Basics for using the instrument. Quick start. (5 mins)
Emuso comes with three virtual instruments: 6-string guitar, 4-string bass, and piano. Emuso also comes with libary constructs (scales, chords, and intervals), accessed via menus in the Toolkit. You can also invent your own shapes. Each of these appears as a collection of notes at various frets, or piano keys, using coloured circles. There can only be one of these collections on-instrument at any one time. We’ll use the word “shape” to refer to this collection. A note collection always includes the “anchor“. The location of the anchor determines the start note for a scale, or where a chord is rooted. The anchor is also used for moving the shape around the instrument. More on this below.
Here you will learn 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. If needed, please remind yourself in the intro quickstart about the Play Style widget including showing it, hiding it, and dragging it.
Each of the following sections can be expanded by clicking on its heading, and collapsed by clicking on the heading again.
We’ll start on guitar.
Even when there is no note collection, the guitar always has an easily recognised circle on it which we call the anchor. This is a solid white circle, with some text showing on it. Here it is, located at fret zero on the 6th string (bass string) of the guitar. There are a few different ways that notes can be labelled. We’ll look into changing the labelling later.
Click the eye-ear icon to see this, with the quick start in the left pane, and the instrument in the right pane. Follow the instructions that appear, to learn how to move the anchor around.
The anchor location also determines what notes are created using the “Chord”, “Scale” and “Interval” menus in the toolkit. Here is a chord created when the anchor is at the zero’th fret on the 4th string. Now the anchor shows as a solid red circle, which means it contributes a note to the note collection.
Here is a scale created when the anchor is at the 3rd fret on the 1st string. The anchor shows as a solid red circle, which means it contributes a note to the note collection. Later you’ll see that you can delete the note at the anchor. If this was done with this scale, the anchor would appear white, and if that scale was listened to, no sound would be generated for where the anchor is, while all the other notes would sound.
An interval ALWAYS consist of just two notes some musical distance (“semitones”) apart.. There can be several ways to create the same musical distance on guitar. Here is an example of an interval of 3 semitones created when the anchor was at fret 3 on the 5th string. Again the anchor is solid red, as it is part of the note collection. Notice on the 5th string the note at fret 6 is labelled “3” and is 3 frets away from the anchor (hence its creates a sound 3 “semitones” above the note at the anchor). The are two other ways shown of playing this interval: the anchor and fret 1 on the 4th string; and the anchor and fret 11 on the 6th string. These different locations for “3” all create the same notes because of the guitar tuning. You’ll learn more about intervals later. They underpin everything with note choice.
Let’s have a quick look. You’ll be asked to create a scale and a chord in the toolkit.
The interval and pitch strips
As you move the mouse over instrument locations (frets or piano keys), the interval strip shows the “distance” from the anchor to that location. The pitch strip shows the name of the note (produced at) that location, and can be used to move the anchor. The next interaction will teach you these. These two strips are are combined into one widget that can be left-dragged with the mouse to reposition it.
The interval strip is always at the top, showing twelve buttons. The pitch strip is underneath it. Here, it just shows one button, with name of the anchor note.
Here it is expanded. The “Reroot” button is explained a bit later.
Let’s take a look … you’ll also learn how to move this widget around.
How to create, move and delete notes
You’ve already learned about using the anchor to move the entire shape.
An individual note is created by clicking an empty location on-instrument. Clicking an occupied location deletes the note there. Left-drag a note to move it.
This next interaction asks you to create, move and delete individual notes. You will find that the anchor changes to a solid red colour when a note is created at the anchor. Remember, when coloured white, the anchor is “empty”, so it doesn’t contribute a note to the note collection. You can do exactly the same to change any scale or chord provided by the Toolkit Scale and Chord menus (we call these library constructs).
WARNING: Emuso analyses whatever notes are visible on the instrument, to determine information about that note collection. This may result in the anchor changing … none of the notes move, but the labelling may change, so another one becomes the anchor. You’ll learn about the analysis in lessons later. This can be disabled from the “emuso” menu (uncheck “Analyse construct for root”) but you’re advised not to.
How to select notes
Right click each note you want to select. Type ‘u‘ to unselect last selection. Type ‘U‘ (capital U) to unselect all selections. A note can be selected several times. The order of selections is remembered. This can be used to build a melody (to be loaded into Rhythm-X, which you will start to learn about in the next guide) . Here’s an example of building a melody with repeated notes. Set the Play Style widget for melodic playback. Set its bpm to 80 (type “Enter” after typing in the numbers). You may want to drag it under the instrument so it’s nearer where you are working with the instrument.
Choosing an instrument
This can be done via the menu or via the keyboard shortcuts ‘g‘ for guitar, ‘b‘ for bass, and ‘p‘ for piano. This next interaction creates a chord on guitar. Try switching to piano and back.
The next quick start looks at a few more features of the toolkit, including pitch classes, changing the guitar or bass tuning, switching between left-handed and right-handed guitar or bass, and inventing your own chord and scale shapes.