Introducing emuso/PracticeSuite PRO (5 mins)
If you are new to the concept of directed practice, or new to the guitar and musical terms like “interval” and “scale”, some background is provided in New to learning and practicing guitar.
It’s very important everyone new to emuso works through these quick start guides to get the most out of your practice and understand how to interact with the lessons and the blog. These guides just give you a flavour of what emuso can do for you. There is also a comprehensive built-in help system, with detailed user guides, and help videos. We publish tips on using emuso as well on our blog.
Each of the following sections can be expanded by clicking on its heading, and collapsed by clicking on the heading again.
Emuso/PracticeSuite PRO is all about gaining maximum progress from day one in your guitar skills, with directed practice, from technique to improvising to theory to chord and scale vocabulary to fretboard navigation to timing and rhythm to developing your ear .
It lets you explore intervals, scales, and chords using built-in libraries for these. You can also create your own. From any of these, you can create and save off your own shapes. These files are known as “shapes or snippets“. Emuso’s design and content adhere to the findings of pyschology in music and teaching. You use emuso’s virtual instruments (6-string guitar, 4-string bass, piano). This means you have to concentrate harder, be more focused with your practice, which carries across into your actual guitar-playing. You can save JPEG images of these shapes. Emuso can automatically generate chords from scales. Emuso includes Rhythm-X where you can learn about rhythm, and create, save, and load multitrack content. The file holding this content is known as a “rhythm project“. You’ll learn how to load musical notes into Rhythm-X later. Another tool for ear training is included. There is a built-in help system, including detailed user-guides and help videos.
You will either be working with site content, such as this, or working with the emuso Toolkit (to use the chord library, say)
Please make sure you read the section below about the Play Construct widget, which lets you hear the notes for a shape, and controls whether you hear them all together or one at a time).
Navigating between content
This navigation strip takes you to the quick start list, and to the two main content areas.
QUICK START takes you back to the quick start guides.
LESSONS takes you to the interactive lessons.
BLOG takes you to the interactive blog.
The arrows are used for navigating through previously viewed content. The left-arrow takes you from the current content to the previous content, until you encounter the first content viewed during this run of emuso. The right-arrow takes you forward again until you reach the most recent content viewed during this run of emuso.
If you are new to playing music, then you may take a while to develop the technique where you can cleanly play chords, scales, and tunes.
However, even when your hands aren’t ready, your brain certainly is, and you can only benefit from learning about musical ideas, and in particular, learning about intervals, as they help so much to understand both music theory, but also finding your way around on the guitar. Similarly, ear training can be started immediately.
Reading the content in New to learning and practicing guitar will start creating a mental framework to help you associate related ideas as you come across them.
You’ll be using the Toolkit a lot in these quick start guides. It is where you can access chord and scale libraries, the ear trainer, Rhythm-X, and much more. I suggest you ‘re not tempted just yet, as you’re very shortly going to learn about it.
The button that takes you into the Toolkit is found at the top left of emuso. The Toolkit is turned on (activated) and off by this button. When active, the button is green. When inactive, it’s dark gray.
When the toolkit is active, it appears like one of the two images below. The left hand image is what you see when you first start emuso. “move” and “edit” are enabled, as you start finding your way around (before these quick start guides). You can use these with just left-click mouse actions. The right hand image is what you see if you are reading these guides, where you are introduced to various mouse shortcuts, that include the use of the a few keyboard keys, such as CTRL, ALT (OPT), SHIFT, and the right mouse button. Typically this is the faster way of using emuso. Shortcuts are turned on automatically when using “Split screen” (discussed below)
“layouts” provides various ways of viewing notes on the instrument. The usual layout shows a scale or chord laid out over a few frets. The “families” dropdowns are where you choose a particular musical family to work with. For example, you can choose to work with major scale and its modes. This affects the contents of the menu shown by the Scale button. Initially, the scale family is for basic scales, such as major scale, major and minor pentatonic and blues scales. The next four dropdowns help you move, edit, invert, and select notes.
Most of the remaining buttons will be covered a bit later in these guides.
Interactive Content, the Interaction Box
You will encounter interactive content in these guides, and in lessons and blogs. These can create musical notes and may include tasks and tests for you to check your understanding.
Click the eye-ear icon, to start the interactive content (other than this one). This often presents the following interaction box asking you to do something. Move your mouse over it and its cursor will appear as a hand (in which case you can drag this box where you like) or as a pointer when over the buttons.
Emuso waits for your response, and once it has enough inputs, “CORRECT” or “INCORRECT” appears at the top of the box. The test is now finished, and any further responses will not change the result. Click the “><” button to retry. The “|>” button takes you to the next thing to try. The “<|” button takes you to the previous thing you tried. “<|” and “|>”are both disabled in the image above. Where appropriate the “emuso” button creates the correct answer, and “Mine” recreates your incorrect response. You can click either so you can compare visually and hear the difference. Clicking the “x” at the top right dismisses it. The box can be dragged around by holding the left mouse button down on it, to wherever you like.
The box describes what you have to do. It may prompt you for a mouse action. This will either be left-click, right-click, CTL+left or CTL+right click (on Mac and Windows) somewhere on-instrument, or left-drag the “anchor” (which appears as a solid red or white circle on-instrument. Some other possibilities include prompting you to enter the toolkit, or add or delete notes on-instrument.
There are often interactive images (chords and scales). It will be pointed out when this is the case.
If the toolkit is active (the Toolkit button, top left of emuso, has been pressed so it appears green), the eye-ear icon, and any interactive images, are disabled. Please remember this, should you find an interaction not doing anything!
When the toolkit can be used
You can enter the toolkit whenever you want. For example, you may be working with interactive content in a lesson or blog, and want to look up a chord say.
When you do this, anything currently on the instrument is remembered, and when you exit the toolkit, this is restored, to avoid interfering with what you doing before entering the toolkit.
However, you may encounter interactive content (not just text in a lesson or blog) that presents a prompt to enter the toolkit and do something. In this case, what you do in the toolkit is available to the interactive content when you exit the toolkit .
About the guides
The quick start “Basics for using the instrument” shows you how to choose piano, or left- or right-handed guitar and bass; how to create, edit, and move around chords and scales; how to invert chords; how to invert scale patterns, and how to select notes from these to be used as a melody. You will also learn about the interval strip and the pitch strip.
“Toolkit quick start” covers a few other features, such as using Pitch to create “pitch classes”, using “Tuning” to change the tuning of the guitar or bass, and using “Invent” to create your own shapes (chords, scales).
The quick start “Exploring rhythm #1 ” shows how to add chords to a snappet we’ve provided. It contains three tracks, each with one part. One is for guitar chords, and the other two are percussion (bass drum and snare). You add chords to the guitar track and learn how to refine its rhythm. It shows how to save your work as your own snappet.
The quick start “Exploring rhythm #2” continues from #1. You learn how to add a hi-hat and bass track, and a guitar melody track. You’ll also learn how to change the sound for each track (MIDI instrument, volume, pan, MIDI driver), and how to (un)mute tracks, part, or individual notes. You’ll also learn how to (un)stress individual notes.
The quick start “Automatic chords and inversions” shows you how to use these features, so you can quickly load a chord progression into Rhythm-X based on a scale of your choice, and build a melody from scale notes, that can then be copied to another scale position, with the melody adjusting as needed to use the correct notes at this new position. This is very useful for arpeggios and technique practice. Any chord can be inverted as well, including your own.
The quick start “Exploring rhythm #3” shows you how to transpose all the non-drum notes in a track, handy for practicing different keys. It shows you how to place “memos” into tracks, to remind you of a scale or chord you want to use for practice or improvisation at various parts of a tune. It also shows how to time displace parts, so the whole rhythm shifts later or earlier in time (and optionally wraps so content that shifts off one end comes back in at the other end of the part).
In “Theory tools quick start” you will learn about emuso’s visual representation of intervals. Notes (circles) on instrument can display interval information, or note names. A colour scheme is used to denote the interval, by colouring the rim of the note’s circle. You’ll learn about these. You’ll learn how to set up your own colour scheme. Then you’ll learn about mouse interaction to generate a chord or pentatonic by hovering over a scale note with the ALT key held down. Then you’ll learn how to use the clock-instrument, which effectively collapses all notes on instrument onto clock times 0 AM to 11 AM, and finally you’ll learn how to use Rel-X for finding relationships between scales and scales, chords and chords, and scales and chord.
In “Ear training quick start” you will learn how to start up the ear trainer, and use Learn mode to set up a test of three intervals (major 3rd, minor 3rd, and fifth), and test yourself. You respond by clicking on interval buttons built into the ear trainer. In learn mode, you’ll see on-instrument what you’re hearing. You’ll then try “Test mode” with this setup. This time you won’t get visual feedback. Then you’ll learn how to test yourself on a couple of chords.
The quick start “Interactive assistant” shows you to use the built-in assistant, to get user-guides or videos in response to clicks on various parts of the user interface.
Finally, the quick start “Before you start lessons” provides a few tips to think about if you’re new to learning guitar and music.
Introduction to the virtual guitar
The virtual guitar shows strings and frets, laid out the same as in the following picture, where you are looking at the guitar as though flat on the ground.
You choose whether you want to just see the instrument, or just see the interactive content, or both, using these three icons. The right icon below turns on (shows green) or off seeing both.
When split-screen is off, clicking the icon on the left shows the instrument “full-screen” and clicking the icon in the middle shows the interactive content “full-screen”.
Try turning split-screen off and back on now.
Now try this interaction which replicates the notes shown on the guitar photo above.
The solid red circle on the “guitar” is the anchor. Compare with the above guitar picture. You’ll be asked to move the anchor. Notice the mouse cursor changes to a hand when it isn’t over the buttons at the top of the box that appeared. You can drag this box.
The Play Construct widget
It looks like this
Press the button “Harmonic” to hear the shape’s notes all at once, for as long as the button is held down. Click the small triangle on its right to change this. Choices “Melodic” and “Mute” appear. Click on one of these, for example, “Melodic” to hear the notes one at a time. The melodic speed these play out at can be changed entering a number to replace 140 bpm. Higher values speed up the playback. “Mute” stops any sound. For now we’ll skip the other button above “Scale Hover Behaviour”.
You’ve learned about basic navigation around content, and about the quick start guides available. You’ve learned about the snippet (a file, also known as “shape”, that saves a shape), and rhythm project(a file that saves music as multitrack content, created with Rhythm-X). You’ve tried the icon for hiding and showing the “Play Construct” widget, and that it can be left-dragged. You’ve tried the ear-eye icon that starts up interactive content, and from that learned how to move the anchor (the solid red circle) on the virtual guitar. You’ve also seen how to switch between split-screen and full-screen. You’ll learned some of what the “Play Construct” widget can control.
You’ll get a quick start to using the virtual instruments a bit more, such as editing chords and scales, creating your own, and selecting notes from these on the instrument, for example to build up a melody.