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Video example: my first attempt

Author RobertoD


I tried to realize with Screenflow a guide on how to preserve the chromatic passages in Synfire without disabling the Voice Leading checkbox under the Interpretation tab. I uploaded the video on this Youtube link. It's certainly not the top, but have mercy: it's my very first demo video... ;-)

All the best,


Thu, 2017-11-16 - 18:09 Permalink

There is a typo at a certain point: I will fix it on tomorrow. Have to go right now!

Thu, 2017-11-16 - 19:38 Permalink

You might want to leave the text on the screen a bit longer for the longer messages. I found I had to rewind or pause it to completely read some of the text.

For some reason the text boxes appeared to alter size slightly just before they fade?

Forgot to say, thanks for the video, amazing to see someone using synfire that understands music theory. I would never have thought to solve that issue by any way except turning off voice leading.

Thu, 2017-11-16 - 20:45 Permalink

Hi blacksun, thank you for the feedback.

Yes, I must admit that still many of Screenfow functions are beyond my control... :-)

But I’m confident that the next video will be much better. I definitely must learn, for example, how to zoom on specific UI items.

I also noticed the strange behavior of the text boxes before fading away, but frankly I have no idea on that. Maybe something went wrong during the compression/upload, who knows. I uploaded directly from Screenflow to YouTube...

Today I was able to make Synfire correctly play a whole chromatic octave. For tomorrow I planned to import a Chopin study (op 10 n 2) to further investigate the chromatic capabilities of Synfire: should someone wish to use Synfire for jazz, the recognition of chromatic intervals becomes mandatory!

another quite promising way is film scoring: I just did some tests with action music, and in layering complex rhythms/harmonies Synfire has no competitors, afaik.

I suspect that entire parts of soundtracks of recent films, sometimes so intricate to appear beyond the human abilities, have been written heavily relying on the AI. I don't know if they used Synfire in particular, but some degree of automation, very likely, IMO.


Thu, 2017-11-16 - 20:59 Permalink

A final consideration , blacksun. Without a minimum of music theory one could miss the best part of Synfire: the harmony navigator and the awesome flexibility in combining the vertical and horizontal dimensions of harmony...

Fri, 2017-11-17 - 10:09 Permalink

PS -- Please, note that this is just one possible strategy to force the semitones in Synfire without disabling VL, and that in some cases it will not work as expected. The main obstacle is that Synfire wants to put a chord note on the strong beat, no matter which scale you choose. But in a next post I will show the results of another interesting experiment I did. Synfire has a powerful weapon in its arsenal: the live chord recognition. The software assigns a name and a function to almost any vertical group of notes, no matter how weird it could be. And, even more important, builds a customized scale on it... ;-)

Sat, 2017-11-18 - 19:21 Permalink

The challenge with chromatic runs is that, actually, each chromatic step requires a different harmonic context (chord + scale) that takes care of all instruments playing nicely together. If you use the chromatic scale, as you have shown, you might get some chromatic chaos, if multiple instruments play different things at this time.

On the other hand, if you find out the correct chords + scales for each chromatic step, you can be sure to get no unwanted dissonances with other instruments. 

There is no automated tool for this yet, as a) there's no theory we know of that one could rely on, and b) it is used rarely.

Sat, 2017-11-18 - 21:26 Permalink

Indeed, Andre. I was aware that Synfire relies on harmony. A test on Take Five by Paul Desmond confirmed that the right chord will generate a correct melody. Take Five is a clear blues scale, and Synfire recognized either the chromatic passage in the melody and the 5/4 diatonic accompaniment without messing the parts. But I had to explicitly assign an hexatonic blues scale to the chords.

Sun, 2017-11-19 - 01:32 Permalink

The scope was to avoid disabling VL. I treated the LH harmonies as separate keys, each with its own chromatic scale. It worked, but was a time consuming job; honestly I would avoid (long) chromatic passages in Synfire...

Wed, 2018-02-07 - 09:55 Permalink

Unfortunately not very soon, Mike: I'm still waiting for a fix of ScreenFlow. SF for MacOS has an annoying bug that shrinks and expands without reason the text boxes. But if I can help, ask :-)