Part B: Overview

Part B explains how to customize Singer's Mate by changing the values of settings and how to use different practice modes.

Settings:

Settings will be covered in the order they are listed in the Edit Settings Dialog. Also, the names of Settings parameters are identified by using orange text.

We have already discussed the Transposition Tool at the top of the list. Tapping on the second item, titled Tempo will open the Tempo Tool as shown in figure 1 and the metronome will start playing. The tempo can be adjusted by selecting either the tempo name or value from one of the two picker wheels. The original tempo from the MusicXML file is shown in black and the selected value is displayed in red. The units of the tempo are based on the time signature as shown in the following table.

  • For time signatures: 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4, the metronome value is given in quarter notes per minute.
  • For time signatures: 2/2 and 4/2, the metronome value is given in half notes per minute.
  • For compound time (3/8, 6/8, 9/8 and 12/8), the metronome value is given in dotted quarter notes per minute.
Figure 1

The Transposition Tool and Tempo Tool were custom dialogs; however, all the remaining Settings are set by on/off switches or by generic dialogs. The next item in Settings is labeled Note Width. Tapping on Note Width will open the dialog shown in figure 2. As you can see, generic dialogs have just three parts: title, explanation and picker wheel.

Figure 2

The note width is a special kind of parameter that doesn't need to be changed often. In a few songs that are sung very quickly with lyrics on eighth or sixteenth notes, there's not enough room to display the lyrics in a single line. Singer's Mate has algorithms to stagger the lyrics vertically to avoid overlap, but when this happens too often it becomes difficult to read the lyrics. To help in such situations you can use the note width parameter to lengthen the notes and spread the lyrics out. This improves the display, but has its drawbacks. You get less of the song displayed on the screen and the animation is speeded up. So, unless there is a problem with the lyrics display, the note width should always be set to its default value of 8.

The note width parameter may seem counter intuitive, but it indicates the number of quarter notes displayed at one time on the screen. So a setting of 4 results in notes twice as wide as a setting of 8. Remember, this parameter is not used very often, but it is very handy when needed.

The next two Settings, Metronome Switch and Metronome Volume control the metronome and are self-explanatory. Even when the metronome is turned off, if the Intro Switch is on, the metronome still plays during the intro. Also, the metronome volume is set by the Metronome Volume setting, but the accompaniment volume is set by the volume switch on the side of your iPhone or iPod.

The next setting, Accompaniment Switch will probably be left on in most cases, but you can turn it off to practice A Capella.

The Intro Switch is used to turn the intro sequence on and off in both the Play mode and Repeat mode.

The Repeat Count setting determines how many times a practice range (covered below) is repeated.

Thin vertical lines mark the beginning and end of each measure. At the bottom of these lines, the measure number is displayed in black. These are handy if you are referring to a printed score as you practice. If you don't need them, you can turn them off with the Display Measure Numbers switch.

If the Highlight Playing Note switch is turned on, notes change color while they are playing.

The Note Label parameter determines what is displayed on the notes. Singer's Mate provides several different ways to label the notes, including solfege, numeric and alphabetic labels.

The parameter Solfege Syllables is only used when Note Labels is set to "Fixed Do" or "Movable Do." It determines whether accidentals or solfege syllables are displayed on sharps and flats.

The final parameter, Color Theme is self-explanatory. There are six themes. We hope you like one of them.

Practice Modes:

The practice mode is determined by the bottom three buttons in the button panel to the left of the screen (Play, Cont(inue) and Range). Regardless of the current position, when you press the Play Button, Singer's Mate will start playing at the beginning of the song. If you stop in the middle of a practice session by touching the screen or you scroll to a new position and want to restart practice from that point without intro, tap the Cont(inue) Button.

The last button, Range is used to set practice ranges. After reviewing the pitch trace from a practice session, you may decide that you need to practice just a particular part of a song. This can be done by using practice ranges. To create a practice range, scroll to the beginning of the first note in the range or the end of the last note in the range and tap the Range Button. Its title will change to "Set" and all other buttons will be disabled. Now scroll to the other end of your practice range. As you scroll a transparent overlay will cover the background, marking your range as seen in figure 3.

Figure 3

When you reach the other end of your range, tap the Set Button. The title of the bottom button will change to "Clear", the title of the Cont(inue) Button will change to "Repeat" and the other buttons will be enabled. The practice range is now set and the screen should look like figure 4.

Figure 4

To use a practice range, tap the Repeat Button. The display will automatically jump to the beginning of the range and start playing. If the intro switch is on, the first note in the range will be played two times before the animation starts. If you sing into the microphone during the intro, a pitch bar will extend up the center line indicating the pitch you are singing as shown in figure 5. Like the Play mode, you can stop the animation at any time by touching the screen. When Singer's Mate has played to the end of a practice range, it will automatically jump back to the start of the range and play it again. This will be repeated as many times as indicated by the Repeat Count parameter in Settings.

Figure 5

After you are finished with a practice range, tap the Clear Button. The range will be deleted and all buttons will return to their original settings.


Tutorial Links:

  • Part A: Getting Started - just enough info for your first practice
  • Part B: Customizing Your Practice Experience
  • Part C: Installing New Songs On Singer's Mate