(Edit: I forgot to add that the developer is working on a VSTi plugin version, expected to be implemented shortly.)
First, I have no financial interest in RapidComposer … unless having purchased the LE version and wanting the development to continue is a financial interest. And, yes, this is gushing fanboy in the first throes of infatuation.
Second, while I know this is a Cubase forum … and this post will probably get moved to the Lounge pretty quickly , I also know that there are a lot of folks here that are interested in midi composition. That’s the main reason I prefer Cubase over the competition and a reason I follow this forum.
Third, … since we’re not all musically educated … I’ve tried a lot of ‘autocomposition’ software programs like Band In A Box, Jammer and Ntonyx, and harmony programs like Harmony Navigator, Harmony Assistant, Harmony Improvisator, ChordSpace and Melody Palette.
They all have their strengths and charms … including a few being free.
But RapidComposer takes everything to a different level … and one I find much closer to what I always wished for in a midi composition program.
In a nut shell, when you lay out your composition by chord progressions, you can add as many midi tracks as you want … up to at least the basic 16 (I haven’t tested beyond that). Then you have a library of musical phrases that you can also edit or add to by importing sections from existing midi files. There are special ones for chords, basslines, etc. You can also ‘plastically’ change these phrases once they are in the composition window without changing the phrase from the library. Basically you drag and drop the phrases on top of the composition tracks. At this point they are not notes, but harmonically correct phrases correctly played in the key or chord of your composition as controlled by that section of the composition. There is a fantastic collection of chords with their harmonic neighbors available in a drop menu to make chord alterations. There are about 25 scales with modal variations of most. You also have controller information easily editable in the composition window for each track and little macros that do things like change the playback to legato or stacatto or velocity curves, etc, on a ‘phrase by phrase’ basis. When you get it to sound like you like, you export your composition as a type 1 smf with all your actual notes, controller and patch info, etc, for loading into your DAW.
I think it’s most outstanding feature is ‘phrase morphing.’ ‘Phrase morphing’ is incredible. When you set up two musical phrase you like in your sequence … say a way you want an 8 bar section to open in the first bar and how you want it to end in the last bar … ‘phrase morphing’ will automatically fill in a harmonically correct, musically smooth bridge between the two phrases following any chord changes you’ve selected. Didn’t like that one? Keep on morphing till it creates one that works as you want … in perfect harmonic and rhythmic step with our original phrases.
Cubase is a fantastic program and the unquestioned leader in MIDI manipulation. But with the possible exception of flexiphrase in Halion 4 and Halion Sonic, does little to aid the ‘composing/ arranging’ side of things. Short of Synfire from Cognitone … at about $1200.00 US … there is nothing like this perfect partner for Cubase.
I am obviously extremely excited about this program. It is a new small company in start up that is doing the advances in midi that I always hoped an autocomposition would do. Check out the webpage and try the demo.