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Home Concert Xtreme FAQs

Using Home Concert Xtreme

Editing Files

Special Versions

I have the Suzuki Home Concert Xtreme SE version. How do I....

Troubleshooting

Home Concert Xtreme FAQs

I have Home Concert Xtreme on my computer, and I just got an iPad. Can I use it on both devices?
The iPad requires a separate version of Home Concert Xtreme which is available in the iTunes Store. The same is true for all other software products which exist in Mac/PC versions as well as in an iPad version.

How do I register my copy of Home Concert Xtreme?
First, create an account at
www.timewarptech.com
then register your software here:
www.timewarptech.com

How do I find my Home Concert Xtreme serial number?
If you purchased a physical copy of Home Concert Xtreme, the serial number is on a label inside the front cover of the disk case. If you ordered online, your serial number was automatically assigned and is already associated with your account.

What are the limits of the Demo version?
The demo only works with the 5 built-in MIDI files, and you cannot save changes or edits to these files.

How do I download a Demo version of Home Concert Xtreme?
Download Demo versions of ANY TimeWarp product here:
www.timewarptech.com

Will Home Concert Xtreme run on my Netbook?
Probably. Since there are so many kinds of computers in this category, it’s impossible for us to unequivocally say for sure. Netbook users, for instance, may find that they are limited to smaller score display choices and other display issues due to the smaller and lower-resolution screens on some models. We have also discovered that Windows Starter 7 is missing some components needed by Home Concert Xtreme. In most cases, an intermediate-skill PC user can install these components separately.

What kind of keyboard works with Home Concert Xtreme?
Pretty much any keyboard with MIDI In and Out will work with Home Concert Xtreme. Handy features to look for include:

A built-in MIDI interface
Complete General MIDI (minimum) sounds for playing orchestrations.

What kind of computer do I need to run Home Concert Xtreme?
Any relatively modern Macintosh or Windows computer can run Home Concert Xtreme. The recommended display resolution is 1024x768.

How do I connect my computer with my keyboard?
You will need a USB MIDI Interface to connect your computer to the keyboard. The simplest of these have two MIDI cables (for MIDI in and MIDI out), a tiny junction box, and then a USB cable on the other end, to make a "Y" formation. Some MIDI interfaces also require a driver to be installed on your computer. You can find some examples HERE

To properly connect a MIDI Interface, plug the MIDI IN plug on the cable to the MIDI OUT port on the keyboard and the MIDI OUT plug on the cable to the MIDI IN port on the keyboard. In other words, MIDI flows OUT of your computer and IN to your keyboard and vice versa.

If your keyboard has a USB “to host” port, this probably means that the interface is built into the keyboard itself. In this case, you only need a basic USB cable (the same kind you use to connect a printer, for example). You may also need to install a driver from the keyboard manufacturer for this to function properly.

Does Home Concert Xtreme support MIDI thru?
Yes. HCX includes a professional-level suite of MIDI features so that advanced users can include it in a studio or live setting

What kind of files work with Home Concert Xtreme?
Home Concert Xtreme works with both Type 0 and Type 1 Standard MIDI files. So, you can open just about any MIDI file you create, find on the Internet or that you purchase. Please be aware that some MIDI files are created with more performance detail than others.

First, a MIDI file has almost no music notation information in it. A MIDI file basically consists of key signatures, time signatures, and performance data. Home Concert Xtreme uses the key and time signatures in the file and then transcribes the performance data into music notation.

Home Concert Xtreme does a pretty good job of transcribing, and Home Concert Xtreme offers you features for further enhancing the notation display. However, the display is not going to look good unless the MIDI file is organized to logical beats and barlines. Fortunately, most MIDI files are organized to logical beats and barlines, but occasionally you run into one that was freely recorded without reference to a metronome. In such a case, the notation looks incoherent. (You may still use these kinds of files for a play-along experience, but you’ll need to use a printed score in tandem).

For the keyboard tracks to show correctly in notation, you need to work with MIDI files that have the treble and bass parts split into separate tracks.

How do I make my own MIDI files to be used for Home Concert Xtreme?
Here are some general guidelines

  • Put the left- and right-hand piano parts on separate tracks (or staves). When you save the MIDI file, save as a Type 1 SMF.
  • Make sure that the piano tracks are assigned to a unique MIDI channel and that any accompaniment tracks are individually assigned to unique MIDI channels.
  • Use proper time signatures and keys signatures. In the case of key signatures, be sure to designate major or minor as appropriate.
  • If you use a sequencing program to record the tracks in real time, record to a metronome and then quantize the tracks afterwards.
  • Make sure that there is an appropriate patch change placed at the beginning of each track. (Presumably this will happen automatically if you use Finale correctly).
  • Put the drum kit track, if any, on channel 10.
  • Make sure that your file has a General MIDI Reset message near the beginning.

Can I print the manual?
The tutorials are in the form of HTML files. Therefore, printing is handled by your web browser.

Each help page is actually comprised of several html pages that are organized into frames. Only the active frame will print.

For example, if you have used the column on the left side to navigate to a particular topic and then use the Print... command, only the list of topics on the left will print.

To make the main body of the tutorial text active, try clicking in the main body of the text. Then use the Print... command.

How can I use Home Concert Xtreme with a college piano pedagogy class?
Locate and download the Piano Pedagogy Technology Project Guide from the TimeWarp website. It contains 16 term projects for piano pedagogy students.

Using Home Concert Xtreme

How does Home Concert Xtreme help me learn?
Home Concert Xtreme is created specifically for learning and performing keyboard repertoire. After you have chosen MIDI-based materials (see our “finding MIDI” guide), we suggest a few approaches to using HCX in learning new music.

First, you may want to listen to the music you are about to learn. Do this with the PREVIEW feature.

Second, you probably want to simply start learning the notes slowly. For this, use the LEARN mode. You may practice with either one hand at a time or both hands. Learn mode is often most effective in small sections.

After you are comfortable with basic note-reading, move on to JAM mode. (Many teachers actually recommend doing this first, as sight-playing). In Jam mode, you’ll have to keep up with the accompaniment--it won’t stop just because you might miss notes! You may want to choose a slower tempo and gradually increase as you improve. Again, it’s helpful to do this in small sections.

Speaking of sections, you will find that some areas are harder than others. To keep yourself focused, select a region of music and mark it as a Loop Region (right click in the selection to choose “Set Loop Region”). Then, when you engage the loop feature, you’ll only be able to practice just that section of music. Start slowly, then gradually increase the tempo as you improve.

When you are ready to play the piece expressively, use the Perform Mode. Perform mode gives you the flexibility to speed up and slow down (rubato), and makes sure the score and the accompaniment follows you as you play. You can adjust the sensitivity of Perform Mode in the Preferences.

At any point along the way, you might want to listen to your own playing objectively. To do this, click the Play Performance button. If you’d like to compare any of your previous 10 performances, you may find them in the Controls menu. Turn on the optional keyboard display to watch for any notes you may have missed--they will appear in red.

You may also wish to watch our video on this subject.

Can I use Home Concert Xtreme as a performer?
Definitely! Pianists worldwide use Home Concert Xtreme to have an interactive, well-lit score, as well as to play along with band and orchestra accompaniments. HCX has even been featured as the “virtual orchestra” for concerto festivals.

I play another instrument besides piano. Is Home Concert Xtreme for me?
Any instrument with MIDI Input and Output can be used fully with Home Concert Xtreme. Even though traditional acoustic instruments and vocalists won’t be able to interact with Play and Follow or Learn modes, they may wish to use HCX as a feature-rich MIDI player. ANYONE can use Home Concert Xtremre to:

  • experience fully orchestrated accompaniments
  • change tempo
  • change volume
  • see notation in different sizes
  • keep an entire collection of music on the computer (or iPad)
  • have automatic page turns

Editing Files

Why can’t I see two voices on the same line?
The current design of our program is such that we avoid excessive display of rests and we represent the notes on each staff as though they were part of the same voice. We realize this is not ideal for the practice of more sophisticated repertoire and encourage advanced players to use Home Concert Xtreme in tandem with reliable print editions.

How do I get rid of ledger lines?
Home Concert Xtreme allows users to customize scores in a variety of ways. To reduce ledger lines by using octave symbols:

  • Select the region (click and drag with your mouse)
  • Right-click within the highlighted area
  • Select LH (or RH) track markers, then 8va/vb (or 15ma/mb)

My score has incorrect note values. What’s wrong?
MIDI files are often created without regard to how the notes will appear in the score. Because of this, variances between the actual performance and the onscreen score may exist. In many cases, you can “clean up” the appearance and make it much closer to the printed score. Note that this process does not affect playback, but rather only how the notes LOOK on the screen. Here are a couple of features you can use:

Quantization markers

  • Click and drag over the region you wish to quantize
  • Right-click within the selected region
  • Select Upper or Lower Staff Markers-->Quantization
  • Select the appropriate rhythmic division for this section

Duration markers
It’s especially common for notes to not have their full duration in MIDI files (often the performer let go of one or more keys a little early--even when musically appropriate, this changes the appearance when MIDI is displayed as notation.) Here’s how to change the duration of a note:

  • Click on a given note to place the cursor on that beat
  • Select Upper/Lower Staff Track Markers--> Duration
  • Choose the appropriate duration

All the notes are on the same staff. What can I do?
You may run into MIDI files in which the left and right hand parts are recorded onto the same track. Sometimes this requires editing in a sequencer (or contact the manufacturer of the files), but often you can make a more usable version with TimeWarp’s free Keyboard Split utility.

Download it here:
www.timewarptech.com

Why doesn’t the score display look like my printed score?
MIDI files do not contain the actual score of a piece. Rather, the data in a MIDI file represents the performance information about a specific rendering of a piece. Therefore, what you see on the display in Home Concert Xtreme is exactly what was played (or step-entered) into the file. So whenever you see slightly incorrect note-values or lots of ledger lines or wrong clefs, this is simply how the file was created.

Home Concert Xtreme offers the user several ways of making scores look more like the printed version, however, with editing tools including:

  • Clef
  • Quantization
  • Durations
  • Dynamics (either in a single marking or across a range of notes)
  • Fingerings
  • Articulations
  • Text Comments

Many educational publishers, including YPK (Publications by Paul Sheftel) and Piano Adventures (by Nancy and Randal Faber) have already edited their MIDI files for optimal display in our software. If you’d like to make your own edits, you may access these settings like this:

  • For edits which affect a single note or beat of the music, RIGHT-CLICK the note or rest to access the “Simple Marker” menu
  • For edits which affect a range of music (say cresc. or accel., for instance), click and drag a range of music, then RIGHT-CLICK in the highlighted area to access the “Region Markers” menu

How do I change the clef of a specific passage?

  • Select the area that needs changing (either click and drag or select ALL with Command-A)
  • Right-click within your selection to access a small pull-down menu
  • Select the staff you want to change (upper or lower)
  • Select the "Treble Clef" (or Bass Clef if it applies

I can’t make changes (fingerings, text markings, etc.) in certain MIDI files. What’s wrong?
You may be using MIDI files which are locked, probably due to copy protection on the original (especially if it was purchased as a floppy disk). In any case, you can open the Properties of the file (“get info” on a Mac) and choose "unlock file."

How do I display a different instrumental part in the score?
You may display any one or two instrumental parts to view in Home Concert Xtreme’s score display. Simply open the Mixer view and click the channel you wish to display. If you wish to see two parts, SHIFT-click the second part.

Will Home Concert Xtreme tell me if I play wrong notes?
Absolutely! When you use the Learn Mode, Home Concert Xtreme will stop and wait if you miss a note. If you have the keyboard display visible, you will also see the correct key(s) in red. You may also use the Play Performance feature to review your performance--any notes you missed will also appear in red.

I use a Yamaha Disklavier as my MIDI instrument, how can I.......eliminate the delay?
Turn off the Disklavier's incoming delay. Assuming you are using a Mark IV with a Pocket Remote Control, you'll go to the last page, select SETUP, then MIDI IN, then turn the Delay In to "OFF."

...use play and follow most effectively?
Because of the inherent delay in the mechanical playback of the Disklavier or other player piano system, it isn’t possible to use play and follow effectively IF accompaniments channels are assigned to the keyboard itself. Please set the incoming MIDI data to play through the tone generator (MIDI generated sounds, rather than the acoustic keyboard mechanism) for best results.

Special Versions

...make tempo changes?
These MIDI files were recorded by well known Suzuki accompanist, Linda Perry. When she recorded them, she recorded them without reference to a metronome. Therefore, there are (1) subtle tempo fluctuations that are a natural part of any human performance and (2) there are specific places where she has put in a ritard or made a much more noticeable tempo change because the music calls for it.

So, the tempo changes that you are seeing displayed as beats per minute are tempo changes that show this human and musical quality of her playing. What I suggest that you do is focus on the tempo % indicator. If you wish to make the piece slower or faster overall, then put the percent at 80% or whatever number seems appropriate.

...get updates?
To insure that you have the latest version of Home Concert Xtreme SE and the latest MIDI files, please follow these steps as an alternative to the directions given above:

(1) Insert one of your Suzuki CDs.
(2) Download the Home Concert Xtreme SE Updater program that is appropriate for your computer (Windows or Macintosh) from this location:
www.timewarptech.com
(3) Once you have downloaded the updater, you may find that it launches automatically. If not, locate the updater, unzip it if necessary, and then double-click it to run it.
(4) During the update process, the updater will determine which Suzuki CD is in the drive and will install the latest Home Concert Xtreme SE program as well as the latest version of the appropriate set of MIDI files.
(5) For each additional Suzuki album, insert the CD and run the updater program again.

...load new files?
In order to combine the MIDI files from an addition Suzuki album with the MIDI files that are already installed, all you have to do is run the installer that came with the new set, and the new files will be added to the old files. Both sets will become available from the File menu within the program. There is no need to copy anything manually.

...register my copy?
Please create an account here:
www.timewarptech.com

to complete your registration. If you made your purchase online, then your registration is already complete.

Troubleshooting

I am playing on my keyboard, but the onscreen keyboard isn’t active. What could be wrong?
First, check that you have set MIDI In and Out properly.

How do I troubleshoot my MIDI connection?
First, make sure that all cables are properly connected:

Some keyboards have a direct USB connection, meaning that the smaller, squarish end of the USB cable goes to the keyboard and the flatter one connects to your computer.

If you are connecting with a MIDI interface, make sure the cables are connected like this:

Keyboard MIDI Out-------MIDI Interface IN \  
  }-----------------------------------USB to computer
Keyboard MIDI In---------MIDI Interface OUT /  

If your MIDI keyboard or MIDI interface requires a driver, (this most commonly applies to many older products and most current YAMAHA products), make sure that it is installed. It's best to check the manufacturer's website to get the most recent version of your driver.

With all your cables connected, restart your computer. If you use a Windows computer and didn't have the driver installed before, you may get some instructions about configuring new hardware.

Open Home Concert Xtreme.

Make sure you have made the appropriate settings in Home Concert Xtreme:

  • Choose Preferences
  • Choose MIDI Setup
  • Click Input and select your keyboard or interface
  • Click Output and select your keyboard or interface

If you are using a keyboard without its own sounds, be sure to also check "Echo MIDI Input"

How can I test my MIDI connection?
Home Concert Xtreme provides MIDI diagnostic tools on the MIDI setup page.

Testing MIDI Input
When you play keys on your keyboard you should see the globes light for whichever channel(s) your keyboard transmits.

Testing MIDI Output
Any one of the Output test buttons should cause your keyboard to play a test scale. (warning, the test patterns are played at full volume--you may want to turn down your keyboard’s volume if you are doing this in public)

I am using the Windows GS Wavetable as my MIDI Output device. Why are the accompaniment tracks behind?
Unfortunately, many Windows computers are equipped with a set of MIDI voices which have latency, or delay in playback. We have found a simple work-around, using a third-party tool. Click HERE for PDF instructions.