L'heure du Jazz++
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original in en Katja Socher
AboutTheAuthor:[A small biography about the author]
Katja is the German editor of LinuxFocus. She likes Tux,
film & photography and the sea. Her homepage can be found
Abstract:[Here you write a little summary]
Jazz is a midi sequencer with many interesting features for
editing and composing your own music!
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Jazz++ is available as pre-compiled package or as source code.
Installation from source code is an adventure of its own
because you need to find your way through a faulty wxwin-1.68E
library which is needed for the installation.
The precompiled versions however are easy to install and we
start with this:
Don't try to use the rpm version from jazzware.com. It's a
fake and contains only a script to install a tar file. You will
not have the advantages that come with normal rpm files.
1) Go to some directory (your home directory or /usr/local )
and unpack jazz-bin-4.1.3.tar.gz:
tar zxvf /where/you/have/the/package/jazz-bin-4.1.3.tar.gz
2) Download the jazz-bin-4.1.3_addon.tar.gz you can find at the end of the
article and run tar zxvf
3) chmod 755 jazz-bin-4.1.3
chmod 644 jazz-bin-4.1.3/jazz.cfg
If you do not execute step 3 then every user will modify the
configuration file. With step 3 all users get a default config
file. There is no configuration per user.
Now start the jazz program from bin/jazz . To produce "sound"
you need a working sound system installation. Alsa is a good
choice (see the alsa article).
I will also explain the installation from source but you will need
some experience to do it. You find the description >here<
You can e.g. load a midi file that is already on your computer
(perhaps because you typed it in with a note edit program like
e.g. Rosegarden) or you record some music through an external
midi device (jazz has numerous options for this but as I
unfortunately don't have such an external device I couldn't try
it out myself) or you can start with a clean sheet.
Jazz lets you compose your own music as well as editing your
There are two main windows that you will need all of the time:
first the track window which lets you work on the whole song or
whole parts of it and second the piano window which also allows
to edit single notes and events. Lets have a look at the track
window first as you will start with it.
The track window
click with the left mouse button in one of the unnamed fields
below the field with speed written in it. A new window opens.
Here you find a list of various instruments you can choose
There are really lots of different instruments and there are
also some you can get interesting sounds with like e.g. bird
tweed, telephone ring or a seabreeze.
Under trackname you should give your track a name, this name
should give you hints to what instrument it is as well as
perhaps some more information about its part in your piece like
e.g. right and left hand for your piano, melody...
You also set the midi channel in this window. There are 16
channels and each of your instruments should have its own
channel. You can choose any channel you want, only channel 10
is reserved for drums. This means that even when you select a
piano for channel 10 you will hear some kind of a drum sound.
So if you want drums select channel 10, otherwise select any of
the other channels!
When closing the window again you will see the trackname in
the field that you clicked on before. On the left under M you
can see the midi channel that you chose. If you click on the M
a T will become visible and the numbers will change. T gives
you the tracknumber.
Under Prg you will now see a number, that's the number of the
instrument you have chosen.
Clicking on the small field left to the Prg field you can see
the letter change from P to M to S and back to P. P stands for
Play. If you change it to M the track is muted and you will
only hear all the other tracks play. With S it's the other way
round. It stands for solo and only this one track is playing.
This is very useful if you have multiple instruments and want
to hear only one or want to hear all but that one.
In the big field you will see your music written like some bar
code. For this to happen when you started with a clean sheet
let's look at the most important button in the toolbar of the
track window: The button for
The piano window
To get the
piano window you either click on the toolbar button with the
piano keyboard on it or if you want the piano window for a
certain track (instrument) you right click in the bar code
field of the desired track.
On the left side you see a piano keyboard and if you click on
it with the mouse you can hear sound. In case that you have
selected a drum on channel 10 you will get a list with drum
instruments instead and can listen to their sound. (If the
piano keyboard doesn't change to a list of drum names for
channel 10 you can click Settings-->Events in the menu of
the piano window and tick "Show drumnames on drumtracks").
To insert notes (which will again look like bar code) into the
big field on the right you just have to click on the insert
button (the fourth toolbar button from the left) and then click
in the field on the place where you want the notes to be. The
next four buttons in the toolbar determine how long your
inserted notes will be. But you can also edit them manually by
right clicking on the note you want to edit and then dragging
the mouse while the mouse button is still held down.
To get yourself some help for your compositions you can e.g.
use the Random Generators and
The Harmony Browser
to the track window. In the menu click Misc--> Harmony
Browser and a new window opens.
One way to use the Harmony browser is to click on the
available chords. Put the ones you like in the Sequence by
holding shift-key while clicking on the chord you like. If you
now click on the chord in the sequence the chord gets into the
piano buffer. When you now go to the piano window and left
click in it you can paste the chord there.
Back to the Harmony Browser. If you go to the menu
Settings--> Midi you can change the pitch of the notes in
the harmony browser so you can have chords with a lower or
Here you can also set the midi channel the Harmony Browser
should use for its instrument (this is important when you want
to use it for several instruments because otherwise all will
sound like the instrument in the channel set there).
Another way to use the Harmony Browser is to first put some
single notes in the piano window. If you select these notes in
the track window and then click Action-> Analyze in the
Harmony Browser the single notes will be transformed into
chords. You can see them in the chord sequence and can then
paste them into your song.
To select the notes you want click with the left mouse button
and drag the mouse over them. If you want to select more than
is visible in the current window you have to hold the shift-key
down while selecting. After scrolling you can then continue
Random Rhythm Generator
the area of your track where you want the random rhythm to be
in the track window. Open the Random Rhythm Generator by
clicking Misc-->Random Rhythm in the menu of the Track
window. At first you should choose an instrument. Then you can
set all the other variables you can see in the window and
generate the rhythm by clicking Instrument--> Generate.
After that you can go on with another instrument until you are
Listen to it. I personally find that you have to try it out
several times. Sometimes it gives a nice rhythm and sometimes
it doesn't. It's just random but still it's nice to use.
The variables you specify are actually probablitites. E.g. in
the rhythm field you specify the probability that an instrument
is played at that time. A high value means a high probablity
and a low value means a low probability.
In the documentation it is suggested to define every
instrument twice. Once you choose high probabilities on a few
positions and once low probabilities for many positions. It
really gives a quite nice result.
You can also define groups of instruments to make the
different drums play a bit more together. This is what you see
on the right side of the dialog box of the random rhythm
generator. Note that you have to define a contributor before a
Random Arpeggio Generator
find it interesting to use this generator. An arpeggio can be
described as a chord that is played one note at a time. In
other words, instead of playing all notes of a chord at once
they are played individually one after the other. Sometimes it
really gives very nice sounds! I especially like to copy the
chords first to another track so that I have one track with the
chords and one with the arpeggio. Usually it gives a very nice
Just play around with it. You will be surprised what nice
sounds and rhythms you can generate quite easily.
Now that you have a piece of music you might want to edit some
parts of it:
Editing your music
There are really lots of possibilities in Jazz++ to edit your
piece of music any way you like and we can't discuss all of
them here. So let's just look at a few of them:
Insert and Repeat
If you want to insert some notes somewhere in the middle of
your piece and need more space for it you can just shift the
other notes with cut and paste. First click and drag the left
mouse button to select the notes that you want to move, then
click cut in the menu. When you now click paste and move your
mouse over the track window you will see an arrow. If you left
click it will be pasted on that place.
If you want to repeat a part do the same just click on copy
instead of cut.
Another way to repeat something is to use replicate. First
select the area that you want to replicate. Then in the
Trackwindow Edit--> Replicate. You now have to click where
you want the copy to start. A dialog box opens. After closing
it you have to click where you want the replication to end. If
you have "Repeat Copy" ticked the selected part is repeated to
fill the destination range. If "Insert Space" is ticked other
parts of music are shifted to the right to make room for the
You can also insert a part from another song into this new
song by just saving the part as pattern (File--> Save
Pattern) and then insert it later into the new song with
File--> Load Pattern.
To delete something you can go to Edit--> Delete. In the
dialog box you can decide whether the deletion should leave an
empty space or the music from the right should move to fill the
To transpose part of your music you have to select it first,
then go to Edit-->Transpose in the Track window.
Another way to transpose is to use the Harmony Browser. You
can choose some chords that you like. You then select the part
of your music piece you want to transpose in the track window
and click Action->Transpose in the Harmony Browser. The
notes from your music piece will be transposed to the pitch of
You will be astonished how different a piece of music can sound
depending on the speed with which it is played. To adjust the
speed go to the track window. There you see the field speed.
Clicking the right mouse button will decrease the speed,
clicking the left one will increase the speed.
To change the speed only in some parts of your song click
Misc--> Edit Tempo in the Piano window. You will see that a
new field under the notes becomes visible. Here you can draw
the desired tempo changes with your mouse. (For some reason I
sometimes have to click on Misc--> Edit Tempo again after
clicking Apply to get it work correctly.)
Changing the pitch
Click Misc-->Edit Pitch in the Piano Winow. It works similar
to changing the tempo in a part of your song: You will see that
a new field under the notes becomes visible and can draw the
desired pitch changes with your mouse.
For this you use the velocity button Misc--> Edit Velocity
in the piano window.
If you don't like any of the changes you made you can of
course undo them by clicking the undo button (Misc--> Undo).
I hope you have some idea now what Jazz++ is all about and
can't wait to play with it for yourself! There are lots of
other features to explore like the guitar board, the random
shuffle generator etc. etc. but this is up to you to try it out
Have fun and enjoy!
The program itself has very good documentation when you click
the Help button. You can also search in it.