Click Tracker v2 Tutorial


Notating beats / bars / tempo / comments
Gradual tempo changes
Repetitions
Pickup bar
Other first bar number Definition of playback parameters
Rests (Version 2 addition)
Batch Processing (Version 2 addition)
"and...play" commands(Version 2 addition)
Other Changes (Version 2 addition)
GUI control
Command list

Click Tracker v2 - Score format and program settings

by Joćo Pais and modified by David Pocknee (www.davidpocknee.com)

NOTE: There are two versions of Click Tracker in circulation; the original by Joćo Pais, and Version 2, which was extensively modified by David Pocknee.

This is a tutorial on how to prepare a score for the Click Tracker patch. At the same time it should teach you on how to use the program.
The Click Tracker reads documents in text format (.txt). For that they should be saved as text-only format - in case you use Word or any other office software you should pay attention to this.
To reproduce a piece with the Click Tracker you must transcribe the score you want to hear to the format readable by this program - basically you must write down the metrical structure of the score.

Notating beats / bars / tempo / comments

You start the score by writing the duration of each beat in one line - for example 1 for a full beat. There are 2 possible parameters: the beat duration and the letter "b" to mark the beginning of a bar - separated by a space.
For example here are the first two 4/4 bars of this score:

t 60
1 b
1
1
1
1 b
1
1
1

These were two regular bars where each beat has the same duration. The bar symbol (b) only has to be used in the beginning of each bar. After that you only have to write the duration of the beats: the program will count both beats and bars automatically.
The tempo is MM60 as indicated by the command "t 60" (with space in between). You can use the t command anywhere in the piece and how many times you want - just put it before the note you want it to apply for. For example here is a bar where the tempo changes on each note:

t 60
1 b
t 120
1
t 30
1
t 90
1

In case you forget to say which tempo you want the program will assume that the piece is at MM60.
If your time signature is irregular you can change the duration of each beat - including decimal values. The next bar sounds just like the previous one but in the same tempo throughout:

t 60
1 b
.5
2
.666

Notice that all decimal values must be written with a dot instead of a comma.
There is another way to notate factional values - through the fraction that calculates the value. You can use any values on both sides of the fraction. Here follow some values notated in both ways:

0.5 b
1:2
0.666
2:3
0.928
6.5:7

As you might have noticed by now this file is at the same time the tutorial for the program and also a score that can be performed. The parts with the numbers are the "music" and comments can be made in any place in the file if you put the symbol before each comment. If you don't use the symbol with a space afterwards the file won't be properly read by the program.
Very important about the comments: you can't use any commas or semicolons - it would be misinterpreted by the program!
Also you don't have to layout all you music lines one after the other. They can have empty lines between them - as well as comments in the same line:

# Now we're at bar 7. The tempo is 60
1 b # Here is the beginning of the bar - the letter b is after the beat duration.

# Here is an empty space. You can have as many as you want.


1 # And some more beats

1

1
1 # And here the end of the bar. It turned out to be a 5/4 bar.

And now something completely different: a completely irregular bar with some irrational values.

1 b
.2
1.65465439458675
5.14

There are no limits for the decimal values you can use. Any value (as long as written correctly) can be played back.

The options that you saw until now allow you to notation quite complex durations to create irregular bars. But in case your piece is simpler than that you can notate it in another way: through the format x/y - like a normal bar. For example with only a couple lines we can create a simple bar sequence:

4/4 # This goes from 4/4
3/4 # ...
2/4 # ...
1/4 # to 1/4

But you can use any ratio you want to. Important is only that the top number is a whole number (no decimal numbers allowed). On the other hand the lower number can be decimal if you want to.
If you use this method the result will be the y proportion (4 = 1 beat) repeated x times. So if you write 5/8 you will get an 8th-note 5 times instead of the combination 3+2/8. Here is the difference:

5/8 # A bar with 5 8th-notes

.5 b # The same written in another way
.5
.5
.5
.5

1.5 b # And a bar with the same full duration but another division.
1

Also the y number always understands the 4th-note to be the standard duration. In case you're writing a score where another value is the base value for the tempo (for example 8th-note or minim) then you must do some math to get the proportions right. Always think of the beats as individual durations one after the other.

Gradual tempo changes

To change the tempo suddenly we already saw the t command. But to create gradual tempo changes - accelerandi and ritardandi - use the command "tc x y" where x is the new tempo and y the number of beats necessary to reach it. The beat duration of the tempo change MUST coincide with the sum of the beats it lasts. If it doesn't the rest of the piece will sound a bit strange.
Here is a 4/4 bar followed by an accelerando with 1 bar duration and one bar in the new tempo:

1 b
1
1
1

tc 120 4 # here is the tempo change command - always write them before the beat
1 b # the accelerando starts here
1
1
1
1 b # and now we're in the new tempo
1
1
1

# And now it slows down to slower as the initial tempo:
tc 50 4
1 b # here starts to get slower
1
1
1
1 b # and now is at MM50
1
1
1

Repetitions

Repetitions of the same bar can be used a lot in modern music. Since the program counts the bars automatically it's different to write the repetitions down and to just repeat a sequence. Also a repetition isn't a new bar (with a different bar number) but the same bar again.
In case you want to repeat a fragment just use the command "rep x y" where x is the number of beats you want to repeat and y the number of times. Put this command just before the first beat of the passage to be repeated. Again - x MUST coincide with the actual sum of beats (you can't use 1 as a value for y). The number of the current repetition will be shown in the screen.
In case you use the "Go to bar" feature (more about that later) to start in the middle of a repetition sequence it won't work. For a repetition sequence to be correctly performed you must play the first note (since the command is before it).

# Here is a new irregular bar back at MM60
t 60
1 b
1
.5
# And now the same bar repeated 3 times:
rep 2.5 3
1 b
1
.5

You can also do the repetitions across the barlines. We stay in the same time signature but dislocate the repetition point:

1 b
1
rep 2.5 4
.5
1 b
1
.5
# And finally the full bar one last time.
1 b
1
.5

Pickup bar

In a performance you can't start the click track without warning - with the "pickup x" comand it is possible to repeat the 1st bar as many times as you need in order for the musicians to prepare themselves. The parameter x defines how many times the bar will be repeated. You can either include this command in the score file (anywhere in the score but I suggest you to leave it on top) - or change it anytime in the patch itself. To have 1 pickup bar write "pickup 1".
As pickup bars aren't exactly repetitions and you must know exactly when the piece is going to start the bar numbers in pickup bars work downwards until they get to 1 - which is point where the score begins. In case you have 1 pickup bar you'll and your chosen output has voice included you'll hear bar "2 [beats] 1". If you have 2 pickup bars then "3 [beats] 2 [beats] 1".

Other first bar number

With the comand "first x" you can define the numer of the first bar to be played - in case your click track doesn't begin at bar 1. If you want to rehearse with another first number for now you'll have to use the bar numbers as if they would start from 1.

Definition of playback parameters

You can adjust the playback parameters (click format - language - recording format) anytime while working with the patch. But you can also adjust them in the score file. Then you don't need to always reset your patch when you load a new score (assuming each score has a different setting). To set a parameter you just write the command "par [parameters]" anywhere in the score. But like with the pickup command I advise you to put these general remarks in the beginning. Note: if you write down more than one command for the same parameter then the last command is the one to be valid.

The available parameters are:
click format - click / voice + click / voice / voice + bar = cl clst st stbb
language - english / german / spanish /portuguese = english deutsch castellano portugues
recording format - wav / mp3 / ogg = wav mp3 ogg

For example to have a click track performed with clicks and recorded in mp3 you write

par cl mp3

To have a score performed with voice in portuguese and recorded in wav format you write

par st portugues wav

The standard format is voice + click / english / wav. Since there were some other commands before let's set it back to the standard preset.

par clst english wav

Rests (Version 2 Addition)

Bars of rest can now be created by using the following commands:

[r 1 b
1
1
1
r] 1 b

The instruction "[r" indicates that the following beats will be silent. This will stay in operation until the instruction "r]" is given, which cancels the rests. Both of these instructions should be placed at the start of a line containing a beat (i.e. NOT before tempo markings etc.) and before any other instructions.

Rests must always be at the start of a line containing beats and cannot be placed before tempo changes etc.

There are three options in the GUI relating to the bar numbering and rests:

"Reset_Bar_Numbers_to_1_after_rest": This option will reset the bar number of every bar following a rest to 1.
"Freeze_Bar_Numbers_during_rest": This option will not count the bars of rest as bar numbers and continue numbering after the rest has concluded
"Keep_counting_bars_during_rest": This option will number the bars in the rest even though they are not sounding

Batch Processing (Version 2 Addition)

The Batch Process option will render all click tracks in a folder automatically, giving the output file the same name as the text file. Due to the limitations of pd, this happens in realtime. There is currrently an error, whereby the program will render the first and last files in the batch twice, though this does not affect the output.

"and ... play" commands (Version 2 Addition)

writing "one", "two", "three", "four", "and", or "play" at the beginning of a bar (although after any rest designation), will cause the output of a verbal command corresponding to the instructions. This is useful for cueing one-off, synchronized single events, as in the example below

1 b
1
1
four 1
three 1
two 1
one 0.5
and 0.5
play 1
1

This can be exceedingly useful, if there is an irregular wait time in which you do not want the clicks to be sounding, as in the example below, which gives a "three, four, and, play" instruction whilst the clicks themselves are made inaudible using the "[r" rest command.

t 120
[r 1 b
1
1
t 135
1b
0.75
t 140
1b
1
three 1
four 0.5
and 0.5
play 1
1

Other changes in Version 2

Now, if you select "Auto-Save", when you select a text file to open; playback and recording will automatically start. The recorded file is given the same name as the text file and is placed in the same folder as the original text file.

GUI control

The explanation of the score format is finished. The next part handles the GUI and how to work with the program.

File commands (keyboard shortcuts between []):
Open score [o] / reload score [l]- open a score file or reload one (in case you're working a lot on the same file)
Play / Stop [space] - self-explanatory
Set output file [f] - Before you record a click track say where it's going to be recorded and with which name. In case you forget this the program will record it with the same name and place as the score file. You only have to write the name of the file. The termination (.wav ...) will be added by the program.
Play + record [s] - Play the score and record it at the same time. The file is also the recording of the performance so you must let the score play the whole piece (or stop it).

Duration - Indicates the duration (minutes + seconds) of the excerpt you just played.
Bars (total) - Says how many bars are in the score

Playback parameters - these were already mentioned
Audio - settings of the audio format
Language - language setting
Format - recording format

Audio status - either On (preset) or off
Instructions - Click on this for a short reference
Keyboard Control - It is possible to control the patch using the keyboard shortcuts (these were just indicated). You can turn this on/off with the Escape key. If the box is crossed keyboard control is on.

Tempo scaler - if a piece is too fast or slow for you to follow you can just change the scaling factor in the interface. Both original and scaled tempi are shown.
Voume meter + volume level - self explanatory. There are now also buttons, as I find the tempo slider frustrating to use.

Bar / Beat / Duration / Repetition - Bar + Beat count / Duration of current beat / Repetition indication

Go to bar - Start directly from a bar
Pickup bar - How many pickup bars you want to have?
1st beat - Mute other beats besides the 1st one in each bar.

Version 2 additions:

Batch Processing ON/OFF: This turns Batch Processing on and off. When this is on, clicking "Open.score" and selecting a text file will immediately start the playback and recording of every text file in that folder. The "Halt Batch Processing" button, is an emergency stop for this procedure, but be careful as this will stop writing the file immediately and may result in incomplete click tracks.

Auto-Save: when you select a text file to open; playback and recording will automatically start. The recorded file is given the same name as the text file and is placed in the same folder as the original text file.

"Reset_Bar_Numbers_to_1_after_rest": This option will reset the bar number of every bar following a rest to 1.

"Freeze_Bar_Numbers_during_rest": This option will not count the bars of rest as bar numbers and continue numbering after the rest has concluded

"Keep_counting_bars_during_rest": This option will number the bars in the rest even though they are not sounding

Tempo scaling buttons: Same as tempo slider, but provide easy changing of scaling for the most commonly used ratios.



That's all there is to it. For more informations/requests contact me at jmmmpais@googlemail.com. If you have a request for a program or need to develop anything else we can discuss it. (Any queries related to version 2 should be directed to David Pocknee - www.davidpocknee.com)

(c) Joćo Pais 11.07.2010
updated by David Pocknee 13.06.2011


Command list

t $1 - Tempo in MM - Eg. t 70
[beat duration] b - b marks the beginning of a bar
$1:$2 - fractional notation for the duration of beats - Eg. 2:3
$1/$2 - abreviated input of regular bars - Eg. 3/4
tc $1 $2 - tempo change. $1 = new tempo / $2 = number of beats necessary to reach it (beat duration of the tempo change MUST coincide with the sum of the beats it lasts) - Eg. tc 120 5
rep $1 $2 - repetition of a fragment. $1 = number of beats to repeat / $2 = number of times to repeat - Eg. rep 4 3
pickup $1 - pickup bar repeats the 1st bar $1 times (bar numbers decrease from $1+1 to 1) - Eg. pickup 2
first $1 - number of the first bar of the score - Eg. first 35
par cl/clst/st/stbb english/deutsch/castellano/portugues wav/mp3/ogg - playback parameters

Keyboard shortcuts

o - open score
l - reload score
space - play/stop
f - set output file
s - play + record
Esc - turn keyboard control on/off