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Chord charts
#1
This topic has come up a number of times under different names in different threads. This post is an attempt to summarize what has been going on so far, and to try to move forward.

Note that 'Chord Chart' is not the right term to designate what we're aiming at, but its the best we've got. And, as Shakespeare said, "What's in a name?"

The chord charts we're aiming at are a kind of matrix representation of the chords of a song, where every row contains a fixed number of measures. All rows are aligned on top of each other, making it very easy to read an play.
Tools that can produce chord charts like these include iRealPro and PlayTab. Examples of chord charts:

       

Although it is rather easy to produce these charts and import them as PDF or JPG into MSPro, they are fixed images. I would be very interesting if we had chord charts in MSPro that can be transposed, just like the chords of ChordPro songs.

To obtain this, we need to develop or adopt a simple text-based source format to describe the chord chart in some textual form, similar to ChordPro, and have MSPro do the transformation to the chord chart, again similar to ChordPro.

Currently, I know of three candidates for this. In arbitrary order: iRealPro, PlayTab, and ChordPro.

iRealPro is a proprietary format that is textual (it's a URL) but hard to write and maintain manually. It is relatively easy to implement. On the plus side, there are tenthousands of songs available in iRealPro format on the internet. It is limited to single page songs.

PlayTab is designed to be written manually, just like ChordPro, and easy to implement.

ChordPro is currently not suitable for chord charts, but some experiments are being conducted to find out if and how it could be (ab)used to produce chord charts. To be successful, the resultant files should be able to produce both the classical ChordPro style output, as well as chord charts.

My personal feeling is that a PlayTab-like format for manually writing of charts would be great, in particular if combined with the possibility to import iRealPro songs.

I like to hear your comments and ideas.
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 10.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0.0 (emergency).
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#2
As I see it;

iRealPro:  Works well, although a little difficult to construct a chart from scratch.  Biggest drawback (for me) is the limitation to a single page.

Chordpro:  Never really liked the format as it is, but it would be interesting if it can be re-structured along the lines under discussion.

PlayTab:  This is new to me.  I had a quick peek at the author's site, but couldn't see any real advantages over either of the other two options, but it might be easier to implement within MSP.

Obviously, there is only an advantage in incorporating any of these formats if transposition is supported.  Without being able to transpose 'on the fly', it's a waste of effort.


If I need to write a chord chart, I use Band In A Box.  This can produce precisely the sort of chart being discussed (see attachment) and can then be exported to MSP (although I usually make a PDF of the chart first.   One advantage of using BIAB is that I can play the music as I write it and check that any substitutions, etc., which I have made, actually work.  It's also very easy to load the original file back into BIAB and transpose if required.

However, I would like to see a direct transpose feature in MSP.  At present I have many duplications, merely because of working with singers in different keys.


Attached Files
.pdf   Copacabana.pdf (Size: 17.02 KB / Downloads: 15)
Graeme

1: Samsung 12.2" SM-P900: Android 5.0.2 
2: eSTAR GRAND HD Quad-Core 4G 10.2": Android 5.1 
3: Home-built BT pedal

Some of my music here
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#3
(01-14-2016, 03:12 AM)GraemeJ Wrote: PlayTab:  This is new to me.  I had a quick peek at the author's site, but couldn't see any real advantages over either of the other two options, but it might be easier to implement within MSP.

PlayTab is a personal 'invention' of mine. I started writing it in 1995 because I wanted chord charts but there were no tools that did anything even remote to that.

Quote:Obviously, there is only an advantage in incorporating any of these formats if transposition is supported.  Without being able to transpose 'on the fly', it's a waste of effort.

Exactly. This is the crucial point.

Quote:If I need to write a chord chart, I use Band In A Box.

Ah, good ol' Band-in-a-Box... I never used it to produce chord charts and if I may be honest, the sample you included lacks the elegance of compactness.

And it's expensive (at least it was, last time I bought it. And the upgrades... I never upgraded beyond version 12a in 2006.) I hardly used it since I generally do not run Windows.

Having said that: BiaB also has a wealth of songs already available, but its file format is proprietary and much harder to crack and implement. There seems to be a converter from BiaB (chords only) to iRealPro.
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 10.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0.0 (emergency).
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#4
I agree, the sample I posted is not very elegant and I do have better examples. However, it was merely to show how BIAB might be used to generate such chord charts. There are options to increase the bars per line, stave spacing, etc., etc. to produce more compact charts.

As I said, one advantage of BIAB is the ability to actually hear what you have entered, I find this very useful. As you say, there is a shedload of material available in BIAB format and (I find) modifications are much easier to make than for iRealPro.

I agree, BIAB is an expensive bit of software, but I've been using it since it was on floppy disc! I was using 2006 until very recently, when I was lucky enough to pick up a second hand 2013 version, on its own hard drive, for only €80.

I missed the fact that PlayTab was written by you, my apologies. It seems to me that you and Mike ought to working together to implement it in MSP.

I am interested in a BIAB to iRealPro converter, I was totally unaware of the existence of one. I had a quick look on the net, but didn¡t find anything, do you have a link?
Graeme

1: Samsung 12.2" SM-P900: Android 5.0.2 
2: eSTAR GRAND HD Quad-Core 4G 10.2": Android 5.1 
3: Home-built BT pedal

Some of my music here
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#5
I played around for some time to tweak something like chord sheets into ChordPro and in the end I am not really satisfied with the results, see screenshots and sample file. In many cases I ended with filling a table in Microsoft Word or LibreOffice and exporting it to PDF (separate versions for every key I need).
The advantages and disadvantages of my ChordPro-chordsheets:
pro:
- transposing on the fly
- can be edited directly on the tablet (with e.g. Jota text editor)
- usable in ANY ChordPro tool
- can be mixed and combined easily with lyrics or textual notes
- a single ChordPro file can be used in different keys (with different transpose settings) in several setlists and collections
con:
- measure bars not aligned
- several common musical symbols like 1st / 2nd ending, Coda, ... have to be replaced in an ugly way
- its not possible to make single chords highlighted, underlined or bold


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
       

.pro   ExactlyLikeYou.pro (Size: 460 bytes / Downloads: 0)
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#6
(01-14-2016, 09:38 AM)GraemeJ Wrote: I am interested in a BIAB to iRealPro converter, I was totally unaware of the existence of one.  I had a quick look on the net, but didn¡t find anything, do you have a link?

Sorry, I may have been mistaken here... I use and experiment with many tools so sometimes it's confusing.
I probably thought about the BiaB converter for MMA. However, I think I could adapt this converter to produce iRealPro output.
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 10.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0.0 (emergency).
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#7
(01-14-2016, 02:11 AM)sciurius Wrote: My personal feeling is that a PlayTab-like format for manually writing of charts would be great, in particular if combined with the possibility to import iRealPro songs.
I second that. Also it would be great to be able to display chordpro files in a measure-alligned way though I don't know how this can be accomplished best.
I still believe there shouldn't be legal problems for "reversing" irealpro code. It's plain text, not crypted and certainly not intended to protect content.
Quote:I probably thought about the BiaB converter for MMA. However, I think I could adapt this converter to produce iRealPro output.

I'd definitely be interested in that, too.
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#8
(01-14-2016, 08:57 PM)BRX Wrote: I still believe there shouldn't be legal problems for "reversing" irealpro code. It's plain text, not crypted and certainly not intended to protect content.

An iRealPro 'song' (or playlist) is an URL. The song data in it is scrambled to protect it from prying eyes. Descrambling data that is explicitly scrambled to prevent snooping is, as far as I know, prohibited under the DMCA.

OTOH, iRealPro is an italian company, so it may be that the DMCA does not apply here.

iRealPro knows that I can read/write their proprietary data -- I discussed this openly on their forums. They may have a different POV if it comes to a commercial product like MSPro. Personally, I'd say that iRealPro and MSPro are in no way competetive, and that iRealPro import support for MSPro will be beneficial for iRealPro as well.

Quote:
Quote:I probably thought about the BiaB converter for MMA. However, I think I could adapt this converter to produce iRealPro output.

I'd definitely be interested in that, too.

I'll shift it a bit higher on my TODO list.
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 10.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0.0 (emergency).
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#9
(01-14-2016, 10:33 PM)sciurius Wrote:
(01-14-2016, 08:57 PM)BRX Wrote: I still believe there shouldn't be legal problems for "reversing" irealpro code. It's plain text, not crypted and certainly not intended to protect content.

An iRealPro 'song' (or playlist) is an URL. The song data in it is scrambled to protect it from prying eyes. Descrambling data that is explicitly scrambled to prevent snooping is, as far as I know, prohibited under the DMCA.

Well, I'm not sure if you can call it even scrambled and it's done to protect the content. You could also argue it's kind of like html tags which are used to display the content in the browser.
Anyway, iRealPro seems to have a laissez-faire attitude at least as far the realbook app from skrivarma soft is concerned (or they gave permission). I can't imagine they don't know about it.
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#10
(01-15-2016, 12:26 AM)BRX Wrote: Well, I'm not sure if you can call it even scrambled and it's done to protect the content.

It really is scrambled using an obfuscation algorithm. For example, this is the data from a song:

Code:
xZL*mnLZ<*ZLxZL*m*A>oloSr_atiuG_:ortnI27GLZE*s44T[esreVE*m*L86*<S{_QyXQyXQXy]_GZL*m*EZLG|ZXyQ__ZLGZLZLD>),LZxLohC86*<|}_xZLGLZxZLCZLxZL*m*EZrus(sG>)s(ZL*m*ZxLZCR26*<|ZLxQZLGZ>LadoC_oT66*<xZLiff>ELCZLxS_ratm*LZ<*<{__QyXQyX]_Ge>niF_la_.S.D07*70Gui*EZLGCZLxZLZxLZrohC66*<|}_xZLZGLxZLCZLxZL*m*Eus>DLG>oloyXQyXCLZxL*m*EZLGZL*m*E>ffiR26*<|ZLxZLGZLZG_]ZLxZL07*<|*72VeGZLxZLCZLxZL*mE*ZLxZL,G>)s(esrLZx_}<{__QZLGZLs>DLZffiR26*<|ZLxZLZGLxZLCZLxZLCZLx>E*m*urohCL>adoZ<*68*m*EQ{__QyXQyX_]G>adoC_la_.S.D<*66CL*m*EZGLZE*m*LZG,<*426x>_}fG,U<*66Fine>_Z_

All characters except for the last few have been swapped according to the obfuscation algorithm.

Decoded:

Code:
[T44sn |<*72Intro:_Guitar_Solo>A*m* |x |G |E*m* |x |G |E*m* ||G |E*m* |G_]         _{S<*68   __Verse(s)>G, |x |E*m* |x |C |x |G |x_}|<*68Chorus(s)>D |x |C |x |C |x<*66To_Coda> |G |Qx ||<*62Riff>E*m* |G |E*m* |<*70D.S._al_Fine>G_]      __{<*70Guitar_Solo>G |x |E*m* |x |C |x |G |x_}|<*66Chorus>D |x |C |x |C |x |G |x ||<*62Riff>E*m* |G |E*m* |G_]      __{<*72Verse(s)>G, |x |E*m* |x |C |x |G |x_}|<*70Chorus>D |x |C |x |C |x |G |x ||<*62Riff>E*m* |G |E*m* |<*68D.S._al_Coda>G_]      __{QE*m*<*66Coda> |G |E*m* |G,<*426x>_}fG,U<*66Fine>_Z_

Now you can see the measures, chords etc.
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 10.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0.0 (emergency).
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#11
I can't argue with that.You're right.

I have to admit I only had a quick look at the html code of an exported file a few weeks ago and Thought I recognized the changes in it. Evidently not. Sorry for the confusion.
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