Band in A Box—Part 2

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   Dynamics 101




     As you can see, the option boxes include chord types (pop or jazz), length of intro (2, 4 or 8 bars), what chord immediately follows the intro (automatically entered but user selectable), the key of the song (again automatically entered based on the key of the song selected but can be changed), pedal bass (the bass plays the same note against the chord changes of the intro—or not) and whether you want to use 7ths (jazzy) or 6ths (not so jazzy). I should have chosen the no pedal bass option but we can always go back and fix that.


     The next screen shot shows the chord options menu screen, which is accessed by double clicking on a chord symbol in the notation screen. It allows choice of the beat of the measure, the chord builder button (more on this later), the chord sub button (this is where we’re headed next), rest type (again, more on this later), push menu (later), and the pedal bass menu, etc.’


     We’re going to choose the chord sub option which takes a basic progression and enhances it in the sense that the bass note (if I had selected no pedal bass) has a descending, walking pattern in the measures where it works against the progression. As you can see from the next screen shot, the chord substitution menu has the options to show substitutions if the melody is compatible (unless you’re into atonal music, it’s best to leave this one alone), types of subs (again, if you’re into weird stuff, leave this one alone) and the show subs menu (more chords lends itself to more interesting bass lines, less subs, not so much). For each measure, you’ll get a group of chords that can be substituted (or not—sometimes there aren’t any subs) and you can choose jazz or pop chords. I chose pop chords. After highlighting the chord sub you want, click on the “Do Substitution Now” button and it will it insert the chords. Then you can use the arrow keys to move further along in the progression and as you do, the chord subs will appear, if applicable.


     I chose the first option which was one chord per measure for the 2nd through 5th measure and the second option (two chords per measure) for the 6th and 7th measure. I also inserted 8 measures after the intro and copied the first verse into them (pretty straightforward—I won’t go into the details) and changed the beginning of the loop to the 17th measure so that the song as a ABBCBCBCD form. Click here to see what it sounds like. Again, the pedal bass against the chord changes doesn't work very well in the intro so before I begin next article, I’m going to redo the intro without the pedal bass.


Next month—adding other instruments and styles.








      Last month’s article set up the basic chord structure of our song, Swamp Thing. In this month’s article we’re going to create an intro and use Band-in-a-Box' capabilities to introduce some drama into the beginning of the song.


      One of the features that BiAB has is the auto-intro feature. It looks at the key of the song and the chord progression immediately following the intro to come up with chords that will lead into the body of the song. Click here for a screenshot.