhythm patterns, redefined or user-defined music styles, integrated scripting language, etc. Again, features only available in Harmony Assistant will be clearly indicated in this documentation.

Available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux.

Question: Is Harmony Assistant "shareware"?
No. It is a commercial product, which can be ordered for US $85, or 70 euros if you live in Europe. You can test the amazing harmonizing capabilities of Harmony Assistant by downloading a trial version. With the trial version, you will only have a reduced sound database, and you will not be able to save or print your musical documents. You will, however, be able to take a look at all features to ensure that they meet your requirements.

PDFtoMusic (US $49 / Europe: 40 €) and PDFtoMusic Pro (US $199/Europe: 199 €)

You often download score files in PDF format from the Internet, and you'd wish to hear them?

You'd want to hear the Soprano part from the score your choir master owns on his computer?

PDFtoMusic is designed for you. Open a PDF document, and after a few seconds, you just have to click a button to hear the score playing, and even the lyrics be sung! You can then save it as an editable Melody/Harmony Assistant file, a MIDI file or, with PDFtoMusic Pro, as a MusicXML file that can be opened by most of the other professional score editors.

PDFtoMusic gives you full access at last to the giant PDF music score collection available on the Internet.

Please note that PDFtoMusic / PDFtoMusic Pro only processes PDF files that have been generated by a score editor. It doesn't process scanned music sheets.

Available on Mac OS and Windows.

OMeR (shareware - US $25 / Europe: 20 €)

OMeR converts a printed musical score into a music file you can hear, modify and print with Melody Assistant or Harmony Assistant.
If you often transcribe printed scores to Melody Assistant or Harmony Assistant, and you own a scanner, OMeR will greatly ease your task.
OMeR will drive your scanner, collect one or several pages and analyze them to generate a musical document usable directly in Melody or Harmony.

Available on Mac OS and Windows.

Virtual Singer (shareware - US $25 / Europe: 20 €)

Plug-in for Melody or Harmony. With Virtual Singer your computer will sing lyrics in different languages.

Available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux.

GOLD Sound Base -  (CD-ROM: US $37 / Europe: 30 € , Download: US $25 / Europe: 20 €)

The Gold Sound Database is a set of high-quality digital sounds, designed to be used in the Myriad software programs. The Gold Sound Database includes all the sounds of the General Midi 2 specification, as well as many additional sounds.
Thus, the Gold Sound Database improves not only the quality of tunes the software plays, but also the quality of WAV, AIFF, Ogg Vorbis or MP3 files the software exports.

Available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux.


We are now going to look together at the software step by step. You are advised to follow this chapter carefully, and carry out each instruction.

A. Launching the software

When you launch the software, you are asked to select a language. Choose "English".

With Melody Assistant, you can print a registration form, i.e. order one of our products, or enter your personal registration number (received after you purchased the software), or continue. Choose "Continue".

With Harmony Assistant, in evaluation mode, choose "Continue".

Note: These choices will not have to be made with a registered version of Melody Assistant, or a complete version of Harmony Assistant.

This brings you to the software's main screen.

At the top of the screen is a menu bar containing the main options. Scattered on the screen are a number of floating palettes which allow quick access to most of the tools.
You can change each floating palette's location by dragging its title.

Note: the floating palettes’ positions are memorized each time you quit the software. They will be recalled next time you launch it.

Click on its little gray square to close a floating palette. You can make it appear again by selecting it in the "Windows" menu.

Tip: Command key + click on a palette's title to change its orientation (vertical or horizontal). The help window can be resized. To do this, drag the little black rectangle on the window's bottom-right corner.

You are invited to view the "How to setup palettes to avoid overlapping with document windows." and "How to create an user palette. " video tutorials. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

Finally, the main window shows a sample tune, automatically loaded when the software is started.

To help you learn all the software tools and options, a help window (yellow rectangle) continuously displays explanations of each object as the cursor runs over them.

Tip: The help window also gives the meaning of menu titles and options. So place it where it can be seen even when a menu is open (for example, at the bottom of your screen).

B. Listening to a tune

Find the tune playing tools floating palette:

Note:  Since the icons' appearance can be easily changed by you (see the General Setup), pictures shown here may be slightly different from what you see on your screen.
You are invited to view the "Using another icon set." video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

Start playing a tune by clicking:

The sample tune is now played. You can stop it by clicking:

If you do not stop it, it will stop by itself at the end of the tune.
Tip: The space bar also starts and stops a tune.

Creating a new tune

New Document

First of all, close the sample tune window.
Create a new document, with the File>New menu option.

Select the model "Very simple (One staff only)" in the list.

We will add a bass clef to this model. Click on "Change orchestra".

Your new document window is now ready, with an empty score. In "Simple staves" select "Simple staff (Bass clef)".

Click on ">>Add>>" then "Ok". The new staff was added.

Click on "Create" a new blank document was created. It is displayed on a new window and ready to receive your changes.

You are invited to view the "How to create a document model (template)." video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

Tip: A long floating palette ("Actions" palette) contains shortcuts to the most common menu options.

Creating a new tune

Entering a melody

You are now going to place notes on the staff to create a melody.

You are invited to view the "Score input. Adding notes, rests, staff. Changing key and time signature. Selecting an instrument. Changing tempo. Adding bar line. Automatic beaming setup." video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).
To do this, select the note lengths in the Notes floating palette and place them on the upper staff (treble) one after the other.
Select an eighth note and place it on the E line (bottom line) of the staff.
Tip: If you have trouble inserting notes where you want them, you can increase the display scale. There are several ways to do this:
  • Select the Windows>Scale menu option and choose a scale factor, or
  • Click on the magnifying glass in the editing mode floating palette and click on the score, or
  • Hold the mouse button down while clicking on the magnifying glass and move the cursor up.
If you use the magnifying glass tool, do not forget to return to note insertion mode (click the icon with a pencil and a note).

Place another E eighth note just to the right of the previous one. The two notes are automatically beamed together.

Now select a quarter note in the floating palette.
Drop it, again on the E line, to the right of the first two notes.

You now have a group of three notes in the first bar: two eighths and a quarter on the E line.

Drop a new group of three notes, identical to the first one. The first bar is full.
In the second bar, drop an E eighth note, then a G eighth note (second line from the bottom).
You now have to place a dotted eighth note: leave the eighth note duration selected in the floating palette, and click on the dot in the accidental palette (palette with sharp, flat and natural signs).

Drop the dotted eighth note in the second bar, after the notes already placed, on the bass C leger line (one line below the bottom line of the staff).

Click again on the dot in the floating palette to deselect it. This returns you to non-dotted note duration.
Continue to drop successive notes:
In the second bar:

Sixteenth note D (between C and E lines)
Half-note E
Third bar Eighth note F (between the two bottom lines of the staff)
Eighth note F
Dotted eighth note F
Sixteenth note F (Don't forget to deselect the dot mode)
Eighth note F
Eighth note E (bottom line)
Eighth note E
Eighth  note E
Fourth bar Eighth note E
Eighth note D
Eighth note D
Eighth note E
Quarter note D
Quarter note G (second line from the bottom)
The first four bars of the top staff are now complete.
If you make a mistake when dropping a note, select the lightning icon in the Edit floating palette, click on the incorrect note to delete it, and come back to insert mode (icon with a pencil and a note).
You can also use the Edit>Undo menu option to undo the last performed operation.
Alternatively you can select the lasso icon and physically move a note by clicking on it, holding down the mouse button, repositioning the note and releasing the mouse button.

Tip: In insert mode, you can quickly change to delete mode by holding down the Command key (Ctrl on PC), or to select mode by holding down the Option (Alt) key.

your score . You will hear the "Jingle Bells" theme with a piano sound.
Save your document by selecting File>Save. Name it JBell.mus
Hint: Save your work frequently with File>Save
(Caution: Document saving is not available with the evaluation version of Harmony Assistant.)

Creating a new tune

Changing the staff instrument

We are now going to give a music box sound to the melody.

To the left of the staff, little icons can be used to perform various actions on it.

Point to them with the cursor and read the explanations in the help window.
Hint: If you cannot see these icons, then you are probably in page mode, and "display handles" mode is off. Switch to scroll mode or activate the control handles ("Score" menu).

Click on the little "instrument editing" icon  .
The instrument selection window opens. In the top-left corner is the current instrument name: here "Piano". Select this name and replace it with "Music box".

In the bottom of the window are two lists for selecting the instrument sound. The left one contains the sound set (sounds are organized by theme). Click on "Chromatic percussion".
In the right list are the names of sounds in this group. Select "Music Box".

Note: These names follow the General MIDI standard.

To hear this sound before selecting it for good, click on "Try" and keep the mouse button down. By moving the cursor up and down, you can hear this sound at different pitches.

Hint: have fun browsing the lists and trying the available sounds. Then come back to "Chromatic percussion" - "Music box".

Confirm your choices by clicking OK.

Play your melody again 

Creating a new tune

Changing the name of a staff and resizing it

Changing the name of a staff

Above the treble clef is the staff name. By default, it has been set to "Piano". We are going to change it to "Main".
Find the little black triangle above the icons in the staff's left margin  .
Click on it, and the staff configuration menu opens. With this menu, you can access all the staff configuration options.
Note: Some of these actions, like instrument selection, can be accessed faster by clicking on the icons below the black triangle.

In the staff menu, select "Rename" and type in the new staff name: "Main".
Confirm your actions: the new name is displayed above the treble clef.

Resizing the staff

We are now going to resize the screen area reserved for the top staff. Click on the horizontal red line below the staff configuration icons in the staff margin and drag the cursor down.
The space allotted to the first staff is enlarged, and the second staff (bass clef) is shifted down. When you think that the allocated space is wide enough, release the mouse button (try, however, to have both staves visible on screen).

You will have noticed that the treble staff remained at the top of its area. To center it, drag the lower red triangle down. The staff is then repositioned within its enlarged space.

Creating a new tune

Entering chords on the second staff

On the bass (second) staff, we are going to place chords to accompany your melody.
To help you place notes, if you are not very familiar with musical theory, here is the list of notes you are going to use, along with their position on the staff:

            __ treble G __
               treble F
            __ E __
            __ C __
______________ A ________________ Topmost line
______________ F  ________________



___________________________________ Bottom line

In the first bar, we're going to begin with a  C major chord in its 2nd inversion, that is to say: G, C and E.

Select a half-note  and drop a G into the first bar of the bass staff (see above to get the position of G on the staff).
Then drop a C above this note. To help you, when moving the mouse, the note to be dropped must show a + symbol which indicates that this note will be dropped in the same column as an existing note.
The C appears in the same column as the G: these two notes will be played at the same time. Then place an E (two leger lines above the topmost line of the staff), also in the same chord. Your chord is complete.

To the right of this chord, place the same chord again, still with half-notes. The first bar is complete:

Tip: Rather than entering the same three notes again, you could use the copy/paste option:
  • Choose the Selection (lasso) tool in the floating edit palette.
  • Click to the left of the chord already placed on the staff and keep the button pressed down.
  • Drag the mouse to the right so that the selection encompasses the chord.
  • Release the mouse button
  • Select Edit>Copy (Command-C)
  • Click in the place you want this chord to be duplicated (to the right of the first one)
  • Select Edit>Paste (Command-V)

  • Do not forget to return to note insertion mode (pencil and note icon).

In the second bar, place the same chord again.
Tip: If you used the copy and paste options to insert the second chord, you can simply select "Paste" again.

Then place an A minor chord, made of half-notes A, C and E as above.
The second bar is complete.

In the third bar, place an F major chord, made of A, C (as above) and F.
Next place a C major chord, identical to those in the first bar.
The third bar is complete.

In the fourth and last bar, place a D minor chord, made of A, D and F.
Then select a quarter note duration .

Place a G chord (G-B-D) and an inverted G chord (B-D-treble G)

If you did not make a mistake, you should have something like this:

Play the tune 

Creating a new tune

Creating a new instrument

Now we are going to create a new instrument to change the sound of this staff.
As with the previous staff, click on the icon   in the left margin to edit the related instrument.

At present, the chosen instrument is called Bass. To the right of the instrument name, click on the downward-pointing gray arrow to open a menu.
The list of instruments already created opens.
Select "New instrument".
Give a name to your new instrument. Call it "String Ensemble".
In the sound lists, select "Ensemble" and "Slow strings"
Confirm this window with OK. You have just created a new instrument with a new sound.

This instrument will be used by the bass staff.

Play your tune to try the new instrument 

Creating a new tune

Creating a user-defined sound

We are now going to change the treble staff instrument to make it use a sound that you have recorded.
Click on the instrument edit icon for the first staff .

Switching to user mode

We are now interested in creating our own sound for an instrument.
To do this, you must first switch the instrument to "user" mode by clicking on the "Std" button in the top left corner of the window. The "Std" button changes to show that you are now working with a "User" sound.
A graph is now displayed in the lower part of the editing window. This graph shows the digital data that the 'Music box' sound is made of.

Preparing for recording

Using your system control panel, set up the sound recording (from a microphone or a CD). If possible, first try making a recording using another software program to ensure that everything is working properly.
If you use an audio CD, find a tune with a note played solo and for a long time.
If you use the microphone, be ready to sing a note or play a single note on an acoustic instrument.


Click the  icon to access the digital recording window.
On the right, the VU-meter allows you to adjust the input level.
When you are ready, click  to start recording (5 seconds).
When it is completed, click OK (and if necessary stop your audio CD).
Hint: Play an accurately tuned note, a C if possible.

Listening to the recorded sound

After recording, return to the sound definition window, and you can "see" what you recorded. Straight horizontal lines correspond to the moments during which nothing was played.
To hear the sound you recorded, click
If you are not satisfied, you can record the sound again.

Isolating the sound

You must now isolate the interesting part of the recorded sound. To do this, click and drag from the beginning to the end of the section you want to keep. The selected area appears on a colored background.

Tip: Use the zoom slider to enlarge the sound display scale.
Click  to listen to your selection.
When you are satisfied (you must only hear one note, with no preceding silence), open the Action pop-up menu, and select 'Crop'.

Entering the input note

To put the instrument you just created in tune with the others used in your music, you must confirm the recorded note.
Enter the name of the input note in the "Input note" field.
Tip: When you click "Try" and hold the mouse button down, the note heard must be a C.

Confirming and listening

Confirm your changes with OK. This returns you to your musical document.
You can hear your new user instrument by playing the tune .
Tips You can also import recorded sound files like WAV, SF2, etc. Select "Import" in the pop up menu "Actions".

SF2 (also called SoundFont) are sound files including a lot of sound samples designed for hardware MIDI synthesizers.
When opening a SF2 file, a dialog box lets you choose one or more samples for the current instrument.

For more information about how to create and manage user digital sounds, read the Predefined user instruments chapter.

Creating a new tune

Placing graphics and text

To comment or ornament your score, you can place colored text and graphics anywhere you want on the staves.
Click on the "Txt" icon in the floating palette to switch to text insert mode.

Click where you want the text to be inserted. A window opens and you can type in the desired text and select its color, font, size and style.
For example, enter "Jingle Bells" and select the Times (or Times New Roman) font with a size of 32, bold, red.

Tip: The "Ab" icon (at the bottom) allow text to be displayed over the other elements without erasing them.

Confirm. The text appears on your score, surrounded by a red frame.

You can drag the text frame, resize it (by dragging its bottom-right corner) or edit it again (double-click).

To place a graphic, the operation is more or less the same. Select "Graphics" (the icon with a square, circle and triangle) and click where you want your graphic to be inserted.
In the window, select the shape to be inserted by using the horizontal scroll bar (for example, the ribbon) as well as its color (green) and confirm.
The chosen graphic appears at the desired place.

Tip: You can also place graphics created in a drawing program by clicking "Other" in the graphics selection box and choosing a BMP file (or PICT on Macintosh).

Creating a new tune

Entering comments and printing

You can put comments on the first page of a printed score. To edit them, select File>Comment.
Enter the tune title (Jingle Bells), the composer (James Pierpont, 1857) and the remarks (for example, "Christmas song") and confirm. 
Tip: At the bottom of this window, you can read information about the file, including the time spent on this tune. Interesting, but also depressing at times!

Now select File>Print>Score

A print preview appears and you can see what the printed page will look like.
By clicking the "Options" button, you can then choose what you want to be printed. Check Print infos on first page and deselect the other options. Finally, on the list at the bottom, ensure that your two staves (Main and Bass) are marked with a little printer icon.
OK this box and select your usual printer settings.
Then click on "Print page".

Note: It is only possible to print one page with the trial version of Harmony Assistant.

With an unregistered version of Melody Assistant, you can print, but a message will remind you to register for a modest sum if you enjoy this software.
Of course, this message will disappear as soon as your copy is registered.

Creating a new tune

Changing bar widths

To adjust the number of bars appearing at the same time on screen or on a printed page, you can  fix the bar widths either individually or globally. Doing so will move notes closer together or further apart.
Note: You must not confuse this feature with zooming (or scaling), which enlarges or reduces all symbols to make them more readable on screen: printing is not affected by the zoom setting, and notes that appear too close or overlapped keep their relative distance.

Individual setting
At the top of your main window the ruler (gray bar) indicates bar numbers. When you point to the line in the ruler separating two bars, the cursor changes. By dragging this line, you can change the width of the individual bar.

Global setting:
Select more than one measure by clicking on the ruler and change the size of one measure in the selection. This size will be applied to all the selected bars.

Tip: Bars are displayed on screen side by side, making a continuous "ribbon" from the first to the last. As the printed page width is not infinite, they will be printed in strips one below another. On screen, a vertical yellow line shows where the staff is cut into strips while printing.

Creating an automatic accompaniment

At the top of the document window, between the ruler with its bar numbers and the staves, two areas can be used to define rhythm patterns and automatic accompaniments.These are called the rhythm array (green area) and the accompaniment array (gray area).
You are invited to view the "Creating automatic accompaniments and rhythms from a melody with Harmony Assistant " video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

Note: These areas are only displayed when they are enabled in the Options menu.

Above these two areas, the chord grid shows the chords calculated for each bar.

Click in the accompaniment array cell above the first bar.
The accompaniment definition window opens. Click on "New" and give a name to this new accompaniment (for example "Bass line"). Then click the "Edit" button.

This brings up a window with tabs for defining the details of the accompaniment.

Open the "Instrument" tab and select the pre-defined "Bass" instrument.

Note: Click on "Edit" to define a new instrument or to modify an existing one, just as in "regular" staves.

Then open the "Notes" tab.

Her you can define the sequence or the chord type to be followed by the accompaniment while the tune is playing.
Select "according to pattern" and select the "ChaCha:Bass" pattern from the right-hand list. Click "OK" for this window, and for the accompaniment window.
Your accompaniment is created.

Note: Accompaniments are played only when the "Accompaniments active" icon (tune playing floating palette) is selected.

You will notice that the accompaniment only appears in the first bar of the tune. If you play the tune now, you will hear the first three bass notes, corresponding to the first bar.

We are now going to extend this accompaniment to the four bars of the tune.

Tip: While defining the accompaniment, at the bottom of the main window you can directly enter the first and last bars to which the accompaniment should be applied.

Point to the right hand edge of the "Bass line" frame in the accompaniment array (gray).
The mouse pointer changes. Drag the edge to the right to make it cover the four bars of the tune. Release the button. Your accompaniment is now completed.
Play the tune 

Setting up a rhythm

In almost the same way that you created an accompaniment, we are now going to add a rhythm.

Click on the first bar in the rhythm array (green area). The rhythm definition window opens. Select "Loop1" in the list of available rhythms and confirm with "OK".

The "Loop1" rhythm has been inserted in the rhythm array, but only for the first bar. As you did before, extend this rhythm to cover the four bars of your tune.

Play the tune  : your rhythm is heard with the music.

Note: Rhythms are played only when the "Rhythms active" icon (tune playing floating palette) is selected

We have just skimmed through the numerous harmonizing features available in Harmony Assistant. Note however that rhythm and accompaniment arrays can be enlarged in height to create several lines that will be played simultaneously.

We advise you to load and carefully examine the examples.

You are invited to view the "Creating automatic accompaniments and rhythms from a melody with Harmony Assistant" video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).



This section of the manual deals with the graphical appearance of the document.

First you will be introduced to the basic concepts of music notation.

Then you will learn how to create a new document from a template.

Several kinds of notation will be mentioned, as well as special kinds of staves: tablatures, multi-voice staves, gregorian notation.

Then, the miscellaneous music symbols that can be related to a staff will be reviewed: break symbols, clefs, key changes...

A dedicated chapter will describe in detail the text objects related to staves: how to input and use them.

Lastly, we will study the free objects and the other tools that help you to improve the score appearance.


Musical Theory reminder

General Points

In this program, music is written in the classic way: notes are placed on staves and staves are put together into a score, this being the most common representation in the musical world.

We are now going to review the basics. If you are already familiar with musical theory and vocabulary, you can skip this chapter. 

Note: Of course, the whole of music theory cannot be explained here. To go deeper into this field, you are invited to refer to a specialized book on the subject.
A tune is written in a score (the content of your document's main window). A score is divided into a number of staves, each staff representing what is played by a single instrument.

The staff is made of five grouped horizontal lines:


On each staff, notes can be placed. A note defines the sound to be played at a given time by the instrument of the staff. Notes can be placed on or between the lines.

A note, by its appearance and location, defines three parameters:

- Its vertical position defines its pitch. The higher the note is placed, the higher its pitch.

- Its horizontal position defines the time it is played at. Thus, the staff's horizontal axis defines a time scale, passing from left to right. If you place two notes in the same column, they will be played at the same time. This is called a chord.

- The note's shape defines its duration or length. Standard note lengths are predefined in musical notation, each one being twice as long as the next.
Thus, you have:
The whole note or semibreve  is equal to two half notes or minims: , each half note is equal to two quarter notes or crotchets. Each quarter note is equal to two eighth notes or quavers: , and so on with sixteenth notes or semiquavers , 32nd notes or demisemiquavers ...

indicate pauses between notes. Just like notes, they are organized in lengths that decrease by half. Rests are named according to their duration, so you will find a semibreve rest, a minim rest and so on.

Staves are divided into bars, separated by vertical lines placed regularly on the staff. Bars split staves into regular intervals.

Finally, on the left of each staff is a clef. A clef gives several pieces of information:

- Its shape determines where the notes fall on the lines.
Thus, the treble or G clef (upper staff) says that the bottom line corresponds to an E, the space between the two bottom lines to an F, the above line (around which it curls) to a G, and so on for A, B, C, D, E, F, G...
The treble clef symbol is:

With a bass or F clef, the bottom line corresponds to a low-pitched G, and from bottom to top, A, B, C, D, E, F ...
The bass clef symbol is:

- On the right of the clef are two numbers, such as . These indicate the time signature, i.e. the length of each bar. 4/4 means that a bar contains four beats and the value of each beat is a quarter note. Thus the length of the bar is a whole note or two half notes.

Musical Theory reminder




Just as many written languages employ accents to show how a letter should be pronounced, so musical notation employs accents to indicate phrasing.
Thus, if you see:


This is a symbol which modifies the pitch of the note it is linked to, as well as all the subsequent notes in the bar on the same line (or space) of the staff.
There are five accidentals:
  When you see an accidental (sharp, flat...) before a note, that note and all the notes in the same bar and on the same line (or space) are affected.
Most of the time, notes with the same name but in a different octave are also altered. This feature can, however, be turned off in the software in Configuration>Global Setup.


This is a little note, placed before another note, which steals its time from the note it is linked to.
When several appogiaturas are linked to a note, they are called Grace notes.


Notes in an arpeggio chord are not played simultaneously, but successively, very quickly.


Bars (sometimes called measures) divide a piece of music into equal parts. A bar is subdivided generally into two, three or four parts, called beats.
Not all the beats in a bar have the same importance, depending on the accent:
  Beats are themselves divided into several parts. The first part of a beat is strong, the remainder is weak.

To tell the performer the bar division, two numbers are placed like a fraction after the clef.

The upper number expresses the number of beats in a bar.
The lower number expresses the length of these beats (in fractions of a whole note).

For example, a 3/4 bar comprises three beats each worth a quarter note.

For more information read the Time signature chapter.

Bar line

The bar line is the vertical line which separates each bar from the next.


A chord is a group of notes played at the same time.

A chord is always related to a scale and is made of at least three notes:

With only these three notes, it is already possible to make a significant number of different chords.

A C major chord, notated C, is made of:

An E minor diminished fifth (or flat fifth), Emb5 will be made of: There are chords made of more than three notes. The software can also use chords of four or five notes, made of the root note, the third and the fifth, but also: For example,

A chord of D minor flat fifth, major seventh, diminished ninth will be notated Dmb5/7Mb9 and made of:

Finally, every chord can be inverted. Inversion changes only the order of notes, never the note values themselves.


This symbol, placed after a note, increases its duration by half. For example, a dotted quarter note would play for a quarter plus an eighth.
A dot can also be placed after a rest.


Most instruments are capable of being played quietly or loudly. The volume at which passages are played is referred to as ‘dynamics’. The pianoforte is so named because it can play softly or loudly depending on how hard the keys are struck.
In synthesizer speak, the individual note dynamic is called ‘velocity’ because the volume of the note is dependent on the speed of the hand with which it is struck. In this version of the software, dynamics can be set by adjusting the individual velocities of the notes.
For more information, see the Dynamics chapter.


In a scale, notes are distributed in degrees, separated by intervals. The scale of F, for example, comprises F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F
But a note can be flat or sharp, so two note names can indicate the same pitch.
Consider the scale of B. This comprises B, C#, D#, E, F#, G# A# B. Here it is appropriate to call the seventh note A#, though it is exactly the same note as the fourth note in the scale of F, which it is more convenient to call Bb. This is enharmony.

Flat (b)

Placed before a note, lowers the pitch by one semitone.

Ghost rest

This notion is specific to Harmony and Melody, and does not exist in regular musical theory.
A ghost rest is a rest used to make up a bar during editing. It indicates an incomplete bar, in which notes can still be added.
It is drawn as:

A ghost rest graphically shows the time remaining in a bar. You can transform ghosts rests to rests by using the staff menu (black triangle in the staff margin), option "Change ghost rests to rests".

Tip: ghost rests can be made invisible using an option in Configuration>Global Setup.


This is a group of three or four little notes before or after the main note. As with grace notes (appoggiatura), their lengths are taken from the note they are linked with.


In its fundamental state, the notes of a chord are in the regular order, i.e. the root note is the bottom one, then the third, the fifth and eventually the seventh and the ninth.
Inverting a chord changes this relative order so the bottom note can be any of its notes.

The first inversion shifts the root to the next octave. The third then becomes the bass note of the chord.

The second inversion shifts the root and the third to the next octave. The fifth then becomes the bass note of the chord.

The same principle can be applied for the third and fourth inversions (of course, these inversions only make sense if the chord has four or five notes).

Thus, a C 7th chord, along with its inversions, will comprise:

fundamental state:     C E G Bb
1st inversion:            E G Bb C
2nd inversion:           G Bb C E
3rd inversion:           Bb C E G

It is also possible to make a lower inversion, i.e. shifting notes to the next lower octave.

Here is a summary of the relative order of notes according to the chord inversion.

F = Fundamental (root), 3 = third, 5 = fifth, 7 = 7th, 9 = 9th.

              Octave    Octave   Octave
                -1         0        +1
                  .         .         .
fundamental state .         F 3 5 7 9 .
1st inversion     .         . 3 5 7 9 F
2nd inversion     .         .   5 7 9 F 3
3rd inversion     .         .     7 9 F 3 5
4th inversion     .         .       9 F 3 5 7
1st lower inv.   . 3 5 7 9 F         .
2nd lower inv.   .   5 7 9 F 3       .
3rd lower inv.   .     7 9 F 3 5     .
4th lower inv.   .       9 F 3 5 7   .

Key signature

Musical scales are defined by their key signature. The various degrees of the scale are often flat or sharp. To avoid writing accidentals, sharps or flats are only written once, after the clef.

C# major or A# minor
These symbols become the default sharps or flats for the line of the staff they are drawn on.

For more information, refer to the Key signature chapter.
If you are using Harmony Assistant, see also the modal array in the Frequently Asked Questions chapter


Placed before a note, cancels the previous sharp or flat (whether in key signature or accidental).


A note is a symbol representing both a duration and a pitch. The note shape represents its duration, its position on the staff represents its pitch (frequency), and its horizontal location represents the time at which it is played.

- Note pitch
There are 7 notes, which can be written in two different ways.
        C, D, E, F, G, A, B (English notation)
or Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si (Latin notation)

This series of notes forms an ascending scale of sounds from bass to treble. An octave is the distance between two notes with the same name in two consecutive series.

The vertical position of the note on the staff indicates which degree of the scale defined by the key signature corresponds to the note.

If the note is preceded by the # sign (sharp), the note value is raised by one semitone, as are any other notes of the same degree in the bar.
If the note is preceded by the b sign (flat), the note value is lowered by one semitone, as are any other notes of the same degree in the bar.
Finally, the "natural" symbol before the note cancels the effects of previous sharp or flat.

Note: the same note can sometimes be written in different ways. See Enharmony.
- Note duration
The shape of the note indicates its duration. In decreasing order: These lengths can be combined with the tie option in the Edit menu. By tying a half note with an 8th note, for example, a note with a duration equal to the sum of these two lengths is obtained.
Dotted notes indicate a duration of one-and-a-half times the written duration. For example, a dotted quarter has the same duration as a quarter plus an 8th note.

It is also possible to use triplets (their duration is equal to 2/3 of the written note).

- Notation:

Notes are written on a staff or stave.
Notes in the same column are played at the same time.
To beam the notes together, select them with the lasso tool and choose "Beam" in the "Edit" menu.
Beamed notes indicate to the performer that they will be played in the same "phrase". In this case beams replace the hooks.

When different notes are beamed together, determining their respective duration becomes a little bit more complex. For example:

To determine the duration of a given note, look for the maximum number of beams in contact with its stem. This indicates the note's duration.

It is also possible to place signs indicating that no note is to be played during an interval of time. Such signs are called rests.


Nuances are the various strengths a note can be played with.
By using dynamics, heavily struck notes can be differentiated from those lightly touched.
Phrasing can be displayed by using the "Edit velocities" option in the staff configuration menu (black triangle in the margin to the left of the staff).


Octave is the eighth degree of the scale.
Two notes separated by a whole number of octaves have the same name.
The choice of the octave of a chord determines the pitch this chord is played at.
In the software, the standard octave is the 4th (the octave the treble notes of a tune are usually played at).
A higher value produces more high-pitched notes, and a lower value lower notes.


The range of notes a given instrument can play is generally defined by the lowest and highest pitched notes the instrument can produce.


Rests are symbols indicating that no sound is played during that time.
In the floating palettes, rests are organized in the same order as notes. Thus, a minim rest is located at the same place in its palette as the minim note.

Sharp (#)

Placed before a note, increases the pitch by one semitone.


A scale is a sequence of notes, distributed in degrees. There are eight degrees per octave.
These degrees are not evenly spaced: the intervals between degrees determines the type of scale:

For a major scale:

a semitone is the interval between two successive keys on a piano keyboard (including black keys), or two successive frets on a guitar neck.

A scale can start from any note (C, D, E...).
The first degree, called tonic, gives its name to the scale.


T Tonic
2 Second 1 tone above the tonic
3 Major third 2 tones above the tonic
4 Fourth 2 and a half tones above the tonic
5 Fifth 3 and a half tones above the tonic
6 Sixth 1 and a half tones below the octave
7M Major seventh One semitone below the octave
Octave 12 semitones above the tonic
For example, a scale of C major will comprise:
C, D, E, F, G, A, B

The E major scale will comprise:
E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#

In the intervals between the degrees can be found:

3m minor third   1 and a half tones above the tonic
b5 flat fifth    3 tones above the tonic
5+ augmented fifth      4 tones above the tonic
7 minor seventh       1 tone below the octave

Note: a scale is called major when its third degree is major, and minor when its third degree is minor.


A staff (or stave) is represented by five horizontal lines, equally spaced. These lines are numbered from bottom to top. Each line or space between a pair of lines corresponds to a degree of a scale.

With a treble (G) clef, the first (bottom) line is an E.
With a bass (F) clef, the first line is a G.

On the left of the staff, beside the clef, are the time and key signatures.


A sound is a sensation produced by the vibratory movement of a body on the ear drum.
Musical sound can be distinguished from noise by an exact and measurable frequency. Musical sound is defined by:
• Its pitch (or frequency): more or fewer oscillations in a given amount of time.
• Its intensity, or strength: depends on the amplitude of the oscillations. This is the sound's volume.
• Its timbre which distinguishes two sounds with the same frequency and intensity, and which makes the C of a piano different from that of a flute.


Tablature is musical notation designed for fretted instruments. The frets are used to stop the string at different lengths to obtain different frequencies.
Unlike a piano, for example, a fretted instrument can produce the same note at different positions.
Experienced performers can immediately find optimum finger positions. Others can be assisted by tablature.
Every note in 'regular' staff notation is associated with a note in the tablature.
Duration, slur, phrasing ... must still be read from the regular staff. The note's pitch is read from the tablature where string and fret to be played are displayed.
Here's an example for guitar:

The numbers are fret positions. 0 means an open string, 1 the first fret, etc.
The instrument neck is displayed with its sixth  string (bass) at the bottom.

Tablatures can also be calculated for several Harmonicas (diatonic, chromatic…) in any key.


This is the range for a voice. Tessitura is generally defined by the lowest and highest notes the singer can sing, or by the number of octaves.


The set of rules which governs the construction of scales. In a more restrictive sense, the tonality of a piece is the key in which it is written.


Transposing a piece of music means changing it to another key.
This is done by adding or subtracting the same number of semitones from all the notes of the piece.


Is a rapid variation of pitch.


Normally, a note's duration can be divided into two equal parts: a quarter note is made of two eighth notes, for example. This is a binary division.

A triplet divides a note into three equal parts; a ternary division.

Three notes in a triplet have the same value as two notes outside the triplet. Thus, three quarter notes in a triplet are equal to one half note.
In fact, a triplet is simply a 3:2 tuplet.


A tuplet defines fractional notes. It is represented by two digits separated by a colon (:)
A tuplet of a:b means "a notes will be played in the time normally taken by b notes."

For example, if you define a 5:2 tuplet, and you are using eighths, this means that 5 eighth notes will be played in the time normally taken by two eighth notes.

On the score, only the first digit is shown to indicate a tuplet. Thus, if you see a 5 drawn above a note, you can't determine whether it is a 5:1 tuplet, a 5:2 (the notes are twice as long) or a 5:4 (four times as long).
Only examining the number of beats in the bar can clear up this ambiguity!


Velocity can be used to play a sudden loud note or chord, create a crescendo or diminuendo, emphasize the beat...
Velocities can be set by using the ‘Edit Velocities’ button to the left of the stave.
When applied to a whole passage, velocities are called ‘dynamics’ in regular musical vocabulary.


(Templates for a new document)


When selecting "File>New", you can select the kind of musical document you want to create from amongst a list of pre-defined templates.
This template list is sorted by family or by theme, to ease your search.

Little icons can appear after the template name. Here is their meaning:

Templates are in fact regular Harmony-Melody files (.MUS extension) stored in a special folder called Models, located at the application level.

Creating user-defined templates:

It is easy to create user-defined templates for Harmony-Melody. These new templates will appear in the list when selecting "File>New":

You are invited to view the "How to create a document model (template). " tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

Some hints:

To make your template files easier to use, try to follow these simple rules:

And do not forget, other users may be interested in your templates. Mention them on or send them to if you want them to be included in future versions of the software.
Do not forget to tell us where in  the template tree you want your file to be classified.

Page mode

Score display

Harmony Assistant lets you choose between two display modes for your music score: scroll mode and page mode.

In scroll mode, staves are displayed one above the other, and bars are displayed in an infinite area from left to right. The right edge of the page (where printing will have to skip to the next line) is displayed as a vertical colored line.
This display mode, which has been used from the very first version of the program, is still available.

In page mode, the score is displayed exactly as it will be printed, from the first to the last page, as paper sheets put side by side on a virtual desktop.

You are invited to view the "Scroll mode, page mode, display control handles in Harmony Assistant. " and  "Harmony Assistant: Navigate in Page Mode. How to input a score? " video tutorials. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).


You can edit scores in a similar way in both of these modes.
Switching from one mode to another is performed through "Score>Page mode".

The display mode and current display zoom are stored in the document file. Thus, when loading a file, you start up with the last-used display options.
When a new document is created from a template, page mode is set by default.
You can specify whether scroll or page mode is set when loading or creating a document. See "Configuration>Global Setup", "Load" tab index.

Note: Since in page mode, the document is displayed just as it will be printed, you can only edit staves which are marked as "printable"; the other ones are not displayed on the page at all. Similarly, if you define bar printing bounds, only the printed bars can be edited in page mode.

Page size

By default, the area for a page in page mode is the printing area (depending on the selected printer). In some cases, however, it can be useful to work on a different page area.
In particular, it can be useful if you wish to publish your music scores on the Web using the Myriad Music Plug-in.

For example, if you want choir members to refer to the same printed score, you must be able to say "fourth bar of the third page" and have everybody understand which bar you are talking about.
But if a member printed his score in "landscape" format instead of "portrait", or if the print area is smaller on his printer than on yours, the page setup may be different.

The "Score>paper size setup" menu option enables you to select a specific page area, instead of using the current printer settings (by selecting "use instead" mode).
From then, when somebody prints your score on his printer, you can specify that a scale adjustment has to be performed so that the whole page area is used ("Fit in paper while printing").
If the printer area is very different from the original  (for example printing in portrait instead of landscape), strong distortions can occur.
To avoid them, select "Ratio observance".

You can specify the way pages will be displayed in the virtual desktop:

• Pages can be placed side by side in groups of two as in a book. This display shows the way pages will be read by the performer when playing this score.
• A space for a flyleaf can be kept. Then the first page of the score is displayed alone.

Screen DPI

By default, screen pitch is assumed to be 72 DPI (dots per inch), which is equal to 28 dots per centimeter.
In page mode, with a display scale of 100%, you should see the page at real size on screen. (put a real paper sheet on your screen to be sure).

Very often, screen pitch is greater than 72 DPI.  In that case the displayed area for the sheet will appear smaller than the real paper.
You can adjust this setting in the software to get the right size on screen by using "Score>Paper size setup", then the "Screen setup" button.
Put a graduated ruler against your screen and move the slider until the displayed size perfectly matches the ruler.
From now on, page mode displayed will be an accurate representation of what will be printed.
This setting applies to all documents.

Control handle display

When control handle display is on ("Score>Display control handles"), a set of control handles shows the following values on screen: staff heights, location of staff elements in the staff area, bar widths, bar margins, location of page header and footer, etc. These control handles are not printed.

You can click and drag these control handles to change their values. When moving a control handle, page display is recalculated in real-time.

So do not be surprised if, for example, a staff moves up when changing its height: it is due to the page setup values you have set.


In page mode, in the bottom left corner of your document window, a set of icons lets you access the most common page setup commands. The number of the first displayed page is also shown. Click on this number to change it and, in doing so, view another page of your document.


A palette specific to page mode (see "Windows" menu, "Psge mode tool") shows your document in a schematic way. The display area is shown and you can move it around.

The Engraver mode

Symbol spacing modes

Harmony Assistant enables two different modes for note spacing: arithmetical and engraver modes.
This spacing mode is independent from the document display mode (scroll or page display mode).

In arithmetical spacing mode, notes and rests are separated by a distance that is proportional to their duration. For example, there is twice as much distance after a half note as after a quarter.

In engraver mode, the distance between symbols can be freely adjusted.
Arithmetical mode
Engraver mode
Engraver mode
Arithmetic mode
For example, here is how a half note and a series of shorter notes are displayed in arithmetical mode. As you can see, there is a wide empty space after the half, and the sixteenths are highly compressed. Here is the same bar in engraver mode. Spacing is not proportional to note duration. Display is nicer and well spaced out.

Whatever the spacing mode you chose, notes at the same time position will be aligned from one staff to another.
Bar display scales are calculated according to the shortest note to be displayed in this bar, for all displayed staves.

There can be a difference between the computed display scale in scroll mode and page mode: in scroll mode, all staves are displayed, so all staves are used in the bar scale calculation. Gregorian and drum grid staves don't follow the engraver mode.
In page mode, only the staves marked to be printed are taken into account.
It therefore may be necessary to adjust the paging in page mode.

Selecting the spacing mode

The choice between arithmetical and engraver spacing mode can be made in the "score" menu. In the same menu, you can set up parameters for engraver mode.
You will select the display size for the different note lengths.
The unit describes the relative size of a displayed note length, compared to the others. It approximately matches the distance in pixels between notes, for a document display scale of 100%.

Note: When engraver mode is on, a <E> is displayed in the title bar of the document.


Setting up the engraver spacing mode

You can select each note size, in relative unit:

When inserting a note, the software can evaluate the best bar size to display notes and apply it automatically. You can specify the smallest possible bar scale and the biggest one.
You can also select the bar size for empty bars.
If these three values are identical, all bars will be set the same size.

On the left of this dialog window, predefined parameter sets can be selected. You can add your own sets.

Loading and creating documents

When importing a file (MIDI, TAB, KAR, ABC,...), creating a new document from a template or loading a file created by a previous version of the software, the spacing mode will be forced to the value you defined in global setup, "Load" thumb index.


In scroll mode under Harmony Assistant and Melody Assistant, or in page mode with handle display under Harmony Assistant, the miscellaneous items that define a staff can be moved.
Handles show current sizes and positions. Clicking and dragging these handles change sizes and positions.

Here is an example of display:

Changing bar size

The little red arrow pointing downwards, at the top of the staff area, change the bar left and right margin. Notes, rests and other objects, are displayed in the area between the two handles.

The vertical blue arrow change the total bar size.

If you wish to apply the a change to several bars at the same time, select these bars and apply change to any bar in the selection range. This change will then be applied to all the selected bars.

You are invited to view the video tutorial: "Bar size change. Scale, left margin, right margin." 

Changing vertical positions

The little red arrows, on the left of the clef, change the position of the miscellaneous items within the staff area: bar numbering position, staff base line position, lyrics position.

The blue arrow on the left of the clef, change the staff height.

A single click applies a change to a single staff, for the whole content of this staff.
Shift+click applied the change to all staves in the score.

It is also possible, in page mode (Harmony Assistant only) or in the print preview, to change only the positions within a single staff system.
As a reminder, a system is a group of staves that play together.

Discontinuous selection

The selection modes

As we saw the "Edit" menu applies actions to the selection.

You create the selection using the "Select" tool in the "Edit" tool palette. The selection can be continuous (by area) or discontinuous (by symbols).

The continuous selection is defined by a start and end time position. All symbols included in this area are processed when performing a copy/paste/erase/add operation, or any other operation related to the selection range.

For example, here is a continuous selection:

The two first chords are selected.

The discontinuous selection enables you to select symbols individually, for example two notes among the four in a chord, all and only the rests in a bar, etc.

You are invited to view the "How to use discontinuous selection" video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).
For example, here is a discontinuous selection:

Only two notes are selected by chord.

Note : The discontinuous selection is available starting in Melody Assistant 7 and Harmony Assistant 9.

Creating a discontinuous selection

To define a discontinuous selection, switch to "Select" mode ("Edit tools" palette) and click the symbols (notes or rests) while holding the Shift key down or using the right mouse button.
The symbol color changes when it is selected. Perform the same operation on another symbol to create a set of selected symbols.
Note that the selected symbol color can be changed in the Global settings, "Screen" panel.

Removing a symbol from selection

If you click the symbol again while Shift key is held down, or using the right mouse button, it is deselected. To deselect all the symbols, click anywhere in the score without holding down the Shift key.

Selecting several symbols in one click

To select a group of symbols, click anywhere while holding the Shift key down, and move the mouse with the button down. A rectangular area is drawn, and symbols included in this area are selected. As for the individual selection, this area selection toggles symbols from selected to deselected state.

Applying actions

Actions that can be applied to a discontinuous selection are the same as those applied to a regular selection range.
For example:
"Edit>Copy" copies selected symbols to the clipboard. You can then paste them to another place, by clicking the desired location to define an insert point, then use "Edit>Paste"
"Edit>Erase" erase the selected symbols.
"Edit>Appearance>General" changes the appearance of the selected symbols
"Edit>Pitch change" changes the pitch of the selected symbols
If you change the stem size of a selected symbol while holding the Shift key down, stem size for all selected symbols is changed at the same time.
If you move an accidental while holding the Shift key down, all selected accidentals are moved.
And so on...

Moving a group

Discontinuous selection enables moving a group of symbols.
When dragging any symbol from a discontinuous selection, the whole set of selected symbols is moved.
This move can be vertical: you change all note pitches.
It can be horizontal: you move these notes to another time position in the score. This move can be performed within the same staff or to another staff.
The note you selected to move the whole group is the "master note".
When the master note is moved to form a chord with another note of the score, the "+" symbol appears. This means the group will be added to existing notes to build chords, if possible.
Otherwise, the group will be inserted at the selected position and the existing notes shifted.
In contrast to copy/paste which preserves note pitches, moving a group preserves the graphical appearance of the symbols on screen.
If you include several notes in a regular (continuous) selection range, then click it with the Shift key down, you change the regular selection range into a discontinuous selection, and you can move, insert or add these notes as explained above.

Special paste

If an insertion point is present, when a group of symbols is copied to the clipboard, then pasted, the group is pasted at the insertion point position. It is the usual behavior.
But, before pasting, if at least one symbol is selected through discontinuous selection, the clipboard content is added as chords to the existing symbols startng at the time position of this selected symbol. In this case, the original note pitches are preserved instead of their graphical appearance.

Special consideration



A view is a different way of displaying a same document. This display can be stored in the document itself, and saved with it.
The user can switch quickly from one view to another, add or delete views. There is no limit for the number of views that can be related to a document.

For instance, by using views, an orchestra score can be easily created. This score file contains a general view, displaying all the performers' staves, then one view for each kind of instrument.
Of course, this can be printed.

Note : Views related to a document need page mode: they are therefore available only in Harmony Assistant.
If, with Melody Assistant, you load a score that contains views, only the general view will be available. A message will warn the user about it.

When defining a view, you choose the settings that are specific to this view, and those that will be inherited directly from the general view.

If a setting is specific to a view, changing it in the general view (or in any other view) won't affect this view.
If a setting is not specific to a view, changing it in the general view will affect this view, and vice versa.

The name of the current view is displayed in the window title, after the file name. When a view-specific setting is edited, the name of the view is displayed in the edit box title. If no view name is displayed, then it means you are currently working on the general view, and that all the changes will affect both the general view and all the views that inherit this setting)


Music symbols as notes, dynamics, clef changes, keys, time signatures, etc, are common to all views. For instance, if you change a note pitch, it will affect all views.

A view is primarily defined by its name, the staves it contains, and by its  properties.

Staves: Each staff in the document can be displayed or not in a view. It is the basis of the notion of view. A view can contain as many staves as you wish. A same staff can only be displayed once in each view.

Tempo display: Tempo marks in the score will be displayed on the first staff of this view

Global dynamic display: Global dynamics (that apply to all staves in a score) will be displayed on the first staff of this view.

Global text display: Text objects related to staves will be displayed on the first staff of this view.

Title, Composer, Remarks: A view can set its own header ("File > Title, Composer, Remarks" menu option). This is especially useful if the printing options ask for displaying this information at the beginning of the document.

Page settings: In page mode, the exact preview of what will be printed is displayed on screen. A view can define its own page settings ("File > Printing options" menu item). For instance, the printing scale, group captions, margins, page header and footer, etc, can vary from one view to another

Engraver mode: Each view can define its own engraver mode settings ("Score > Engraver mode setup" menu item). Note spacing  rules can then be different from one view to another.

Score appearance settings: Each view can define its own score general appearance ("Score >Display setup" menu item): line thickness, accidental spacing, tie appearance, etc.

Fine positions: Each view can define its own fine positions: staff spacing, group name position, etc.

Staff appearance settings: Each view can define its own staff appearance settings ("Staff > Staff display mode" menu item): symbol size, default colors, etc. Of course, it only apply to staves that are displayed in this view

Transposed score: Each view can define whether the score is displayed transposed or not ("Options > Display transposed score" menu item).

Group symbols: Each view can define its own appearance and position for bracket and braces that represent staff groups.

"Views" menu

The view menu enable to edit (thus, create) views, to switch between views or to select directly a view to work on it.

Creating and editing views

To create and edit view, please use the "Views > Edit" menu item. The window that opens is split into three parts: the document staff list, the document view list, and the view staff list.

Document staff list

Staff names are displayed in the order of their presence in the document. Because a same staff can only be included once in each view, staves are displayed in grey when already present in the view.

Select a staff and click the "Add to view" button to add this staff to the current view, or double-click the staff to add. You can select several staves through Shift+Click to add several staves in a row

The Create view from staves button will wipe out the view list then create one view for each staff.
The Create view from groups button will wipe out the view list then create one view for each staff group.

Document view list

When a view is added to the document, it appears here. The view order can be changed: click a view name and drag it in the list to change its position.

Several buttons enable to apply actions to the view list: create a new view, change the view settings, duplicate the selected view, delete the selected view, delete all views, change the printing options of the selected view.

To copy the settings or the printing options to all view, right-click a view and select the action to be applied in the contextual menu.

You can select several views through Shift+Click then apply actions to all the view by right-clicking an item in the list.

View staff list

It's the list of staves in the selected view. A button enables to delete the selected staff from the view. This doesn't delete this staff from the document.

Text objects in views

By default, text objects related to staves are displayed in all view that contain this staff.

If the staff that contain the text object is not present in the view, and the view define that global text objects are also displayed, then the text is displayed on the next visible staff of this view

When editing a text object, a pop-up menu enable to relate this text to a given view, or all the views except the general view.

Free objects in views

When editing a freeobject, a pop-up menu enable to relate object to a given view, or all the views except the general view.

Music performance

In the "Play tools" palette, you can select whether you wish to play the view content only, or all the staves.


When printing a score, the current view will be printed.
If you wish to print all the views, select "File > Print > All views".
Please note that the view order (thus the printing order) can be changed from the view creation and editing window


To switch quickly between view, a palette is available in "Scripts > Notation > Select View"



Targets are special positions in your document. The accuracy of a target is the bar. There can therefore only be one target per bar.
You choose in which bar you want the target to be inserted, and you can then move quickly to this target, or play the piece from this point.

Targets are saved along with the document.

Target management

To open the target management menu, click the target icon located at the bottom left corner of your document (in the placard). This menu is available both in page mode and in scroll mode.

First, you will find here the list of targets already defined in the current document, followed by the bar in which each target is located. Select one of these elements to move to the matching target.

To create a target, click in the ruler to select a bar, then "Create a target at bar..." to create a target at this bar. You are then asked for the target name
In the ruler, a target icon appears.

In the target menu, you can ask for playing the piece from the target, rename it or delete it. These operations always apply to the current target, so move first to the target you wish.

Note: To create or delete quickly a target in a bar, right-click the ruler and select "Target" in the pop-up menu..


A target can also be displayed in the document itself, on its first staff.
Once one or several targets have been created, select "Setup captions" in the target menu. You will define the appearance and the way target captions are generated..

Targets are created as free text objects related to the first staff. This free text uses target-specific wildcard patterns. We'll see later that you can define manually targets by using these patterns.

In the target caption setup box, select first whether you want to create targets automatically or not.
If targets are created automatically, each change in a target will update the target captions.
For instance, if you add or delete a target, the matching target caption will be updated.
If targets are not created automatically, you'll have to select "Setup Captions" again.

A target caption can be displayed according to three different formats:

- By the target name
- By the target rank, using letters A,B,C...
- By the target rank using numbers 1,2,3...

This caption can be framed.

The horizontal and vertical offset can also be specified in order to set a specific location in the bar. This applies to targets while creating their caption, but because they are actually free text objects, you can drag a target caption, change its graphic settings or change its caption as you could do with a regular free text.

When generating target captions, if a previous caption already existed in the bar, its settings are preserved (location, font, etc.). Please select "Regenerate captions" or "Erase captions" to create them from the default settings.

You can ask for relating no caption to a target, for instance if this target is only a marker you don't want to see on printing output. Go to the target through the target menu and deactivate "Display caption" in the same menu. If you asked for displaying target captions according to their rank, this target will not be counted.

For instance, it you have three targets in your document and deactivate caption display for the second one, the first will be "A" and the third "B".

Another way is to create manually a target caption. Insert a free text in a bar where a target has been set, and enter the following patterns in this free text:

$!N to display the target name at this bar
$!A to display the target rank as a letter (A,B,C...)
$!# to display the target rank as a number (1,2,3...)

Tie, Slur and Beam

In music notation, there are three kind of symbols used to link notes together : tie, slur and beam.

We are going to study here their meaning, the way they are written and the way they are played.


A tie is always located between two consecutive notes of same pitch. It is equivalent to a single note whose duration is the sum of the durations of the two notes.

To create a tie, you can either:

You are invited to view the "How to tie notes." video tutorial. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).


A slur is located between two notes of any pitch.
If it is played, it behaves as a glissendo: the note pitch will vary smoothly or semitone by semitone from the first pitch to the second one.
The slur tool is located in the "Miscellaneous tools" palette.

You are invited to view the "Adding and deleting slur", "Relate a double slur to a note" and "Playing slurs" video tutorials. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

A slur can also be used, when underlining a whole group of notes, to specify "phrasing", i.e. indicate this group of notes has to be played in a single "sentence" (in a single blow for a wind instrument)

A slur can be inserted between two notes belonging to different staves.

Beam (hitch)

The beam or hitch links two or more notes together, in order to build a rhythmic or melodic entity. There are several notes to define beaming in the software.

You are invited to view the "Hitching notes. Automatic and manual hitching. Time signature setup." and "Special beam. Beaming notes owned by different staves. " video tutorials. ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).


This chapter will explain writing music in tablature, and tell you all you need to know to use tablature in Harmony-Melody.


The classical notation of musical notes on a staff requires the performer to relate the written note to the way of playing that note on his instrument.

In tablature, notes are written in a simpler way that shows directly how to play them on the instrument. It eases the work of the performer.

Three kinds of tablature can be used in Harmony-Melody: tablatures for fretted string instruments (Guitar, Bass, Banjo...), for Harmonica (diatonic and chromatic), and for diatonic accordion (Harmony Assistant only).

Note: Harmony-Melody can automatically compute tablatures for various instruments: Guitar, Bass, Lute, Harmonica, Accordion... You can even define your own instruments, save them into independent files, and share them with other users.

To ask Harmony-Melody to compute and display a tablature, select the "Staff>Tablature" menu, then the staff and the instrument. Tablature is calculated and displayed according to the existing standard staff. Any change to the standard staff will result in a corresponding change to the associated tablature.
You can also create a new staff and define it is a tablature staff.
Some standard templates also include predefined tablature staves.

Creating a tablature

In Harmony-Melody there are several ways to display a staff with a tablature:

  • Standard staves do not have an associated tablature. To add a tablature to a standard staff, select Edit tablature in the staff contextual menu or click on the little "Tab" icon in the staff margin, and select the kind of tablature you want to use.

  • Standard staves with associated tablature display notes in the classical way, and also display the associated tablature. When you insert a note, tablature is computed again. To avoid this, select "Priority to tablature" in the staff contextual menu. The staff becomes then a "Tablature" staff with a visible classical (standard) staff.

    It is however possible to "freeze" the fingering calculation, in a note basis, in non-priority tablatures. The note contextual menu (right click or Shift click) enables to do this. A "frozen" note won't be computed and will always keep the fingering that the user set.

    When a note is moved or inserted on the standard staff, its fingering is automatically computed. It's the same for transposition of pitch shifting.
    When a note is moved or inserted on the tablature part, it is automatically "frozen".

    A "frozen" note is displayed in a specific color (in scroll mode or in page mode when control handle are displayed). This color can be changed in the global setup, "Appearance" topic.

  • Tablature staves with associated standard staff staff appearance is the same as the one above. You cannot insert notes into the classical staff, however, but only into the tablature. You can switch back to a standard staff with associated tablature by unselecting "Priority to tablature" in the staff contextual menu. The tablature will then be recalculated.

  • Tablature staves display the tablature only. You can activate the classical staff display by modifying the staff display mode (staff contextual menu); you get a tablature staff with an associated standard staff. You can then change the staff type, to get a standard staff with an associated tablature.
  • Summary:

    Note: Regular notation can still be displayed. This can be done through the tablature display option window.
    The following chapters are a detailed description of all the tablature types which can be managed by Harmony/Melody.


    Fretted strings instrument tablatures

    Guitar, Bass, Lute, Dulcimer...


    When a taut string vibrates, the frequency of the sound produced is inversely proportional to the length of the string.
    Some instruments are based on this principle, for example the harp or piano. In these cases, the large number of strings necessary to give an adequate number of notes leads to a bulky instrument.

    To avoid this, it is necessary to be able to produce several notes with a single string.This is made possible by shortening the string before making it sound. It is the principle used in the violin: the performer puts his fingers where necessary to generate the correct note. It needs however great accuracy in fingering.

    Another kind of instrument, called a fretted string instrument, uses an ingenious system to shorten the strings in a simpler way for the performer.
    A series of strings is held taut over a neck. Each string produces a specific pitch (frequency) when plucked. On the neck, there is a series of metallic bars called frets.

    When the finger presses a string behind a fret, the string is held against the fret and so shortened: the note generated is more high-pitched.
    Frets are placed so that each corresponds to a semitone. That is all.


    The music is presented in a tablature. There are as many horizontal line in a tablature as there are strings, with the highest pitched (treble) at the top.
    Each note is written as the number of the fret at which it is played. An open string is notated 0, the first fret 1 and so on.

    The performer reads the tablature from left to right, each note being written on the corresponding string and fret. When two notes are displayed in the same column, they are played at the same time.

    There are often several positions on the neck at which the same note could be played. Hand and finger positions must then be optimized to avoid unnecessary movement up and down the neck. The software computes the simplest path to play the given notes.

    You are invited to view the "Working with tablature and priority to tablature mode. " video tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

    Inserting notes

    To insert notes into a tablature, several methods are available:

  • You can select the fret with the keyboard (numerical pad), then click on the required string. A list of keyboard keys for tablature editing is provided in the keyboard configuration (they can be redefined).
  • You can click on a string with the Shift key held down (or with the right mouse button). You can then select the fret in the pop-up menu.
  • Selecting instrument

    A list of about fifty predefined instruments is available in Harmony-Melody.
    You can also define your own: click "Other" and choose for each string:

  • the note pitch for the open string
  • the number of frets for this string
  • the first usable fret for this string: on some instruments, such as the banjo, one string is shorter than the others.
  • Tablature computation

    Tablature computation,  i.e. the association between a note and the corresponding string-fret pair, is largely configurable.

    For each note, the context is analyzed and all possible fingerings for this note are evaluated. A difficulty value is calculated for each of them. The higher the value, the worse the fingering.
    You can define the penalties (positive values) or advantages (negative values) that will be applied.

    If a note cannot be played, it is displayed as a question mark.

    Baroque tablature

    Baroque tablature  uses letters instead of numbers. An open string is marked with an 'a', the first fret with a 'b' then the characters r,d,e,f,g,h,i,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,s,t,u,v,w,x,y,z.
    To avoid confusion some letters like c and j have been omitted or replaced. In particular, note that the letter "r" is used for the second fret instead of "c": this is because during the baroque period the printed letter "c" looked like a modern "r".
    Baroque notation only displays the first (highest) six strings on the tablature grid, although an instrument like the Baroque Lute can have up to 14 strings.
    Bass strings lower than the sixth are written below the bottom line of the tablature, and are differentiated by a / symbol drawn before the fret letter. The seventh string just uses the fret letter, then there is one '/' for the 8th string, two '/' for the 9th, three '/' for the 10th, then the number '4' for the 11th, '5' for the 12th...
    When you click with the Shift key depressed (or right-click) below the sixth string, Harmony-Melody lists all available choices in the pop-up menu.

    Mountain or Appalachian Dulcimer tablature

    The mountain dulcimer is a fretted instrument that generally has 3 strings and about 20 frets. The fret spacing follows a diatonic scale and is therefore irregular (it can be either one semitone or one tone).
    To define your own Dulcimer tuning, select "Other" in the tablature selection window and switch to "Dulcimer" mode (pop-up menu at the bottom of the window).


    Harmonica Tablatures



    A harmonica  is a wind instrument which emits sounds by the vibration of little blades or metal reeds.
    Each hole of the instrument can be used to make from 2 to 4 different notes. A different blade (i.e. a different pitch) is selected according to whether the performer blows or draws in the hole.

    To select a given hole, the performer covers unwanted holes with his tongue. He can also blow or draw in several holes at the same time, to play a chord.
    When blowing or drawing in several consecutive holes, the performer can cover one or several contiguous holes so as not to play them.
    All these techniques are used by the program to compute harmonica tablatures.

    Advanced techniques enable a blade to be played at a different and higher pitch than normal: this is the overbend.

    Some harmonicas have 4 blades for each hole, and a bar called a slide enables the player to select the blades to use.

    Harmonicas are split into two big families: chromatic and diatonic.

    Chromatic harmonicas can play any semitone over several octaves, but the diatonic harmonica can only play a given set of notes. Diatonic harmonicas are tuned for a specific key, which is generally written on the top of the instrument.

    Selecting the instrument

    Harmony-Melody offers a choice of five predefined harmonicas.
    You can also define a custom harmonica: click "Define" and enter the note pitch for each hole.
    A harmonica can have up to 20 holes on two rows.
    Some harmonicas (mostly chromatic) number in a special way the first holes.
    Instead of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 etc.  1', 2', 3', 4', 1,2,3 is used. You can define the hole at which numbering restarts from 1.

    Tablature computation

    Tablature computation, i.e. the association between a note and the corresponding hole-breath pair, is configurable.

    Allow bends: make the pitch vary from the more high-pitched blade (with a tongue effect) almost down to the more low-pitched.
    Allow overbends:  with the more low-pitched blade, plays the more high-pitched blade note + one semitone.
    Optimize for breath:  it is generally preferable to optimize for breath rather than for hole changes: it is easier to change hole than to change from blow to draw.

    Display type

    There is no real standard for displaying harmonica tablature. Breath indications can be written in many different ways. Harmony-Melody allows you to choose among the most common systems.

    Adding notes

    To add notes to a tablature, select a note duration (using the note palette or a keyboard shortcut) and ensure that the editing mode is note insert mode.

    Select a cell (you can use keyboard shortcuts 0-9, *; /...) or click the tablature staff with the Shift key depressed to make the possible cell list appear in a popup menu.

    Move mouse pointer over the tablature. If you selected the "two lines according to breath" mode, cursor location indicates whether note is drawn or blown. Otherwise, you have to use keyboard shortcuts to specify breath.

    Bend, overblow and other effects can be selected through a keyboard shortcut too. By default, no key is defined by the program. Select "Configuration>Edit keyboard" to relate keyboard keys to commands you need for editing a tablature.

    You can delete or move a note the same way you do it on a regular staff .


    Accordion Tablatures



    A diatonic accordion is made of three parts: bellows are located in the central part. They produce the air movement when the instrument is pushed (bellows compression) or pulled (bellows extension).

    The performer's right hand moves over a set of buttons. These buttons are numbered according to their location in row and column. Each button, when pushed, can generate two notes: one when the bellows are compressed, the other when the bellows are stretched.

    The performer's left hand can use another set of buttons. Some of them play a chord (several notes), others only a single note called "bass". Here again, the bellows movement changes the pitch of played note(s).

    Each kind of accordion can have a different number of buttons, and a different tuning (played notes for each button).

    Right hand (plays the melody)

    Tablature display can follow either of two standards: column system or push/pull system.
    The number written on the tablature is always the row number of the button to use. The first one is the topmost row of the instrument.

    . column system:
    Each tablature line matches a button column.
    If the button number is underlined, it means the button is played "pulled". If not underlined, it means the instrument is pushed.
    . push/pull system:
    The instrument is pulled when the button number is written on the upper line of the tablature. It is pushed when the number is written on the bottom line.

    Button columns are indicated by as many apostrophe marks as the column number:

        - no apostrophe mark for first column,
        - one  apostrophe mark for second column,
        - two apostrophe marks for third column (if any).

    Left hand (accompaniment)

    Notation for this hand is the same whatever the notation system is (push/pull or by column).

    It is displayed as a list of chords or bass notes. Chords are displayed lowercase and basses in capitals.

    Adding notes

    To add notes to a tablature, select a note duration (using the note length palette or the keyboard shortcut) and ensure that the editing mode is set to note insert.

    Select a button line (you can use keyboard shortcuts 1-9, *, /...) or click the tablature with the Shift key depressed to make the possible rows appear in a popup menu.

    Move the mouse cursor over the tablature.

    If you are in column system, cursor location indicates the note column. You can use the keyboard to specify push or pull.
    If you are in push/pull system, cursor location indicates push or pull. You can use the keyboard to specify the column number.

    By default, no keyboard shortcuts are set. Select "Configuration>Edit keyboard" to link useful commands to your keyboard keys.

    You can delete or move a note the same way you do it on a regular staff

    Tablature calculation mode settings

    When entering an accordion tablature manually (priority to tablature), you are responsible for checking the push/pull coherence between right and left hand.

    Selecting an instrument

    Harmony is shipped with some predefined accordion kinds. You can choose them from the list, or you can define a completely different instrument or tuning by clicking "Other".

    For the left hand, you must enter for each button the list of note pitches which will be played when the instrument is pushed or pulled.
    The chord root note must be entered first in the list. Other notes are written after this one, separated by commas or slashes.
    Octave number is important, and must be entered for each note in the form: C3 or A4
    You must also enter the bass note or chord name to be displayed in the chord line. Usually, it is the regular name of the chord (uppercase) or of the bass note (lowercase).

    For the right hand, for each button, you must enter the note pitch when the instrument is pushed or pulled.
    Octave number is important, and must be entered for each note in the form: C3 or A4
    Name of each column will be displayed in the tablature margin in "column mode".


    Question: How to specify the right hand fingering?
    Use the "Mark tools 3" palette or double-click on the note to edit it.
    Question: How to force Basses/Chords for the left hand?
    Edit the chord display mode of the staff, and deselect automatic computing. You can then click the chord line to change bass and chord names.
    Question: How to remove Bass/Chord display for the left hand?
    Edit the chord display mode of the staff, and deselect chord display.
    Question: How to open the chord display window for a staff?
    Two solutions:

    Multi-voice staves

    Merged staves

    Multi-voice staves enable you to merge several staves graphically.

    Staves (voices) included in a single multi-voice staff do not display one below the other anymore, but one on top of the other.
    Inserting or deleting a note in one voice does not affect notes in other voices.

    This kind of display is especially useful when writing, for example, both a bass line and a melody on a single staff.

    Here is an example of a multi-voice staff display. To be more comprehensible, notes from the first voice have their stems drawn upwards and are colored blue, and those from the second voice have their stems drawn downwards and are red. 

    This example shows a multi-voice staff made of two voices, but you can define as many voices as you want.

    To merge several staves on which independent voices are written, select these staves and use "Edit>Mult-voice staff>Merge"

    The reverse operation can be performed with "Edit>Mult-voice staff>Unmerge" and splits a multi-voice staff into several staves.

    In the multi-voice staff margin, you can see a new icon:

    It permits selection of the active voice in a multi-voice staff and the quick addition of a new voice. This icon only appears on multi-voice staves.

    When inserting a note or applying an operation on the selection range, you must define which voice you are working on.
    The selected voice becomes the active voice. Its notes are displayed as usual, while notes from other voices are drawn gray.
    In a multi-voice staff, either one voice can be active or all voices.

    When all voices are active, operations on the selection range apply to all voices, but notes are inserted into the first voice only.

    Note: In a multi-voice staff, staff background is defined by the first staff.
    The name of a multi-voice staff is the name of the staff corresponding to its first voice.

    If you intend to merge staves with tablatures, you must define a tablature for each of the merged staves.

    Hint: Generally, voices in a multi-voice staff are identified by their stem direction. When inserting notes, select the stem direction matching the required voice in the "Note display" tool palette.
    In order to locate more easily which voice notes belong to, the "Edit>Multi-voice staves>Display voices in color" menu makes each voice be displayed in a different color.

    A wide freedom is left when merging staves. Some merge operations on staves of different kind can provide strange results when displayed.


    Color notation

    Color notation of notes or intervals is a concept developed by It consists in using colors to "make simple what appeared complex".

    Colors enables to learn or pratice guitar (or any other fretted string instrument) much easier and faster than in black and white.

    Using colors unveils a lot of information, and understanding notions that often remain vague for many guitarist becomes obvious.

    And when understanding is here, learning and improvement become easier and faster, like a train that only has to follow the track.

    You will find below a quick explanation of this concept. For more information, you can download "Les grands principes de guitare-et-couleurs" (in French only) from this page (or by clicking this link).

    This booklet shows that, thanks to an original creative and educational concept based on colors, you can learn then improve more easily and more durably the miscellaneous essential notions a guitarist needs to master, regardless of their style.

    If you haven't any background, you might not size up what such a concept can bring you. But if you already tried to learn guitar from scratch, or  wished to improve your knowledge, or tried to compose, improvise, or reproduce a tune by ear, you will undoubtedly perceive the interest.

    Doing better, faster and easier is eventually our common goal, isn't it?

    Depending of the kind of target you aim, two color codes can be used: the absolute or relative color code.

    The absolute color code

    Why "absolute"? Because each note matches one and only color:

    Thus, in any key signature, these colors will always be related to the same notes:

    le code de couleur "absolu"

    This code is especially useful for those who widh to learn notes on the guitar neck, or locate them instantly.

    Is it actually of use? Not necessarily, some will say, because tablatures let us avoid to match the guitar neck and the classic staff.

    Certainly. But there are however some benefits to know note names (or at least to know how to retrieve them easily), especially those of the three bass strings...

    For instance to know where to move a chord diagram (especially a barre) so that its root note match a given note. If you don't know that the G is in 3rd cell of the E string, you won't know that the F barre chord can be moved to this location. Or you will have to learn by heart all the possible chord positions!

    The relative color code

    This is the most used because its applications are numerous.

    It draws inspiration from the colors used in the "Dadi's ruler", an actual guitar-dedicated slide-rule, almost unobtainable nowadays, that enables (among other useful features) to find and view in colors all the  possible guitar scales or chords.

    In this color code, called "relative", colors don't match a specific note (C, D, E, etc) but its interval from the rootnote (third, fifth, etc.).

    For instance, a major third (two tones interval) will be colored in burgundy, a perfect fifth (3 tones and a half) in orange...

    If necessary, the "+" or "-" symbol will be added. For instance, "-" will be added to specify a minor third

    This relative color code will be preferentially used when displaying chords, scales, arpeggios, etc, because it oferr much more capabilities than the absolute colors.

    Why "relative"? Because the note that matches a given interval is not always the same: it is relative to the current key signature.

    For instance, in C major, the root note is C. The note located at a perfect fifth interval is G, displayed in orange. But if we change the key signature to E major, the perfect fifth, still orange, won't be G anymore but B.

    This relative nature is extremely useful, because it enables to keep the same code for any key signature. So if you know where the third, fifth or 7th are in a chord or a scale for a given key signature, you'll also know it when you change the key signature.

    It is the same spirit as the the Nashville notation, for instance.

    Here is the map of "relative colors":

    Here is a map, that also highlight the fact that some intervals can have "synonymous" colors.

    relative color intervals

    For instance the interval of augmented 2nd (2+) is 1 tone and a half, like the minor third (3-). And you can view, on the same comumn, its octave doubling (9+).

    Color chord diagrams

    Fingering on chord diagram can be displayed in black, absolute or relative color. This can be set up in the global setup, "Appearance" section.

    For instance, here is the C# major chord in relative colors:

    C# Maj Relatif

    You can spot immediately the root note (black), the thirds (burgundy) and the fifth (orange)

    This coloring can be useful, as well educationally as for creation.
    For instance, it's much more interesting to learn this chord while being aware of its intervals. Not only we understand immediately its "architecture" but moreover, we can modify it to create new chords from a single one..

    If you want to transform the above chord to a minor chord (C#m), you know that all the thirds have to be lowered by one semitone (Cf interval map above). So, all burgundy notes will be shifted toward the top of the neck and displayed with a "-" symbol:

    C#m relatif

    Conversely, if you wish to transform the original chord in C#sus4, you will add one semitone to the thirds, which boils down to replace them by fourths (blue):

    Csus4 relatif

    Here, the 4th on the D string would be too difficult to play so we remove it.

    Please note that colors are also present when editing chord diagrams ("Configuration > Edit chord diagrams" menu option)

    You will probably find numerous other applications to this chord coloring, either in absolute or relative colors.

    Gregorian notation

    This chapter introduces the basic principles of Gregorian notation and how to write scores in Gregorian notation with Harmony-Melody.
    If you do not know this notation, we hope that reading the present chapter will make you want to investigate it.

    Here is an example of a gregorian staff made with Harmony-Melody:


    Some pieces of gregorian music are provided in the Demos folder ("Gregorian" subfolder).


    Gregorian notation was designed primarily to commit to paper the sacred chants of the beginning of the second millennium.

    The scale used is, in modern notes: C, D, E, F, G, A. The intervals between these notes are the same as in modern notation.

    Notes are written on a 4-line staff. Each staff corresponds to a single singer, so there are no chords on such staves (a normal human being has difficulty in singing several notes at the same time!)

    Only note pitch is written, the choir master (or singer) is left free to choose duration. In some cases, however, indications of longer or shorter notes can be given.

    Places where the singer can breathe (rests) are written too.
    These are equivalent to pauses and rests in modern notation.

    Because we are talking about chants, lyrics are almost always associated with the staff.

    Each lyrics word (or syllable) matches one or several notes (up to 4).

    All notes sung on the same word or syllable are grouped into an entity called a Neume.


    The neume is the foundation of Gregorian notation.

    A neume is defined by:

    Each neume has a different name. Notes inside the neume are drawn with a square, a diamond or a bold line.

    A neume always starts at the beginning of a syllable.

    A neume is always read from left to right (like in modern notation) but from bottom to top when notes are written on the same column.

    For example:

    Here are three notes in modern notation. Pitch is increased from the first to the second, and increased again from the second to the third.

    It is the “Scandicus” neume, drawn like this in gregorian notation:
    From 1 to 4 notes can be drawn in the same neume. Thus there can be up to 3 pitch changes (inflexions) in a single neume.

    It follows that there are 1+2+4+8, i.e. 15 different neumes. Each one has its own name.

    of notes
    Inflexions Neume name
    1 None Punctum (simple note) or Virga (note with stem)
    2 Up (U) Podatus (pes)
    2 Down (D) Clivis (flexa)
    3 UU Scandicus
    3 UD Torculus
    3 DU Porrectus
    3 DD Climacus
    4 UUU Virga praetripuncits
    4 UUD Scandus flexus
    4 UDU Torculus resipunus
    4 UDD Pes subtripunctis
    4 DUU Porrectus resupinus
    4 DUD Porrectus flexus
    4 DDU Climacus resupinus
    4 DDD Virga subtripunctis
    Here is a neume. Find its name in the array above (answer at the bottom of this page)
    Note: Neume names are given only for information. It will not be necessary to know these names to work with Harmony-Melody.

    Indicators of note duration

    Generally, notes are of equal duration. It is possible, however, to provide information about note duration on the score.
    A longer note will be marked with a dot (punctum mora) as in modern notation.
    A shorter note (liquescens) will be indicated by a smaller square. Generally this note is located at the end of the neume, and changes its name.


    Two accidentals can be found in gregorian notation: flat and natural. Accidentals are notated in the same way as in modern music.


    There are two kinds of clef:

    C clef:

    (C is located on the line marked with the arrow)
    F clef:

    (F  is located on the line marked with the arrow)

    These clefs can be placed on any line of the staff, to indicate which line equates to the  named note.
    Key signatures (accidentals just after the clef) are rare but possible: sometimes you will come across one flat as a key signature.


    Breath indicators are the equivalent of pauses and rests in modern notation. They are written as a vertical bar.


    Custos are little notes written on the staff, at the right hand edge of the paper. They forewarn the singer what the first note on the next line will be. Melody-Harmony generates and displays custos automatically.


    General points

    All regular editing operations can be applied to a gregorian staff (Cut, Paste, Transpose, Insert, etc.). However, you can only cut & paste entire neumes.

    Menu and palette

    In the "Edit>Actions" menu, two commands have been added. The first one splits a neume into individual notes, the second one merges individual notes into a single neume.

    A gregorian tools palette has been added to the "Windows" menu. A description of of its elements is given in the help window.

    Creating a gregorian staff

    Create a new document and select its type as "Gregorian model".
    You can also add a new staff to an existing document, and change its type to "Gregorian".

    Selecting the clef

    Select the clef change tool and click in the gregorian staff. Select then the C or F clef and the base line of the clef.

    Adding a note

    Select a note duration in the Gregorian tools palette (dotted punctum, punctum or liquescens) and move over the gregorian staff.
    The help line displays:

    If the neume already contains 4 notes, this fact is displayed in the help line; if you try nevertheless to add a new note to a 4-notes neume, an error message is displayed and the note is not added.

    To add a note to the beginning of a neume, click before the neume on the right line.
    To add a note to the end of a neume, click after the neume on the right line.
    To add a note in the middle of a neume, click at the right location in the neume.

    Tip: Notes are sometimes graphically very close together within a neume. To be sure to click at the right place, increase the display scale of your document.

    Adding a rest

    Select a rest in the palette and move over the gregorian staff. Click to insert a rest (breath). Click several times to increase the breath duration.

    Deleting a note or a rest

    Select the delete tool (lightning bolt) and click on the note (rest) to be deleted. If you click on a neume, only the note that is pointed at will be deleted from the neume.


    Answer to the exercise:

    It is a 3-note neume, going up then down, so it is a Torculus.

    Break symbols


    A piece usually starts to be played from the first written bar, and is performed bar after bar till its end.
    However, some symbols enable this linear progression to be changed. They are called breaks.

    Break types:

    Breaks can be of three types:

    Barlines specify the piece's starting bar or the piece's ending bar, or frame a group of bars to be repeated several times. Some other barlines (bold, double or dotted) have no effect on the way the piece is played.

    - Part markers, when a set of bars is repeated several times, allow you to specify what bars should be played the first time, the second time, etc. These symbols are sometimes improperly called "endings".
    - Jumps and conditional actions, to perform jumps or to stop music playing under some conditions.
    Note: Unlike in most other music programs, in Harmony-Melody break symbols (barlines, part markers, jumps and conditional actions) are performed by the program when playing music, even when these symbols are nested or associated in complex ways.

    Below is a table of all the break symbols you can find in a score. Click on a symbol's name to get a detailed explanation of what it does.
    Name Symbol Type
    Piece start
    (at bar start)
    Specifies this bar is the first one to be played.
    Piece end
    (at bar end)
    Specifies this bar is the last one to be played.
    Repeat start
    (at bar start)
    Start of a bar group to be played several times.
    Repeat end
    (at bar end)
    End of a bar group to be played several times.
    Part start
    (at bar start)
    Part marker
    Next bars will be played only at given times (numbered under the half-bracket)
    Part end
    (at bar end)
     Part marker
    End of a previous part.
    (at bar start)
    Jump target
    "Jump to Segno" (D.S.) target
    (at bar start)
    Jump target
    "Jump to Coda" (Da Coda) target
    Fine (at bar end)
    Conditional action
    Stops if last time.
    Da Coda
    or  (at bar end)
    Jump/Conditional action
    Jumps to coda  if last time.
    Da Segno
    or  (at bar end)
    Jumps to Segno 
    Da Capo
    D.C. (at bar end)
    Jumps to piece start
    Da Segno al Fine
    D.S. al Fine
    (at bar end)
    Jumps to Segno , and stops at next Fine symbol.
    Da Capo al Fine
    D.C. al Fine
    (at bar end)
    Jumps to piece start, and stops at next Fine symbol.
    Da Segno al Coda
    D.S. al 
    (at bar end)
    Jumps to Segno , and continues playing till a jump to Coda  (Da ) is found.
    Da Capo al Coda
    D.C. al 
    (at bar end)
    Jumps to piece start, and continues playing till a jump to Coda  (Da ) is found.

    How to insert a break symbol?

    Use the "Barline" or "Part, Jump & Target" tool palette, depending on the break type you need to insert. In this palette, select the break type and click on the required position in the score.
    In a single bar, the number of simultaneous break symbols is limited:
    - Only one "barline" at the beginning of the bar (ex: or )
    - Only one "barline" at the end of the bar (ex: or )
    - Only one "part marker" at the beginning of the bar ( )
    - Only one "part marker" at the end of the bar ( )
    - Only one "Jump target" at the beginning of the bar (Segno or Coda)
    - Only one "Jump or conditional action" at the end of the bar (ex: Fine, D.S., D.C. al...)

    How to edit a break symbol?

    With the "lasso" tool, double-click on the break symbol to edit. The break edit window opens.

    In this window, you can change the appearance of this symbol in the score, as well as how to play it.
    In the bottom of this window, explanatory text tells you the action which will be performed when the music is played.

    Warning: While editing a break symbol, you must ensure that the graphical display (text and symbols to be displayed on the score) matches the performed action, so that your score remains readable.

    Please refer to the following pages in this manual to get the list of parameters you can edit for each break type.

    Text related to break symbols

    A text can be related to each break symbol. You can enter this text in the "Edit break symbols" dialog box then define the content, font and size.
    Some special tags are substituted with music characters like , , etc.
    A tag always begins with $.

    segno symbol
    coda symbol
    begin part symbol
    end part symbol
    part number
    measure number
    time counter
    suffix and "times", used with $P
    where xxx is a floating point value. Scale display for $S, $C, $[, $]. Default value 1.0

    Some samples :
    Da Segno $S Al Fine
    Da Segno Al Fine
    Da $C
    Da $2.0$C Da

    Break symbols


    Bar beginning barlines:

    Piece start barline  shows the first bar to be played. Usually, only one piece start barline can be included in a single score. If several of them are inserted, only the first one is taken into account.

    Repeat start barline  shows that the following bars have to be repeated several times. Repeat number is specified by the matching repeat end barline.

    Other barlines at the beginning of  a bar (double, dotted, bold or invisible barline) have no effect on how the piece is played.

    For each of these barlines at the beginning of a bar, you can open the editing window (double-click on barline with "lasso" tool) to select:

    Bar end barlines:

    Piece end barline  tells the performer to stop playing when this symbol is reached.
    In the editing window (double-click on barline with "lasso" tool) you can only select:

     Repeat end barline  tells the performer that bars between the matching repeat start barline and this symbol have to be repeated several times.
    In the editing window (double-click on barline with "lasso" tool) you can select: 

    Break symbols

    Part markers

    Inserting and editing

    The part start marker allows you to specify that the following bars are played only at given times. Time numbers for which this part is to be played are displayed under the half bracket, separated by dots.
    A part ends at the next part end marker, or when a new part start marker is encountered.
    You can select, in the editing window (double-click on part start marker with "lasso" tool):

    The part end marker  specifies the end of a part.
     You can select, in the editing window (double-click on part end marker with "lasso" tool):

    Combining with repeats

    Part markers are usually combined with repeat barlines.
    If, for example, you need a set of bars to be repeated three times, with three different endings, you must write:

         1.     2.     3.

    We can notice:  
         1.     2. 

    Break symbols

    Jumps and conditional actions

    Jump targets

    Written at the beginning of a bar, these symbols let you specify a jump to this bar while playing the piece:


    If reached while the piece is played linearly (without jump), this symbol has no effect. It is used only when a jump to segno is performed (see below).
    In the editing window (double-click on Segno with "lasso" tool)  you can select:


    Generally, it is the starting point of a detached section of the piece, to be played at the end.
    The bar in which a coda symbol is included should only be reached by a jump to coda (see below).
    If reached while the piece is played linearly (without jump), this symbol has no effect.
    In the editing window (double-click on Coda symbol with "lasso" tool)  you can select:

    Conditional actions

    Written at the end of the bar, these symbols affect the way piece is played only when certain conditions are fulfilled.

    Specifies the end of the piece. However, performance stops only if:

    In the editing window (double-click on Coda symbol with "lasso" tool)  you can select: In order to make the Fine symbol be processed in the standard way, fields marked with * must be left at their default values.
    By changing them, you create a user-defined break. Please refer to that chapter for the complete option list.

    Da Coda (Da )

    Jump to the bar containing the coda symbol . However, this jump is performed only if:

    In the editing window (double-click on Da Coda symbol with "lasso" tool)  you can select: In order to make the Da Coda symbol be processed in the standard way, fields marked with * must be left at their default values.
    By changing them, you create a user-defined break. Please refer to that chapter for the complete option list.

    Unconditional jumps

    Written at end of a bar, these symbols jumps to the specified location.

    Da Capo (D.C.)

    Jump to the first written bar.
    In the editing window (double-click on D.C. symbol with "lasso" tool)  you can select:

    In order to make the D.C. symbol be processed in the standard way, fields marked with * must be left at their default values.
    By changing them, you create a user-defined break. Please refer to that chapter for the complete option list.

    Da Segno (D.S. or Da )

    Jump to Segno.
    In the editing window (double-click on Coda symbol with "lasso" tool)  you can select:

    In order to make the D.S. symbol be processed in the standard way, fields marked with * must be left at their default values.
    By changing them, you create a user-defined break. Please refer to that chapter for the complete option list.

    Jumps with condition activation

    These actions perform a jump (like D.C. and D.S. above), but once this jump made, the "last time indicator" for  Fine or Da Coda is activated.
    Thus we can write:

    D.C. al Fine (Da Capo al Fine)

    Jump to the first written bar, and continue playing till the next Fine symbol is reached (music stops here).

    D.C. al Coda (Da Capo al Coda)

    Jump to the first written bar, and continue playing till the next Da Coda symbol is reached (jump to coda  is then performed).

    D.S. al Fine (Da Segno al Fine)

    Jump to Segno, and continue playing till the next Fine symbol is reached (music stops here).

    D.S. al Coda (Da Segno al Coda)

    Jump to Segno, and continue playing till the next Da Coda symbol is reached (jump to coda  is then performed).

    In the editing window (double-click on symbol with "lasso" tool) for any of these symbols, you can select:

    In order to make the symbol be processed in a regular way, fields marked with * must be left at their default values.
    By changing them, you create a user-defined break. Please refer to that chapter for the complete option list.

    Examples of use

    Here are some examples of how jump and conditional action symbols are processed while music is played:

     D.S. al  

    The first time bar#3 is reached, jump to Coda (Da ) is not performed, because it is not the last time this bar will be played, and no D.S. al coda or D.C. al coda symbol has been processed yet.

     D.C. al Fine

    Same principle here. Fine is processed only after D.C. al Fine has been performed.

       1.     2. 

    Here, neither D.C. al Coda nor D.S. al Coda is encountered while playing the score. Therefore, the jump to coda at the end of bar#2 is performed only  last time this bar is played, i.e. the 3rd time.

    Break symbols

    User-defined breaks

    Jumps and conditional actions can be changed to make them perform complex actions.
    In that case, they may not match any break symbols usually found in regular music notation. They are then called "user-defined breaks".
    To build a user-defined break symbol, insert a jump/conditional action at the end of a bar, i.e. one of the following break symbols: Then double-click on this symbol on the score with the lasso tool.


    Warning: In order to enable a human performer to read your score, you must explain how a user-defined break symbol is processed in the text displayed on score.
    For example, if you define a break symbol to jump to bar #5 the 3rd time, enter text like:
    $P$T, go to bar#$N
    which will be displayed on score as:
    3rd time, go to bar#5

    A few examples

    Simulating a repeat

    By using user-defined breaks, repeating several times a set of consecutive bars can be performed without using the regular barlines.
    Let's define a break symbol with the following parameters:

    Score will look like:
     2 times to bar 1 
    Which is equivalent to:

    Conditional jump to Segno

    We saw in previous pages that Segno jump (D.S.) is an unconditional jump, i.e. it is performed each time it is reached.
    Thus, the following scheme:
     ..... etc.      
    is endless: each time bars 1 & 2 repeat is ended, the D.S. symbol makes jump to bar 1 and continue again.
    Therefore bar 4 is never reached.

    If we replace Da Segno (D.S.) by the following break symbol:

    We get the scheme:
    1st time D.S
    Segno jump is now performed only the first time.


    This chapter explains the different clefs you can use with Melody and Harmony.

    Music theory reminder

    On a staff, a clef defines the relationship between staff lines and note pitch.
    The Treble clef (G clef),   Bass clef (F clef) , and C clef <>, show the staff line for the notes G, F and C respectively.

  • The inner loop of the treble clef crosses the line for G.
  • The two dots of the bass clef show the F line
  • The middle of the C clef shows the C line.

  • Sharps, flats or natural symbols after the clef constitute the key signature.
    The time signature, for example,indicates the number of beats in a bar, as well as the duration or value (in fractions of a whole note) of each of those beats.


    In Harmony-Melody, a clef is always located at the beginning of a bar.
    You can set a clef change at any bar of the staff.
    For example, a staff can begin with a treble clef, and then switch to a bass clef a few bars later.


    A dedicated tool palette ("Window>Clef & signature tools") is available. It contains the clef change tool, as well as tools for changing time and key signature.

    Select the Clef change tool (treble clef icon) and click on a bar. The clef selection box opens.

    The selection box has three tabs. Select the first one, marked "clef". In the upper part of the
    window, you can see a preview of the clef you are defining.

    At the bottom of this window, pop-up menus enable you to select:

    • The transposition to apply to notes when a clef change is inserted in the score.
    Notes following the clef change can be: • To which staves the new clef will be applied. It can be the current staff only, all staves in the score, or only selected staves. Generally, a clef change is applied to the current staff only.

        • A clef can be shown or hidden (for readability, invisible clef changes should be avoided).
        • Its type can be Treble, Bass or C.
        • A clef can start on any line, from -5 to +5 from the standard line.
        • A clef can be set to have an octave offset from -2 octaves to +2 octaves (ottava alta or bassa), globally for the staff.

    Key signature

    Music theory reminder

    The key signature enables you to define, within a score, a change of tonality, i.e. which scale is used to play the part.
    Here is the list of all notes which can be played within an octave:


    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    C C# 
    or Db
    D D# 
    or Eb
    E F F# 
    or Gb
    G G# 
    or Ab
    A A# 
    or Bb

    Each of these notes is a semitone lower than the next one.
    A major scale has seven notes, with irregular intervals between them: from the root note of the scale, the notes included are located at semitones +2, +4, +5, +7, +9 and +11, which gives, for the C major scale, semitones 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, i.e. the scale C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

    For the D major scale, that sequence of intervals gives a scale made of semitones 3 (root note), 5, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 14. Semitone #14 is in fact the 2nd semitone of the next higher octave.
    Thus, it gives the D major scale: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#.

    In a score, if only the notes belonging to the scale of D are used, then all Fs and all Cs will be sharped. To make the notation less cluttered, these two sharp symbols are drawn only once, just after the clef symbol. This informs the performer of the key being used, and in so doing, the default accidentals (notes with sharps or flats).
    To determine which key is used in a score (or a part), just count the number of sharps or flats drawn after the clef:

    Number of sharps Major Key
    Minor key
      Number of flats Major Key Minor key

    The group of these signs placed after the clef constitutes the key signature.

    Generally, key signature changes apply to all staves in the score. Some instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, trumpet or horn do not play the note actually indicated on the score, however, but a note shifted up or down by a given number of semitones.
    They are called "transposing instruments".

    Tip: In the software, to define a staff for a transposing instrument, use "Staff>Apply transposing instrument" or the option "Apply transposing instrument" in the staff contextual menu .

    For example, on the staff for soprano clarinet, notes are played two semitones below the note actually written .
    If the note C is written in the score, the clarinet thus plays a Bb. It is a Bb transposing instrument.
    To make a clarinet play an ascending scale of C, i.e. the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, you must write D, E, F#, G, A B, C#, i.e. a D major scale.
    If the whole score is in the key of C major, i.e. with no key signature, the clarinet staff will have a key signature with two sharps, as if it were in the key of D major.

    Note: The software extends the notion of transposing instrument to any instrument which does not play the note exactly as written.
    Thus, instruments like the piccolo or bass, which are not strictly speaking transposing instruments because they simply play the written note shifted by a given number of octaves, are included in the same option.


    A key change is always positioned at the beginning of a bar.You can specify a change of key signature at any bar in the score.
    For example, a staff can begin in the key of C major, and then switch to F major a few bars later.


    Global editing:
    To change the global key signature of a score, select "Score>key and time signature". The key signature selection box opens.

    Local editing:
    A dedicated tool palette ("Window>Clef & signature tools") is available. It contains the key signature change tool, as well as tools for changing clef and time signature.
    Select the key signature change tool (icon with sharp symbols on a staff) and click on a bar. The key signature selection box opens.

    Selecting a key signature

    The selection box has three tabs. Select the second one, marked "key signature". In the upper portion of the window, you can see a preview of the key signature you are defining.

    By using the scroll bar you can add sharps and flats to, or subtract them from, the current key signature. Advanced users can also define custom keys by using buttons on the right, and defining the root note in the bottom field.

    The "visible key signature" check box enables you to define whether the key signature is displayed or not. To ensure that your score remains readable, however, avoid setting invisible key changes.

    The key signature display mode defines whether natural symbols are used to cancel the previous key signature or not.

    The Propagate change till the end of tune check box enables you to transpose all key changes following the one you are setting. For example, if you switch key signature from C to D, all following key signatures will be increased by two semitones. In that case a G key signature (one sharp) later in the tune will be transformed into A (three sharps).

    At the bottom of the window, pop-up menus enable you to select:

    • The transposition to apply to notes when a new key is inserted into a score.
    Notes following this key change can be: Which staves the key signature will be applied to.
    It can be the current staff only, all staves in the score, or only selected staves.
    In the two last cases, you can select whether the change is made in absolute or relative mode.
    In absolute mode, the key change is applied as-is to other staves.
    In relative mode, the key change is applied taking into account any key difference between the two staves (due to transposing instruments).  See below for more information. In case of doubt, select relative mode.

    Absolute and relative mode

    As described above, a key change can be applied absolutely or relatively.

    When applied absolutely:

    When applied relatively:

    Time signature

    Music theory reminder

    The time signature lets you define within a score the number and type of notes contained in a bar.

    It consists of two numbers:

    For example, in 4/4 time , drawn, a bar has four beats, each beat being a quarter of a whole note. Such a bar will contain four quarter notes (or eight eighth notes).
    A bar in 3/4 time signature is made of three quarters of a whole note: there are 3 beats in a bar, and each beat is a quarter of a whole note.
    4/4 time signature is also called "common time," and can be abbreviated as a C.
    2/2 time signature is also called "cut time," and can be abbreviated as a C struck through vertically.


    A change of time signature is always located at the start of a bar and applies to all staves simultaneously.
    You can set a change of time signature at any bar in the score.
    For example, a score can begin with a 4/4 time signature, and then switch to 3/4 a few bars later.


    Global editing:
    To change the score's general time signature, select "Score>key and time signature". The time signature selection box opens.

    Local editing:
    A dedicated tool palette ("Window>Clef & signature tools") is available. It contains the time signature change tool, as well as tools for changing clef and key signature.

    Select the time signature change tool (4/4) and click on a bar. The time signature selection box opens.

    Selecting a time signature

    The selection box has three tabs. Select the third one, marked "time signature". In the upper portion of the window, you can see a preview of the time signature you are defining.

    You can select whether the time signature will be displayed or not, and the display mode for 2/2 and 4/4.

    The displayed time signature can be different from the actual one. This makes it possible to deal with anacrusis very easily.

    An anacrusis is an incomplete bar (it contains fewer beats than are required by the time signature). Anacrusis is frequently found at the beginning or end of a tune. It can also be called upbeat, offbeat, pickup notes, etc.

    For example, a tune with a 4/4 time signature might begin with only one quarter note in the first bar (instead of 4).
    Set a 1/4 time signature in the first bar, and ask the program to display 4/4. Then set a time signature change to 4/4 in the second bar, and ask the program to hide it (invisible).
    The first bar will then accept only one quarter note, but all the other bars will hold 4.

    To create an incomplete bar quickly, click the ruler while Command (Ctrl) key is depressed, and select "Insert incomplete bar" or "Edit>Bars>Insert incomplete bar".

    Changing the Automatic Beaming parameters

    For each time signature change, you can select how the Automatic Beaming will work. In the time signature select window, click the scissors for beam/unbeam notes.
    You can change the beaming mode without changing the time signature (and therefore get a different beaming mode for each bar) by inserting an invisible time signature change.

    For example, here are four ways of beaming the same notes:


    This chapter will introduce the notion of Dynamics and how to use them in Harmony-Melody.


    The sound made by a musical instrument can be louder or softer. On a piano, for example, the sound will be louder when the performer hits the keys hard than when he touches them lightly.
    In musical computing, this notion is called note velocity.
    In Harmony-Melody, a note velocity can vary from 0 (no sound at all) to 127 (loudest note).

    There are several ways to change note velocity:

    The actions above permanently change the velocity value of a note.

    Some note effects also permanently alter the velocity value of a note, for example staccato.

    Dynamics can then change the played velocity of a note. These do not permanently change the velocity value of a note in the score, but only the way the note is played.
    These options are grouped in the "Dynamics" palette.

    A dynamics indicator applies to the staff it is drawn on, and remains active 'till the end of the staff or the next dynamics indicator, if any.
    You can also set dynamics to apply to the whole score. It is then recommended that you group all these global dynamics in the first staff of the score.


    To set a dynamics indicator, select it in the Dynamics palette, and click on the score: it is inserted into the score.

    Double-clicking on the object enters edit mode and enables you  to change its settings. Here is what this kind of object looks like in Harmony-Melody:

    There are two types of dynamics indicators:
    Note: The actual note velocity is not really changed by a dynamics indicator, only the audio output (or digital export) is altered.

    To edit a dynamics indicator, double-click it. Here are the settings you can change:
    Note: You can apply any dynamics strength ratio to any dynamics item. However, it is recommended that you keep some coherence within a score, for readability.
    For example, avoid defining a Pianissimo louder than a Forte...


    (or speed, or movement)

    This chapter presents the concept of tempo or movement and how to indicate tempo in Harmony-Melody.

    Musical theory reminder

    Tempo is the speed at which your tune is played. It is indicated in a score by using terms such as: Andante (moderate), Allegro (animated) ...

    It can also be written as a musical note followed by the equals sign and the metronome setting for this note. For example, a quarter note followed by "=100" means 100 quarter notes will be played in one minute.


    In Harmony-Melody you can set the General tempo (Score>General tempo) to specify the global value of the tune's playing speed. This value is given as the number of quarter notes per minute.

    In addition to this general tempo, you can set a tempo change anywhere in the  score.

    Note: the tempo change tool is included in the "Ottava & tempo" palette in the "Windows" menu.

    A tempo change always applies to all staves simultaneously. It is sensible, as an aid to clarity, to write all tempo changes on the first staff, but this is not obligatory.

    When clicking on a score with this tool, a new item appears. It has several elements. By default, tempo change has no effect on playing speed, it only indicates the current tempo value at this location in the score. If you edit it and change its values, the tune playing speed will be changed from that location onwards.

    To delete a tempo change, use the delete (lightning bolt) tool.

    You can move or resize the tempo change item by using the Select (lasso) tool on this item.


    Double-clicking on an item edits it and lets you change its internal values.
    Here is an example of a tempo change item in Harmony-Melody:

    From left to right, you see:

    Warning: If you leave the caption field blank, set the reference note to invisible and do not display the horizontal line, your tempo change item will be completely invisible.

    Harmony-Melody allows you to define either an abrupt or a smooth tempo change.

    With a smooth change, tempo will change smoothly until the desired value is reached.
    This change will be more or less rapid, according to the size of the tempo change item. When a smooth change is completed, the tempo stays at the final value, i.e. the one you set in the tempo window.

    The beginning and the end of the tempo object can be defined here: input beginning and end in measure number, beat position and fractional 100th beat position.

    You can setup the shape of the acceleration. Six predefined shapes are proposed. For example, a tempo can go from value 100 to 150 with a slow acceleration then a quick. Click on the red handles to change the curve shape.

    In our example, the change of tempo will begin on the first quarter note, and reach a final value of 120 at the third note.

    You are invited to view the "Smooth tempo variations: ritardendo, accelerando." video tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).



    The speed at which your tune is played is set primarily by the general tempo. If you change this value, all tempo change items on your score will be adjusted automatically.

    Note: Users of older versions of Harmony & Melody will be accustomed to setting tempo variations with the "tempo staff". This is still possible, but using the new notation is recommended.


    Here are some of the terms most commonly used to express tempo values:

    Largo Broad, very slow
    Larghetto A little bit faster than largo
    Lento Slow
    Adagio A little bit faster than lento.
    Andante Moderate
    Andantino A little bit faster than andante
    Allegretto Bright, animated
    Presto Very fast
    Prestissimo As fast as possible

    Some other terms can be added to specify the style more precisely:

    Affettuoso Affectionate
    Agitato Agitated
    Con brio With animation
    Con fuoco With fire
    Grave Solemn
    Maestoso Majestic
    Moderato Moderate
    Mosso Moving, animated
    Scherzo Jesting
    Sostenuto Sustained
    Vivace Bright


    The term "Lyrics" will be used here for any text sung or spoken to a tune.
    "Karaoke" means the action of singing to a musical background while reading the related lyrics.

    You can define Karaoke with several sung voices, and display the lyrics while the tune is played.
    Choir members will find  this option interesting, even if their choral singing is not strictly speaking Karaoke.

    In a song, lyrics are related to a staff which gives, for any word or syllable to be sung, the corresponding note.

    If the part is spoken and not sung, there will be no note corresponding to each word.  

    The "space" character separates words.

    You are invited to view the "How to insert lyrics on a score. How to create several lines of lyrics." video tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

    How to make the computer sing lyrics?

    If Virtual Singer is installed, lyrics will be sung.

    How to define a chorus?

    When a lyrics cell is empty, Virtual Singer sings the first non-empty cell above.
    So input the chorus only once, on the first line, and leave the other cells empty.
    To ensure a cell is empty and does not contain, for example, a space character, use "Staves>Edit Lyrics" menu option. An empty cell should appear as "//"

    This mode can be disabled by inserting the invisible commands: [!dup] and [!nodup].

    How to organize lyric lines?

    When break symbols are defined on a score, lyrics are displayed on several lines.You can move verticaly or hide these lines from the contextual menu (Right click on a lyric cell).

    Changes are applied to all selected bars on this staff.


    How to edit lyrics

    There are several ways to edit lyrics, depending primarily on what you have (paper score, computer file, text…)

    In general, the basic rules are the following:  

  • First, enter the whole score and check that it plays properly.
  • Then, enter the lyrics corresponding to the notes.
  • This method is not required, but recommended. You can of course modify the score after entering the lyrics, but it will probably be necessary to readjust some words.

    You own a printed score or you want to create your own song

    Enter notes, key changes and breaks without being concerned with lyrics for the moment. Repeat and break symbols are very important, because they are used by the software to play your tune.
    For example, if you enter a score in which a section is repeated, its notes will be written only once and several lines of lyrics will be linked to this section.

    You own a ".MID" file

    Load the file and save it in standard format (.MUS). Check that note durations are clearly displayed and if necessary apply a quantization (see the Quantize FAQ).

    You own a ".KAR" file

    The .KAR format is the most used format for Midi karaoke. You will find a great number of such files on the Internet. Unfortunately, these files cannot store multi-voiced (more than one melody staff) tunes.
    Load the .KAR file. You are asked which staff to link the lyrics to, and a list of the available staves is displayed. In most files, the leading voice is the first in the document. In case of doubt, choose this one.
    This choice is important because the software will adjust the lyrics to the notes of this staff.
    You can also decide not to relate lyrics to any staff. For this choose "None". A "text" staff will be created and the words will be made to fit the strong beats of the tune.

    You own a ".MUS" file

    It will be easier: the tune is already entered!


    How to edit lyrics

    1. Select the staff which contains the notes for the sung part (melody) of the tune.
    3. Click the staff icon (black triangle ) to the left of the staff clef, and in the pop-up menu select "Staff with lyrics".  The staff is now ready to receive lyrics.

    4. You can define as many "staves with lyrics" as you like in the score.
      Below each bar of your staff, an area with cells appears. Each cell corresponds to a bar. If you have repeat symbols in your tune, several rows will be shown.
      You can move the lyrics display location by dragging the little red triangle.
    5. Open the pop-up menu again. Several additional options are now available:

    6. Select input mode: limited to one bar or not (Option>Limit editing to one bar)

    7. If you are modifying an existing Karaoke, you may want to select the limited editing mode, so as not to shift lyrics that come after the bar you are changing. In all other cases, we advise you to deselect this option.
    8. Now click in the lyrics area. The cell you are editing appears in a different color, and a blinking cursor appears. If the background is gray, it means that this cell does not match any played bar. Little orange lines indicate the time position for each word or syllable of your text.
    9. Enter your lyrics using the space or hyphen (dash) characters as separators between each word or syllable.When you type a separator, the cursor automatically jumps to the next time position in the tune. A hyphen splits syllables in the same word. The underline character is used to show that the end of a word is prolonged over several notes.
    10. If you want to enter a space that is not a change of time position (an unbreakable space), type it with the Shift key depressed. It then appears underlined in gray. You can also use the "^" character .
    11. If you want to add an underline at the end of a word, use the underline ("_")
    12. To obtain an unbreakable dash (hyphen), type Shift+Minus (on the numeric Keypad) or the "="character.
    13. To obtain the character "/" type "\"
    14. To obtain the character "[" type "{"
    15. To obtain the character "]" type "}"
    16. If you wish to enter an end of line, type Shift+Enter. A carriage return symbol is displayed, to indicate a line break in the complete text display.

    You are invited to view the "Inputing lyrics, splitting syllable, modulating syllable, Karaoke mode." video tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

    Here is a summary of keys and commands:

    Enter or Tab Jumps to the next time location
    Shift Enter Inserts a new line in the text
    Esc Exits editing mode
    Arrows Move cursor
    Shift Spacebar or ^ Unbreakable space
    Character '{' Will display '['
    Character '}' Will display ']'
    Character '\' Will display '/'
    Underline ("_") Inserts an underline (end of word)
    Shift dash or = Unbreakable dash (hyphen)
    Shift Right or Left Arrow Moves to another cell
    Backspace Deletes the previous character or the current selection
    Del  Deletes the next character
    Command (Ctrl) A Selects the whole cell
    Command (Ctrl) X Cuts selection
    Command (Ctrl) C Copies selection
    Command (Ctrl) V Pastes selection
    Spacebar Inserts a space character separator 
    Minus (numeric keypad) Inserts a hyphen character separator 
    Mouse Clicks Changes the cursor location
    Mouse Double-click Selects the word
    Click and drag Selects a part of the cell text
    Command+M Start/Stop music
    Command+P Pause/Resume music


    Global lyrics editing

    Although it is recommended that you edit lyrics directly on their staff, you can choose to edit lyrics in a more global way. To activate the integrated text editor, open the staff pop-up menu  and select "Edit lyrics", or select the menu option "Score>Edit Lyrics".

    All the lyrics are then displayed, with each bar change indicated by a "/" character. Modify the text and click "OK" to apply your changes.
    Unbreakable characters are displayed as '_' for an unbreakable space and "=" for an unbreakable hyphen.

    At the top of this window is shown the text cursor's currrent location as measured in written and played bars.

    Free objects

    Note: Some features described in this chapter depend on Page Mode and can only be used fully with Harmony Assistant.


    With Melody Assistant or Harmony Assistant, it is possible to add miscellaneous objects in a staff: text, graphics, chord diagrams... These objects are linked to the staff area. Inserting a bar or moving the staff will move these objects on the printed page.

    Free objects are not related to a staff but to the page itself. Changing anything on score won't affect their location.

    Here are some samples of what free objects can be used for:


    Because free objects can be inserted anywhere on any page, Page Mode (only available in Harmony Assistant) is the quickest and simplest way to handle them: you actually see these objects on score and can change their size, move them or edit them with the mouse.

    In the "Miscellaneous tools" palette, a new tool has been added (Harmony only). Select this tool and click on the score where you want the object to be inserted: an object is added and its editing window opens. You must be in page mode to perform this kind of operation. If not, editing automatically switches to this mode.

    In the Edit menu, the "Free objects" option provides several features:

    How to edit a free object?

    In Page Mode, double-click the object, or select "Edit free objects" in Edit menu. The complete list of free objects is displayed. You can delete, add or duplicate an object from here, as well as edit its characteristics.

    A free object can be defined by:

    Embedding external files

    External files in BMP or PICT format, or even scores in MUS format, can be displayed within the document.

    Important: External files are completely copied into the document. Thus, even if the external file is moved or deleted, your document won't be affected.

    However, if the external file stays at the same location on your hard disk and is modified, an icon in the list (icon with a little watch) tells you an update can be performed by clicking "Update".

    If the external file cannot be found in its original location, Harmony-Melody searches for it at the same level as the document it is embedded into.

    If the external file cannot be found anymore on the hard disk, an icon with a broken file is displayed instead. This does not affect the document content, but tells you this object could not be updated.

    In "display control handle" mode (Score menu), this icon is also displayed in the top-left corner of the object area.

    Managing free objects in Page mode

    Using the mouse, you can:

    Using the "Edit>Free objects>Edit" menu option, you can edit all these objects globally.


    In some cases, objects can be empty. For example, you might have a text object without any text. It becomes difficult to see it on the page and therefore to edit it. In that case, turn on Display control handles (Edit menu). The object area will be displayed on screen.

    When a picture object has no related data, it is displayed as a crossed black frame.

    If you create a collection of short tunes, you can have them printed and annotated in a single document. Create a new document ("Very Simple" template), select "Staves>Delete empty staves" in order to get a completely empty document, then embed your tunes as free objects of the "score" type.

    If you want to always be able to update embedded files in a document, even if your document is moved on your hard disk, keep the embedded files at the same level as your document: when an embedded file is not found at its original location on hard disk,Harmony-Melody searches for it at the same level as the document it is embedded into.

    Otherwise, the embedded files will still be displayed and printed, but it won't be possible to update them anymore.

    Advanced display

    In page header, footer, text free object, the following patterns are replaced by:

    When displaying a text object, some special music characters can be inserted within the string.
    This lets you create rhythmic patterns, or insert accidental symbols into standard text.
    In the text, insert the sequence $(xxxxx), where "xxxxx" is one of the commands described below.
    For example: "CM$(n)7" will display a natural symbol inside a CM7 chord name.

    Here is how a command can be built.

    Notes written between brackets [] are beamed together.

    Notes have to be separated by "+" or a space if they are independent, by an underscore _ if they are tied together. The '/' separator unbeam notes within a triplet.
    Notes are always displayed stem up.

    - You can add:
        d (double-flat)  
        b (flat)  
        # (sharp)  
        n (natural)
    - then, if necessary:
        R if the note is a rest
    - then the note length:
        1 whole note
        2 half note
        4 quarter note
    - then, if necessary:
        . (dotted) 
        .. (double dotted)
    - then, if necessary, a simple tuplet mark:
    :3 simple triplet
    :6 simple sextolet
     or a complex tuplet mark:
    :3:2 for a 3:2 triplet
    :6:4 for a sextolet drawn 6:4
    Some commands can be inserted. They will be active from their position until the end of the command line.

      Size change:
         S0 (small)
         S1 (medium)
         S2 (standard)
         S3 (big)
    Notes flags displayed as beam:

      Color change:
         Cxxxxxx (xxxxxx = color RGB in hexadecimal)

      Symbol spacing:
         Lx (x = extra spacing from -9 to 9)

      Symbol vertical shift:
        Vx (x = positive or negative offset)
    Note head shape:
         Hx  (x = note shape from A to Z)
            A  Standard shape,
            B  Triangle,
            C  Diamond,
            D  Cross,
            E  Plus,
            F  Square,
            G  Slash,
            H  None,
            I  Flag,
            J  Half circle,
            K  Drop,
            L  Hourglass,
            M  Arc,
            N  Empty diamond,
            O  Truncated cone,
            P  Crescent,
            Q  Left triangle,
            R  Bell,
            S  Concave triangle, 
            T  Convex triangle, 
            U  Johnson triangle, 
            V  Johnson square,      
            W  Bold crossed circle,     
            X  Bold cross,                 
            Y  Thin crossed circle,           
            Z  Thin crossed half circle

    Here are some samples :
    Tempo $(4.)=200
    Open HiHat = $(S3HD2)
    $([8 8]) = $([8_32] 16.) seqrythm1.jpg

    Character fonts

    What is a character font?

    A character font defines the appearance text will have on screen. A font is stored in a file that includes all the characters to be drawn. 

    The fonts that are installed in the computer system folder (Times, Courier, Arial...) can be used in any software. 

    The "embedded" fonts, provided in the "Fonts" folder of Melody or Harmony Assistant, can only be used by these programs.

    Several embedded fonts are provided, and can therefore be used within the program without requiring any install.

    There are two kinds of embedded fonts: music fonts (Harmony Assistant only), that enables to change the appearance of a score, and text fonts, available as well in Harmony Assistant as in Melody Assistant, that enable to insert special symbols in text.

    Music fonts

    A group of music fonts is provided in Harmony Assisyant. These fonts are also included in Melody Player and the Myriad plug-in.
    Character sets are only available in Harmony Assistant. To use them or define your own music character set, please refer to the dedicated chapter.

    Text fonts

    Text that is displayed on the score, as well as in the page header, page footer, lyrics line, chord line, etc. can use any font.When viewing the document on a computer that does not own one of the used fonts, an alert message is displayed, and the font is substituted with the default font (Geneva on Macintosh and Arial on Windows).

    To change the text font or its attributes (size, display mode), click the lower-case light blue "A" icon. The font setting window, including an example of text in the selected font, appears.

    Some text can combine several styles. A box enabling a fast access to styles and fonts is then automatically opened.

    A pop-up menu lets you change the font.
    Under Windows, a right-click on this menu opens the regular font selector window.

    Several text fonts are provided in Harmony Assistant and Melody Assistant.
    In any text of the score (title, comment, text objects, lyrics, chord names, etc.), you can then insert special characters or music symbols. In Harmony Assistant, these fonts can be used by dedicated scripts, for instance to create tablatures that need particular symbols.

    In order to locate easily these fonts, their names start by "My ".

    How to use text fonts?

    When typing in a text, select one of the "My " fonts in the selector, then consult the sections below to match the enterer character and the symbol that will be displayed.
    In these tables, character names follow the PostScript nomenclature.

    The "My Chords" font

    To write chord names (as well Latin as Anglo-saxon) with accidentals as well as Jazz chord symbols.

    To enter a flat E chord, enter Eb. For a sharp F, enter F#. For a double-flat D, enter D<.
    For instance, if you enter Mi=7  C!  D#'
    You will get :

    The "My Figured Bass" font

    This font is dedicated to figured bass symbols.
    To ease the use and alignment of figures, most of the characters have the same width.

    The slash (/), backslash (\) and underscore (_) characters have no width, i.e. any character entered after will be superimposed. It enables for instance to cross a number.
    For instance, enter /7 to get a diagonally crossed 7.
    Spacebar moves forward by a demi-width, the equal key (=) by a complete width.
    "e", "f" and "g" characters, entered one above the other, draw an open bracket that encloses several lines. "h", "i" and "j" chararcters draw the matching closed bracket.

    Please note that the width of roman numerals, available from "K" to "V" keys, is proportional to the actual witdth of their symbol. They are therefore inadvisable for drawing perfectly aligned numbers.
    For instance, if you enter:
    e=/7 h
    f#3 i
    gb5 j
    you will get:

    The "My Autoharp" font

    It enables to enter tablature symbols for Autoharp.
    It is mainly used in Harmony Assistant by the "Notation > Staves > Autoharp tablature" script.

    O, P and Q symbols have no width, i.e. when entered before a digit or the "T" character, they circle the symbol.
    It's the same for U, V and W , which are also align on the writing base line, enabling arrows and horizontal lone to be drawn on top of each other.
    For instance, if you enter: O2 P3 QT U V X UVW 
    you will get:

    Music character sets

    For more details about how to use text or music character fonts in Harmony Assistant, please read the "Character fonts" chapter.

    What is a character set?

    A character set enables to define the graphical look of music symbols that appear on a score.

    You can select the character set when creating a new document in Harmony Assisyant, through the pop-up menu that appears in the bottom right corner of the template selection box. The default character set uses the Stoccata font, which is located in the "Stoccata.ttf" file in the application "Fonts" subfolder.

    You can also select afterward a different character set for each staff of your score, through the popu-up menu in the "Staff > Staff display mode" menu option.

    To change the character set for the whole score once it has been created, you can use "Score > Display setup"

    At the beginning of the list appear the character sets that use fonts shipped with Harmony Assistant. When you are using them, you can be sure that any other user of Harmony Assistant, Melody Player or Myriad plug-in owns them too. The appearance of your score will therefore be the same on any computer.

    At the bottom of the list, names written in italic are chararcter sets that can be used in Harmony Assistant, but the matching fonts are not included in the program, for copyright reasons.
    Some of them can be purchased from their author, or they are delivered with other music software. If a font is installed in your system, the menu option appears in black, and you can use it. If not installed, it appears in gray.

    Be careful, if you use one of these sets, the appearance of your score on another computer will be identical only if the matching font is installed on that computer.

    Note: Before using a font, you need to agree with the usage license provided by the designer of that font. We invite you to read this agreement before any use.

    Defining a custom musical character set

    By default, character sets are provided for the most common fonts.
    You can define your own character set and save it, in order to use it later in any of your documents. Click the "Edit" button in the staff display options box.
    If you only need to apply changes to an existing character set, select it in the pop-up menu before clicking "Edit".
    If the selected set is a built-in default set, you will be asked to rename your changed copy: you cannot change a default set.

    In the left part of the window are displayed all the musical characters in the Stoccata font that you can replace.
    For each of these characters, you can select: the font to be used, the character in this font, the graphical offset and the scale.

    First select the font in the pop-up menu. The array on the right then shows all the available characters in this font. Select the required character from this array.
    You must now adjust the size and position of this character to make it as close as possible to the original one (in the Stoccata font).
    The central area, on a yellow background, shows the character in SToccata font, along with the selected character, in order to help you adjust it. You can click in this area to move the character.

    If, in the character set you are editing, you do not want the original (SToccata) character to be replaced with another, click "Standard".

    Perform this operation for as many of the characters as you wish.

    Once done, click "OK". The character set is automatically saved in the "Charset" subfolder, with the ".set" extension, it is now available for any of your documents.

    Note: Correct display and printing of a score that uses another font than SToccata requires that font to be installed on the computer.
    Correct display and printing of a score that uses another character set than the default one requires that character set to be included in the "Fonts" folder.



    This section of the manual deals with the sound rendering of a document.

    We will see in detail what a rule is, and how to use them in several situations.

    Then, how to relate an effect to a note in order to enrich its performance, as well as several techniques based on delay and pressure time: swing, humanizing, mechanizing.

    A dedicated chapter will explain the microtonal adjustments: notes outside the regular 12 semitone equally tempered scale, and their direct outcome: staves playing in non-tempered scales.

    Then we will study in detail the digital effect processors: how to set them up and obtain either realistic or weird instrument sounds...

    We will see how to alter the rendered sound by editing parameter curves related to the staff.

    In order to get even more control on the sound source, we will study custom instruments.

    Lastly, using digital audio tracks, we will free ourselves from notes, and process directly recorded digital data.

    Staff rules

    multi-instrument staves


    Standard staves only use one instrument each. Thus, all the notes of a given staff are played with the same instrument.

    But, it is possible to relate several instruments to a single staff.

    You can decide, for example, that on a staff playing the violin instrument, some notes will be played with the cello.

    Any regular staff (treble, bass, or C key) can be related to several instruments, but the greatest benefit is that it makes standard drum staves possible.

    To differentiate notes played on different instruments, a link is made between the graphical display of the note and the instrument. This link, completely user-definable, is called a rule.

    Note: If you have used a previous version of Melody or Harmony, this new feature will not disturb you. Everything you may have learned about the normal functioning of staves and instruments remains true. Previous "drum staves" are simply called "grid drum staves" from now on, to avoid confusion.

    What is a rule ?

    An unlimited number of rules can be associated with each staff. Rules will define which instrument plays which notes.

    You are invited to view the "Relate more than one instrument to a staff using rules. Apply colors to notes" video tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" menu in the program).

    A rule is defined by:

    The criteria for falling within the scope of a rule can be:
    Note: If several criteria are defined for a rule, a note will follow this rule only if all the criteria are met.
    If a note is subject to several rules, the first rule in the list is applied.
    It is better however not to define ambiguous rules (in this case, add another criterion).

    In the above example, we have defined that diamond head notes will be played on the Piano instrument, and square head notes will be played on the Clavecin (harpsichord).
    The caption is automatically written below the first note that follows this rule.

    Rule sets can be saved in independent files, and reloaded. The extension for these files is .Lex. Thus, you can define the most commonly used rule sets and apply them on demand to your staves.

    How do I edit the rules associated with a staff?

    In the Staff menu, select Edit rules, or in the staff pop-up menu, select "Edit rules". The rule definition window opens. (Keep in mind that you are editing rules for this staff only. You can have as many staves with rules as you want in the same document.)

    At the top of the window, you can see the rule set for this staff. Click on an item in the list to edit the rule.

    Tip: You can move an item up or down the list (and so alter its priority) by Command-click (Macintosh) or right-click (PC).

    The big dot to the left of a rule name indicates whether it is currently used by any notes on this staff. If you change a rule's criteria, any notes that are subject to it will automatically be adapted to the new criteria when the rule editing window is closed.

    Beneath this the Delete and Add buttons delete or add a rule to the rule set.
    The Purge button deletes unused rules from the rule set.

    At the bottom is found the definition of the rule: its name, criteria, associated instrument and optional parameters.

    Note: If you define two rules with identical criteria, they will be displayed in red in the rule set to help you track them.

    Advice: If you define rules that are related to note color, remember that the coloring tool lets you color notes according to their pitch. Similarly, FaSoLa (shape note) mode changes the note head shape according to its pitch.

    Important: If you change a rule's criteria while one or several notes are already following it, the properties of those notes will be adapted so that they continue to follow the new rule.

    Example of use

    On a regular staff playing the "Piano" instrument, we are going to add a rule so that red notes play with an "Organ" sound.

    A rule applying to red-colored notes has been defined, to output an organ sound. All other colors have no rule defined, so will be output on the regular instrument for this staff, i.e. piano.
    When you want to insert a note to be played on the organ instead of the piano, select the color red in the Note display tool palette (last icon).
    Switch back to black to insert notes for piano again.
    Important: A default effect processor can be related to each instrument. In case of staves with rules, the whole staff uses the effect processor defined in the default instrument (which can be edited by clicking the icon in the staff margin).

    Staff Rules

     Standard drum staves

    A standard drum staff follows the usual notation for drummers.
    It is a staff whose clef is composed of two vertical lines:

    To change a regular staff into a standard drum staff, select "Staff>Change type".

    A default rule set, matching the most commonly used notation, is automatically added to the staff.

    A standard drum staff is defined by a rule set. When the staff is created, a default rule set is chosen. This rule set depends on the drum set you select.

    Generally speaking, all instruments used by this kind of staff are drum instruments. It is thus possible to use pitch as a criterion.

    Important: A default effect processor can be related to each instrument. In case of drum staves, the whole staff uses the effect processor defined in the default instrument (which can be edited by clicking the icon in the staff margin).
    To avoid any confusion, drum staves as they existed in previous versions of Harmony-Melody will be called grid drum staves in this version.
    Question: What does a grid drum staff look like?
    Here is an example of three grid staves:
    Only one instrument is related to each staff: High Bongo, Cabasa and Triangle.

    These three staves can be written in a single standard drum staff:

    Question: How do I transfer grid drum staves to a standard drum staff?
    Select the whole set of grid staves and copy them.
    Select the standard drum staff and paste.
    Notes will be displayed differently on the standard staff according to the rule they are following (the instrument they are played on).
    If rules already exist for the target standard drum staff, they will be given priority.
    If no rule matches the instrument of the pasted note, a new rule is created.

    Note: Drum instruments with the same name but belonging to different drum sets are considered to be different. Thus the 'Snare-Drum' instrument from a 'Jazz' set is not the same as the 'Snare-Drum' instrument from an 'Orchestra' set.

    Question: How do I transfer a standard drum staff to grid drum staves?
    Open the staff pop-up menu by clicking on the black triangle on the left, and select "Split staff according to rules". The staff is split into as many grid staves as there are rules in the rule set.

    Tip: A grid staff is generated for each rule, even if the rule does not include any notes. Some empty grid staves may therefore appear. To avoid this, edit the rule set and "Purge" it before splitting.

    Question: How do I change the symbol for all the notes following a rule?
    As was described above, it is automatic. Edit the rule, change its criteria and click OK.

    Question: How do I change the instrument corresponding to a given note?
    This is a matter of changing the note's symbol so that it matches a new rule.
    If the rule is based on note pitch, click on the note, keep the mouse button depressed and move the note up or down.
    If the rule is based on note head shape, deselect the note length in the note palette, then select the required shape in the note display palette. The mouse pointer is now a syringe indicating that current settings will be injected into the note. Click on the notes you want to change.
    If the rule is based on color, follow the same procedure, but select a color instead of a shape in the note display palette.

    Tip: It is possible to select up to 256 different colors. Some of these colors are very similar, and can be confused with each other. To make a note follow a color-dependent rule, however, the exact color is needed. Thus, rules use a reduced color set, in which colors can be easily differentiated. To activate this reduced color set, select the color selection icon with the shift key depressed, or right-click on it.

    Staff Rules

    Advanced features

    We saw that rules let you make several instruments play on the same staff, by differentiating notes according to graphical criteria. But this system can go further.

    Special parameters

    The "Special" button in the staff rule editing window lets you set parameters (effects, velocity, delay...) that will be applied to the note when played.

    Example of use:
    An interesting application is to use configurable "Turkish comma" effects to define an alternate tuning. Alternate tunings are useful for playing non-occidental melodies, or pieces that use frequency rules other than the 12 semi-tone, equally tempered (12ET) "usual" scale. Microtonal adjustment and Alternate tuning chapters will provide more information about these topics.

    Non-blocking rules

    Previously, we learned that notes that comply to a rule's criteria (color, pitch, shape...) are played in a particular way.
    As soon as a note matches a rule, the instrument and/or special parameters of the rule are applied to the note, but the rest of the rules in the set are then skipped.
    For example, if you build a rule based on blue color, that changes the instrument to "Organ", and another rule based on triangular note head shape, that changes the instrument to "Guitar", then a blue note with a triangular head will be played using the "Organ" sound, the first rule to match the note characteristics.

    It is possible to define non-blocking rules. If the "Continue processing" box is checked, rule search does not stop as soon as this rule matches. Thus, the previous note will be played on both "Organ" and "Guitar" instruments.

    Example of use:
    It is possible, using this feature, to define staves on which several simultaneous instruments play the same notes. You could also define an instrument related to shape (for example, cross-headed notes play on "Slap bass") and an effect related to color (for example, red notes are played with a "bend" effect). Thus, red cross-headed notes will be played using the "slap bass" instrument and with a bend effect.

    "Fundamental note" marker

    If the box "note is the fundamental" is checked in a rule definition, notes that match this rule will be considered as the chord fundamental note (root note). This chord fundamental allows other rules (even located on a different staff) to be applied according to the relative position of the note pitch in the current chord. In this way you can define rules that apply only to thirds or fifths of the current chord (see below).

    Note pitch rule criterion

    This rule criterion lets you apply the rule only to notes of a given pitch. Some check boxes can change the way the note pitch criterion is evaluated:

    Examples of use:
    - By building a rule like: "notes with a triangular head are the fundamental note of the current chord," you only need to mark all notes that are the root of their chord to make other rules apply to, say, major thirds or fifths of any chord of your score. By simply selecting an appropriate name for your rules, you can then add a "3" mark to all thirds and "5" to all fifths, in order to display the chord-relative name for each note.

    - By combining an alternate tuning with the chord fundamental relative pitch criterion, it is possible to alter chord component (third, fifth, minor seventh) frequencies so that they are played "just", i.e. at an exact sub-multiple of the chord fundamental note frequency. This can for example be used in "Barbershop" choirs, in which singers adjust their voice pitch according to the fundamental, in order to minimize phasing effects that are due to the imperfection of the traditional occidental scale tuning.

    "Velocity" criterion

    This criterion lets you define rules that apply to notes according to their velocity. You can, for example, use different instruments for notes that are played softly, and for those played loud.
    Because note velocity is not easily visible on score, this kind of rule must be used carefully.
    This criterion is applied to a given range of note velocities, and lets you define the velocity range that is played instead.

    Examples of use:
    - Build a rule that applies to velocities from 0 to 64, that outputs on "Organ 1" instrument, still using an output velocity range from 0 to 64 (velocity remains unchanged).
    Then, build a rule that applies to velocities from 65 to 127, that outputs on "Organ 2" instrument, using an output velocity range from 65 to 127 (velocity remains unchanged).
    Soft notes will be played on "Organ1", loud notes on "Organ 2".

    - By combining with the "Continue processing" option (non-blocking rule), it is possible to mix two instruments smoothly, according to the original note velocity on the staff.
    To do this, build a rule that applies to velocities from 0 to 127 (the entire available range) and that outputs on the "Organ 1" instrument, with an output velocity range from 127 to 0 (velocity is inverted: soft notes will be played loud on this instrument, and loud notes will be played soft)
    Then, build a rule that applies to velocities from 0 to 127, and that outputs on the "Organ 2" instrument, with an output velocity range from 0 to 127 (velocity remains unchanged).
    Soft notes will be played on the "Organ 1" instrument, loud notes on "Organ 2", and intermediate values will be played on both of them, with the influence of "Organ 2" becoming larger as note power increases.


    Effects enable you to "humanize" your tune, by playing certain notes in a particular way.
    The main effects in regular musical notation (staccato, tenuto, pedal…) can be used and are performed when the tune is played.

    What can I do with effects?

    In order to show you most of the available effects, a sample file is provided.
    Or from the program, select "File>Open" and load the tune file called "Effects.mus" located in the "Demos" folder.  When loaded, select "'Score>Scroll tune" and follow the explanations about the different effects.

    How to set an effect

    Use the "Selection" (lasso) tool, and double-click on the required note. The note editing window opens. Click the "Effects" tab and select the effect(s) to be applied to the note.

    Effect parameters


    Regular musical notation is not designed to express the rhythmic energy of Jazz: in Jazz, notes played on the half-beat (the second half of each beat) are delayed, giving an irregular beat.

    Of course, it is possible to write it using the regular notation, but this leads to complex and scarcely readable scores.

    In Jazz scores, the notation is simplified by writing equal notes on the beats and half-beats, although they are played irregularly.

    So when, in a Jazz score, you see two eighth notes beginning on a beat:

    These two notes can be played as:
    (depending on the swing level).

    It is possible to use this kind of notation within the software.

    To do this, first select the section to which you want a "swing" to be applied, using the lasso tool.
    Thus, you can select the part of the score (or of the staff) you want this effect to be applied to.

    Then select "Edit>Quantize>Humanize/Swing". In the window, you can then select a numerical value for the swing, or select it with predefined icons.

    Note: In this window, you can also choose the imprecision in playing the music, explained in the following chapter: humanizing.
    Question: How does this Swing tool work?
    The"Swing" tool finds all notes beginning on the second half of a beat (second eighth note of each group of two) that lie within the selection range.  It then applies a delay to these notes, depending on the swing value you asked for. The delay for all other notes is set to zero.

    Question: How do I calculate a numerical Swing value?
    The numerical value in the Swing window is the delay given as a percentage of an eighth note's duration.
    Thus, if you set a value of  50, a delay of 50% of an eighth (i.e. a sixteenth) note is applied to all notes beginning on second half-beats.
    For example, if you process two successive eighth notes:
    the first note's duration will be increased by a sixteenth (making it played as a dotted eighth note), and the second one will be reduced by a sixteenth (making it play as a sixteenth note).
    These two notes are still displayed as two eighth notes, but they are played as if you had written:

    Question: How do I cancel the swing effect?
    Apply a swing value of 0, or use the "Mechanize" option.



    When a human performer plays a piece of music on an instrument, he does not start notes exactly at the millisecond required by the score.

    To simulate this effect, it is possible to apply a little random delay to note beginnings, in order to make your piece feel more "human".

    To do this, first select  the area to which you want some imprecision to be applied, using the "lasso" tool.
    Thus, you can select the part of the score (or of the staff) to which you want this effect to be applied.

    Select then  "Edit>Quantize>Humanize&Swing". In the window that opens, you can then select a numerical value for the imprecision (slider on the bottom of the window).

    Note: In this window you can also select the swing value.

    Click OK. The selected imprecision will be applied to the selection range.
    Question: How does this "imprecision" tool work?
    Imprecision is a description of the delays given to notes. For each note in the selection range, it adds a random delay depending on the value you selected through the slider.
    This value is expressed in 64ths of a quarter note, or 256ths of a whole note.
    Thus, if you select a value of 4, a random delay from 0 (no delay) to  4/64ths of quarter (4/256ths) is applied to each note.
    Question: How do I remove imprecision?
    Apply an imprecision of 0, or select the  "Mechanize" option.


    Swing or humanizing delays the start of individual notes.

    This delay parameter can be edited for each note in the note properties window (double-click on the note with the "lasso" tool), which also lets you play arpeggios by delaying the successive notes of the chord increasing amounts.

    You can also change note delays in the selection range globally using "Edit>Action>Change delay".

    Note: Because of this, applying a swing or an imprecision cancels any previously defined arpeggios.

    The "Mechanize" option in the Edit>Quantize menu erases all note delay values included in the selection range.

    Microtonal adjustment


    The most common tuning for occidental (Western) music uses the 12-step, equally tempered (12ET) tuning.
    In this tuning, each octave is divided into 12 equally spaced (in logarithmic scale) intervals called semitones:

    1. C
    2. C sharp (or D flat)
    3. D
    4. D sharp (or E flat)
    5. E
    6. F
    7. F sharp (or G flat)
    8. G
    9. G sharp (or A flat)
    10. A
    11. A sharp (or B flat)
    12. B
    But it is sometimes necessary to write a note that does not exactly match a semitone. Violin players (as well as all those who deal with a non-fretted string instrument, wind instruments or voice) are familiar with quartertones, i.e. a subdivision of the semitone.

    Melody/Harmony lets you write and play such notes.

    Adjusting a note pitch

    The "Turkish comma" effect is designed to apply a standard pitch change to the note so that it matches the scale commonly used in Turkish music. These note effects are located in the "Mark tools 2" palette and look like an inverted or crossed flat symbol or an altered sharp.
    But these effects can be edited to match any microtonal adjustment you might need:

    This note will now be played using the pitch shift you selected from its original 12ET value.

    Playing a microtonal-adjusted note

    In digital output, each note is independent from every other. Therefore, microtonal adjustments are completely free, and won't interfere with other notes.
    In Midi output, however, this microtonal shift is related to a Midi channel. That means that all notes played at that moment on the same channel will be affected by this shift.
    So, if you need to use Midi output, only apply microtonal adjustment to "solo" staves (no chords) and be careful that no other staff uses the same Midi channel.

    Adjusting the note appearance

    Maybe you do not want this pitch-adjusted note to be displayed using a Turkish comma symbol.
    Here is how you can change its appearance according to your needs:

    Calculating a pitch shift (microtonal) value

    This section requires some mathematical background.

    We saw that each note pitch matches a given frequency in Hertz (Hz).
    Traditionally, the A4 (A, 4th octave) is 440 Hz.
    A physical law says that the frequency for the same note played one octave up will be doubled. For example, A5 will be 880 Hz.
    Due to this, splitting one octave into 12 logarithmic, equally-spaced intervals means that each note frequency is equal to the frequency of the previous (lower) semitone multiplied by the 12th root of 2, i.e. about 1.059463094359.
    This means that A sharp (or B flat) of octave 4 will be 440 x 1.059463094359 = 466.16 Hz
    In the same way, A flat (or G sharp) of octave 4 will be 440 / 1.059463094359 = 415.3 Hz

    Thanks to this, we can calculate all the frequencies for each semitone in the fourth octave (and by extension, in every octave, because we just have to multiply or divide these frequencies by 2 to get the values for adjacent octaves):

    The value you set in the microtonal adjustment of Melody/Harmony is a value in hundredths of semitone (cent). It means each semitone is logarithmically splitted into 100 parts.
    Increasing the note frequency by 1 cent means multiplying its frequency by the 1200th root of 2, i.e. 1.00057778950655.
    For example, if you insert an A4 (440 Hz) with a microtonal adjustment of +50 cents (a quarter tone), the resulting frequency for this note will be 440 Hz multiplied by the 50th power of the cents multiplier, i.e. (using ^ as power symbol): 440 x 1.00057778950655 ^ 50 = 452.89 Hz.

    By reversing the math above, knowing a frequency Z in Hertz, it is possible to calculate all values for the note:

    1200 x log(F/16.3515978312876)/log(2)= total number of cents from C0.  We will call this number Y.

    - Divide the result Y by 1200. The integer part of this result is the octave number N for the note to play.
    - Calculate Y' by subtracting 1200 x N from Y.
    - Divide this value Y' by 100. The integer part of this result is S, the semitone number within the octave (0=C, 1=C#, 2=D, 3=D#, 4=E,...11=B)
    - Subtract 100 x S from Y'. You get M, the microtonal adjustment value in cents.

    For example, if we need a frequency Z of  310 Hz:
    Y = 1200 x log(310/16.3515978312876)/log(2)
    Y = 5093.72

    Octave (N) = integer part of Y/1200 = 5093.72/1200 = 4
    We subtract 4 x 1200 from 5093.72, which gives Y' = 293.72
    Semitone S = integer part of 293.72 / 100 = 2. The note to insert is a D (1=C#, 2=D, 3=D#).
    We subtract 100 x 2 from 293.72.  The result is 93.72, rounded to M = 94 cents
    We will have to insert a D, 4th octave, with a microtonal adjustment of 94 cents.
    We can also obtain the same frequency by using a D#, 4th octave, with a microtonal adjustment of (94-100) =  -6 cents.

    Alternate tuning


    In an earlier chapter (microtonal adjustment) we saw that it is possible to change the pitch for a given note to make it match a frequency other than the 12-step equally tempered (12ET) tuning.
    Please refer to that chapter to see how microtonal adjustment values can be calculated in order to match the required frequencies.
    By combining this feature with a rules set, it becomes possible to build a staff that automatically plays in another tuning system besides 12ET.

    Using a predefined template in an alternate tuning

    Some document templates in alternate tunings are provided in the software.
    When starting a new document with File>New, open the Alternate tuning template folder and select a template.
    Notes inserted in the score will play in the alternate tuning system you selected.

    Using a predefined rule set for alternate tuning

    If you wish to apply an alternate tuning system to a staff that already exists, you can load the rule set that defines this tuning. To do this, select "Edit rules" from the staff menu, then the staff you want the alternate tuning to be applied to.
    Note: If you want several staves in a same document to use an alternate tuning, you will have to repeat this procedure for each of those staves.
    Then, click "Load set" and open the "Alternate tunings" folder located in the Melody/Harmony folder on your hard disk.
    Select the rule set file (.lex) you want to apply and OK.

    From now on, all notes in this staff will be played according to the new scale.  

    Note: Some demo files are provided in "Demos" subfolder of the "Alternate tunings" folder.
    You can load them with File>Open.

    Building a custom rule set for alternate tuning

    Suppose you want all thirds in a staff to be pitch-shifted by 16 hundredths of a semitone from the 12ET scale.
    Here is what you need to do:

    This simple rule set -- only one rule -- will change pitches for any third note (E in C major scale).
    If you want other notes in the scale to be altered, you just have to add another rule. If the note to be altered can be accidented, the "Differentiate enharmonics" option in the rule set panel lets you tell the program to apply a different rule to enharmonics (several ways to write the same note using accidental symbols).
    Using this feature, you can build a rule set that applies a different rule to C sharp and D flat, for example, and therefore build a scale of up to 21 different notes.

    Playing an alternate tuned staff

    The same restrictions we saw in microtonal adjustment also apply to alternate tuning: when using Midi output, only write alternate-tuned "solo" staves (no chords), and be careful that no other staff uses the same Midi channel.

    Effect processors

    When using digital output, you can apply effect processors to the sounds produced from a score.

    Effect processors are available in Melody Assistant from version 4.3 and in Harmony Assistant from version 6.3.

    These effect processors are organised like a guitar multi-effect foot switch: several effect types can be cascaded in order to change the original sound of the instrument. As many effects as you need can be inserted in a staff: instrument sounds can then be changed while music is playing.

    Effect processors can be applied to standard sounds as well as to user sounds.

    Several predefined effect processors are provided with the software, but you can easily define your own, and then insert them into your tunes or share them with other users.

    Inserting an effect

    Select the "Effect processor" tool (blue foot switch icon) in the "Miscellaneous" tool palette and click where you want it to be inserted in the staff.

    The effect editing window opens.

    Later, you will be able to double-click on the effect with the lasso tool to open the effect editing window again.

    Editing an effect

    In the effect editing window, you can see:

    On the left, the list of effect types. These effects types can be cascaded to produce the sound you wish.

    In the middle, the way this effect type is applied to the sound..

    Two icons are available for any effect type:
    On the right, parameters for this effect type.
    You can edit these parameters by entering their values with the keyboard or by moving control handles on the graphics.
    At the bottom of the window:
    The Icon used to display this effect on the score. This icon can be chosen from amongst a set of predefined icons ("Change" button) or drawn with the integrated icon editor ("Edit" button).
    Tip: On a score, the staff an effect processor is applied to is the one including the top edge of the effect's icon.
    While editing an effect processor, the name of the staff containing the effect is displayed in the window title bar.
    The Try button (little electric guitar). Plays a portion of the staff this effect is assigned to.
    The effect name, which is displayed on a score to the right of the icon. Text font and style can be chosen.
    Comment, to write remarks about this effect.
    The Print check box. When checked, the effect will be printed on the score.
    The Predef button, to chose an  effect from amongst the predefined set.
    Tip: You can add your own effects to the predefined set by saving them in the "FXs" folder.
    Load and Save buttons, to load or save your effects separately from the score in which  they are included.The file extension for these files is ".FX". This file format is compatible with both Macintosh and Windows, and can be sent in ascii or binary format through the Internet.
    If you have designed some really interesting effects, share them on the Internet with other users. The "Comment" field, which is not displayed, lets you include your name or e-mail address.
    Changes made to the  effect processor currently being edited are applied in real-time to played music: you get an immediate preview of your changes. When "Try" mode is active (button with a little guitar), only the 6 bars after the effect are played, in a loop.
    Note: Effect processors are time-consuming in terms of computer power. If your computer is too slow, you can disable the effect processors via the software digital output configuration window.

    To begin:

    Here is a little example to take a look at effect processor capabilities.
    1) Check the software setup
    "Configuration>digital output configuration" menu: Ensure that digital output parameters have been set properly. Recommended values are 44kHz, 16 bits, stereo, quality.
    "Enable effect processors" must be checked.

    "Configuration>Global setup>Load" menu: ensure that under Adapt music to existing devices the Set to radio button is selected and digital output chosen (use the Change button if necessary).

    2) Create a document
    "File> New" menu option: select a "Simple" template and insert notes into the first 6 bars of the first staff.
    or "File>Open" menu and select an existing tune.

    Press the space bar: the music starts playing.
    Press the space bar again: the music stops.

    3) Insert an effect
    Ensure that the "Miscellaneous" tool palette is displayed, or activate it through the "Windows>Miscellaneous tools" menu option.
    Click the blue guitar foot switch icon.

    Click on the staff, just before the first note: an effect processor is inserted into the score and the effect processor editing window opens.

    4) Set up the effect
    Click the little guitar icon: the first 6 bars of the staff are played in a loop, so that you can try your effect processor in real-time. At this stage you should hear the notes playing. Leave this mode on.

    Click the "Predef" button: the list of predefined effect processors appears. Select for example "Church Reverb" and click "OK". Notes are now played with a deep reverberation.

    You can try several predefined effect processors, then start to change some parameters to get the sound you wish.

    Several effect types can be combined to change the original sound. The list on the left is drawn as a flowchart, to display clearly which effect types are enabled and which ones are disabled. We will detail here the specific action of each effect.


    Technically, this is a resonant band-pass filter.This kind of acoustic filter accentuates a given frequency and reduces all others.
    The frequency is given in Hertz (Hz) and specifies the sound frequency to enhance.
    The resonance level defines the amplifying factor at this frequency. Finally, an output gain control adjusts the sound output volume.
    Note: The frequency of an A at octave 4 is 440 Hz, and frequency is doubled for each octave.
    Thus, if the resonating filter frequency is set to 1760 Hz, the note A 6 will be specially enhanced and will become resonant.
    The resonator can be applied in several ways:

    Fixed: The frequency is set to a given value. A smooth change can be applied to the frequency or resonance. In this case, the parameter starts from the given value, and moves smoothly to the value set by the next effect of this type on the same staff.

    LFO  (Low Frequency Oscillator): Frequency increases and decreases regularly over time. The control handles on the graph (or numerical values) enable you to set the highest and lowest frequencies of the oscillation, its starting point and the oscillation period (in milliseconds).
    The Direction check box defines whether the oscillation begins with an increasing or decreasing frequency.
    A smooth change can be applied to the resonance. In this case, resonance starts at the given value, and moves smoothly to the value set by the next effect of this type on the same staff.

    Wah: simulates the automatic Wah-Wah effect found in some guitar effect processors. Resonator frequency is linked to the current volume of the music: the louder the sound, the higher the resonator frequency. On the graph, frequency is drawn on the vertical axis and sound volume on the horizontal axis (quiet sounds on the left, loud sounds on the right).
    A smooth change can be applied to the resonance. In this case, resonance starts at the given value, and moves smoothly to the value set by the next effect of this type on the same staff.


    This effect simulates the sound of overdriven guitar amplifiers. When the input level becomes too high the signal is distorted. Distortion and Overdrive are two ways this effect can be rendered.
    Power sets the sound volume trigger at which the Distortion/Overdrive effect begins. With a low distortion power, only loud sounds will be altered. With a power near 100%, even notes played weakly will be altered.
    These effects can generate unwanted high-pitched harmonics. It is therefore possible to set a low-pass filter (Tone) to soften the sound by reducing these higher frequencies.
    Finally, an output gain control adjusts the sound output volume.


    This effect adds a sound back to itself after a slight delay, which varies over time.
    Power sets the quantity of feedback, and thus the scale of the effect. A Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO) makes the delay change across time.
    The only difference between Flanger and Chorus is the range of oscillation speeds.


    This effect lets you adjust the instrument tone and output power.
    On the graphical sliders, you can control the amount of bass and treble.
    With the "gain", you select the instrument output level.
    The "limiter" lets you limit the output level in order to avoid general saturation of your tune. By setting a low value for this parameter, you increase the risk that loud notes or chords on the affected staff will saturate (you could decrease the gain to prevent it), but only the staff with the equalizer effect will be affected. Other sounds played by other staves will still be heard.


    This effect alters the location of sound in stereophonic space.
    The panning location can range from extreme left (negative values) to extreme right (positive values).
    Panning can be:
    Fixed:  Panning is set to a given value. A smooth change can be applied to this value. In that case, panning starts at the given value, and moves smoothly to the value set by the next effect of this type on the same staff.

    LFO  (Low Frequency Oscillator): Panning moves from left to right and from right to left regularly over time. The control handles on the graph (or numerical values) let you set the highest and lowest panning values of the oscillation, its starting point and the oscillation period (in milliseconds).
    The Direction check box defines whether the oscillation begins moving from left to right or from right to left.


    These are echo or reverberation effects applied to the input sound. Three kinds of echo or reverberation can be applied:

    Delay: This is a one-time echo, occurring after a given time. The time that elapses before the echo (in milliseconds) as well as the echo power (as a percentage of the original sound) can be set.
    The Ping-Pong box, when checked, makes the echo appear at the panning location opposite the original sound.

    Feedback Delay: This is the same effect as above, except that the echo is added to the original sound and processed again (and again, and again...). A series of echoes regularly distributed in time, and with a decreasing intensity, is heard. If the Ping-Pong box is checked, echoes alternate left and right.

    Reverb: This is an approximation of a real room reverberation. Reverberation power and total duration (up to 5 sec, i.e. 5000 ms) can be set. If the Ping-Pong box is checked, reverberations fill the whole stereophonic space.

    Parameter curves

    What is a parameter curve?

    Parameter curves are a fast and accurate way to change the sound of an instrument while music is playing.
    As you may have read in previous chapters, general digital effect settings, in the "Play tools" palette, let you change the global volume of a document, as well as apply a bass boost, noise reduction, etc.
    These settings apply to all the instruments in the document. If you change the volume, for example, it affects the whole piece.

    Then on each staff, digital effect processors can be inserted in order to add specific effects: Distortion, Flanger, Chorus, Reverb, etc. These are "Effect processors" objects.

    Starting in Harmony Assistant version 8.0 (Melody Assistant 6.0), several curves can be related to each staff. Each curve defines the way a parameter evolves during time. You can use both curves and effect processors on the same staff.  If they conflict, the parameter curves will take priority over the effects processors.
    A curve lets you control the variation of a parameter more precisely than an effect processor does.
    You can set the parameter value exactly for each time position in the written music, or you can make the parameter vary smoothly between two time positions.

    Here are some samples of use:

    A parameter curve can operate under two different modes:

    How do I add a curve?

    We have seen that in scroll mode (the only display mode available in Melody Assistant) or in page mode with control handles enabled (Harmony Assistant only), little icons are displayed at the left of the staff. The third icon from the top is a green arrow. Clicking this icon opens a pop-up menu. You can select the curve to be edited. While a curve is being edited, the staff is grayed out to make the various parameter curves easier to see and adjust.

    The first menu item resets the standard display and editing mode for notes on the staff.
    The next one allows you edit note velocities (power). A red curve joins the notes. The higher the point on the curve, the larger the value for note velocity. By clicking in "Editing" (pencil) mode, you can change the velocity value of each note graphically.

    Then, with Harmony Assistant only, you can adjust the delay and pressure time for each note. A blue horizontal line shows the delay (offset from the note head) and the pressure time (line length). Just as for velocity, you can can change these values graphically in "Editing" (pencil) mode.

    A second section in the menu grants you the access to other parameters, like volume, panning position, frequency, chorus level,... You can also define parameters that are related to MIDI output management.

    In contrast to velocity, delay and pressure time, parameters in this second section are not related to the individual notes, but to the staff itself. Deleting or moving a note won't change the curve for a parameter in this section. It is therefore preferable to adjust the curves after having input all the notes.

    When a curve exists for a parameter, the curve name is displayed in bold in the pop-up menu.

    The third section of the menu allows you to configure the curves, or to apply changes to existing curves.

    How do I edit a curve?

    A curve is made of segments (colored lines) between control handles (little squares). On the left side of the staff, the minimum and maximum value of the parameter appears, as well as its name. You can configure the parameter's curve to change its minimum and maximum value, as well as its display color.

    To add a control handle, click the staff in "Editing" (pencil) mode.
    To move a control handle, drag it in "Editing" (pencil) or "Select" (lasso) mode.
    To move a curve, drag its first control handle while holding down the Shift key.
    To change several values at a time, include the group of control handles to change in the selection range, then drag one of those control handles.
    To split a curve into two parts, click a segment with the delete tool (lightning bolt)
    To delete a control handle, click it with the delete tool (lightning bolt)
    To delete a curve completely or partially, select the range to be deleted, then Edit>Erase
    You can copy/paste parts of a curve on the same staff, or from one parameter to another.
    You can add or subtract a value to a selected range using the apply option in the pop-up menu.
    You can fill the selection range (or the whole staff if nothing is selected) with a triangle or square curve using the apply option in the pop-up menu.

    How are the parameters applied?

    Values of parameters that are displayed as a curve are applied in real-time while the music is playing, 200 times each second. The value is read at the required time position in the written score, and adjusted to produce smooth changes between each pair of control handles. If there is no segment at a given position (which can occur if you split a curve by deleting a segment, for example), the parameter is not applied.

    Some parameters are specific to digital output, others to Midi only, and some to both digital and Midi output. The array below shows each possible parameter curve as well as its field of action.
    Parameter name
    Maximum range
    Digital output MIDI output
    Virtual Singer
    Digital tracks
    Volume Output level from 0 (quiet) to 100 (loud) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Panning Right - left panning position from -100 (extreme left) to 100 (extreme right) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Frequency Pitch variation (pitch bend) from -2400 (-2 octaves) to 2400 (+2 octaves) Yes Yes Yes No
    Flanger/chorus power Flanger/chorus power from 0 (no effect) to 100 (maximum effect) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Reverb power Reverb power from 0 (no reverb) to 100 (maximum reverb) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Resonator resonance Resonator (filter) resonance from 0 to 100 Yes No Yes Yes
    Resonator frequency Resonator cutoff frequency from 50 Hz to 4000 Hz Yes No Yes Yes
    Distortion power Distortion power from 0 to 100 Yes No Yes Yes
    Distortion color Distortion color (bass/treble) from 0 (bass) to 100 (bright) Yes No Yes Yes
    Treble Equalization: treble from 0 (regular) to 100 (treble) Yes No Yes Yes
    Bass Equalization: bass from 0 (regular) to 100 (bass) Yes No Yes Yes
    MIDI-specific from a to f User-defined MIDI command from 0 to 16383 (14-bit MIDI parameter range) No Yes No No

    If you define your parameter curve to be applied to all staves in the document, it will be applied to every staff, EXCEPT staves in which a separate curve also exists for this parameter.
    This lets you define global curves for an entire song, which are overridden by specific curves in some portions of some staves. For best readability, it is recommended (but not required) to attach all global curves to the first staff of the document.

    MIDI parameter curves

    These parameters are specific to your MIDI device and let you control the non-standard features of your synthesizer.
    You can define up to 5 MIDI parameter curves in each staff.

    Note: Because these parameters are specific to your synthesizer, they can have different effects on other hardware devices.

    To define this kind of parameter, open the parameter setting window and select the parameter in the list. Then enter command text that describes what is to be sent to your synthesizer. The manual provided with your MIDI hardware should describe these specific items.

    Command input is made in hexadecimal (base-16 digits, each digit being a value between 0..9 or a letter A..F). The value read on the curve will be used to replace sequences of the characters 'm' and 'l' in your command line: 'l' is replaced by the least significant bits (LSB) of the curve value, and 'm' is replaced by the most significant bits (MSB), as explained in the table below. The 'n' character will be replaced by the MIDI channel number.
    All other characters, such as spaces or commas, are ignored and can be used as separators.

    MIDI value
     Number of bits
    Written as

    Let's take an example:
    In my Roland JV-30 synthesizer manual, I read that a specific command, part of the NRPN (Non-registered parameter number) section, can be used to manage the internal filter cutoff frequency. Values for this command can be in the range from 0 to 127.

    I open the setup dialog from the curve pop-up menu, and select the first MIDI parameter curve. I enter the minimum (0) and maximum (127) values. Since I need the range 0-127, using 7 bits, the value from my curve will therefore be represented in the command text by 'll'.
    I enter the command text "Bn 63 01 Bn 62 20 Bn 06 ll" (referring to my synthesizer manual for the details of the command). Now I simply have to draw a curve shape to send internal filter cutoff frequency commands to my synthesizer. The character 'n' will be replaced by the channel number used for that staff, and 'll' by the value that has been read from my curve.

    Note: Harmony-Melody does not check coherence of the MIDI command string.
    You are therefore responsible for ensuring that it matches the description in your synthesizer manual.

    Predefined user instruments

    and other digressions about instruments

    In this chapter, we will learn the different ways to use and create predefined user instruments.
    You will also find other useful information about standard or user-defined instruments here.
    First, here are some reminders about how digital instruments are managed by the program.

    What is a digital instrument?

    For Melody/Harmony, a digital instrument is a set of digital sounds (samples), along with parameters describing them. Digital sounds are digitally recorded real instruments, playing a given note.
    For some instruments, only one sound is necessary. But for many others, it is necessary to record several sounds to define an complete instrument: instrument timbre (tone) can vary significantly depending on the note played. To play a different note, the program needs to distort the recorded sound in order to match the required frequency (pitch). This process is only possible within a given range.
    For example, processing a note recorded from the 3rd octave of a piano in order to make it play a note in the 5th octave will produce a strong distortion, which leads to a noticeable corruption of the sound.
    So, to define an instrument, several digital recordings of the same instrument, made at different pitches, are necessary, in order to be "not too far" from the recorded note.

    In addition, a set of parameters are related to these digital sounds, to explain to the program how to play the sample. For example, just as note velocity (power at which the note is played) has an influence upon the volume, it can also alter the sound timbre. The high-quality velocity parameter lets you define frequency filters to be applied depending on the note velocity.

    These various parameters will be explained in more detail later.

    Instrument bases, a.k.a. sound bases

    Many digital instruments are provided by default in the software.
    In order to comply to current standards, these instruments are sorted according to the GM/GS (General MIDI/General Standard) specification, also followed by most MIDI synthesizers.
    Instruments are grouped together into sound bases.
    Several sound bases are available, in different qualities. The better the quality, the bigger the sound base.  For example, the simplest sound base, GMLTBASE, is about 500 Kb, while the most elaborate,  GOLD, is about 300 Mb...
    The main benefit of a sound base is a smaller size for the music (song) files. Thanks to the sound base, a music file only contains notes and other symbols. The digital data needed to play the sounds are provided once and for all in the sound base.

    User instruments

    Nevertheless, it is possible to use other instruments besides the default ones. To do this, it is necessary to define a user instrument.
    In this case, of course, digital data for the instrument are saved in the music file, which will increase its size.
    For example, a 10-second sound, sampled at 44 kHz, takes about 880 Kb. The music file size will therefore increase dramatically.
    It is possible to reduce this size by saving your file in .mu3 format instead of the standard .mus format.  In the .mu3 file format, sounds are packed using the Vorbis Ogg encoding. Loss of quality is slight, but the file size is divided by 10.

    Predefined user instruments

    Available in Harmony Assistant starting in version 8.4, this feature lets us use user instruments exactly the same way we use default instruments.
    To select a default instrument, we use two lists in the instrument editing box:
    In the left list are found instrument sections (Ensemble, Brass, Reed ...); in the right list, instruments that belong to this section (Violin, Cello, Contrabass...).
    User instrument groups can be added to the list on the left. A little red star in front of these user instrument group names shows that the instruments are user-defined.
    Selecting one of these groups will show the group content in the list on the right, just as it does for standard instruments. Selecting a user instrument becomes as simple as selecting a standard instrument.
    But be careful! In order to enable your music file to be played on any computer other than yours, even computers that do not own the user instruments you are using, data for these instruments will still be saved into the music file. So, music files that use user instruments will be much bigger.

    How to install predefined user instruments

    Usually, predefined user instruments are supplied as an archive which, once unpacked, produces a folder. Simply drag and drop this folder into the "Sounds" subfolder of the "Myriad documents" folder.
    The folder name will be the instrument group name. Each instrument included in the group is stored as an independent file with the .mui extension (Myriad User Instrument).

    Sounds can be packed using a slightly lossy packing scheme, enabling a packing ratio (size reduction) of about 1:10 while preserving a very good quality.

    If the file name (before the .mui extension) ends with "set", for example "Heavy drum set", it is considered a percussion instrument set. This group will only appear in lists if the instrument is in "drum" mode. User drum sets do not appear in list if the instrument is in chromatic (non drum) mode.

    Creating a user digital instrument

    Here are explanations of some important parameters for user instruments.

    First, the general settings for all of this instrument's sounds:
    The following settings can be adjusted for each recorded sound the instrument uses.

    How to create predefined user instruments

    If you use certain user instruments often, it is useful to make them easily available by creating a user instrument group.  This is also an easy way to share instrument sets with other users. A special page allows you to download for free a selection of the best instrument groups we receive. Do not hesitate to send us yours...

    Here is how to proceed:
    1. Create a subfolder in the "Sounds" subfolder of the "Myriad Documents" folder. Give a clear and descriptive name to this subfolder: this name will appear in the instrument group list in the program. If the instrument group is a drum set, end its name with "set".

    2. In Harmony-Melody, edit your user instrument and select "Save predefined instrument" in the "Action" contextual menu.
    3. if needed, type in a comment for this instrument. This comment will be displayed when user clicks the "?" icon in the instrument list.
    4. Select whether you want the instrument to be packed (Vorbis Ogg encoding) and the packing ratio.
    5.  Select the previously created folder as the save location, and enter a name for your instrument.
    6. That's all: your user instrument can now be selected from any of your documents, just as a standard instrument can.

    Digital Audio Tracks

    Digital audio tracks let you store audio data as digital sound values rather than as musical symbols.

    A digital audio track works like a recording tape that you can include in a musical document and on which you can record whatever you want for subsequent playback.

    The number of digital audio tracks in a document is unlimited. Furthermore, you can use both regular staves (playing on digital or MIDI output) and digital audio tracks in the same document.

    Note: Digital effect processors can also be applied to digital audio tracks.

    Digital audio tracks enable you, for example: In this chapter we will see how to configure your computer and the basics of editing digital audio tracks.


    Setting up memory

    Setting up digital input
    Acquiring and importing digital data
    Hints and tips

    Setting up memory

    Digital audio tracks are stored by Melody/Harmony in 44 kHz, 16-bit, mono (CD quality) format.
    A stereo recording will be split into two digital audio tracks, one for the left channel, the other for the right channel.

    This means that for one second of stereo recording, 176400 bytes (172 Kb) will have to be stored.
    A five-minute tune in stereo will thus use about 50 Mb of memory.

    This huge quantity of data will be managed as temporary files on your hard disk or, if you wish and have sufficient memory, in RAM.  

    The way the program manages digital audio tracks can be set in "Configuration>Global Setup>Digital".

    It is important to adjust these parameters to suit your computer hardware, in order to gain the fastest possible access to digital audio data.When replaying, Melody/Harmony must be able to read the digital data at 172 Kb/sec.

    The first value to adjust is the transfer buffer size. This memory is used for sound output and for copy operations when editing. The higher the value, the faster load, save, conversion and cut/paste operations will be. This memory is a part of your application's private memory allocation. An optimal value is from 512 to 1024 Kb.

    You can select the temporary files location. Temporary files are used to store tracks, as well as for "undo" operations while editing. Available disk space of at least 100 Mb is recommended, even more if you are working on large files with a large number of undo levels (see global setup).
    If you have several hard disks or several partitions, select the fastest or the emptiest. It is recommended that you defragment this disk frequently to optimize transfer speed. (See your computer manual.)

    Use Temporary memory: if this option is selected, the program will store as much data as possible in temporary memory (RAM) before using the hard disk. If you have a large amount of memory (more than 64 Mb), it can drastically improve processing speed.

    To help you to optimise the settings of these parameters for your computer's particular specifications, the "Check my computer" button starts a test procedure and displays the result.

    Setting up digital input

    Recording sources can be, for example, an audio CD in the CD-ROM drive, or a microphone plugged into your computer.

    Note: The recording source (microphone, CD player, Aux, etc...) is not selected in Melody-Harmony, but by using the standard system tools (Audio mixer on the PC, "Sound" control panel on the Macintosh).

    The "Configuration>Digital input configuration" menu defines how Melody/Harmony acquires data from the selected audio source.

    If a digital input is selected and receives data, the green gauge (on the left of the window) should move.

    Input can be made in mono or in stereo. When stereo input is selected, two digital audio tracks will be created, one below the other. The first one is the left channel, the second one the right. If you are recording from a microphone, there is no point in selecting "stereo".

    The gain (only available on some computers) can be adjusted: this is the amplifying factor, automatic or manual, applied to the input audio signal.

    The input delay allows you to compensate for your computer's processing time, because there can be a delay between the time that an audio signal is provided to the computer and the time that the corresponding digital data are made available by the analog-digital converter.
    Melody/Harmony automatically sets a base delay that is dependent on the digital output parameters you define (see the digital output setup window). The input delay is then added to or subtracted from this base delay.
    For example, if you record your voice on a digital audio track while music is playing, a delay of a few milliseconds between the recorded voice and music can occur when the item is replayed.

    Here is a simple method to get the right value for the input delay:

    1. Make an empty document of about twelve bars.
    2. Enable the metronome in the "Play tools" palette.
    3. Start recording and directly record, with a microphone, the metronome sound emitted by your computer loudspeakers for two or three seconds.
    4. Add the result to your document.
    5. If your input delay is correctly set, the metronome clicks will occur precisely at the beginning of each bar.
    6. If clicks fall a little bit early (on the left of the bar line) increase the input delay and retry.
    7. If clicks fall a little bit late (on the right of the bar line) decrease the input delay and retry.
    Your digital input is now set up.
    If you change the digital output parameters, it may be necessary to perform this setup again.

    Acquiring and importing digital data

    Note: To record a digital audio track, display the "Recording tools" palette ("Windows" menu). Then select the input type(s): digital and/or Midi. Please note that these two kinds of input can be selected at the same time, enabling you to record what you are playing on an electronic keyboard while singing into a microphone.
    Note to Windows users: Before starting a digital recording, you must select a digital input device in "Configuration>Hardware configuration".
    There are several ways to include a digital audio track in a musical document.
  • Importing an existing digital sound file
  • From the File menu, select "File>Import>" then a file format from: Wave, Aiff, MP3 or Macintosh sound resource. Next select an existing file on your hard disk and click OK. A new document will be created, with as many digital tracks as there are channels in the file (one for a monaural file, two for a stereophonic file).
  • Adding a track to an existing document
  • Adding data to a digital audio track
  • Converting a regular staff into a digital audio track
  • Change the type of an existing staff to "Digital audio track". The musical notes belonging to this staff will be converted to their digital sound values.


    After each digital data recording or import, a window opens. This displays the digital data and timing. This window can also be used during score editing: select an area on one or two digital tracks and select "Edit>Digital audio track>Edit selection".

    Several editing modes are provided and can be selected by the icons below the digital sound graph:

    The “Actions” pop-up menu provides commands to be applied to the selection range: cut, paste, erase, add ...

    Working area:
    The working area is defined by a starting and an ending location.
    All data within the working area will be applied to the digital track when validating.  Data outside the working area will be ignored.

    When the editing window opens:
    If you imported a digital sound file, the working area is maximal: it includes all the data you may edit, i.e. all of the loaded data.
    If you edited a part of an existing digital audio track, the working area is maximal: it includes all the data you may edit, i.e. the content of the selected range of the document.
    If you recorded a sound, the working area starting point is set at the first piece of data recorded when the music started playing. In some cases, you can expand the working area to show data recorded just before the music started (see below).

    The commands "Crop" and "Show all" in the “Actions” menu change working area boundaries. “Crop” sets the working area to the current selection range, “Show all” sets the working area to the whole sample.

    If several digital audio tracks are included in the document:

    You can select which existing track data will be applied to, or create a new track. If the data is in stereo, it will be applied to the selected track as well as the next one.
    If you recorded data from a microphone or an audio CD:
    When the window opens, the recorded data are displayed. Since there can be a delay between the start of recording and the start of tune playing, data can exist before the first displayed location. By default this is not shown. To view it, select "Actions>Show all".
    If you have stereo data (audio CD, file import...):
    You can:
    If you add data to an existing digital audio track:
    You can select whether the data will be inserted at the current location, added to (mixed with) the existing data, or used to replace it.
    If a locking point is set on the target track:
    You can select whether the application of data observes this locking point or not. (See the "Editing" section below for an explanation of locking points.)


    General points
    All the usual editing operations like cut, paste, erase... can be used on digital audio tracks.

    There are however some peculiarities. For instance, the add operation mixes the clipboard content with the current selection range.

    Specific operations dedicated to digital audio tracks: amplify, fade, mirror... can be selected from "Staves>Digital audio track". These operations apply to the current selection range. They are detailed below.

    Tip: The "Staves>Digital audio track" menu can be displayed by right-clicking on a digital audio track (Alt+Click on Macintosh).
    Locking points

    Locking points are specific to digital audio tracks. They are designed to protect an area of data from being moved or altered while performing insert or delete operations: no operation performed before a locking point can affect data located after it.

    A locking point is shown by a red vertical line. You can add a locking point anywhere on a digital audio track by using "Edit>Digital audio track>Add locking point". When applying data to a track, a locking point is automatically added to the start of the modified area. To delete a locking point, use the delete tool (lightning bolt).

    Specific actions
    These actions perform logical operations or modify data within the selection range.

    Seek zero crossing: The starting and ending points of the selection range will be set to the nearest zero crossings of data. This facilitates the isolation of a sound in a set of data, and avoids "clicks" when the selection range is pasted elsewhere in the track (provided the insertion point is also a zero-crossing).

    Horizontal mirror: The selected data is inverted top to bottom (i.e. positive amplitude becomes negative and vice-versa).

    Vertical mirror: The selected data is reversed left to right (i.e. is played backwards in time).

    Amplify: The selected data is amplified by the specified percentage. A ratio below 100% will decrease volume. The "Normalize" option sets the highest sample amplitude value in the selection range to the specified percentage of the maximum digital value.
    Normalize to 100% amplifies the sound to the maximum value that is possible without the onset of data loss due to digital clipping.

    Fade: Sound fade in or fade out. The fade can be linear or logarithmic.

    Center zero: The average value of data in the selection range is set to zero.

    Precision editing
    If you wish to edit part of a digital audio track (or a complete one) more precisely, select the area you are interested in, then "Staves>Digital audio track>Edit selection". If you select more than one track, editing will be performed in stereo.

    Hints and tips

    Karaoke and re-recording:

    It is possible to start a microphone recording from the karaoke play window.This lets you record a digital audio track containing just your voice. After having validated this track, you can replay the tune to hear your voice added to the music. At this point you can record your voice again and add it to the existing track. And so on ...

    Playing problems:
    If, when playing, an alert tells you that the music cannot be played properly, ensure that the hard disk on which temporary files are stored is not full or fragmented. Free up some space or start a defragment operation if necessary.

    Singer's voice removal problems:
    In some cases, the singer's voice cannot be be removed properly. This is particularly likely to occur when importing an MP3 file, and is due to the information loss inherent in the  MP3 format.
    It can also occur in pieces where the singer's voice is not stereophonically centered.


    General points

    The Jukebox lets you display a list of music pieces, play them, automatically create Web pages...
    The Jukebox neither changes nor copies your music files, it simply links to files stored on your hard disk. For example, deleting a file from the jukebox list does not delete this file from your hard disk.
    A jukebox list can include MUS, MU3, ABC, MIDI, KAR... files.
    The jukebox window is managed independently from document windows.
    Double-clicking a jukebox item opens the matching document in a new window. You can then edit the score.
    When modifying a document, the jukebox is updated automatically. Information is stored in a file whose extension is .BOX.

    Opening the Jukebox

    You can open the jukebox either through the "Windows" menu, or through its icon in the "Play tools" palette.


    At the top of the jukebox window, there are buttons for playing, skipping to next piece, and skipping to the previous piece.

    Below those buttons is the file list. This list can be sorted in ascending or descending order by each of the columns.  To reorder the files manually, click a file name with the Command (Ctrl) key held down and move the file up or down in the list.

    Information that can be displayed in the list is:

    To set up the display: All these settings are saved in the jukebox .box file.


    Type characters on your keyboard to build a search string. The first item that matches this string will be selected in the list.

    Here is a summary of keyboard keys that have an effect in the jukebox window.

    Special processing

    Special processing can be applied to the jukebox list.
    You can export the list as a Web page or, with Harmony Assistant,  apply operations to all files in the jukebox list (see "batch processing" in the "Appendices" chapter of the Harmony Assistant manual).


    How to play a Karaoke

    Select "Play Karaoke" in the "Score" menu.
    If only one staff with lyrics is defined, it is used.
    If you have defined several staves, you are asked to choose between them. If you click "All", they will be taken together.

    The Karaoke display window opens, and the tune starts.

    You can see scrolling text. The part to be sung is displayed in red.
    If you notice a delay between what you hear and what is displayed, it is probably due to an incorrect digital output configuration.
    Select "Configuration>digital output configuration" and manually adjust the time offset (this value can vary from one computer to another).

    Under Windows, the lyrics may display jerkily. For smoother operation, try changing to Optimized mode in the menu "Configuration>digital output configuration".

    Display of the scrolling line:
    In the case of a multi-voice karaoke, the upper part divides itself into as many lines as there are staves with lyrics.

    Display of notes:
    If you select this option, the notes of the staff being played are displayed.

    You can adjust the height of this display zone by by clicking on the little red triangle and dragging it up or down.

    To change the font used in the scrolling line, click on it and choose the new font (this can also be done through the global setup menu).

    The complete text of your staff is displayed, with the sung part highlighted. If you have several staves with words, you can change the text by clicking on the ">>" button or by hitting the tab key.

    Different buttons allow you to adjust your karaoke: they all have keyboard equivalents:

            Replay karaoke (or space bar): restart the music from the beginning
            Speed (or left/right arrow): increase or decrease the playing speed
            Size (page up/page down): increase or decrease the size of the text characters
            Pitch (up arrow/down arrow): transpose the music in semitone steps
            Voice volume (+,-): change the volume of the associated staff

    Some keyboard keys have specific functions:

            P or F: switches the window to full screen mode
            Home/End: changes the height of the scrolling line
            C: centers or justifies left the whole text
            N: activates or deactivates the staff display


    Fretted string instrument fingering

    The color notation enables to learn or pratice guitar (or any other fretted string instrument) much easier and faster than in black and white.

    Colors when playing

    The "Script>Performance>Fingering for fretted instrument" shows the notes of the first staff in the frontmost document.

    Palette doigté

    In the upper part, that represents a guitar neck, each string and cell of the instrument are displayed.

    Circle colors match either note values (C, D, E, etc in absolute colors) or the degree in the selected range (in relative colors). Please refer to the "color notation" chapter to learn about absolute and relative colors.

    Range selection is made through the "Scale" button (here, a major C scale).

    Harmony Assistant is also able to determine the ranges that match the displayed tablature (Search button in the window that opens when clicking "Scale").

    Tip: When clicking "Search", a first range is proposed. Clicking again makes another compatible range appear.

    The pop-up menu on the right of "Scale" enables to select the display mode. Here, relative colors is selected.

    On the right, a match table between colors and degrees (in relative colors) or between colors and notes (in absolute colors) is provided.

    When music is playing, notes are highlighted on the neck. If music is not playing, notes at the cursor position are shown on the neck.

    It's an intersting way to learn playing or to study a scale.

    Not only you see on the virtual neck the place to put your fingers but you also immediately know what note or degree you are playing.

    The learning process is much more "aware", and from the beginning oriented toward creativity: for instance it becomes easy to play the same piece elsewhere on the neck, by selecting marks of the same color.

    Or to start improvizing on the scale suggested by the software.

    Or to enrich the arrangement, by adding extra notes.

    These are only a few examples. You'll find much more by yourself when exploring this script capabilities.

    You can also find other applications in the "Les grands principes de guitare-et-couleurs" manual (in French only).
    You can download it from  this page or by clicking this link), as well as on the Club Guitare-et-couleurs webpages.

    Left and right arrows move the cursor on score. A click on the neck inserts the note at the cursor location. Thus you can compose on guitar and easily input the played notes by clicking the virtual neck at the same location.

    Note duration is taken from the "Note tools" palette.

    The "Apply" button colors (in absolute or relative mode depending on the pop-up selection) selected notes on the staff, or the whole staff if nothing is selected.

    Tip: When selecting a scale, you can play it ("Try" button). If Shift key is pressed, a descending scale will be played.

    Coloring a staff

    Notes on a staff and fingering indications on a tablature can be colored through "Scripts > Notation > Colors > Absolute colored notes" and "Scripts > Notation > Colors > Relative colored notes".

    Select the part to color then apply the script.

    Here is for instance a staff/tablature in "relative colors":

    Script color

    You can instantly spot keynotes (in black), thirds (in burgundy) and fifths (in orange).

    There is a mass of applications for the staff coloring, for instance if you can't read notes on a score. Through absolute colors, that are quickly memorized, notes can be instantly sight-read, even if you are not trained to this exercise:

    portée en couleurs absolues

    tablature en couleurs relatives

    As well on the staff as on the tablature, you can instantly identify  C (in red), D (in brown), E (in green) etc. Please refer to the "color notation" chapter for a complete list.

    Here again, as your exploration goes along, you'll find a bunch of other applications to the absolute or relative coloring of a staff or a tablature.

    MIDI input

    If a MIDI keyboard is connected to your computer, you can use it to enter notes. Several methods of recording are available: a simplified input mode in which only note pitch is taken into account, and a real-time input mode, in which all information about pitch, duration, velocity, channel... is processed.
    Note: You can also use your computer keyboard to enter notes in simplified input mode. (See "Configuration>Global Setup>Keyboard")


    It is necessary to configure the program to specify which MIDI input to use. This is done in "Configuration>Midi Input configuration": define the MIDI input device by selecting in in the pop-up menu at the bottom of the window.

    Simplified input

    In the keyboard setup window ("Configuration>Edit keyboard"), select "+Midi keyboard". Set the cursor location to where you want notes to be inserted. Select a note duration in the appropriate tool palette, and play on your MIDI keyboard. Notes are inserted at the current cursor location with the specified duration.

    You can define a key (of your computer keyboard) to quickly toggle between MIDI input active and inactive. This allows you, for example, to play on your MIDI keyboard without inserting notes on your score.

    Real-time input

    In the "Recording tools” palette, select MIDI input by clicking on its icon, then start recording. The music starts playing and you can play on your MIDI keyboard.
    To apply what you have recorded, stop the music. A window opens and you are asked to specify the staff to which the recorded notes are to be added.

    If you record notes from several MIDI channels, several staves will be used as targets.

    MIDI notes are quantized according to the parameters set in "Configuration>Global setup>MIDI".

    Tip: You can record a digital audio track at the same time as you record MIDI data. In this way you can play on your MIDI keyboard while singing into the microphone, and both will be recorded at the same time.

    The Internet

    Internet access is available directly from the program.
    There are four operating modes: You will find all these commands in the "Internet" sub-menu of the System Menu ("Apple" or Melody/Harmony on Macintosh, "?" on Windows).

    Connecting to our main Web page

    Your default Web browser will be launched and a connection to established.

    Connecting to the Melody/Harmony Users Web board

    On this Web page, anybody can post requests, questions or answers to other users:
    On this page you will find all messages posted during the last couple of months.

    You are a registered user and you lost your registration code?

    Go to:

    And retrieve your code in just a few minutes.

    The Democratic Workshop

    The Democratic Workshop is a new and convenient way to participate in software product development.
    We think our products are made for customers first, so it is natural to let them express their needs and be more active in the development process, by voicing their own opinions or suggesting new features.

    The latest, current and future improvements of our products are listed, and you can give us your opinions. By voting and arguing for a given item, you can change its importance in the wish list, and thus speed up its actual development. You can also suggest an item not yet on the list.

    Go to

    Sending us an e-mail

    You can send us an e-mail directly from the program. You can attach a file to your e-mail. All the information about your computer configuration is automatically added, so that we can help you more easily.
    If you do not receive an answer within one week, please check your e-mail return address: perhaps it is wrong and we have been trying in vain to reply to you.
    By selecting "Copy the message to my default mailbox", your message will be also sent to your own e-mail address, so you will have a copy of what you wrote.

    Program update


    The embedded language


    MyrScript is the embedded programming language, included in Harmony Assistant starting in version 8.3.

    It is not necessary to know how to program to use MyrScript.  You can already use many existing scripts that add new features to Harmony Assistant. These scripts have been written either by the Myriad team to match users' requests, or by Harmony users themselves.

    But if you think that a feature is missing, you can add it using the MyrScript language. In that case, basic knowledge of computer programming is required. A detailed and complete programming manual, along with many examples, is provided for this purpose.

    New scripts or existing script updates will be provided frequently on the Myriad Website.

    What has to be installed to use MyrScript?


    Everything you need is included in Harmony Assistant.

    What does MyrScript enable?

    For example, here are some new features MyrScript has brought:

    - Tablatures for wind instruments: recorder, ocarina, tuba, flute, clarinet...
    - Fingering display while music is playing: a must to learn how to play an instrument
    - Analog drum sound generator
    - Note name display
    - Tempo adjustment on digital tracks
    - Echo of notes played on computer (or MIDI) keyboard
    - Digital or analog clock
    - Selected notes duration conversion
    - Selected notes pitch conversion
    - Real-time fingering for guitar, bass, and other fretted string instruments
    - Velocity humanizing
    - Portamento effect on a group of notes
    - Virtual Singer language forcing
    - Singers' placement on stage
    - SAMPA display while Virtual Singer is singing
    - Separated parts printing
    - E-mail address change for a whole set of files
    - Parallel fifth and octave check
    - Revert to last saved version of the document
    - Note sequence search in a document or a set of documents

    And many others...

    How to use MyrScript?

    MyrScript is accessed through the "Scripts" menu.
    First, "About scripts..." displays the script documentation, including a precise description of what each script performs.
    Then, "Internet update" connects to the Myriad server to update scripts or download the new scripts.
    Below that, all the available scripts are listed, sorted by category.

    To run a script, simply select its name in the menu.

    How to add a script to the user's palette?

    Adding a script to the user's palette provides a quick way to launch a script.
    Select the script in the "Scripts" menu with the shift key down: a button will be created in the user's palette.
    Clicking this button launches the script.

    And if I want to write my own scripts?

    The first step is to read the scripting developer manual. You can get it through the "Scripts" menu. Options at the bottom of the menu are reserved to MyrScript developers.

    The developer manual includes many examples you are invited to study carefully.

    Then, you can view the source code of the included scripts, and even use parts of them to write your own script.

    Finally, if you intend to share your work with other users, send it to us.

    But also...

    If you want to discuss scripting with other users or programmers, or submit a request for a new script you need, visit the special section of the Web board dedicated to the topic:


    Virtual Singer



    Virtual Singer is an additional module for Melody Assistant or Harmony Assistant.
    Virtual Singer will make your computer sing: it will generate human voices for staves with lyrics.

    Virtual Singer can be configured according to your needs, by modifying timbre, intonation, and kind of voice (man, woman, tenor, soprano, etc.).   Furthermore, several different voices, in different languages, will be able to sing at the same time.

    Virtual Singer can also sing "La-La-La", follow the shaped-notes nomenclature (solmization), sing the note names, or even automatically generate Jazz Scat.

    The current version of Virtual Singer includes the following languages: Northern French, Southern French, UK English, US English, Latin, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, German, Occitan and Japanese.
    Future versions will add to this list.


    You can find the latest Virtual Singer version for free download on our web site:

    When Virtual Singer is installed, you should get a subfolder called "VirtualSinger" within the Melody or Harmony folder.

    In the "Myriad Documents/VirtualSinger" subfolder, you'll find a "Demos" folder, which contains sample tunes using Virtual Singer. You can also use all the demo files provided with Melody or Harmony.


    Drag its folder onto the trashcan to uninstall it.


    Virtual Singer runs on:

    Good system settings will improve the Virtual Singer speed and voice quality. Virtual Singer uses digital audio tracks to generate human voices. The settings belows are thus also valid for using any other form of digital audio track.

    For example:

        1) Digital output settings
        "Configuration" menu, "Digital output configuration" option: 44kHz, 16 bits, stereo, quality, effect processors enabled, 64 voices, "Standard" mode selected.

        2) Digital track settings
        "Configuration" menu, "Global setup" option, "Digital" tab: transfer buffer size 1024Kb, Create temporary files in standard folder, Use temporary memory.

        3) Virtual Singer Setup
        "Windows" menu, "Virtual Singer" option: Computing mode slider is set to 50%.


    Virtual Singer is an add-on for Melody or Harmony Assistant. If you are not interested in using it, drag its folder onto the trashcan to uninstall it.

    During evaluation of the add-on, each time the application is launched, you will only be able to process a certain number of sung parts.  When this number is reached, Virtual Singer becomes "voiceless".
    You can then either purchase a license for Virtual Singer (Order submenu) or quit Melody/Harmony and run it again to continue to try Virtual Singer.


    Virtual Singer

    Quick sung staves creation

    If you set a staff as "staff with lyrics" but do not enter any text, Virtual Singer will sing this staff as "La-La-La".  This is useful to quickly obtain a simple choir staff

    Invisible commands (text written between brackets) allow you to configure how this mode works.

    You can change the word "La" which is sung for each note to another word. Enter this new word between brackets at the very beginning of the lyrics text.

    For example, if you write [Mmm], notes will be sung as Mmmm-Mmmm. This command must be the only text in the lyrics, otherwise the staff will be processed as a standard staff.


    Virtual Singer

    Shaped notes singing


    With Harmony/Melody, you can cause notes to be displayed according to several shaped note notations (Aiken, Swan, Walker, Funk, Johnson...).  This notation makes each note pitch be displayed as a different head shape. This can be set up in the staff display mode (Staff>Staff display mode).

    When Virtual Singer is installed, and a staff using the seven-shapes notation has a lyrics staff but no lyrics entered, the notes will be sung with their standard names: Do (Doh), Re (Ray), Mi (Mee), Fa (Fah), Sol (Sol), La (Lah), Si (See).

    With four-shapes notation, the note names are: Fa Sol La Fa Sol La Mi.

    There are several slightly different ways to sing shaped notes; Virtual Singer uses the most common in the U.S. 

    For example, some singers sing notes' accidentals, others do not.

    When a shaped-note staff is included in a document, a little icon with a sharp symbol appears on the Virtual Singer palette. You can click on this symbol to toggle accidental singing.

    Tip: If you leave the Shift key depressed when music starts playing, generated text appears, and remains linked to the staff. However, once this operation has been performed, the geerated text is fixed.  Moving a note on the staff won't change the syllable to be sung.


    Virtual Singer

    Gregorian Singing

    If a Gregorian staff is defined as a staff without lyrics, the notes will be sung with "La-La".

    If you add Lyrics to the staff, the words you entered will be sung instead of "La-la".

    Tip: If you want to hear the instrument sound instead of the Virtual Singer voice, just disable the singer in the Virtual Singer palette.


    Virtual Singer

    Jazz Scat

    In the lyrics related to a staff, you can insert invisible commands to make Virtual Singer automatically generate "scat" syllables to sing for notes not linked to a syllable in your written lyrics.

    Invisible commands are text written between square brackets.

    The command [scat:xxxxxx] (where xxxxxx is a string which defines the words to be sung) activates this mode.  Following this command, notes without a linked syllable will be sung with the defined words.

    If you insert this command at the beginning of a staff, all notes in the staff will be sung this way.
    Note that you can insert several [scat:xxxx] commands in a single staff. This lets you change the way notes are sung anywhere on the staff.
    The command [noscat] deactivates this mode.

    If you enter a single word after [scat: , this word will be sung on each note of the staff. For example, if you write [scat:Doo], the word "Doo" will be sung on every note of the staff.
    If you write several words separated by a semicolon between the brackets, the word will be chosen based on the note pitch. For example, the command [scat:C;D;E;F;G;A;B] will make Virtual Singer sing the note names.  If you write 12 words instead of 7, the semitone of the note will be used to select the matching word.

    Instead of a single word, you can also write several words separated by a comma. When the matching note or semitone value is found, the word to sing will be randomly chosen from among the list of possible words.

      Warning! The word is then selected randomly, so the text to be sung will change each time the voice track is generated.

    As you probably noticed, you can use this method to generate Jazz Scat automatically and with a minimum effort.

    Choose a staff containing a Jazz solo, set its mode to "Staff with lyrics" and enter the command:


    in the lyrics text to get a "scat" voice depending on note pitches: C note will be sung as "Pah", C# will be sung as "Doo", D will be sung as "Bee", E will be sung randomly either as "Wah" or as "Tah"...

    You can also use the command:

    to make the sound be chosen randomly from this list, whatever the note pitch may be.

    In summary: what will be sung in a staff?


    Virtual Singer

    MIDI and ABC

    On the Internet, you can buy or download Midi files or ABC files that include lyrics.

    The extension for these files is .KAR, .MID. or .ABC.

    For obvious reasons of copyright, we cannot distribute such files on our Website without permission from their authors. So please do not ask us for such files...

    Anyway, some of these files do not follow the guidelines described on the next page. Some syllables might not be linked to a note, punctuation might be omitted...

    In that case, you will have to use Harmony/Melody to edit and correct the lyrics. In addition, in a Midi file, no information is provided about the connection between the lyrics themselves and the melody staff. You will have to connect the lyrics to a staff in the dialog box which opens when a Midi file is imported. It this box opens several times in a row, it means several sets of lyrics have been found in the Midi file.

      Warning! Some authors of Midi Karaoke files use lyrics staves to include Copyright information or lists of chord names!

    In the most extreme cases, a Midi file can even include lyrics text without a matching melody. In this situation, there is no simple way to make this file work properly.

    In order to guide you, Melody/Harmony marks the most probable melody staves with a *. The beginning of the lyrics text is displayed to help you decide whether you want to keep it or not.

    Generally, simply clicking on "OK" in this window will be enough.

    Of course, no information about the voice to be used is included in a Midi file. The program adapts the standard voice to the pitch range of the selected staff.

    Please also note that melody staves are frequently shifted by several octaves. Virtual Singer allows you to apply an octave shift to the voice in order to adjust the pitch range.

    Once these settings have been made, do not forget to save your pieces in standard Melody/Harmony file format.


    Virtual Singer

    Rules for writing sung staves

    Lyrics can be entered directly within the software. To do this, please refer to the chapters dealing with Karaoke.  Please bear in mind that problems can occur if the link between musical phrases and lyrics is not made properly.

    Several sung staves can be included within a single document, each staff sung by a selected performer. Thus, if you write a piece for bass, tenor and soprano, you will have to write three different staves. Virtual Singer allows you to define the voice of each performer with considerable precision.

    If a staff includes several notes in a chord, several performers with the same voice will sing the different notes at the same time. This feature can be used for producing the effect of a choir.

    To enter lyrics in Japanese, use the Romanji transcription.

    Sung Staves

    A sung staff is characterized by its melody. Each syllable is linked to one or more notes. Some parameters of the note are used to change the way the syllable is sung.

    Note: Virtual Singer can also sing even when no lyrics are written under a staff: for instance in a Gospel staff (FaSoLa), a Gregorian Staff, or when the lyrics under a staff are left empty. These modes allow you to have a sung staff without having to enter any lyrics.
    Keep in mind that the best results are obtained when the lyrics follow these guidelines: When Virtual Singer loads a MIDI or ABC  Karaoke file, it analyzes the lyrics to find the most probable language.
    Note: You can have several languages within a single document (for example, a woman singing in English and a man in French). Depending on the language, Virtual Singer analyzes the lyrics and determines the phonemes to be sung.

    In the special case of French, liaisons are computed (vocalization of the final consonant before an initial vowel sound). For example, "les oiseaux" will generate "l ey Z w ah z ow" (the birds).

    Virtual Singer can make mistakes when converting written text to phonetic sounds. You can correct its pronunciation by following the wrong syllable with text written between square brackets which "sounds out" the right pronunciation. This text is only shown during the editing process and does not appear on screen. Mistakes most often occur on foreign words, or on words which have several pronunciations for the same spelling (live, read, ...).

    For example, if the word "D'Ar-ta-gnan" is pronounced "Dar-tay-gnan", the following change can be made: "D'Ar-ta[tah]-gnan[nyan]".

    This method for amending the resulting phonetics is generally sufficient.

    However, it is possible to define the pronunciation of a given syllable even more precisely, by typing the SAMPA notation between brackets in the form [#xxxx].  (Do not forget the # character after the opening bracket.)

    For more information about the SAMPA notation, please consult the relevant chapter.

    In addition, some lyrics mix several languages. To change languages within a single staff, a set of specific commands is available:


    [!frnord] to switch in North French
    [!frsud] to switch in South French
    [!gb] to switch in U.K. English
    [!us] to switch is U.S. English
    [!latin] to switch in Latin
    [!espa] to switch in Spanish
    [!ita] to switch in Italian
    [!fin] to switch in Finnish
    [!jap] to switch in Japanese
    [!de] to switch in German
    [!oc] to switch in Occitan

    in your lyrics to change language.

    For example, if you write:
    "D'Ar-ta-gnan on his horse."

    Virtual Singer will pronounce something like "D ar / t ay / g n a n / o n  / h ee z / h o r s".

    You can improve it by writing:

    "[!frnord]D'Ar-ta-gnan [!gb]on his horse."

    Spoken staves

    A spoken staff is a staff of the "Text" type. It includes "Lyrics" but no musical symbols. In this case, the text will be spoken, not sung.


    Virtual Singer

    Voice technical background Generalities

    The human voice is amazingly complex, and the Virtual Singer software does not pretend to replace it, but only to approximate it as closely as possible. We will describe here the basic concepts required to better understand how Virtual Singer works.

    A human voice can be characterized as follows:

    These settings can be adjusted to approximate a given voice as closely as possible.

    Singing follows the same rules as speaking. The same fundamental principles can be applied to both of them.

    The lungs generate an air stream, which goes through the vocal chords.
    Vocal chords are twin infoldings of mucous membrane, positioned at the base of the larynx, which act as a vibrator or "reed".
    The vibration frequency is controlled by the singer in order to produce the required note pitch.
    This original sound is then shaped by a set of cavities which form the vocal tract (mouth, nasal fossae...).
    The singer controls the opening and capacity of these cavities to produce resonances, and in doing so, modifies the sound emitted by the vocal folds.

    Speech and Language

    Speech is an acoustic way of communication. It is a convention shared by people speaking the same language.
    Each language has its own characteristics, and uses a limited number of sounds (about thirty) called "phonemes". These phonemes are then grouped to become a syllable, a word, a sentence...
    Some phonemes are common to several languages, because most spoken languages come from the same origin. In addition, the range of possible phonemes is also limited by physical constraints of the vocal tract.


    Virtual Singer

    Voice technical background

    Sung voice synthesis

    In voice synthesis, for speech as well as for singing, three main methods can be used:


    Virtual Singer

    Voice synthesis settings

    Virtual Singer palette

    When Virtual Singer is installed, the Windows menu of Harmony/Melody gives access to its palette.  The Virtual Singer palette shows the number of singers as well as the language used by each of them.

    In the Virtual Singer palette, several objects represent the actions you can perform:

    Activate and deactivate Virtual Singer: the colored light in the upper left corner shows the status of Virtual Singer. A click on the bulb toggles this status. When Virtual Singer is activated, staves with lyrics are sung.

    When loaded, Midi Karaoke files or files from older versions of Melody/Harmony are converted automatically.

    When Virtual Singer is activated, a stage is displayed, on which each character represents a sung staff. Since Harmony/Melody can manage several sung staves within a single document, there may be several characters on the stage.

    Character location on the stage shows:

    Under each character, the name of the related staff and a flag indicating its language are displayed. You can mix staves of different languages in the same document. We have already seen that is even possible to change languages within a single lyrics staff.

    Double-clicking on the character opens the simple settings window. A right-click (Shift+click on the Macintosh) on the character opens a pop-up menu which allows you to:

    A click on the flag allows you to change the singer's language.

    Tuning the computing mode

    To compute a sung staff, Virtual Singer creates an invisible digital audio track, and stores all the  voice data in it. This digital track will then be played by Melody/Harmony Assistant.
    This computation is quite complex and may take a few tens of seconds.
    The computing mode slider lets you select whether this work must be completed before the music starts (0% value) or whether a large part of this job can be performed while music is playing (100%).
    This setting depends strongly on your computer. Select its value for optimal performance.

    If the number of sung staves is too large or your computer is not fast enough, it won't have time to perform voice computation while the music is playing. You will hear breaks in the sung part. In that case, decrease the value of computing mode, to require that more of it be finished before the music begins to play.

    Tip: When you aren't using a document, close it. Even in the background, and not playing, a musical document uses a lot of temporary memory: this can slow down the voice computation.

    When a Shape-note staff is included in a document, a little icon with the sharp symbol appears on the Virtual Singer palette. Click on this symbol to toggle whether accidentals are sung.


    Virtual Singer

    Voice synthesis settings

    Basic settings

    Double-clicking on the singer's icon in the Virtual Singer palette opens the pre-defined voice selection window. In this dialog box, you can select another voice from the list and apply an octave shift.

    You can also define a new voice and save it in a file.

    Send us by e-mail any interesting voices you create, and we'll make them available to other users.

    Using "Edit timbre" and "Edit effects" buttons, this window also lets you access the advanced voice settings.

    The octave shift lets you change the octave of the sung part without modifying the musical symbols on the staff.

    The "Try" button makes the program sing a simple sentence with the selected voice.

    The "Play/Stop" button starts to play the frontmost document with the selected voice.

    The choir size slider lets you specify that the voice will actually be composed of several choir members singing in unison. A value of 1 means this voice is a soloist.  The invisible lyrics command [choir:xxx] lets you change the choir size anywhere in the staff. Replace xxx with the choir size you want.  To improve the effect produced by this kind of choir, you can apply a reverberation effect to the staff (see chapter: Effect processors).


    Virtual Singer

    Voice synthesis settings

    Effects settings

    To be able to control the advanced settings effectively, you should understand the concepts of phoneme and formant (refer to the chapters on Voice technical background). All of these parameters help to make the voice sound more natural.


    Virtual Singer

    Voice synthesis settings

    Timbre settings

    To be able to control the advanced settings effectively, you should understand the concepts of phoneme and formant (refer to the chapters on Voice technical background).

     This window allows you to modify the singer's voice timbre.


    Virtual Singer

    Editing Phonemes

      Very important: This chapter refers to advanced concepts of digital signal processing. Some knowledge of acoustics and digital signal processing will be needed to make use of it.

    We saw earlier that phonemes are considered the basic acoustic elements for the spoken or sung voice (see the chapters on "Voice technical background").
    Virtual Singer uses complex algorithms in order to synthesize these phonemes.
    This kind of synthesis, called formants synthesis, uses original internal algorithms, inspired mainly by the writings of D. Klatt (see bibliography), as well as other informational sources.
    The algorithm has been designed and refined following our own research into the reproduction of the sung voice.

    While editing the voice timbre, an "Advanced" button opens the dialog box for defining the individual phonemes. Changes made in this window only modify the current singer's voice. Other voices will remain unchanged.

    A few technical details

    Question: How does Virtual Singer generate a phoneme?
    An excitation digital signal (historically called a "glottal source") is generated, depending on the power and fundamental frequency of the phoneme to be sung. This signal is composed of a parabolic half-period, followed by a silent half-period (glottal stop). The first harmonic (the fundamental frequency),  the second harmonic (twice the fundamental frequency), and the thrid harmonic (triple the fundamental frequency) are then amplified, in order to approximate as nearly as possible the aural rendering of a sung vocal source. This source is then amplified to a greater or lesser degree, according to the voicing value.

    Then the processing is divided into two parts:

    Cascade processing: a noise, called aspiration noise, is added to the excitation source. This signal is then processed by a serial filter sequence (cascade), each filter corresponding to a formant.

    Parallel processing: a noise, called frication noise, is added to the excitation source. The first order derivative of this signal is then processed by a parallel filter set, each filter corresponding to a formant. The amplitude of each formant is processed, in order to increase or decrease the respective influence of each formant in the output signal.

    The results of the two processes listed above are then added, and modulated if necessary by a low-frequency (20 Hz) oscillator to simulate a rolling effect (as in Spanish "R"s).

    After applying the output gain and treble/bass setting, the output signal is finally complete.

    In concrete terms, this algorithm has major implications on how a phoneme is processed:


    The basic phonetic element is the phoneme. But we have seen that some complex phonemes, such as diphthongs, can be made up of several successive states.
    Because of this, we must define the notion of a fragment, which represents a "static" state within a phoneme. Thus, a phoneme can be made of one or several fragments.

    The list on the left of this window displays the complete list of all fragments needed to pronounce any phoneme in any language. Fragments displayed in bold are used by the current language.

    Important Note: In this window, you can change the pronunciation of one or several fragments. These changes are only applied to the singer currently being edited. Modifying a fragment in this window will only alter pronunciation for this singer, not the others.

    Once a fragment is modified, it is displayed in color in the list. When selecting a modified fragment, it is possible to retore its default values by clicking the Original button below the list.

    In the right part of this window, several graphical objects allow you to modify the fragment data.

    In the topmost part of the window, a pop-up menu shows the fragment type:
    Vowel means this fragment can be stretched when the syllable it is included into is extended in time.
    If the syllable does not include any vowels, Virtual Singer will try to stretch transitional vowel fragments.
    In the absence of either of those two types, vocalized consonant fragments will be stretched, and then unvocalized consonants.

    The fragment duration can be changed through a slider.
    This value is the natural time for the fragment. If this fragment is stretched, its duration will be increased.

    Note: When a value is changed graphically (through a slider, for example), its digital value appears in a frame on the bottom right of the window.

    Static part of a fragment

    These are the set of values used to define the static part of the fragment, i.e. the portion that is independent of any transitions to or from adjacent fragments. These parameters can be modified using the large graphical area in the right part of the window.

    Formants are displayed as triangles of colored lines. For each formant, the center frequency (in Hertz), Amplitude (dB) and bandwidth (width of the triangle's base, in Hz) can be changed. A set of checkboxes below this graphic allows you to activate or deactivate each formant in the parallel part of the voice generator.

    Note: As explained above, even if a formant is deactivated, and is no longer displayed on the graphics, its frequency and bandwidth are still used in the cascade part of the voice generator.
    On the right, a set of vertical sliders alows you to change the levels of voicing (av), rolling (Rl), aspiration (asp) and frication (af).

    Tip: While editing a formant middle frequency or bandwidth graphically, two vertical lines are displayed. They show the upper and lower bounds for the parameter being modified, for that formant, among all the phonemes in the list. This helps you avoid setting the parameter to too "exotic" a value.

    Fragment transition curves

    During a spoken or sung part, the transition from one fragment to another is not instantaneous: the next fragment starts to be said before the previous one is completely finished. This smooth transition between fragments is called coarticulation.

    For each parameter (formant frequency, amplitude, bandwidth and various levels), the graphic area on the bottom of the window lets you define its transition curve over time. The parameter whose curve is displayed is circled in red in the upper area.

    On the transition curve, by convention, the previous value of the parameter is represented by the lowest value on the graph's vertical axis. The static value for the currently selected fragment (selected in the upper graphics) is represented by the highest value on the axis.

    Note: this is a schematic display, not directly related to the effective or relative values of the parameter described.

    The parameter's transition from its previous value to the current static value is displayed as two segments:
    The first segment on the left, whose duration is "stolen" from the previous fragment's time. This segment will make the parameter evolve from the previous fragment's static value to an intermediate value, defined by the two vertical sliders to the left of the curve.
    The ratio slider (Ra) lets you select the importance of the previous parameter value relative to that of the current fragment's static value (the value to be reached during the transition).
    For example: a 0% ratio sets the intermediate value to the value to be reached.

    A 100% ratio sets the intermediate value to the previous parameter value.
    A 50% ratio sets the intermediate value to the average of the previous and current values.

    The starting offset (Od) allows you to add a fixed amount to the intermediate value.

    For example: with a ratio (Ra) of 50%, and an offset (Od) of 100, intermediate value is equal to 100 + the average of the previous and current values.

    On the curve, the second segment gives the transition time between the intermediate value and the value to be reached (the static value of this parameter for the current fragment). This time is "stolen" from the current fragment.

    Symmetrically, the two segments on the right, with a corresponding pair of sliders, allow you to define the transition from the current static value to the static value of the next fragment.

    Thus a transition curve can be defined from the previous fragment's static value, as well as to the next fragment's static value.

    Which transition curve segments are used depends on which fragment has a higher priority.  If the current fragment has a higher priority than the previous one, its "transition from previous" segments will be used, instead of the previous fragment's "transition to next" segments. Priority is given by the order of the fragment in the fragment list: the higher in the list, the greater the priority.

    If the list only includes three fragments, "a, b, c" in that order, and the syllable to be sung is "babc", the following transitions will be made for each fragment parameter:

    Action buttons

    These buttons, located in the bottom-right corner of the window, perform several actions:

    Try button

    You can try the modified fragment by typing a simple sentence in the corresponding frame, then clicking the button. Then, a list of fragments used to pronounce the sentence is displayed. The symbols > and < between the fragment names give the relative priority of each fragment compared to the adjacent ones.
    Note: whenever you select a fragment in the fragment list, a sample word for that fragment will be inserted in the text area.
    Language pop-up menu
    When another language has been selected, fragments used in that language appear in bold in the fragment list.
    Copy/Paste buttons
    These buttons allow you to copy all of the parameters and transition curves of a fragment, in order to paste them on another fragment.


    Virtual Singer

    SAMPA Notation


    In phonetics, there are two main systems of notation for describing how a language is pronounced: IPA and SAMPA. These two notation systems are common to all phoneticians.

    With IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), each phoneme matches a symbol. Unfortunately, the set of phonetic symbols cannot be typed on a computer keyboard.

    SAMPA (Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet) is a notation derived from IPA that can be typed on a standard computer keyboard. The ASCII character set is used in SAMPA. Up to two characters may be needed to represent a phoneme.

    Virtual Singer uses the SAMPA notation.


    In song lyrics, you can replace a syllable with its SAMPA equivalent. After the syllable, enter [# (an opening square bracket, then #). This tells Virtual Singer to replace the syllable with the SAMPA characters between [# and ]. If you enter non-SAMPA symbols in the brackets, they will be ignored.

    For example:

                "Another yacht" will be written in SAMPA (UK English pronunciation) "@nVD@ jQt"

    You can then type: "Another[#@nVD@] yacht[#jQt]" to produce the same result.

    Since each language uses a given phoneme set, each language will be described below with its SAMPA character set.
    For each SAMPA symbol, an example is provided.
     SAMPA notation for English
    SAMPA Sample
    SAMPA notation for French
    (Latin also uses this notation)
    Sample in SAMPA 
    SAMPA notation for Spanish
    Notation SAMPA
    Sample in SAMPA 
    SAMPA notation for Finnish
    Note: The SAMPA transcription of the Finnish language has not been completed  yet  by the IPA community. So, we had to create new SAMPA characters in order to notate Finnish language. In the future, this notation is subject to change (especially the strong plosives). These special non-standard SAMPA characters are written in blue in the array below.
    Sample in SAMPA
    SAMPA notation for Italian
    Sample in SAMPA 


    Virtual Singer

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: When starting music while Virtual Singer is active, the vertical line showing playing position in my piece moves irregularly. Why?
    While music is playing, several tasks are performed at the same time. Each task has a priority level. Here are the most important tasks, sorted in decreasing order of priority: This is why, when playing a complex piece or when asking for human voice calculation while playing music, the playing position marker may move intermittently. As soon as the human voice is completely calculated, the movement becomes smooth again.

    Notice that a red arrow blinks above each singer icon while its voice calculation is in progress.
    Question: Several sung staves are included in my document, but only one singer appears in the Virtual Singer palette. What should I do?
    Singer icons are located on stage according to their power and panning location. If several singers have the same power and panning value, their icons can cover each other. Move the icon of the first singer slightly to reveal the others.
    Question: If I change settings for a voice linked to a staff and I want to send the .MUS file to a friend, do I have to send him anything else?
    No, because all information about voice settings is stored in the .MUS file.
    Question: What if my friend does not own Virtual Singer?
    Then the staff which is sung on your computer will be played with the staff standard instrument on his. Tell your friend to install Virtual Singer!
    Question: I defined a voice, but I do not want anyone else to edit it. How can I do that?
    Protect your document from editing (File>Protect menu option).
    Question: I defined a voice and I want to send it to a friend. How can I do that?
    In the voice editing window, save this voice and send its file (with a .PRV extension, located in the "Voices" subfolder of Virtual Singer) to your friend. He'll have then to copy this file into his own "Voices" subfolder. You can send your voice file to us if you want it to be included in the default voices list.
    Question: There is only one staff in my document, but the Virtual Singer progress bar says three human voices are computed. Why?
    Proabaly because there is a three-note chord on this staff. Since a human being can only sing one note at a time, Virtual Singer generates several voices to sing chords. Please note that this can increase the computing time drastically...
    Question: Why can't it also sing in Swedish, Swahili or Smurf?
    You can't define another language yourself. However, if you know the pronunciation rules for a particular language, please do not hesitate to tell us. Ideally, we would like a text file containing, for as many written words in the language as possible, the corresponding pronunciation in SAMPA (or other phonetic notation). In addition, we need the list of phonemes in the language as well as samples of how they are pronounced.


    Virtual Singer

    Summary of 

    invisible commands

    Invisible commands are text written between brackets, used to control how Virtual Singer works. Here is a summary of these commands:


    Replace the previous syllable with xx
    Replace the previous syllable with the SAMPA xx

    At the beginning of a cell, change the background color to the RGB color.
    [!dup] [!nodup]
    Deactivates the automatic repetition of chorus text.
    Starting with this command, language changes to Northern French.
    Starting with this command, language changes to Southern French.
    Starting with this command, language changes to U.K. English.
    Starting with this command, language changes to U.S. English.
    Starting with this command, language changes to liturgical Latin.
    Starting with this command, language changes to Spanish.

           Starting with this command, language changes to Italian.


           Starting with this command, language changes to Finnish.


           Starting with this command, language changes to Japanese.


         Starting with this command, language changes to German.


         Starting with this command, language changes to Occitan.


    Activates "Jazz Scat" mode for generating automatic lyrics.
    Deactivates the "Jazz Scat" mode.
    Changes choir size (number of singers).



    What is RealSinger?

    RealSinger is a Virtual Singer extension that allows you to use more realistic voices to sing lyrics.
    The method for generating synthesized voices is different from that used by the regular Virtual Singer.

    Virtual Singer's voice generation algorithms, as described in the Technical background chapter, use
    completely artificial voices, produced with the Formant synthesis method.

    RealSinger algorithms are based on recordings of real human voice elements. These voice samples are then processed to extract the voicing parameters for each phoneme. This unique process enables us to get around the biggest problem with the usual Recorded elements connection method: by keeping only the voicing information, data files for describing and storing a voice are extremely short (usually less than 1 Mb for a full voice in one language), and the voice can be re-synthesized at any pitch without noticeable distortion.

    How does it work?

    To be able to sing using a new voice, RealSinger needs a recorded sample of each phoneme of a given language, spoken (or sung) by the same speaker (or singer). It then processes all these sound samples and extracts the voicing parameters for each phoneme. The voicing parameter data can then be either embedded in the document file itself, or saved into a separate file to be re-used later in another piece.

    To generate a voice following the lyrics and melody, specialized algorithms are used to process pitch changes and to simulate coarticulation (smooth transitions between two consecutive phonemes).

    How do I use RealSinger voices?

    RealSinger voices are selected in the same way as regular Virtual Singer voices. They are marked by an RS icon in the voice list.

    Simply select one of these voices in the voice list to have a staff sung by RealSinger.

    For more information about how to have a staff sung by Virtual Singer or RealSinger, please read the appropriate chapters.

    You can record your own voice to build a new RealSinger voice file. The following chapters explain how to record, and how to adjust settings for this new voice.

    RealSinger provides more realistic sung voices, but the computing time is longer, and the voices can be less versatile (best within a smaller pitch range). Therefore, it is generally best to use a standard Virtual Singer voice while creating a sung piece, and only select and adjust the RealSinger voice at the very end, once the piece is completed.


    Your First Real Singer Voice

    To learn how Real Singer works, let's quickly create a new Real Singer voice, for Latin songs. Why Latin? This language has few distinct sounds, so you'll be able to record quickly. Also, there are a number of public-domain Latin hymns that you can use to test the voice.

    What you need

    You must be able to record your own voice to your computer's hard drive. The simplest (not necessarily best) method is to use a microphone of the kind designed to connect directly to your computer's sound card input. However, microphones for professional audio usually must be pre-amplified before your sound card can record the signal. Or, you can use an external recording device, and send its line-out or headphone signal (never the loudspeaker signal!) to your computer's sound card line-in. You can even do the recording with another computer, then transfer the digital audio files. But for now, we will assume that you are recording your live voice directly to your computer.

    Let's record!

    When you are ready to record, find a quiet area at a quiet time. Open Melody/Harmony. Create a new, very simple document with just one staff. To the left of the staff is a set of icons, shown here. Click the black triangle to open the staff-specific menu, and choose "staff with lyrics." If the Virtual Singer stage does not open automatically, go to the Melody/Harmony Windows menu and choose the Virtual Singer palette.

    The Virtual Singer palette is a stage, shown here in reduced size. Standing on the stage is the picture of your singer, and underneath his picture is a question mark. Click the question mark, and choose "Latin" from the available languages. The question mark changes to an icon. Then double-click the singer. In a few moments, a dialog box appears. Click "Real Singer".

    A new dialog box appears. Since you will be recording live, click "record." Be quiet while Real Singer measures the background noise. If it is too loud, try again. After Real Singer measures the backgrund noise, it asks you to say "aah" for several seconds. It is measuring your natural speaking pitch, so that you can listen to sample words at that pitch.

    If Real Singer insists that there is too much noise, but you don't know why, possible solutions are discussed in advanced recording techniques. For now, you can bypass thee noise measurement by choosing "set" instead of "record." If you do that, then the next dialog box allows you to manually choose the frequency at which words will be presented. A range of 90-130Hz is comfortable for most men, double that for most women.

    The Real Singer recording palette will appear. At the left are a list of words that you must record. Real Singer will offer you the words in order, unless you un-check the "automatic" box. You can save an audio file of each recorded word by checking that option. At top is the current word. If you wish to hear it without recording, click "listen to the word." When you wish to record the word, click "get." Real Singer will play the word, then you will repeat it. Try to imitate what you hear. If your voice is too loud or too soft, get the word again.

    If your voice is OK, Real Singer will process the sound and identify the phoneme. The first Latin word is "quid," and Real Singer is looking for a drawn-out "u" sound. At the right is a reduced-scale image showing what Real Singer found for a sample recording. The bright area in the middle is the identified sound. The dark curtains at left and right block off the "q-" and "-id" portions.

    The vowel corresponding to English "ee" sound is unusual. In Latin (and in some other languages), Real Singer uses the word "si" for this phoneme. In English, it appears in the word "ease." Many speakers pronounce this vowel with the lips horizontal, as if they are smiling. But good singers produce the vowel with the lips rounded, as they do for other vowels. If you can, record the "ee" sound with rounded, pursed lips, similar to the German u-umlaut. If you record the "ee" sound with a smiling face, it will sound shrill when sung at higher pitches.

    Sometimes, Real Singer cannot find the phoneme, or locates it incorrectly. You can move the "curtains" by dragging them with the mouse cursor. You can play back the whole recorded word, or just the selected portion. It is important to choose phonemes carefully - these are the building blocks used to construct all other words!
    More information about how to adjust the selection range is found in the "Adjusting phoneme selection range" chapter.
    When you are satisfied, click "validate" to add the processed phoneme to the Real Singer voice.

    After you validate a word, its appearance on the word list changes. You know which words you have validated, and which ones remain. If you are not using automatic recording, you can choose words in any order, or re-record words that have already been validated. If necessary, you can save incomplete results, and finish the list at some other time. You can even leave some words un-recorded, and Real Singer will use synthesized sound from the Virtual Singer database as substitutes (not recommended). For best sound quality, you should record all of the words, in a single session, so that your own voice is consistent from one word to another. After you have finished recording your voice, close Real Singer to return to the Virtual Singer dialog box.

    By default, Virtual Singer asumes that your voice is male, and that you will use it for notes on the Treble staff. Therefore the sound will play one octave lower than the notes are written. If you are female, or if you are going to use this voice on the Bass staff or with Treble-8vb, then set the octave shift to zero. You can also change the singer's stage appearance, if you wish.

    While the Virtual Singer dialog box is open, click "save preset." Give your voice a name, and save it in the Real Singer Latin voices folder. This name identifies the voice file, not the character shown on stage. The saved voice file can be used by any singer of the same language, in any other documents. The stage character always has the name of the staff he sings, rather than the name of the voice file he uses.

    Click OK to close the Virtual Singer dialog box. You are now back in your music document, with the stage still showing. Save your document, even though it does not have any music.

    Using your new Real Singer voice

    Open the sample Latin song "Exsultate" in "VirtualSinger/Demos/Latin" subfolder. There are two singers, "Ron Real" and "Vic Virtual." Double-click the image of "Ron" to open Virtual Singer. Ron starts as the default male Virtual Singer, but you will change his voice. In the menu of voices, find the Real Singer voice file that you just created (remember, you put it in the Latin folder). Virtual Singer may tell you that this change will lose the previous setup. Confirm, then click OK to return to the stage.

    "Vic" sings with the default male Virtual Singer voice. Leave "Vic" that way, unless you are female and want "Vic" to sing with a female voice. If so, double-click "Vic," and select "Soprano." This voice is not in the Latin folder, but Virtual Singer is multi-lingual. Confirm the change of setup, and click OK to return to the Virtual Singer stage and music.

    Save the file (save as) with a different name. Now, play the music. Real Singer must pre-calculate the voices, so there will be a delay. "Ron" and "Vic" will sing together in harmony, with "Ron" the higher voice. You can mute one voice or the other, if you wish.

    Most likely, your "Ron" voice is rough. Double-click "Ron" to open Virtual Singer, then click "Edit voice." A new dialog box appears. Under "timbre," choose a value near 30 for each of glottal and opening. Re-play it, and hear the difference in "Ron's" voice.

    If you save the music, it will retain the changes made to "Ron" for this music only, without changing the voice file you recorded. If you want the changed voice to be available to other music, within Virtual Singer you can "save preset" to a new voice file. Don't try to use "Ron" to sing English, or any language other than Latin. He doesn't understand it, because you did not record most of the phonemes needed to make words in another language.

    When you play your Real Singer voice, you may notice that some phonemes are too loud, or too soft, relative to the others. If a phoneme is not consistent with others, you will hear the same problem each time the phoneme is used. To fix this problem, open the Virtual Singer palette, double-click on the singer, and choose "edit voice," then the "advanced" tab. Choose "edit phonemes." Find the offending phoneme in the list at the left, and select it. On the right you will see several vertical sliding controls. The rightmost two control the phoneme volume at start and peak. Move these up or down, as needed. Play your music again. When you are satisfied with the relative volume of the phonemes, save the voice preset. There are numerous other phoneme adjustments available.

    Congratulations on creating your first Real Singer voice! The rest of this Real Singer documentation describes ways to improve your voice recording, ways to improve the precision of the voice fragments, and ways to use Real Singer adjustments to improve the recorded voice.


    Adjusting phoneme selection range

    After you record each word, the program tries to locate a particular phoneme in this word (the one written in capitals in the sample word), and to remove the rest of the word. Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes not. You can keep the program selection as it is, or find your own. Sometimes your ear is better than the program's mathematical analysis, so it is recommended that you find your own selection range in the recorded sample, even if the computed result appears correct.

    Below is a list of the various kinds of phonemes you might be asked to record, and what area the program expects to be selected before validating.


    When saying a voiced plosive consonant (G, B, D), just before this consonant is spoken, the mouth shuts completely, and the voice sound is muffled during a short period of time. But this period is not completely silent: while the mouth is closed, air continues to go out from the lungs and the vocal chords continue to vibrate. Air pressure increases in the closed mouth until the lips open again, and the consonant is emitted with a strong power (which is why these phonemes are called plosives).

    Obturation is the portion spoken with a closed mouth that you can view on the sound graph: a soft period surrounded by stronger phonemes.

    Note for German:

    In German, voiced plosive consonants cannot be located at the end of a word: they are said as their unvoiced equivalent (G->K, B->P, D->T).
    However, here you will need to pronounce a voiced consonant at the end of the word. To make it easier, imagine that there is a very short vowel after the plosive. For example, if you are asked to record a syllable written "caB", pronounce it as "caB(e)" with a very short ending "e".

    Transitional vowels (trans)

    Usually these vowels are used only in a short form (never elongated). You will have to pronounce the target word a little bit differently than in "real life," and elongate these vowels. When setting the selection range bounds, be careful to hear only this vowel, not the one that follows.

    "Static" vowels

    These are called "static" because their phonetic value does not vary over time when pronounced.
    You can select only a short portion of the vowel if you wish. Select a section in which the timbre you hear seems correct, and the pitch and power variation is not too significant. The shorter the section you select, the smaller the resulting voice file will be.

    Note for German:

    In German, there are "long" and "short" versions of vowels. However, in order to enable the software to analyze enough data for "short" vowels, you will have to prolong these vowels at least half a second, even if that is not how they are supposed to sound in German.

    Diphthong first part (diphth) - Only in English -

    A diphthong is a vowel that changes over time when pronounced. You will have here to prolong the first part of the diphthong and make it sound like a static vowel. Select a portion of this static sound.


    Full diphthong (full dipht.)  - Only in English -

    Here, you will have to record the full diphthong, spoken quite briefly. Be careful not to drop the volume or pitch down at the end of  the diphthong (imagine you have to say another word just after this one). You must select the whole diphthong. Articulate well but do not prolong the sound too much, or the resulting voice file size will increase...

    Stretchable consonants

    These consonants can be stretched. (M,N,L,S,F...).  Imitate the sample, and as for the static vowels, select a portion in which the volume stays more or less constant.

    Plosive unvoiced consonants (T,P,K)

    These consonants are preceded by a short period of "glottal stop," a silent phase. Emphasize the consonant itself and make it sound louder than it should be in normal speech. Then adjust the selection range so that it starts just after the glottal stop, and ends after the consonant and its aspiration noise are finished.

    Plosive voiced consonants (D,B,G)

    These consonants are preceded by a short period of "obturation" (see above). Emphasize the consonant itself and make it sound louder that it should be in normal speech. Then adjust the selection range so that it starts just after the glottal stop, and ends after the consonant and its aspiration noise are finished. See the special note for German users in the "Obturation" topic.

    Aspiration (hhh)

    This is the sound when the singer recovers his breath. Breathe in quite quickly (less than 1 second) without any lip sound: open your mouth before starting recording, then breathe in as if you were surprised. Adjust the selection range so that it includes the whole sound (with a brief period of silence after the sound).


    Factors to be considered when

    recording for Real Singer

    Noise factors

    Environmental noise

    If a passing noise interferes with your recording, simply re-record it. If you have companions, suggest that they go elsewhere, since their small movements may escape your attention but still be heard in the recording. Yes, your friend sitting behind you is giggling while you are trying to record...

    A.C. hum

    Depending on your country, alternating current (AC) hum has a frequency of 60Hz or 50Hz, with overtones throughout the vocal range, particularly at 180Hz (150Hz). At right is the spectrum of AC hum from a noisy setup. It is very important to reduce AC hum, since it is difficult to remove this noise without distorting your voice.

    If you use a laptop computer, the simplest way to reduce AC hum is to use battery power, and have no peripheral devices connected. If you do use peripherals, the cables should be disconnected at the computer when power is off, not left dangling from the computer.

    When a preamplifier (or tape deck) and a computer are connected, and when both of them use AC power, the amount of hum depends on how the power cords are plugged in. The loudest hum is produced when the two devices are plugged into different wall sockets. If one device has an AC auxiliary outlet, plug the second device into it, rather than to the wall. Or, plug both devices into a single extension cord. If the power plugs are not polarized (that is, if they can be inserted into the outlet with prongs reversed), try reversing the prongs.

    Some microphones will pick up a lot of AC hum when you touch them. If that happens, mount the mike on an insulating stand, instead of holding it. If you do not have a mike stand, try taping the mike to a wooden stick, held vertical by taping it to the back of a chair. Pay careful attention to this. Just because a microphone can be held in the hand, does not mean that it should be held. If you use a headset microphone, see if AC hum is reduced when you remove the headset.

    Be sure that your microphone cable does not run near any power cords. There may be power lines underneath your floor, so try moving the microphone cable. The same applies to the cord between computer and preamp or tape deck, if you are using one. It is especially important to stay away from motor-driven devices, including ceiling fans.

    Machine sounds

    If you see a noise spectrum like the one above, but the fundamental frequency of your AC is not the first peak, then the source of noise is probably a motor-driven appliance. Machine sounds are common. You have learned to ignore your refrigerator, heating, ventilation, computer fans, and ticking clocks. But if they are present, they will be included in your voice recording. Consider turning off machines - but don't forget to turn them back on again! If you have a lot of noise distributed evenly across the spectrum, it may be caused by air rushing through a ventilation system.

    System noise

    Some noise is caused by the electrical properties of your system. If this noise is small, Real Singer can analyze it and reduce its effect. But if the system noise is too large, you will have to try a different recording method.

    If your computer's sound card is poor, it will detect electrical noise from the surrounding circuitry and include it in your recording. This is especially true if you are using a microphone connected directly to the computer's microphone input. If you have eliminated all other possible noise sources and still have too much unexplained noise, this may be the culprit. Try recording your voice to a tape deck, or using a pre-amplifier, so that you can feed the preamp line-out to your computer's sound card line-in, instead of to the microphone jack. Remember that external recording equipment usually requires a different kind of microphone than the kind used directly by computers.

    If you are using a tape deck, it is better to use high-bias or metal tapes and noise reduction. Do not use automatic gain control. Do not use a microphone "built in" to the recorder.

    Sound quality factors


    The human voice contains important frequency components across a broad range. The fundamental pitch of sung notes is below 500Hz (even lower for the male voice), with important overtones at higher frequencies. The range around 2-6KHz contains frequencies that add color and definition to the voice, especially during some consonants and transitions.

    Be sure that your microphone has a smooth frequency response across this spectrum. If the mike is normally sensitive only to low frequencies, but has an artificial boost for the highest frequencies, then your recorded voice will sound too bright. Some computer mikes intended for speech recognition (conversion of words to text) may have such an artificial frequency response. But as long as the mike responds adequately across the vocal range, it is not necessary to have a level (flat) frequency response, since Real Singer includes an equalizer.

    Saturation and clipping

    Saturation and clipping occur when an input signal is too large. This can occur at the microphone, or at any stage of signal processing.

    If your voice is too loud, the microphone will distort the sound, even if the electrical output from the mike is within the acceptable range. Computer microphones often have a low dynamic range, meaning that there is not much difference between the softest sounds they can detect above the noise, and the loudest sounds they can accept without distortion. When recording to Real Singer, it is important to keep your voice at uniform loudness. This is especially true if you are using a computer microphone.

    Professional audio microphones have a much greater range of loudness that they can accept without distortion. But the range of electrical signals produced is also large. This kind of microphone is used with a preamplifier (or tape deck, acting as preamp). Be sure to pay attention to the VU or other signal amplitude meter. It is OK to briefly exceed a limit if the sound is in an unimportant part of a word, far from the phoneme that you are trying to validate.

    Do not use automatic gain control (AGC) for recording to Real Singer. The distortions introduced by AGC are likely to be greater than the distortions removed. It is better to move away from the microphone, or manually adjust volume controls. Portable tape recorders, and office-style voice recorders, usually use AGC. Avoid using these devices, if you can.

    If you are transferring a signal into your computer from a preamp or tape deck, be sure to use the correct jacks. Never take a signal from a jack intended to directly drive loudspeakers. The best connection is line-out to line-in.

    If you are using an audio editor to apply digital filters to a pre-recorded waveform, be sure that the filter does not clip your sound.

    Special problems

    Difficult sounds

    Some consonants are difficult to record, because they are soft and create a lot of breath wind. In English, these are f, h, s, and th (thin). You will need to place your mouth close to the microphone, but not allow the breath wind to touch it. It helps to feel the air stream coming from your mouth when you make these sounds, to ensure that the mike is correctly placed.

    Some other consonants are difficult to record, because they are abrupt. In English, these are b, d, hard g (go), k, and p. These sounds have a moment of high intensity that quickly tapers to a short sound. If spoken too loudly, the intense part will saturate or clip. If spoken too softly, the tapered part will not be detected. Or, if you naturally speak these consonants softly, Real Singer may decide that your voice is "too loud" based on the part of the recorded word leading up to the consonant. Resist the temptation to speak these in an un-natural manner, to "help" Real Singer find them. If you do that, Real Singer will find an un-natural sound!

    If you are having difficulty producing a satisfactory recording of these consonants, or if you would generally like to change what Real Singer hears from you, then pre-record your voice and use an audio editor. You can reduce the amplitude of an unnecessary part of a word that is "too loud," so that a necessary, softer part can be accepted. But it is usually not advisable to edit the volume in the portion of sound that contains the desired phoneme, because that will interfere with noise-removal processing.

    Using an audio editor

    An audio editor is a program that will open an audio file, change its contents, and export the result to a new audio file. One such program is the free Audacity (Windows or Macintosh) available from In addition to opening and exporting WAV files, it can open and export Vorbis OGG files. These files can be used by Real Singer in place of a live voice.

    With an audio editor, you can: (1) Import a lengthy recording or several words, and slice it into individual words. (2) Adjust the volume or equalization. (3) Inspect sounds for the presence of sudden noise events. (4) Apply special effects (not recommended for Real Singer).

    With an audio editor, you can help find sources of noise by looking at noise amplitude and spectra. The most valuable use is to inspect the recording waveforms for the presence of saturation and clipping. For this reason, it is a good idea to pre-test your method of recording, inspect its results with an audio editor, and make any necessary changes to your setup. Then Real Singer will have good quality sound to use for your voice.

    Saturation occurs when an increase in sound power produces less than the proportional increase in recorded signal power. Saturation is often desirable; it is certainly better than clipping. But in Real Singer, it is better to avoid saturation, because the recorded tone will be used in soft and loud passages. If you look at sample recordings of your voice with an audio editor, and see that the recorded amplitude is always about the same during both loud and soft parts of your speech, then you may have saturation. (Or, you may be a master at keeping your voice at an even level!) Try recording at lower volume, or move the microphone slightly farther from your mouth. Be sure that automatic gain control is not in use. Avoid saturation in, or near, any part of the word that will be used for the phoneme.

    At right are some images (at reduced size) from an audio editor. The top image shows a waveform that has been properly recorded. Even though Virtual Singer plays a sample word with very uniform amplitude, the live human voice varies in amplitude. These irregularities can be seen in the envelope of the waveform.

    The second image is the same sound, recorded with saturation. Notice how the irregularities of the envelope have been smoothed. Examining the spectra would show that certain frequencies are more prominent in the the waveform with saturation than in the unsaturated wave.

    The third image shows clipping, in this case caused by too large an electrical signal at the sound card input. Notice how the envelope has been flattened (flattening may be symmetrical or asymmetrical).

    The fourth image also shows clipping, even though the recorded waveform has lower amplitude than before. In this case, the clipping occurred at the microphone, because the sound was too loud. The electrical signal was reduced by the sound card volume control. However, once a wave is clipped, it cannot be un-clipped.

    At left is a composite image of two spectra, for the same word recorded by two different microphones. Areas of concern are marked with an asterisk. One of the microphones (purple spectrum) shows excessive response in the second overtone (third harmonic), which is one characteristic of saturation. Also, that microphone shows excessive response in the high frequency range - probably due to artificial enhancement - which makes the sound bright and harsh. This microphone was intended for computer speech recognition.

    The other microphone was a pre-amplified dynamic type, normally used for audio recording. It had a more satisfactory sound quality (green spectrum).


    Adjusting phonemes

    Once all the phonemes have been recorded, you can play the sample tune.

    Some phonemes will almost certainly not be what you expected, and will need adjustment.

    How to find a bad phoneme

    Adjusting a phoneme

    Several problems can make a phoneme sound wrong.

    If the phoneme timbre (tone or sound) does not match the expected result, we recommend that you record it again, by selecting the phoneme in the list on the left, then clicking Record.

    If the problem comes from the phoneme power (volume), i.e. the phoneme is ttoo soft or too loud in the sample word, there is no need to record it again. You can adjust the starting and ending power using the Vst (volume start) and VMa (volume maximum) sliders on the left of the phoneme spectrum display.

    Other adjustments can also be performed, but they require a deeper knowledge of the internal operation of RealSinger.  Therefore, they are reserved to experienced users:

    Two sliders control the coarticulation time:
    Dtd is the transition duration from the previous phoneme
    Dtf is the transition duration to the next phoneme


    Technical background

    Note: This page is only a brief overview of the methods used by RealSinger to produce a voice.
    It is not necessary to read this chapter to use RealSinger. This chapter is indended to answer technical questions some users might have about the internal algorithms, and is not needed to use the product.


    To synthesize a realistic singing voice, the first idea that comes to the mind of the programmer is to use a collection of recorded phonemes to generate the voice.

    Three problems quickly become apparent:

    1. The algorithm used must be able to generate the phoneme at any pitch (fundamental frequency). Recording every phoneme at all possible pitches is not feasible, because it would lead to a long and complex recording process, as well as huge voice files.
    2. The algorithm must be able to elongate, or stretch, the phoneme to any duration.
    3. The algorithm must be able to generate a smooth transition from one phoneme to another, in order to simulate the coarticulation phenomenon (the next phoneme starts to be heard before the current one is completely terminated).
    A solution can be found for each of these problems in the published computer literature.

    Efficient algorithms have been developed to solve problems 1 and 2. They process the recorded sample's digital data directly, allowing the programmer to change its frequency (pitch) as well as its duration. These algorithms are used in most popular sound editors to change the pitch and speed of a sound file independently. They are also used successfully in speech synthesis, because speech frequency (pitch) variations are quite small.
    However, in the case of the sung voice, these algorithms cannot be used, because they are not efficient when the pitch shift is too large. The result is not "wrong" as such, but the voice is distorted, just as when playing a magnetic tape at too high a speed (chipmunk voice).

    For problem 3, a common solution is to record not only the individual phonemes of a language, but all possible combinations of two or three phonemes (diphonemes/triphonemes). This system stores the coarticulation effect and makes the synthesized voice more realistic. However, here again, the recording process is quite difficult and extensive, sometimes requiring several hours of work for the speaker or singer. The resulting voice file is often quite large (several megabytes).

    RealSinger uses original algorithms to solve all three of these problems at the same time, by manipulating frequency spectra.
    Some speech synthesizers have tried to use voice frequency spectra to generate voice in the past.
    However, this method proved to be difficult to implement, because recreating a signal from a processed spectrum using an inverse Fast Fourier Transform (IFFT) requires that the "phase" values be reajusted properly.  If they are not properly adjusted, consecutive pieces of signal won't join and an unwanted background noise will be heard.

    Voice spectrum

    In speech or song, the glottal source waveform (the sound produced by vocal chords when excited by the air stream from the lungs) is a combination of harmonics (frequency multiples of the fundamental frequency f0).

    On a power/frequency graph, this glottal source sound looks like a comb, with each tooth of the comb located at a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental f0:

    When the voice pitch increases, the fundamental frequency f0 shifts to the right (higher frequency), and the frequency offset between two consecutive harmonics increases too, to remain equal to f0.

    In passing through the vocal tract, some frequencies are enhanced by cavity resonances, and others are softened. The result is that certain harmonics are loud, and others are softer. This vocal tract spectrum depends on the phoneme being said or sung, and is more or less unchanged when frequency (pitch) increases or decreases.
    The convolution of these two spectra (glottal source and vocal tract) gives the resulting spectrum, in which the listener can determine both the phoneme (what is said) and the pitch (sung note).

    RealSinger basics

    The aim of RealSinger is, for each phoneme of a given language, to apply a deconvolution to the recorded signal in order to separate the glottal source and vocal tract spectra. Then it stores only the vocal tract spectrum, and will apply a generated glottal source to this spectrum to simulate the original recorded phoneme being sung at any pitch.

    Learning process

    This algorithm enables RealSinger to store only a few values for each phoneme, which means very short voice files (less than 40 Kb once compressed).

    Generating the voice

    This algorithm simulates coarticulation effects. Therefore it is not necessary to record the whole set of diphonemes or triphonemes. Only pure phonemes are required.


    Virtual Singer

    Bibliography & Thanks


    We wish to thank everyone who helped us build and improve this program (apologies to anyone I forget):

    Beta-testing and bug-hunting

    B.J. Ash
    Roland Couty
    Philippe Deschamp
    Andrea Dolcetti
    Patricia Faure
    Bruno Furlano
    Jerry Gamble
    Hans-Erik Lehndal
    Paul Mercer
    Carmel Morris
    Cleodhna Nightshade
    Eric Paget
    Harry Singkoh
    Jérémie Vautard

    FaSoLa (shaped-note) solmization

    Gina Balestracci
    Karen Willard
    Martha Henderson

    and everyrone at

    English phonetics

    Kay Dekker
    Jim Dicecco
    David Griffith
    Arthur Ingram
    Ivan Manson
    John W. Morgan

    Spanish phonetics

    Yannick Marchegay

    Italian phonetics

    Harry Singkoh

    Finnish phonetics

    More Karvonen
    Kari Reiman

    Japanese phonetics

    Nobumasa Sato

    German phonetics
    Karl Anders
    Christian Bayet
    Wolfgang Boehmig
    Nicole Franz
    Lou Gruber
    Christian Knappke

    Occitan phonetics

    Jean Pierre Bonnal
    Patricia Faure

    Bibliography and links

    We also wish to thank the authors whose texts helped us learn a lot about voice synthesis.

    Monique and François Léon, La prononciation du Français, Nathan, 1997.

    Dennis Klatt, Review of text-to-speech conversion for English, 1987.

    Dennis Klatt, Software for a cascade /parallel formant synthesizer, 1980,

    Michael W. Macon, Speech Synthesis Based on Sinusoidal Modeling, 1996.
    It is with profound sorrow that we must announce the death of Mike Macon. Mike died on Thursday, March 15th 2001, in the midst of a heroic battle with lymphoma due to secondary complications of his treatment.

    M Slemmett, Thesis, ,1999.

    Fréderic J Harris, On the use of Windows for Harmonic Analysis with the Discrete Fourier Transform, 1978.

    Jean Piché & Peter J. Nix, HTML Csound Manual, 1994.

    Thierry Dutoit, A Short Introduction to Text-to-Speech Synthesis, 1998.

    St. Louis Metro Singers, American Guild of Organists, Pronunciation of Church Latin,

    SAMPA (Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet),, 1999

    FaSoLa web site, Information about FaSoLa (shape-notes notation, solmization):

    Finnish language:

    Italian language:

    Japanese language:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Here are the Frequently Asked Questions and their matching answers. You are invited to read them carefully before contacting the technical support or posting a new message on the discussion board: your question is maybe already answered here.


    Install / uninstall on Windows

    How can I install a newer release of the program without deleting my tune files, or the extended sound database I installed some time ago?

    If you are using an installer, downloaded from our Website, to update your version, only the application and its internal data files will be changed. All other files will be preserved.
    If you are performing a complete install of the new version, just install it over the old version, in the same folder, without uninstalling beforehand.

    After an update, I get the "Language kit not found" message, and the software does not run. Why?
    You forgot to include the language files in the archive. Download it again, after having selected "Include language files" and "English" in the pop-up menu.

    I already own another application that uses the ".MUS" file extension. How to avoid an extension conflict?

    When installing the program, select a custom install, and in the next panel, edit the file extensions. Deselect ".MUS" and let ".MYR" selected.
    Once installed, run the program, then select "Configuration>Global settings".
    In the "Save" tab, select "by default, propose the .myr extension instead of .mus".
    Doing so, the program will use the ".MYR" extension only.

    Where does the GOLD sound database installs itself?

    Run the little program called "Myrpref.exe" located in the install directory of the application. A window opens on the application preferences.
    The GOLD sound database is installed in the "Myriad\GMDigit" subfolder of these preferences.

    How to uninstall the application?

    Select "Uninstall" in the group that has been created for the application. If you do not intend to use any of our applications anymore, you can also remove the SToccata font file from the system font folder.

    How to uninstall the GOLD sound database?

    You may have to uninstall the GOLD sound database, for example if you sell your computer.
    In the “Configuration>Sound base“ menu, select the GOLD sound database, then in the same menu, select "Uninstall current database". GOLD sound database files will be deleted from your Hard Disk.

    I have to format my Hard Disk on my PC, how can I backup my Harmony/Melody settings?

    Run the "myrpref.exe" program which is located in the Harmony or Melody install folder (typically, "C:\Program Files\Harmony Assistant" or "C:\Program Files\Melody Assistant")
    A window opens, copy all files from this folder.
    Format your disk.
    Reinstall Harmony, run the "myrpref.exe" program which is located in the Harmony folder.
    Copy the backup files to this folder.

    How to use Unicode characters (foreign language text display) on Windows 95, 98 and ME?

    You need the "Unicows" dynamic library, developed by Microsoft. Download it here, then run this installer. When you are asked for the target folder, select the one in which Harmony Assistant or Melody Assistant has been installed (typically, in "C:\Program Files\") followed by the name of the program. Then run the program again.


    Install / uninstall on Macintosh

    How can I install a newer release of the program without deleting my tune files, or the extended sound database I installed some time ago?

    If you are using an installer, downloaded from our Website, to update your version, only the application and its internal data files will be changed. All other files will be preserved.
    If you are performing a complete install of the new version, just install it over the old version, in the same folder, without uninstalling beforehand.

    After having installed on an UFS partition, the application displays "Resource file not found". What can I do?
    The Apple UNIX does not manage resources on UFS partitions. Move the application on a HFS partition.

    After an update, I get the "Language kit not found" message, and the software does not run. Why?
    You forgot to include the language files in the archive. Download it again, after having selected "Include language files" and "English" in the pop-up menu.

    Where does the GOLD sound database installs itself?

    In the "Myriad Preferences:GMDigit" subfolder of the current user preferences folder.

    How to uninstall the application?
    Drag and drop the application folder to the trashcan and empty it.
    If you do not intend to use any of our applications anymore, you can also remove the "Myriad Music Font" file from the system font folder.

    How to uninstall Virtual Singer ?
    On Mac OS 9, delete the subfolder included in the application folder.

    On Mac OS X , the "VirtualSinger" folder is located in the application bundle.
    Open it using "Display bundle content" (Ctrl+Click on the application icon). You will then find the Virtual Singer folder into "Contents/MacOS"

    How to uninstall the GOLD sound database?

    You may have to uninstall the GOLD sound database, for example if you sell your computer.
    In the “Configuration>Sound base“ menu, select the GOLD sound database, then in the same menu, select "Uninstall current database". GOLD sound database files will be deleted from your Hard Disk.



    How to find quickly a tutorial?

    The tutorial window being in the foreground ("Windows>Tutorial" menu option in the program), type in a word that you know being included in the tutorial title. The first found tutorial is displayed in the list. Use the Tab key to jump to the next one.
    Please note: it also works in the Jukebox to find a tune.

    How to restore quickly the palettes to their original state, even if they are closed?

    Set the "reset palettes" keyboard shortcut in the "Modes" section to a key ("Configuration > Edit keyboard" menu option)

    How to be notified when a new version of the program is available?

    Subscribe to the newsletter. You will be notified by e-mail. 


    User Interface

      On my 12" screen, some windows are too large, and I cannot see the whole content. What can I do?
    Buy a bigger screen. Seriously, this program works with a minimum resolution of 800x600 in 256 colors. Sorry. 

      Some dialog boxes open over the help window, and I cannot read the explanations. How do I move the help window?
    Drag its blue bar (you can drag or resize it even when a dialog box is open). Find a location on your screen where it is easily readable.
    I understand all the software features, and do not need the help window to be displayed anymore. How can I hide it?
    Apparently, you have not seen quite all the features. :o)
    Open the "Help" menu, and uncheck "Help window".

    I do not really understand what can be done with the Album ("Windows>Album" menu option). I do not know how to reuse the selected element in the Album. How to empty the Album?

    Using the Album is quite simple. It is a storage area in which you can save the most frequently used elements. Album content is preserved when the application is closed.
    It supports the standard "Edit> Cut/Copy/Paste/Erase" commands along with their keyboard shortcuts.
    You can view graphic objects that are stored into the Album, and listen to the playable objects.
    Album is divided into 8 independent parts, which enables to sort the objects by theme.

    Each time I load a document, it does not appear in "page mode" but in "scroll mode". How to force page mode automatically ? (Harmony Assistant only)

    In global setup, "Load" tab, select "Apply Page Mode".

    How can I review tutorials I've already seen?  They vanish from the list.

    Click on the icon at the right edge of the tutorial window, this will display the tutorials even if you already viewed them.



    Can I install the software on my desktop computer as well as on my laptop?

    Yes. Licenses are personal, without limit about the number of install. Simply, only one copy of the software must be running at the same time.

    If I order Melody Assistant, will I have a discount for Harmony Assistant later?

    No, sorry. You have to chose right now.

    If I switch from Mac OS to Windows (or vice versa), will I need to purchase another license?

    Yes. Licenses are valid for a lifetime, but for a given kind of computer.

    Can I purchase a site license for a family, school, or other organization?

    Yes. Contact and specify the number and type of computers.

    If I lose my license number, do I have to buy another one?

    No. Licenses are valid for a lifetime. You can get back your registration codes again by asking for them on this page.

    When a new version of the program is released, do I have to pay for the update?

    No. Licenses are valid for all the new versions to come. Just download the new version.




    If I order Harmony Assistant, do I need to order Melody Assistant too?

    No, all the capabilities of Melody Assistant are included in Harmony Assistant.

    If I order Harmony Assistant, do I need to order the Myriad CD-ROM too?

    No, a free Myriad CD-ROM is shipped when you order Harmony Assistant.

    I would like to receive my registration code quickly. How to proceed?

    Use the credit card payment method and provide a valid e-mail address.

    Do you have resellers in my city or country?

    No. Our prices are low because we sell directly from designer to customer without using the traditional sale schemes.

    If I pay on the Internet, what will be the delay for receiving my license number?

    In average, two working hours in our time zone (+1 GMT).

    I payed on the Internet and I still do not have received anything. Why?

    You should have received an e-mail, even if your payment has been refused by your bank.
    If you do not receive any e-mail then probably you provided a wrong e-mail address, or you set up an anti-spam filter that blocks our messages.

    If I purchase through "snail mail", what will be the delay for receiving my license number via e-mail?

    In average, two working days after we receive your payment.

    If I purchase through bank transfer, what will be the delay for receiving my license number via e-mail?

    In average, two working days after we receive from our bank the confirmation for your transfer.

    What are the shipping and handling charges?

    There are no such charges.


    Edit : General points

    Can I freely distribute the tunes I create with this software?
    The authors of this software do not claim any right to the music you write. Of course, you are responsible for ensuring that your tunes are not in violation of the copyright laws (for example, if you enter a copyrighted piece of music).
    Subject to that, you can possibly sell them... or send them to us to be included as examples in future releases of the software.

      How can I find the total length of my tune?
    Select File>Information, which gives you a complete description of the current document.

      Is there a Polish/Swedish/Russian... version of the program?
    The software is in French (our native language), English (for the international version), Italian, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. If you are moved to translate the software into your own language, however, contact us.
    But be warned: the amount of text in the software and its documentation is probably greater than you think...

    When starting Harmony Assistant, I get an empty blank page. What can I do?
    You are in page mode. The page mode displays the score exactly how it will be printed. Harmony could not get the paper size by asking the printer driver.
    Switch to scroll mode or in the "File" menu, select "Page setup", select a valid printer driver and define the printing setup.

    Under Mac OS X, the display slow down when a slur is present or the mouse cursor shudders.  What can I do??
    This is an Apple bug, introduced with 10.3 which occurs with some video cards drivers.
    In the general setup, "Screen" panel, disable the anti-alias mode.



    When I insert a note, its head is a cross, or it is colored, or it has any other kind of attribute I do not expect. What can I do?
    Open the "note appearance tools" palette ("Windows" menu) and deactivate the selected items.

    Sometimes, I cannot click on some music symbols. What can I do?
    This can occurs when:

    How to select several bars for all staves?
    Click the ruler (gray line at the top of the document window, in scroll mode, where bar number are displayed) and move the mouse over the ruler while mouse button is down

    Sometimes, the composer inserts a fermata mark above the barline instead of above a note. It means he needs the two sections of the piece to be separated. How to notate it?
    1. Add a break symbol that does not affect the bar itself, like a Coda or Segno symbol
    2. Set its text style to "SToccata", size 80
    3. Enter the "U" character
    The pencil tool is now displayed as a syringe, how can I get the pencil tool back?

    Ensure the edit mode in the "edit tools" palette is the pencil.
    Ensure a note duration or rest duration is selected in the related palette.


    Notes and rests

    When I try to insert a note, an icon appears above the next bar line and the note is not inserted. Why?
    You are in "Editing limited to one bar" mode, and you are trying to insert a note that goes over a bar change. In this mode, notes dropped into a bar cannot modify or shift notes in the following bars.
    For example, you cannot, in this mode, drop a note which carries over to the next bar.
    To allow this, switch this mode off in the Options menu.
    How can I hear the notes I drop into the score?
    Go to Configuration>Global Setup and check the option "Play note while editing"

    Some notes are displayed too close together, but I do not want to resize the whole bar. Can they be moved away from each other?
    Disconnect "automatic spacing" (Options menu).
    Then click on the note with the "Alt" key held down: you can now move the note, from -100% to +100% of its regular position.
    You can also double-click on the note and edit the numerical value of its displacement.
    Other solution: if you own Harmony Assistant, activate the Engraver mode: "Score > Engraver mode"

    How do I manage chords with different note lengths ?
    In this case, the chord length is considered equal to its shortest note.
    How to play complex rhythmic patterns, including several note lengths played at the same time on the staff ?

    If different note duration are played in the same chord, then your staff probably include several "voices" (left and right hand on a piano, Alto and Soprano voices...). In this case, it is recommended to use multi-voice staves.

    You are invited to view the "Merged staves (multi-voice staves) presentation)" ("Windows>Tutorials" menu option in the program.


    Symbol appearance

    When I insert a note, its head has a crossed shape, an unwanted color, a stem in the wrong direction or any other attribute I do not expect. Why?
    Open the palette that define note appearance ("Windows" menu) and deselect the currently activated icons.

    When I insert a note, an accidental (sharp, flat, etc) is related to the note. Why?
    Open the palette that define accidental ("Windows" menu) and deselect the currently activated accidental.

    Is there an easy way to force an entire piece to the default accidental?
    Select all the score then apply Edit>Appearance>General>Preferred accidental: auto



    Triplets and ornaments

    How do I insert a triplet?
    Select the icon marked 3:2 in the Notes tool palette, then insert your note on the score.

    How to change the triplet value?
    By double-clicking the 3:2 icon in the note palette, you can change the tuplet value.

    The little "3" for the triplet appears above each of the three notes. How to make only one appear, and link the three notes by a bracket?

    Triplet bracket is related to note beaming. Select your three notes, then "Edit>Appearance>Beam" so that they are displayed as a group of three.

    How can I attach ornaments, appoggiatura, grace notes ...?
    Double-click on a note to open its editing window. You can then define grace notes (appoggiatura), ornaments... attached to this note.
    You are invited to view the "Inserting and editing grace notes" video tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" option in the program)


    Slurs, ties and  beams

    How do I tie two notes of equal pitch?
    You mean add the duration of these two notes. With the selection tool (lasso) select the two notes in a selection range.
    Then use Edit>Action>Tie. The durations of these two notes are added.
    If you want the resulting note to appear as a combination of specific note values, double-click on this note and edit its "Splitting" value.
    How do I beam a tied note?
    Two tied notes, although displayed as two notes, are considered as only one note by the software.
    For any editing operation involving such a note, the selection range must include the first tied note.
    For example, if you have a half-note tied with an eighth, followed by another eighth, and you want to beam the two eighths together, you must include the three notes in a selection range before selecting Edit>Appearance>Beam.
    How do I slur (tie) two notes of different pitch?
    Use the slur tool. (icon in floating palette). Click on the first note, then on the last one.
    You are invited to view the "Adding and deleting slurs" video tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" menu option in the software)

    How do I change the slur's appearance?

    Use the select (lasso) tool, and point to a slur: it blinks, and three control points are shown. Drag them to change the slur's shape.
    You can also define these parameters numerically, and select the slur width by double-clicking on the first note of the slur.
    I cannot beam two consecutive notes together. What happens?

    Probably the two notes do not have the same stem direction. Edit the note parameters to change stem direction.
    If you want to manage stem direction and beaming by yourself, disable "Automatic beaming" in the "Options" menu..
    You are invited to view the "Hitching notes. Automatic and manual hitching. Time signature setup" video tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" menu option in the software)
    I would like a quarter note appear as two tied eighths. How to do this?

    Double-click the note head to edit its parameters. Select an "eighth" splitting value.

    How to make a slur being played?

    Double-click the slur. It opens the symbol parameter edit box at the "Slur" tab index.
    Activate "Audio > Play it smooth" for example.

    How to render the legato effect for a wind instrument?

    Select the notes (they have to be related to each other by one or more slur symbols) and apply "Edit>Actions>Apply phrasing"


    Break symbols (barlines, endings...)

      At the end of a bar, the performer has to jump to a given bar the first time, and to another bar the second time. How to do this?
    For example, by inserting two "Da segno" on the source bar, and two Segno, one on each bar, on the target bars. Each Da Segno is set up through "Time: according to array", and the required value checked in the array.




    What is the difference between dynamics and volume change?

    Dynamics like "fff" or "ppp" indicate the note velocity.
    By principle, they can only be applied at the time the note is started. For example, a pianist can press a key more or less strongly, but cannot control the sound once started.
    A different velocity (starting power) produces a different sound, and not only a change in volume.
    A piano played fff is not simply a piano ppp played louder.

    However, some instruments can produce volume variations while note is played. For example, a violinist playing a long note, or a flutist who can reduce the breath pressure to soften the volume.

    When switching to graphical edit of note velocities, sometimes the line splits into  yellow and red. Why?

    The red line shows the actual (played) velocity, while the yellow line shows the written velocity. These two curves are different as soon as a dynamics is present in the score.


    Tempo Changes

     Using the Tempo change tool, is it possible to control the tempo change speed (acceleration)?

    Yes. The tempo change starts from the time position that matches the left edge of the tempo object area, and ends to the time position that matches its right edge. Increase the object area to make the tempo change be more progressive.



    Ottava, Pedal

       Where can I find tools to add a sustain mark?

      "Windows>Ottava, Tempo and Pedale" menu option



    Bars (measures)


    How can I increase the number of bars in my score?
    By using the option Edit>Bars>Insert, but it is quite simple to place a note in a bar after the last bar of your score.

    In my printed score, the first four bars are on one row, with the next four below that, and so on. How is this possible with the software?
    If you are using Harmony Assistant, switch to "Page mode" (Score>Page mode)
    Otherwise, you must enter all your bars one after the other, using the horizontal scroll bar if necessary. When printed, bars will be reorganized on paper.

    I inserted a bar at the beginning of my score to make a few metronome beats be played when music starts playing. Now, I would want this bar not to be taken into account in bar numbering. How to do this?

    Open the contextual menu for the ruler and select "Do not count in bar numbering". Please note it will only affect the bar numbering related to staves, and not the bar number displayed in the ruler.

    How to split a multi-rest bar in two groups?
    In scroll mode, command+click on the ruler open the contextual menu.
    Select "Split multirest".

      When I add a tempo object on a multi-rest measure, this "break" the multi-rest. How to avoid this?

    All object added on a staff "break" the multi-rest. Otherwise objects will overlap or in the tempo case,  it will be displayed at a wrong time position.

    But an object added on a staff which don't provide sound, like a "text" staff, don't follow this rule.
    So, add a "text" staff to your score, the tempo object on it, and merge the staff.



    How can I change the staff order?
    Click on the staff with the Command (Macintosh) or Ctrl (PC) key depressed, and drag the staff to the required position.  This also works when editing staff groups (Staff > Staff groups)

    How to delete the chord names that appear automatically above a staff?
    How to delete an automatic tablature related to a staff?

    In the staff contextual menu (black triangle to the left of the staff), select respectively "Chord display" or "Edit tablature". Then specify what you wish to be displayed.

      I would want to write both left and right hand for piano on a same staff, how to do this?

    Knowing only notes with the same stem direction can be beamed together, you just have to set the stems for right hand notes up, and those for left hand down. To do this, deselect "Automatic beaming" in the "Options" menu, double-click each note and use the "Stem down" check box.
    You can also use the staff menu, "Split stem direction" option. Stems for notes above the given note will then be changed to up, and stems for note below to down.
    Note however that if two voices are written on the same staff, it is recommended to use multi-voice staves, also called merged staves (search for this term in the software manual)
    I have two staves for piano, one for the right hand, the other one for the left hand. I would want to make them appear on a single staff, is it possible? I do not mean using multi-voice (merged) staves, but really creating a single staff...

    Select the first staff, then "Edit>Copy"
    Select the second staff, then "Edit>Add"

    I wish to "separate" two hands written on the same staff (in other words, create a single staff for each hand). Is it possible?

    Use "Staff>Split staff according to note" menu option.

    When merging two staves through "Edit>Multi-voice staves>Merge", some notes appear grayed. Why?

    When several staves are merged together, they can be edited separately (layers) or simultaneously. Use the little multicolored triangle to the left of the staff to select the staff to be edited.
    You are also invited to view the "Merged staves (multi-voice staves) presentation" tutorial ("Windows>Tutorials" menu option in the software).

    When copying/pasting notes from a staff with rules to another staff with rules, the note appearance changes. Why?

    When pasting, the rule that will provide the closest sound from the original one will be used and applied to the symbol. Because rules in each staff are different, note appearance can be different for a same sound rendering.


    Clef, time and key signature

    Can I have a 4/4 staff, and another one in 3/4 at the same time?

    No, it is not possible. You can change time signature at any point of the score, but it applies to all the staves at this point

    I am inputting a score in which the author wrote in 4/2 time signature, but only displays the 4. How can I reproduce this?

    In the time signature setup box, choose an actual time signature of 4/2 and a displayed time signature of 4/-1.



      How do I set the automatic generation of tablature for a given instrument ?
    In the staff pop-up menu (black triangle on the left of the clef ) select "Edit Tablature". Then select the type of instrument you want the tablature to be generated for (fretted instrument or harmonica), and select your instrument more precisely in the pop-up menu or in the list.
    For harmonica, you can also choose the base note.

    Tip :
    instead of using the staff pop-up menu, you can click on the little 'Tab' icon in the staff margin.
    I have a guitar tablature linked to a staff. When I insert a note on the tablature, the software computes the fingering and changes the string and fret number of this note. How can I avoid this?
    Edit the tablature settings and enable "Priority to tablature".
    You can then insert cell neck number of strings without seeing then recalculated.
    To be even faster, Shift+click the string: a pop-up menu lists the possible cell numbers.
    We invite you to view the following video tutorial: "Working with tablature and priority to tablature mode" ("Windows > Tutorials" menu option in the software)

    I asked for a guitar tablature calculation, but the processing time is too long and my computer hangs. How can I cancel it?
    You can interrupt the tablature calculation by pressing Command (Ctrl on PC) and clicking with the mouse at the same time.

      I want to tune my guitar in an "Open tuning". Can I generate tablature for this tuning?
    or: I play banjo, balalaika, etc. Can I calculate tablature for these instruments?

    Of course. Several tunings are predefined, but you can define your own by clicking "Other" in the tablature options edit window.



    Chord diagrams

      How do I use guitar chord diagrams?
    In the software, a chord diagram is a chord drawing for the guitarist. It gives, for each chord, the position of the left hand on the neck. For example, here is the chord diagram for C major.

    The software has a chord diagram database that you can modify and add to.

    Chord diagrams can be displayed and printed automatically above any staff , giving the chord to play to be in harmony with the notes in the staff.
    You can insert a chord diagram at any point thanks to the chord diagram tool in the "Miscellaneous tools" palette.

    You can move a chord diagram by clicking and dragging it.
    You can change its size by clicking on its bottom-right and distorting it.
    You can delete it with the delete tool.
    You can edit it by double-clicking it.
    Tip :
    The chord diagrams are stored in a separate file named "ACCGUIT.DAT".
    This file is located in the preferences folder so that it is preserved should you install a new software version.
    Its access path is:
    On PC: Run the little program called "Myrpref.exe" and located in the application install directory, and in the window that opens, enter the "Myriad" subfolder.
    On Macintosh: "Myriad preferences" subfolder of the user's preferences folder
    If you work on several different computers, you must copy this file to all of them to keep your defined chord diagrams the same.

    How can I build my own chord diagram library?
    Chord diagrams are defined via the "Option/Edit guitar chord diagram" menu item.
    You can equally use this function to understand how chords are built up.
    When you ask for chord diagrams to be displayed above staves or in the chord diagram grid, the chord is looked up in the list of chords defined in the database file.
    Most common chords are already defined, as are some others,so be sure you know what you are doing if you modify them..
    In the center of the window is the current chord. The guitar neck is displayed vertically, the low E on the left and the high E on the right. The black dots indicate that a finger is stopping the string at this fret position. The black bars indicate that several strings are stopped by the same finger.This is called a barre. It may be a full barre covering all 6 strings, or a half-barre covering only two or more of them. Either way it is usually made with the index finger.

    Above each string, you can specify which finger is used to stop the string:
    0 = open string
    1 = fore or index finger
    2=middle finger
    3=ring finger
    4=little finger
    X = this string is not played.

    To the right of the grid you can specify which fret on the guitar corresponds to the first fret shown in the diagram.
    For each string, below the chord diagram is displayed the resulting note (A to G) and its position in the chord:
    F = fundamental: The root note of the chord. For example, in a chord of C7, the fundamental is C.
    The other notes in the chord are named according to the interval between them and the fundamental.
    T or F fundamental (root)
    9- diminished ninth
    ninth or second
    minor third
    diminished fifth
    augmented fifth
    seventh (minor)
    major seventh
    If a note that is not a part of the desired chord appears in your diagram, it is displayed in reversed colors.

    By default, chords are only available up to the seventh. To define a more complex chord, you must break the link between the chord name and its components. The name of such a chord is preceded by a '*' symbol in the chord list.

    To change the current chord, click in the chord list on the right of the window.

    The "Add" button adds a new chord to the chord list. The "Delete" button deletes the current chord.
    The "Try" button plays the current chord. The instrument and output device used are those of the first active staff of your document.

    To change the chord name, click on the "Rename" button. Several chord diagrams can be defined for a single chord. While searching for the chord to be displayed on the score, Harmony gives priority to the one whose "Preferred" check box is ticked.

    The "Transposable" check box indicates that the chord can be moved along the neck to obtain another chord (such a chord must not have open strings).

    Tip :
    To print the whole chord list, select the menu item "File>Print". You will then have to hand all the different ways of playing the chords.




    How to write text elements that are well aligned above a staff?
    Create a new staff.
    Change its type to "Text".
    Move the lyrics line to the top of the staff area by moving the red triangle.
    Shrink the staff area to make it match the lyrics line height.
    Move this staff above the required staff.
    Input your text in the lyrics line.
    What string commands can be included in "text" objects, or page header and footer?

    A text object can include special character commands that will be substituted when displayed. These commands are the same as those used in page header and footer editing.

    $B : current bar number
    $D : current date
    $F : file name
    $H : current time
    $T : document title
    $L is substituted by lyrics.
    The $L command is subtituted by the lyrics related to the score. This allow for example to create easily texts objects with the couplets.
     When more than one staff own lyrics, you can select the staff with $L"staff name". You can extract a line of text using $L,line number. For example $L,4 will extract the 4th line or the first staff with lyrics. You can extract a range of played bars using $L,b1-b2 where b1 is the first bar, b2 the last bar. For example, $L"melody",1-24 will extract the lyrics related to the bar 1 to 24 of the staff "melody".
    $M : total music duration (mm:ss)
    $N : number of pages
    $P : page number
    $X : frame around text (text object only)
    $$ : $ character
    $(xxx) rythmic pattern

    What about rhythmic patterns?

    A rhythmic pattern is written between parenthesis in a text object, preceded by a $.
    It enables to write music symbols within a text. All notes are displayed with their stem up.
    Here is what such a pattern can be made of:

    Notes are separated by a + or a space if they are independent, by an underscore _ if they are tied together.

    Notes between brackets [ ] are beamed together.

    Each note can be:
    - optional:
        d (double-flat)
        b (flat) 
        # (sharp) 
        x (double-sharp) or
        n (natural)
    - then, optional:
        R if the note is a rest
    - followed by the note duration:
        1 whole note
        2 half note
        4 quarter ... etc
    - followed optionally by:
        . (dotted) or
        .. (double dotted)
    - followed optionally by a simple tuplet:
        :3 simple triplet
        :6 simple sextuplet, etc
      or a complex tuplet:
        :3:2 for a triplet written 3:2
        :6:4 for a sextuplet written 6:4
    Some markers can be inserted within the command. Their action runs until the end of the parenthesis:

         S0 (small)
         S1 (middle)
         S2 (standard)
         S3 (big)
         Cxxxxxx (xxxxxx = RGB color in hexadecimal)
    Symbol spacing:     
         Lx (x = additional spacing between notes, from -9 to 9)
    Notehead shape:
         Hx  (x = shape, from A to Z)
            A   Standard shape,
            B   Triangle,
            C   Diamond,
            D   Cross,
            E    Plus,
            F    Square,
            G   Slash,
            H   None,
            I    Flag,
            J    Half circle,
            K   Drop,
            L    Hourglass,
            M   Arc,
            N    Empty diamond,
            O    Truncated cone,
            P    Crescent,
            Q    Left triangle,
            R    Bell,
            S    Concave triangle, 
            T    Convex triangle, 
            U    Johnson triangle, 
            V    Johnson square,      
            W   Bold crossed circle,     
            X    Bold cross,                 
            Y    Thin crossed circle,           
            Z    This crossed half circle
    For example, the following command:
    Swing : $([8 8]) = $([8_32] 16.)
    Will be displayed as:
    "Swing",  followed by two beamed height notes, then the equal "=" symbol, then an eighth note beamed and tied with a 32th, followed by a dotted sixteenth.



    How to obtain several lines of lyrics?

    Add repeat barlines around the section you wish to be repeated. To get more than two lines, double-click the repeat end barline and enter the required number of repeats (thus, of lyrics lines).
    You are invited to view the "How to insert lyrics on a score. How to create several lines of lyrics" ("Windows>Tutorials" menu option in the software

    When typing in a space in a lyrics cell, edit jumps to the next cell. How to insert two separate syllables, related to the same note?

    Use the unbreakable space: Shift+Spacebar

    How do I synchronize lyrics to an imported sound track?

    The sound file is loaded using "File>Import".
    I add a staff "Text" type to the document, this staff will receive the texts.
    I change the time signature to have a good precision, for example 16/16.
    I work measure by measure, adding a "Play mark" each time a measure is completed.

      How can I quickly copy all lyrics from a staff to another?

    Apply Staff>Edit lyrics, select the first staff, copy the text, close the box.
    Apply Staff>Edit lyrics, select the second staff, paste the text.


    Free Objects

      Can I have a document title with changing fonts?

    Yes, use "tex