Re: advice on the Zyn tutorial

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Re: advice on the Zyn tutorial

Leszek Wroński
Dear D. Michael,
thank you very much for the detailed response!
Best regards,
Leszek.
-----------------
On 01/09/2016 01:19 PM, Leszek Wroński wrote:
> My first modest goal is to successfully go through this tutorial:
> http://www.rosegardenmusic.com/tutorials/supplemental/zyn/zyn.html

So let's see, going through the old tutorial...

Rosegarden no longer creates new devices spontaneously.  All that 
"external device 4" garbage is a thing of the past.  If you plug in or 
run a new toy, you need to create a new device for the toy manually.

I recommend doing this from an empty document, then saving the result as 
your new default studio.

> You can see I also connect my keyboard so it speaks to Rosegarden only.

Be aware that Rosegarden may not play nice with MIDI connections made 
and broken with QJackCtl.

Historically, Rosegarden has always had the inconsistency that you have 
to use the external connection manager for audio connections, and you 
have to use the internal connection manager for MIDI connections.

I have no idea if anybody ever fixed that.  I still do it the old way, 
and the old way still works.

> But now I'm at a total loss. I would assume that I would be able to
> change instruments used in the track from inside Rosegarden. Still, the
> tutorial does not suggest this; it tells me to choose '#1' on the
> Instrument List in Track Parameters. But I see nothing like this there.

The tutorial would have expected Rosegarden to create a device for 
ZynAddSubFX with some stupid name like "external device 987" which you 
would have edited to change the name.

It looks like what you did was change the default "General MIDI Device" 
instead.  You changed the name to "ZYN" and changed the connection, but 
the device still contains program definitions for General MIDI.  That's 
why you're seeing "#1 (Acoustic Grand Piano)" instead of "#1."

The tutorial assumed you wouldn't have bothered setting up anything more 
than that for ZynAddSubFX.  At the time I wrote that, it didn't respond 
to external program changes.  You changed sounds on the thing by editing 
inside ZynAddSubFX itself.  One classic piece I did used one preset 
patch on channel 1, another on channel 10, etc., and I still have that 
configuration stored in a separate .xmz file.  To play the old 
composition, I have to load the old .xmz file into ZynAddSubFX manually, 
if it even still works.

Managing all of that over time does get to be a pain in the ass, yes.

So anyway, if you want to experience the same thing as the tutorial, 
start by creating a new device from scratch, rather than recycling the 
existing one.  (You could also delete all the banks manually, but it's 
easier to start fresh.)

> At this point my question is: why am I not seeing the banks and
> instruments from Zyn inside Rosegarden? At some time I thought I should
> use the Studio -> Manage Midi Devices -> Banks -> Import option, but
> there's no file named in a way which would suggest a connection with Zyn.

With ZynAddSubFX, there is (or was, and probably still isn't) anything 
to import.  It doesn't understand program changes, full stop, so the 
only way to control what track plays what is by assigning the channel, 
which is the same thing as the instrument number, #1, #2, #3, and so 
forth.  (Make sure channel remains set to [Fixed], for reasons I won't 
take time to explain at this time.)

> *QUESTION 2*
> Why does recording a segment something in Rosegarden change the settings
> I made in Zyn?
 >
> More worryingly, from that point on, I can choose what I want in Zyn,
> but I'm still playing the 'Arpeggio1' instrument. I'm getting sick of it ;)

I can't make up my mind which of two possible things is going wrong for you.

The easy one is to make sure Rosegarden is using #5 for the thing you 
have told ZynAddSubFX to play on channel 5, etc.

I will reserve writing about the harder one for another time.

> *BONUS QUESTION*
> Now, this will probably be idiotic, but I need to ask this. Can I
> somehow just play General MIDI instruments? Is this done by Timidity? I
> fired it up but it doesn't show in the 'Audio' menu of Jack, so I can't
> tell it to output any sound to the system.

You've already gotten advice on using DSSI synth plugins.  Personally, I 
prefer using QSynth externally.  I have it set up with three engines, 
each with a different, dedicated soundfont, and that thing has been 
running for months.  I forgot it was there.  It's all down to personal 
preference in any case.

-- 
D. Michael McIntyre


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