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Educational & Special Programs
Camelot for Wind Players: An Example
In this article, we will give an example of how a woodwind or brass player playing a MIDI wind controller might use Camelot in live performance. If you are just getting started with Camelot, you can get a quick orientation to it here:
To show the power of Camelot put to work for a wind player, we’re going to look at how today’s fictional musician, Wendy Sax put together a new Song in which she plays over a backing track she assembled, while her sound for each part of the Song changes automatically in exactly the right spot. Here we go.
Making a Setlist and Song, Adding a Backing Track
Wendy first needs to make a new Setlist, the document which is Camelot’s top level or organization. This will be the canvas on which her entire Camelot setup will be based. The “three dots” icon (“…”) in the upper right corner brings up the main menu wizard that guides her through access to Camelot’s primary functions, including creating, editing, and copying Setlists, Songs, Scenes, and Layers. Wendy goes to the main menu wizard, creates a new Setlist, and names it.
Figure 1 - Basic access for creation. On top, in the blue circle, the "three dots" icon that brings up the main menu wizard. Lower left is the main menu wizard itself, and lower right is the Create and Add submenu.
Next, she goes right back to the main menu and creates a new Song. She names the song “Melanzane alla Parmigiana,” because, well, it’s her favorite dish.
Now it’s time to load up the backing track for this song. Backing tracks and automation are both handled in Camelot’s Timeline view, so we click the Timeline at the bottom of the Camelot window.
Clicking the plus sign (+) button at the upper right of the Backing Tracks banner lets us locate and add the file for the track, after which the waveform display shows up in a track. She can place the backing track at any time in the Song, but she just places it at the very beginning.
Figure 2 - A backing track in place in the Timeline view.
Making a Scene, Well, Four of Them, To Be Exact
Wendy wants four Scenes to use in this song, because she wants to play the SWAM Alto Saxophone for the verses and SWAM Trumpet for the chorus, plus a bridge section that will use both of them in harmony. For the second verse, she wants to add some processing to the SWAM Alto Sax for a bit of color.
She could make a new Scene from the main menu wizard in the same way that she made the Setlist and Song, but Camelot often offers several different ways to accomplish the same task, so she chooses to use another approach. She clicks the Scenes button in the footer to bring up the Scenes view, clicks the name of the empty Scene that is in the Song by default, and renames it “Verse 1.”
Figure 3 - Creating and naming a new Scene in the Scenes view.
Her SWAM Alto Sax needs a Layer to live in, so Wendy clicks the Layers button in the footer to bring up the Layers view. She clicks the plus sign (+) on the right end of the Scene Layers banner to create and name a new Layer. The box on the left of the Layer is where Layer Settings are accessed (and some of them displayed), and on the right are audio controls, but Wendy clicks the plus sign (+) in the box just to the left of the audio controls to add an Item, which, in this case, is the SWAM Alto Sax. Although the SWAM instrument has some built-in processing, Wendy has a channel strip plugin she really likes, so she adds another item and assigns the channel strip to it.
Figure 4 - Building a layer for the SWAM Alto Sax.
Wendy has put together a great basic signal path for her first Scene, but she needs to play through it a little and tweak things until they’re just right, so it’s time to get her MIDI controller connected. As usual, there are several ways to do this, but she takes the most obvious path by clicking on the Layer settings box on the left of the Scene Layer, then selecting her MIDI wind controller as the MIDI input. She could choose the audio outputs on her interface that the Layer should use, but the Layer already defaulted to using her interface’s main audio outputs, and that’s fine with her. Wendy is now ready to play her first Scene and adjust it to her little heart’s content.
Figure 5 - Clicking on the Layer area brings up the Layer MIDI settings, where Wendy's MIDI wind controller can be selected as a MIDI input to the Layer.
The sax sounds good now, but kind of dry, so Wendy wants to add some room ambience. However, she’s going to want that same touch of ambience to be on everything she’s going to play all evening.
She could just insert the reverb on the Layer she’s got going and in each of the other Scenes she’s going to create, but Camelot offers a better alternative. The Song Rack and Setlist Rack are spaces that also can hold Layers containing Items, but they remain the same through every Scene change. As you might have guessed, the Song Rack stays the same until the Song is changed, and the Setlist Rack stays the same as long as that Setlist is in use, which is what Wendy wants. Putting her reverb in the Setlist Rack also means that it only gets loaded once, instead of having to be loaded for each scene.
So she creates a Layer in the Setlist Rack and adds the reverb plugin as an Item in it. Now she just has to get her signal from the Scene Layer with the SWAM instrument into the Setlist Rack Layer with the reverb. Camelot’s Audio Layer Connectors are Items designed to just that, so she adds one to her Scene Layer with the Setlist Rack Layer as the destination, and BOOM! She could get fancy and set Camelot to send a MIDI program change to call up a different reverb sound with each Scene, but she wants the realistic consistency of the same ambience all night, so she just gets the reverb sound she wants and leaves it. Options!
Figure 6 - The complete Verse 1 setup. The Audio Send in the Alto sax 1 Layer routes audio to the house reverb Layer in the Setlist Rack.
Building a Scene for the chorus is exactly the same as doing it for the verse with only three differences:
1. Wendy has to create a new Scene from scratch using the main menu wizard.
2. It gets named “Chorus” (duh)
3. The SWAM Trumpet gets added to the Layer instead of the Alto Sax.
Sweet Harmony on the Bridge
The Bridge Scene is a bit more interesting to put together. Wendy could copy and paste one of the existing Scenes and then modify it, but, just for practice, she creates another new Scene from scratch, names it “Bridge,” and then adds both the SWAM Alto Sax and SWAM Trumpet to the Scene Layer. She wants to play the trumpet sound on the bridge and have the alto sax play a generated harmony. The MIDI Transformation functions in the alto sax Item offer the tools to do this.
“Melanzane alla Parmigiana” is in the key of C minor. An easy way to generate a parallel diatonic harmony would be to choose the Musical Scale function on the alto sax and set it to play, for instance, a minor third above the trumpet, but always in the C minor scale.
Figure 7 - One way to automatically generate a parallel diatonic harmony is with the Musical Scale MIDI transformer. Scale Type has been set to Minor to keep it diatonic, and Scale Shift has been set to 3 semitones, to make it a minor third up (except where the scale demands otherwise).
But Wendy’s idea for harmony, while it happens to use all diatonic notes, is not a simple parallel interval, so, instead of Musical Scale, she uses the Note To Chord function, defining only the harmony note as the “chord.” This lets her define the harmony arbitrarily.
Figure 8 - Using the Note To Chord transformation, Wendy is able to generate any harmony she wants for each notes. This screenshot shows only slightly less than one octave, but each note across the entire range of MIDI could be specified individually.
The last Scene, which Wendy will use for the second verse, is the same as verse 1, but with distortion and chorus from an amp simulator. Of course, she could have had the amp sim in the Verse 1 Scene and just bypassed it, but this idea came up on the spot, so she simply duplicated Verse 1 and added the amp sim.
Figure 9 - For Verse 2, Wendy added an amp sim. In Layer Edit mode she was able to move it to the right spot in the signal chain.
Chart and Automation
With all of the scenes for this song in place, Wendy wants to be able to have a chart with chords and the main melody riffs in front of her while she plays. She already has a chart in a PDF file prepared, so she just clicks the Attachment button in the footer to enter the Attachment view, specifies that she wants the attachment to be to the Song, and locates the file.
Figure 10 - PDF attachments can be song charts, lyrics, performance notes...anything you want. Attachment view lets you see the attachment while you play.
The last preparation to be done is simply to place the Scenes on the Timeline so that they are automatically loaded at the right times. Wendy clicks the Timeline button in the footer and sees the Timeline, with her backing track in place. Placing Scenes is similar to placing the track itself. Wendy clicks on the plus sign (+) icon at the right end of the Scenes section, and a wizard guides her through selecting a Scene, in this case Verse 1, and placing it in the right place on the Timeline, which is at the beginning.
She repeats this for each of the other three Scenes, placing them at the right times. She can choose the right time when she places the Scene, or drag either the triangle at the top of the Timeline or the round ball at the bottom to the right time and then, when she adds the Scene, it will display that time as the target. Since she can see on the waveform of the backing track where each of the sections is, she uses this last method.
Figure 11 - Scenes have been placed on the Timeline and will load automatically at the times at which they were placed.
And that’s it! Wendy is ready to play, with a score display and full automation at each point in the Song where it goes to another section. She goes back to the Attachment view to see the score, starts Camelot playing, and she’s rolling!
This gives you just a small taste of what Camelot can do for you as a wind player. There are so many other things that can be done, and other ways to do the things shown here. Camelot lets you do what you need to do, working in the way that is the most comfortable for you. Give it a try and you’ll be amazed that you ever gigged without it!