A digital track is a special kind of staff as it contains binary audio data. Digital tracks are not designed to be printed in any form, as they only display a wave graph.
Digital staves cannot be directly edited by inserting symbols in them, or changing individual samples, but offer a wide range of procedures for audio editing.
Even if digital tracks are not meant to be printed, the visual appearance of waveforms can be modified to give the inside score a good look. It is possible to define drawing colors for mostly any element that is included in the track: The data, the background and others.
As with other staff types, display settings can be shown using the display mode option from the staff options menu. The display mode dialog offers options for renaming the staff, which are similar to the usual staff display naming options. If the checkbox for displaying frames is disabled, the track will not draw any frame or background around the waveform graph. Otherwise, these can be customized using colors. The next option is enabling or disabling of data drawing and the color associated with it. If data is not drawn, the audio effect is still present. The time position display specifies if the time position should be written at the beginning of each bar. The bar number display button shows the bar number display dialog. If apply to all digital tracks is checked, the current settings will be copied to every digital track in the score.
Audio editor Edit
The audio editor dialog is used in multiple circumstances, such as digital track editing, sound importing, directly opening an audio file etc.
It consists of a graphical waveform visualizer, which can be used as a visual layout for several operations displayed below, an information field which displays the amount of samples existent in the edited waveform as well as the location of the selection (in both samples and time). There are four tool buttons:
- Edit, which gives the possibility to directly draw the waveform
- Zoom, which zooms in when clicking and zooms out at shift+click
- Select, which selects the waveform
- Play, which plays the selection if there is one and the whole waveform otherwise
There also exist two buttons for importing and exporting the waveform (not the selection) from and to external files, the ability to choose wanted channels, which leaves three possibilities (stereo, mono - which mixes the channels if there are two - and soften singer voice, a mixing method which tries to erase a singer's voice from the waveform, useful for karaoke), and finally a set of actions, which are mostly present in the context menus of a digital track, including the standard one, as well as the injection tool one.
If at least one locking point is present on the track that is being edited (if the audio editor is brought by the edit command from a digital track), a "respect locking point" option is added, which, if activated, takes into consideration the locking point as an editing barrier. Even if the waveform visualizer doesn't take that into account when editing occurs inside the dialog, changes will not affect the track after the dialog is closed and the modifications apply.
Managing multiple staves Edit
The ability to maneuver pure audio data is a powerful extension to a composing program such as Harmony Assistant. Still, a better audio editing experience comes with molding multiple audio channels. Of course, the main interaction between multiple channels is mixing. This can be done in several ways. The easiest way is copying a cue from one digital track and adding it to another (select, Edit menu > Copy, select, Edit menu > Add). However, this method is quite inaccurate unless you can precisely select the desired regions (for example by double clicking on a bar, the whole bar gets selected).
Another method is the "stereo merging" method, which perfectly merges the selected section from two staves into one. Make a selection that covers two staves, right-click on one of the two staves and press edit. Now, the selection on the two staves will appear in the audio editor's waveform visualizer, and the stereo mode will be selected. Instead of that, choose mono, and the data will be merged properly. Then, select a track to add the mix to, which can be one of the two source tracks or a newly created one. When mixing two digital staves by using this method, it has to be taken in consideration that the resulting signal is twice weaker, so for a correct blending, a 200% amplification is required. Make sure you don't forget this step before losing the selection.
Yet another method for mixing two staves would be exporting and importing from an external file. This is however a weak method, only useful for the usage of locking points, which don't apply to the copy-add method.
For rendering audio data from other staff types to a digital track, duplicate that staff (for safety reasons), and use the change staff type action to convert it to audio data. Then, the audio can be mixed into any digital track as needed.
Locking points Edit
Locking points are an important concept in digital tracks. They mark editing boundaries for all sorts of edits. They can also serve as some sort of bookmarks for the score, due to the show next locking point option under the contextual menu of a digital track. When adding, deleting or modifying parts on a digital track, it happens often that parts of the data stream are pushed back and forth. A locking point limits that shifting factor, making sure that other sections remain unaltered.
Adding a locking point is done either manually by right-clicking on the track area and selecting "Add locking point", or automatically, which occurs when something is imported or edited. Deleting a locking point can be done using the eraser tool, or simply by Ctrl+clicking on it. Deleting all locking points at once is achievable by the use of the contextual menu.
Other ways to design the sound Edit
Like other staves, digital tracks have the the capability to contain parameter curves. These are another factor affect the sound on a digital track. Of course, it is impossible to edit velocities or pressures and delays, as there are no individual notes for those to apply. The same happens with frequency, due to a rather complicated impact on the effect in case of a frequency change (if a sound's frequency is changed, its duration also changes, as the sound gets "scaled") and MIDI specific actions, who have no relation to digital data.
Digital tracks also support effects processors.
As mentioned before, a digital track can be only edited through procedures and not by raw editing directly on the score. Using the audio editor, it is possible to directly edit a waveform, but this technique is rarely used, as it doesn't have many practical uses. These editing procedures are available inside the digital track's contextual menu, which can be accessed by pressing right-click or Alt+click inside the staff area, while using any tool except for the inject tool. This contextual menu contains both general actions, like import or edit, as well as a large series of effects and operations.
Locking points Edit
For the locking points actions, read locking points.
Import and record Edit
The import action allows you to import an external audio file into the digital track system inside the score. Once the file is selected, the audio editor is shown. Except for the usual audio editor operations, you can also specify what to do with the imported data:
- Apply it, which means that the original data on the track will be overwritten with the new data
- Insert it, which means that the original data will be shifted right and the new data will be interlaced
- Add it, which means that the original data will remain in place while being mixed with the new data
If you have a microphone, you can use that as a digital sound import method, which will result in the same effect as with the import function.
Export selection Edit
This option quickly exports the selection to an audio file.
Edit selection Edit
The edit selection brings a classic audio editor window, which works on the selection.
Seek zero crossing Edit
Waveforms are made of samples, which are points who have different positive and negative values. Usually, a wave has the form of a sinusoidal model, which means that samples in time tend to go above zero, then below zero, then above again, and so on. If a sequence of samples starting from a sample who is not equal or close to 0 is played, a tick can be heard. Starting and ending in zero partially attenuates this problem, and the seek zero crossing option slightly moves the selection so that it meets such a zero crossing.
The horizontal and vertical mirror flip the waveform horizontally (first sample becomes last sample) and vertically (positive peaks become negative peaks).
Amplify and fade Edit
Amplifying a signal means multiplying its amplitude by a given amount. This option uses a percent system, which can range from 0% to 500%. Normalization is the process of amplifying the waveform so that the highest peak (the loudest sample) touches a given level. A normalization of 100% means that the highest peak will reach maximum amplitude. A normalization higher than 100% will result in clipping.
Center zero Edit
Usually, for keeping balance in a waveform and a wide range of amplitudes, the average of a larger set of samples should be equal or close to zero. This command calculates the average of samples and changes the waveform so that it is centered around the zero point and the signal is balanced. Note that an unbalanced signal does not sound any different from a balanced one unless of course it meets the boundary and starts clipping. However, an unbalanced signal is harder to keep and is subject to more interferences.
Digital auto-chord Edit
Digital auto-chord is a script that generates and mixes a number of signals that result from a pitch shift of the original signal. It is possible to select individual voices and edit them by selecting a specific pitch change interval for each one.
The compressor is a script that attenuates louder signals on a digital track so that lower parts can be heard better. The documentation of the script shows information about its usage and can be accessed by clicking the ? button.
Clip restoration Edit
The clip restoration uses a mathematical formula to reconstitute signals who are clipped.
Digital to note Edit
This script tries to recover the notes from a selection on a digital track. Note that it is only possible to convert digital data that doesn't include chords, and even so, it is less likely to get a perfect result.
Digital equalizer Edit
A simple equalizer, which is an alternative to the equalizer offered by an effects processor.
Noise gate Edit
A noise reduction tool, which silences signals lower than a given gain level. Similarly to the compressor, it contains a documentation.
Noise reduction Edit
A different method of reducing noise, which is based on subtracting a noise structure selected from a region with pure noise.
Pitch/time change Edit
A complex script which modifies the pitch and the time of a signal without affecting each other, featuring a documentation.
Tube pre-amp Edit
Also containing a documentation, this is a valve amplifier simulator.
A script for combining voice and instruments, which features a complex documentation.
Other actions Edit
Data stored on digital track can also be edited by using simple commands like copy, paste or delete. These actions can be accessed through a contextual menu displayed when right-clicking on the staff area with the inject tool activated. This contextual menu includes cut, copy, paste and delete (erase) actions, as well as the add action, which adds the digital data from the clipboard to the track, mixing it with the current content. This action is particularly useful for fast mixing of sounds. The same actions can also be called by using keyboard shortcuts or the edit menu.
The staff options list contains:
- An option to activate or deactivate the staff
- A rename option
- The display panel
- Bar numbering
- The action of selecting the whole staff, which can be also achieved by clicking anywhere in the left side of the staff, except for special fields like adding braces or such
- The action of changing the staff type, which is identical to the staff menu's change staff type item
- An option to show or hide objects on the staff. In this case, objects represent mostly anything else than the wave graph.
- An option to enable or disable lyrics
- An option to display borders around the lyrics lines. Only available if lyrics are enabled.
- The edit lyrics panel. Only available if lyrics are enabled.
- The action of erasing all lyrics from the staff. Only available if lyrics are enabled.
- The action of computing bar widths according to the lyrics of the given staff, so that these lyrics don't overlap. Only available if lyrics are enabled.
- The action of moving lyrics to another staff. The lyrics can only be moved to another standard staff or to a text staff. Lyrics will be removed from the original staff. Lyrics will keep data such as font, size and others. Only available if lyrics are enabled.
- The action of saving the lyrics into a text file. Note that during this operation certain data might be lost. Only available if lyrics are enabled.
- The action of loading lyrics from a text file generated using the previous procedure. Only available if lyrics are enabled.
- An option to calculate the notes spacing based on lyrics in realtime. Only available if lyrics are enabled.
- The chord display setup panel
- The action of erasing all the chords from the staff. Only available if chords are enabled.
- The edit chords panel. Only available if chords are enabled.
- The action of moving chords to another staff. The chord line can only be moved to another standard staff or to a text staff. Chords will be removed from the original staff. Only available if chords are enabled.
- The action of saving the chord line into a text file. Note that during this operation certain data might be lost. Only available if chords are enabled.
- The action of loading the chord line from a text file generated using the previous procedure. Only available if chords are enabled.
- The action of creating a staff from the chord line associated with the staff. The name of the resulting staff is calculated like this: [Staff name] (Chords) Only available if chords are enabled and the play chords option is enabled.