Music Education and DTM

Hiroshi Suzuki 1992



DTM(Desktop Music), covers greater areas of music making than the old time idea of computer music. When people say computer music, it included music entry and playback with use of computer and sometimes it meant computer-assisted composition or arrangement of music. Those electronic music written by Stockhausen and other avant-garde composers were also called computer music. Computer music and DTM are different things and while with computer music, performers were replaced by computer, DTM provides broader range of capabilities from data processing including editing, performing and analyzing, to arranging and printing music. All these works are done on hand processing MIDI signal data only with computer and digital instruments and devices laid out as a system on a desk.
Every school has a special room for music education where a piano and audio system are set up. They are also equipped with a blackboard with stave, and not all but generally sound-proof walls and a ceiling. In a room next to music room, a large selection of brass and woodwind instruments, percussions and accordions are accommodated for lesson. Music teachers have, in many cases, a small desk either in the corner or center of the preparatory room. But they seldom use the desk for teaching. It can often happen that small things are put or only tea or coffee is served on the desk. DTM system should find its place here.
Then, what does DTM in futuristic music preparatory room? One case is that it can be a quite powerful music workstation for teachers. It can happen any time that a teacher picks up a band music that seems to be good for the level{ of his students for a concert, but it's written for older time band and doesn't fit today's instrument formation. He has to re-write some pan scores written in C to Bb, or arrange several phrases. The problem is that he is unable to have a definite image of the music as a result of these works. If he has an accessible DTM, he plugs in a computer and enters original scores with help of image scanner. Any editing and correction works can be done clicking with a mouse seeing the display. When he prefers easier data entry, he can enter melody just by scatting it through a microphone in hand. All the data come out instantly as a band music. What happens had he found no way out? No problems, just press 'HELP' key. The display turns to advise mode and gives him helpful instruction to get out of a mess. Finally, he can get beautiful scores printed out from the system. The plugged MIDI sound system performs the completed music exactly. Any music produced on the workstation can be stored in disks ready for instant search and output any time when necessary.
Another case is that music teachers can produce piano accompaniment pieces for music lesson. He enters data into a DTM to be automatically performed on digital piano or the Piano Player. Given the fact that not all music teachers are good at playing the piano, but playing the Beyer pieces at best, DTM can be a good partner helping him accompany piano performance in any desired tempo and key whenever data entry is done correctly even if he can't perform given music himself.
Soon, we may see more capable music software that allows us to notate music from live piano performance or CD orchestra instantly, or, automatic music performance can be done simply by reading scores with image scanner. It may become also possible to print out ensemble scores from music written for electronic organ.
DTM has a great future. It can support and complement music teachers to be used as a medium for CMI (Computer Managed Instruction) or, even CAI (Computer Aided Instruction) when there are good enough number of computers for individual student in classroom. Music education for children has had a significant obstacle so far because they find greater difficulties to understand relationship of scores and notes. They hardly have distinctive image of sound in relation to notes and vice versa. It's far remote for children to know rudiments of music than learning language or figures. A very recent open lesson at Ibo Elementary School in Tatsuno-shi, Hyogo-ken, has proven the effectiveness of DTM to help support children's understanding of music.
As increasingly computers are introduced in elementary and junior high schools throughout Japan, studies and open lessons of mathematics, physical science and cultural studies based on computer are already reported. I feel that music has come to join these subjects at last.
Looking back to the history, promotion of music and music education has achieved significant success thanks to long sighted efforts of the musical instrument industry involving all concerned in local communities. Piano and band instruments have greatly been promoted owing to the total dedication and commitment of the industry.
My columns will follow on the following subjects; 1. production of teaching materials, 2. analysis of production material, 3. teaching assistance, 4. extra-curricular music programs, 5. self motivation for music teachers, 6. simulated performance, 7. evaluation of music performance, S. and more. . . . . . I hope they are of help for front-line people heavily promoting music education and great benefit of DTM.

Music teachers: their reality -1

Music teachers are responsible for music education, and majorities of them are female. There's a general belief that women aren't good at machines. Mr. Etsuro Nita, who teaches at Ibaragi University Education Dept. attached elementary school wrote about it in his doctorate thesis this year. He conducted a survey of 228 music teachers in Ibaragi Prefecture in hopes of knowing how they see computer and music education. Here are some interesting results:
Q1. Have you ever felt that music performed with synthesizer sounded bad or unnatural?
A. 78.95% replied No.
Q2. Do you have any specific idea using synthesizer and computer, if you have them?
A. 62.72% answered Yes.
Q3. Do you want to use any electronic musical instrument freely at your will?
A. 89.04% replied Yes.
Q4. Have you ever seen any musical performance and music composition with held of computer?
A. Only 7.45% replied Yes. ('85 Tsukuba Science Expo. was held in Ibaragi Pref.!)
Q5. Have you ever felt that synthesizer and computer can be of your help in performing complicated music?
A. 35.53% said Yes.
Q6. Do you think that it would be fun, composing or performing music with use of computer?
A. 62.72% replied Yes.
Q7. Have you ever had computer in your classroom, making your children experience music lesson and playing with it?
A. 7.1% replied Yes.
Q8. Do you want to use computer in music lesson, if you can?
A. 57.02% answered Yes.
Q9. Do you think that computer can be a helpful tool in music education?
A. 44.73% replied Yes.
Q10. Are you interested in using computer for controlling teaching curriculum and evaluation of students?
A. 76.75% replied Yes.
Q11. Have you ever produced test papers and texts on word processor or computer?
A. 42.54% replied Yes.
Q12. Do you see that computer and word processors are important tools for your future teaching career?
A. 89.04% answered Yes.
(This survey was conducted in July, l989.)
The survey, the first of its kind ever, depicts some interesting facts. How affirmative the teachers are about the last question tells us that they see computer can't be bypassed in their teaching.
The survey also tells us that the teachers don't have sufficient information and knowledge on computer in relationship with music and education. While the answers for the questions 6, 8 and l0 reveal their enthusiasm and expectation toward computer, the replies for the questions 5 and 9 suggest that larger percentages of the teachers are afraid of their incapability. They are not pessimistic and hoping to be capable of using digital musical instrument and equipment as a first step to be involved in hi-tech music education as shown in questions 3 and l0. More encouraging fact is that over 50% of the respondents have definite ideas to carry their music lesson with computer and synthesizer.
All these findings tell us that almost all music teachers whatsoever they had studied, piano, vocal, etc. feel computer becomes a very important and effective tool in music education, though they have never experienced through their days in school and workplace.
The survey didn't show any difference of consciousness about computer and digital instrument by age and sex among the respondents. However, men and women have different tendencies. Men identify things in a way of overall view. On the other hand, women have, say, 'microscopic view'; seeing world around themselves with minute scrutiny as if through a microscope. They recognize every sequence of things in a series happens in front of them. This difference is evident in every household. Usually mother fills in home report for school, those things like family members, but father or brother writes map from home to school. Generally speaking, women find difficulties to have bird's-eye view or way of thinking of that type. On the other hand, women are good at doing things in process, from one step to another. They can do much better computer programming than men in this respect. I'm saying this simply to clarify the difference of men and women as human being, the difference of nature, but not of sexual superiority. I don't mean to discriminate women. It's just the way we are.
Otherwise, marriage and love won't exist. Our society relies on two different sexes, men and women. The teachers of a variety of age groups, whether they are male or female, showed no specific difference of recognition on computer and digital equipment, but only characteristics of individual. I will write more about it in my next article. One thing I want to let you know is that it's nothing but a distorted and discriminated understanding to say that women have difficulties to operate and control computer and synthesizer.

Music teachers: their reality -2

As majorities of typists were female in older times, we have had an image of typist almost exclusively belongs to woman. Similarly, pianists also remind us of feminine gender. Women have been known for their excellent manual skills and precise memory. These traits are fostered through repeated practice and training. I call this 'L-type' study pattern. The L stands for Learn. On the opposite to the L-type study pattern is S-type that comes from Study. Anyone who is S-type accomplishes study, learn rules and theory of things. The S-type is likened to be software, while the L-type, useware.
Women are likely to explain things in the way of direct method. Consequently their talks sound vivid and lively s they convey tales exactly as they have heard and try to repeat stories with no modification and amplification. It tells us that women are very concerned about 'procedure'. In music playing, the L-type diligently follow 'correct' playing and fingering of music in many cases.
On the contrary, men are more likely to speak in indirect method. They try to convey stories they have heard trimmed and simpler. It may not sound vivid, but they are more concerned about telling 'extract' of stories. We may find more S-types among men.
When music teachers put their hands on DTM, there's a greater difference in attitudes between the S-type and L-type. Both types have ideas what to do with DTM. However, their reaction splits, accept or reject, according to where their primary concerns are: which have priority, tasks or procedures?
Japan's Ministry of Education has set a new goal this year to install computer to every elementary and junior high school in Japan. At this moment, 21% of elementary schools and 44.8% of junior high schools throughout Japan have computers. The effect will be tremendous. When schools have equipped with computer, the most presumable usage will be a word processor, or data storage for controlling test results of students. As long as computer is used for these purposes, there will be no teachers who oppose or resist it. Even so, possibly, some 'capable' teachers are recruited for data entry and output. In case they are the L-type, they tend to rely on any specific application software available on market since they are passive in nature. As increasingly different software programs are introduced, they may stick to a few selected ones they feel easy to handle. They even don't care about interrelationship among software, nor time sharing for work with their colleague. It can happen in worst case that they put teachers who don't or can't use computer away.
On the other hand, innovative S-type teachers are able to expand software packages matched to different purposes in the frame work of CMI (computer managed instruction) or CAI(computer aided instruction) to promote entire scheme of school. They are sure to have a total view not restricted to their subjects but to introduce required software and usage systematically.
Looking into software for word processor, we have so many to choose today. The L-type teachers may pick up a series of software to be controllable by the same FEP (front end processor, Japanese dictionary format). In my case, being S-type, I have a variety of software for different works, for example, those for letter writing, figures and table, and have all texts converted into MS-DOS text files for printout on 48 dot high-speed
In other words, the L-type teachers can be identified as environment-adapted, while the S-type teachers, environment-developer. The former tries to adjust its feet to shoes, but the latter tries to find best comfortable shoes for feet. When environment-adapted teachers select software, their colleague can expect set up of a system commonly used by all teachers and students, however, it often lacks flexibility to be applicable to specific purpose and creative works. In this system set up, the most innovative part of music arrangement and composition is left to DTM, but not to operators.
The environment-developers may set up a system that has some missings or more devices of the same capabilities, but, it will be a more characteristic and flexible system. This type of system leaves of DTM those tasks including printing out of music and automatic music performance.
Unfortunately, we have no shoes that just fit to everyone. Scissors work good to cut papers, but not wood. A saw can cut wood easily, but not a thin paper. It goes the same with DTM. We have to select hardware and software matched to individual purpose. To save inconvenience of using a multiple of different tools, there are increasing numbers of DTM software including MS-DOS text file that allow users to convert files produced on different tools to the same DTM these days.
The L-type teachers are more excellent operating and understanding hardware, but the S-type teachers are more capable in application of hardware in many ways. The best environment for school is to have both L-type and S-type teachers in a good balance. As increasingly female teachers join education field in Japan, however, the numbers of L-type teachers are increasing.

Children: their reality -1

How many of us could have imagined of children today who manipulate ten keys, mouse and joy stick with no difficulties? They are called home-computer generation, or simply a new human kind. For those children and young people, computer represents a toy and stationery like pencils and erasers.
When home computers began to sell more, young people ceased playing mahjong at mahjong house in town. Children found home computer more fun than playing with friends when every one of them was accustomed to go to 'jyuku' (after-school private tutorial institutions). All these changes emerged as today's society has changed. Children staff their life and build their standard of life habits in a society and social environment they are born. Children's culture is different and changes from time to time.
Every period of history has had 'gadgets' and 'gimmicks'. But such 'intelligent' ones didn't exist before. Children of these days face an enormous stress from ever increasing amount of study. Since children have same level of capability in whichever age they are born, today's children have to much rely on 'gadgets' than before. As we saw electric calculator replaced simple calculating board, no one can stop that CD-ROM and optical disk take place of printed materials.
In many cases' children at school and 'jyuku' are plagued by machine-like learning by memory and training. In extreme, Japanese learning system matches to memory-conscious society that provides more opportunities for L-type (learning) students typically found at the so-called high-ranked universities. The established system that evaluates human characters simply by how much knowledge one has definitely prevents children to have innovative and characteristic ideas.

Knowing - understanding - can do
This is the best presumable procedure of studying. Today's Japanese entrance examination system is designed simply to evaluate the first stage of this study chart. It only helps encourage present unbalanced education that stresses acquiring knowledge and technology. I don't mean to say that children don't need to study to acquire knowledge and technology, of course. Nothing develops without them. However, large percentage of knowledge and technology can be handled by computer today, because we can take advantage of it for storing data. The critical point of using computer is that it does nothing how-much-ever data is stored unless we know how to capitalize on the data systematically. Education shouldn't stop here.
To understand things is achieved as a result of sorting, generalizing, categorizing and evaluating the acquired knowledge. It requires editing and realigning huge data. It's totally different from converting one file to another. With this process, entered data is reformed and reborn.
Japanese education almost ignores this 'understanding' factor. For instance, students learn C major scale by pitch names of Do, Re, Mi. Music teachers don't make children understand that pitches are transposed in parallel in different scales. That's why children become allergic to scales and loose interest in music. They have an image that minor scales are hard to handle, because they don't learn the basic of minor scale that E and A in major scale turn to minor scale simply by lowering them by half note. I find no music software available on the market that turns major scale into minor one, or vice versa.
When DTM is used as an only 'gadget' to withdraw stored data exactly as they are, we can't find any valuable means of education with DTM. Articulation can be entered into computer as data, but it's useless when children don't know what it means. DTM plays no important role in music education under this circumstance.
I quoted that 'L-type' learning is much concentrated on procedure sequence in my previous article. Music itself represents sequenced file of note data lined up in order in a certain period of time. Just controlling input and output of notes into computer, as DTM is involved now, can only encourage 'L-type' learning. When we have different type of music software for DTM that allows entering and reproducing data as a result of understanding structure of music and difference of tunes, but not creating music simply by entering notes as advised, music education with be more 'S-type' (studying). More than that, we should be concerned about greater value of DTM in music education, that is to lead children a step higher to the level so that they 'can' express or tell themselves with the acquired knowledge and skills.
Voices calling for education that raise characteristic children are ever increasing. However, many are not for sure what should be characterized or more individualistic. What needs characterization is what to study and aim of study. What needs to be more individualistic is how lesson is carried out with eyes on individual child. Standardized and leveled-out education throughout Japan to this day calls for some adjustments. We know that teaching in same level and speed at every classroom at public school has brought a considerable number of dropouts. Introduction of computer including DTM in education is expected to encourage characteristic and more individualistic study. Music education assisted with DTM is designed to complement drawbacks of present education system and provide children with characteristic and creative study matched to capability and study level of individual child, while assuring them individualistic and rational approach to music.

Children: their reality -2

Long ago, school played a key role in local cultural community. It had most advanced facility and equipment not found in household. It could enlighten general public with cultural guidelines and vision toward future. Today, school has nothing but old-fashioned teaching tools and materials. It no longer provides us with fascinating drama focusing on our future.
Children are born active and quite enthusiastic about everything around them. Any teaching tools and materials that fail to attract children's interest and stimulate their enthusiasm for study only represent garbage. Children are never inspired, nor continue studying unless they are interested. More than that, there develops no progress and advancement where there's no definite themes and objectives. For example, the 'Dragon Quest' computer game software, one of the most favorite among children, is designed to encourage children not to give up or to be disappointed while playing, providing them with a variety of keys and well-organized objectives toward the goal.
Children show such attitudes as 1.enjoying, 2. seeking better approach, 3. trying innovative idea, 4. cooperating with friends, and 5. enduring, whenever they are quite positive. These attitudes are very common when children playing with any favorite computer video game, but rarely found in music lesson at classroom. I think the reason for less-inspired attitude of children in school music education is largely due to teacher-guided music lessons that often discourage children to try their own idea and spontaneous studying. It's likely to happen more often when teachers are excellent performer of any musical instrument. Japanese music education at public schools doesn't aim to raise professional players. However, the reality is ever closer to this. Music teachers press children to highly professional level of study. Such music lessons to confine children in repetitive and technique-oriented training which seem to be more appropriate for professionals are sure to fail to attract interest of children. A survey tells us those lower graders of Japanese elementary school name music as the most favorite
among all subjects. As they grow to upper grades, children reject music, naming it the least attractive subject. The situation gets worse in classroom at junior high schools. Sometime ago, journalism wrote a lot about violence in junior high schools throughout Japan. Remember, it was in music class that students' first turned violent. Why do they become outrageous? No one wants to be forced to do anything without an objective. No one wants to study when he has no interest and affection. Children resist when they are crammed against their will without tasting fruit of music. They get furious because they are in the midst of adolescence and right on the time to establish their self consciousness.
I don't mean to blame music teachers. All of us teaching music at school know that music room turns to a mess of noise when individual student makes sound simply because we handle sound in music lesson. More characteristic sound students produce, more annoyance to all in the same classroom. The problem was that we didn't have any effective measure other than playing same note in unison to avoid the sound chaos.
The appearance of electronic music generator brought us a dramatic breakthrough in music education. Headset has freed us from hazardous noise and realized quiet environment for playing music without bothering others. Small as it is, but headset evolved as a revolution of the 20th Century music education, a great revolution of 'closed circuit.' For today's Walkman-generation, a headset is part of their daily life. Using digital musical instrument for sound source, DTM (desk top music) system is expected to be an ideal tool for characteristic and individualistic music education.
Children can speak and understand Japanese before they start studying written Japanese. Literal studies of Japanese help accelerate linguistic ability of children. Nevertheless, language which children most need in their daily life comes first. That is why not a few people are unable to speak English in Japan, though they study the language for a considerable time from junior high to college. Similarly, Japanese music education is far from children's daily life. Any study with no relationship with actual life does nothing to children.
Children appreciate music to 1. ease their solitude, 2. inspire them, 3. cuddle nerves, 4. heighten themselves, 5. give value to their times, and 6. communicate with friends. Music represents sympathy, catharsis, charisma and common language for children. They find music of any field the same value.
Outside school, music network linked by MIDI has been in operation. Whatever style it will be, children, who are familiar with music from their nature, are eager to have free and flexible study of music and to share the world of skilled music making which has belonged to a limited number of professionals so far. It's DTM that can satisfy them. We had long dreamed of a relaxed relationship of music and ourselves, not art, nor technique-oriented, but as a natural culture in our life. History has proved that poetry evolves from that environment. Notes turn to music in that environment. To realize ideal musical environment backed by that idea, we have to be well-prepared for how to select best conceivable hardware and software and to coordinate them under a total concept of DTM.

During summer in 1990, I had a chance of visiting overseas countries to observe reviews of educational research works. I was especially impressed by a review on the electronic technologies and their applications on music education presented at ISME convention in Helsinki, Finland. At this convention, Carnegie-Melon Univ. of U.S. made a presentation on the theme of "Use of Computer in the Piano Instruction for the Beginners," in which an AI software program completed by Roger Dannenberg and other was featured. This program was introduced to Japan last year, and I'm well acquainted with it as I was at the presentation in Japan. It enables automatic accompaniment to the performance of any tempo on MIDI instrument by the prepared data of the program.
The program sensor eight direct sound data before and past the data being performed at the instant and automatically makes adjustment for irregularities and errors of tempo. The AI takes care of such tempo irregularities and errors natural to the beginners. It's very useful as an instruction system. Similar method has been already practiced at my college and at Naruto Teachers' College for the piano instruction, however, we could not have yet solved the tempo irregularities. Since the program was presented by a video, it seemed that most attendants could not understand it well. I knew the basic principles of his research, and found that the program has now attained a high-degree of completion.
In England, efforts have been directed for the past two years toward including music curriculum into the regular school education. Of all UN member nations, only 7% or so have music curricula in the regular school education. It's not hopeful to have the curricula in the U.S. or in France for quite sometime yet. Following the example of advanced music education in Japan, U.K. is now trying to re-structure the school curriculum, in which the country is now planning to place the "informational music," that is, computer music. It's been reported that, in U.K., a circuit bus, called "Technology Bus," with a load of high-tech equipment goes around to the elementary schools. In Sweden, eight of the same sort of bus are now in operation, and they use such traditional instruments as recorder and other acoustic musical instruments, however, the focus is placed on the electronic instruments and other new equipment such as computer to cope with the modernization of music. The educators of Sweden said that there is no trouble as the children are used to computer from their elementary school days.
At Siberius Music institute, where the educational convention was held, there is a course for computer music. However, nothing seems to be prepared for the students of music theory and computer. At Singapore University, on the other hand, computer and other equipment are offered to all students of music. At the University, a great MIDI system has been constructed, and the network with Macintosh and Atari computers as main frame is in operation at the University's Extra- Curricula Music Activities Center.
Now, back to the ISME Convention. Most of the reviewers used IBM, Macintosh, or Atari and unexceptionally MT-32D as tone generator. However, their talks on the software programs were just reading out the operation manuals aloud and nothing more. I had a doubt if such reviews could be truly called the research reviews. Nobody presented their original program. They were all applications of the pre-prepared programs. Although, there was one review on a teaching material by use of CD-ROM. It was presented by Australian party. Their presentation demonstrated synchronization of music to the notated display and to the still images by connecting the original material to computer. I felt that it represented a new DTM medium for music education. I understand that Rittor Music will soon release an inexpensive CD-ROM system through co-development with NEC. I wish they would also help develop educational materials. A large-scaled data base is needed when DTM is conceived for music education. There is nothing more appropriate than the CD-ROM.
After the ISME convention, I visited STEIM, a national research laboratory at Amsterdam of Holland. This institution is yet unknown in Japan, but is staffed by researchers comparable to those of IRCAM of France and they are engaged in development of MIDI controllers for various progressives live performances of music. These new controllers included mechanical hand-like device, a device with a look of cobweb, etc. These unique control systems offer many hints to the music education, I think. The patterns and pattern recognition are always associated with music and sounds. In a research in pattern recognition, Pennycock and others of McGill College of Canada have made advanced results. To sum up the results of their research: (1) To transform music into notes, (2) To transform notation into music, (3) To organize musical patterns into information, (4) To organize ideas into information, (5) To build a data bank from music and its contents, (6) To form an interface between the player and music information, (7) To study systems necessary for music education, etc. Some of these results have already been marketed as software, however, the most important ones are yet to come.

How to select hardware -1

Almost all the application software for DTM now available on the Japanese market are designed around some specific models of computer. It's because of unexceptional environment in Japan where all those Japanese hardware manufacturers including NEC, Fujitsu,Toshiba and Hitachi exclusively share every conceivable market of Japan from office use to personal hobbies, and they are further extending their hands over to school markets. The problem is that the majority of these Japanese-made computers only find a market in Japan. It's not because of their capability, but simply attributed to the Japanese language on which they are run.
Outside Japan, IBM, Macintosh, Atari and Amiga computers has dominant market share, and the software programs designed for this hardware have excellent data and program compatibility. Only Yamaha has the C1 music computer in Japan, which provides benefits in terms of free compatibility with these offshore computers and software programs. On the other hand, it lacks communication means between other Japanese-made computers including NEC and Fujitsu. As a result, the C1 users are obliged to buy additional foreign-made hardware to get access to wider range of software. It discourages consumer's buying interest of the C1. Larger percentage of the owners of the NEC PC-9800 series computers depends on 'Ichitaro', 'Hanako'. or other software written in Japanese language.
As the operation system as the MS-WINDOWS has been widely used these days, more foreign-made software programs including the Aldus Page Maker and Master Track Pro (MTP) exclusively designed for the MS-WINDOWS system are compatible with upper class models of the PC-98 series. The only but very critical burden to get full advantage of the MS-WINDOWS system is that users are requested to buy those fast-processing machines using 16 to 32-bit 80286 or 80386 CPU. in many cases they need additional expensive devices including expansion memory and specific disks. A total system consisting of these devises and a laser printer cost enormous enough, equivalent to a full Macintosh system. The situation will be more complex when you run a computer on high-resolution display. Most of the music software on the market becomes useless since it has to share internal memory with extra channels. For example, though the MTP is originally designed to be capable of displaying editing works at maximum efficiency in high-resolution mode, even an advanced model slows down processing to a normal mode when it's coupled with the Roland MPU-PC98 as an interface. That is, memory sharing occurs between mouse interface and extra channels. It's just like driving a very high-speed racing-type sports car in town.
Another problem on DIM is that MIDI standard format hasn't been fully regulated yet. While IBM and other foreign manufacturers have cleared the matter and standardized MIDI format, Japanese computer manufacturers have yet failed to regulate even MIDI signal. It's no wonder that a B maker's musical instrument produces extremely loud sound or the other way around when it's operated with an A maker's computer data. It happens because velocity data of the A and B are different.
Most frequently used instrumental voices are hardly classified in a standard format. Since different voices are assigned to a certain number of program by different sound system, you are always requested to reassign voices to program numbers, seeing voice charts.
I feel a kind of embarrassment every time when I 'm asked which system I recommend for DTM. in the aforementioned circumstances, I find extreme difficulties to give him a persuasive advice. A variety of music magazines list new DTM software every month. It extends a great variety from a very expensive program to be retailed at \120,000 to a simple one easy to be copied into an inexpensive blank disk. The selection of DTM system well reminds us of making a decision which car to buy.
The only logical answer is systematic selection of necessary hardware and devices matched to individual purpose.
The best hardware definitely depends on which task you want. Furthermore, I've heard myself that a user who had purchased a best appropriate software, but was unable to use it because the operation manual was written in English. In this respect, I'd like to show you a simple (may be unrealistic for practical selection, though) guide-lines for buying a computer for music education below:
Size: Smaller the better. Either composite type or lap top model is recommended. However, system expansion, color display and some other capabilities must be compromised.
Price: Cheaper the better. Atari and Amiga computers are far inexpensive than Macintosh. The difference of them seems to be stemmed from different CPU and memory capacity.
CPU: Either 68 type or 86 type is recommended. I say that the 68 type is more a computer. The 86 types incorporate some inefficiencies as a computer. They are regarded as a somewhat upgraded electronic calculator.
Display: It can be beautifuller and in high-resolution mode. But, Japanese-made software doesn't operate perfectly in high-resolution mode. Macintosh provides beautiful display, but monochrome mode is more practical. The total cost will climb to enormous level when you set up a full-color system. It's wiser to buy a Japanese-made computer and buy extra devices with the same budget.
Speed: Faster the better. The H98 operates at an incredible processing speed of 33 mega byte. Speed is critical. Faster machine saves your time. I had to wait for hours after 'Wait for a moment, please' message is displayed when I entered music real time using the Ballad!

How to select hardware -2

Selection of hardware may differ greatly upon what kind of system you want to set up, an exclusive system for DTM, or DTM task added to any existing system, etc. It's rather easy to turn Macintosh and NEC PC-98 computers to include DTM function. Based on Excel or Multiplan calculation software and that DTP software as PageMaker and matched word processing system, some software for music purpose including a MIDI (interface) units make those computer systems well DTM set up. While, the Yamaha C1 can't be included in the same group as Macintosh and PC-98, because it isn't compatible with Japanese language. Though, it runs on MS-DOS.
I'm sure that exclusive DTM system leaves music teachers at school not a few frustrations and inconveniences. Also you have to take future communication possibilities of system into consideration. Here are 5 cases for different purposes.

1. Data processing of exam and students' remark are preferable besides music purposes.
The basic capabilities as a computer is required. 16bit 286 or 32bit 386 CPU will be better for future expansion of system. In the same token, at least an expansion floppy disk slots are preferable to cope with additional MIDI and other interfaces for music purpose. High resolution display is better for music printing, and color display is recommended because it provides more data. High resolution printer of a 8dot or laser system can be a good match. The computer itself should have a hard disk of 20 Mbyte or more memory package density to avoid entering software system from floppy disks every time you use. In total, the system satisfying the above-mentioned requirements will cost \600,000 to \1,000,000 excluding software. Adding hardware and software for DTM, it will be \700,000 to \1,300,000.
2. Use exclusively for DTM
An all-in-one system is a good choice. However, in many cases you have to buy a printer as well as a music keyboard and a sound module separately. The total system becomes large, and as a matter of natural course, it needs considerable space to set up. If you don't want a music keyboard, Macintosh senses well. However, when you are much concerned about music printing, you are requested to buy a rather expensive laser printer. Furthermore, you will need more money for sound module and audio system if your major purpose is to produce material for music education. The total cost will be near the case l, but I assure you that you can set up a very simple and effective system since you are free from complicated connection of a heap of related devices.
3. Total concentration on music purpose.
A system for this purpose will be realized simply by plugging a sound module, audio system and a professional model sequencer. Very simplified and cost-effective. The problem of this system is that, however, it can't cope with music printing and display requirements. While, you are looking for a system for very principle type of music works such as production of background music for school activities, then, this can be helpful enough. I think that the Yamaha SE-5000 organ for school is a good buy because it incorporates a sequencer, and is retailed at an attractive price of less than \200,000.
4. Introduction into school music class.
A computer for one or two students, and different levels of music education can be experimented: Music printing and sound creation at elementary school, arrangement for ensemble and composition at junior high school, and accompaniment and arrangement purposes for chorus, ensemble as well as composition. It won't take much time before every school from elementary to senior high level in Japan has computer as a result of the new guide line of Course of Study regulated by the Ministry of Education. At some elementary schools, teachers have been experimenting CAI written on simple language like LOGO.
In this case, sharing related devices including printer, a single system of average sound quality and display, will just cost \200,000. At junior high level, more advanced software including the Roland's Musikun will be introduced into classroom. A computer with more than average capabilities and sound module like the Roland CM-64 will be called for. An audio system can cover entire class probably because students will use headset in many cases in classroom. No schools can afford to set up this large system in music room. So, please consult your colleague and make a wise decision to be able to set up a well-organized system for multi purposes.
5. Self-study before introduction.
You won't be able to select any hardware and software matched to your purposes unless you have good knowledge about basic matters such as MS-DOS and MIDI. In fact, one of my friends purchased a full Macintosh system without much thought as he had heard much about it. The system is left unused. He had never imagined that the user manual of purchased software is written in English. It couldn't have happened if he had some knowledge on computer. He could have started from scratch, groping through the English manuals backed by his acquired know-how. The best way to avoid this mistake is to experiment as many hardware and software as possible, taking every possible opportunity.

How to select hardware -3

Exclusive machine or general hardware?
You hardly find a computer exclusively designed for DTM in the market today, while we are familiar with word processing computers. What's the difference between computer and the so-called word processor? First, it depends on whether a machine provides us with an instant access capability to produce letters and documents and program files without any specific knowledge.
With a word processor, you are guaranteed against easy operations of word data entry, edit, storage and printing, selecting desired menu unconscious of any computer involved in the processes. You are requested to have very basic knowledge such as correct insertion of floppy disks, however, there's no way for you to have an expertise on computer. Word processor is designed to be friendly to computer amateurs, doing a professional operation itself with its own system and software. It's quite good for ordinary letter writing and production of documents. What about designing original programs to match specific needs? No good. Only a computer designed on DOS (Disk Operating System) can meet your request.
Some latest word processors have built-in calculation and communication capabilities. They are more of a computer than ever, but the calculation abilities of those machines are much slower and memory density isn't good
Those Japanese language software including Ichitaro allow user to exchange or transmit data on MS-DOS but with an extensive knowledge on computer. The Ministry of Education set a new guideline sometime ago to introduce personal computer into every school from elementary level to senior high level. I suspect that future environment of school will be split into two: skilled and unskilled, according to knowledge level of teachers about computer.
Although the Japanese language word processors allow user to select any desired style of data entry among 6 different ways, majorities of manufacturers design their computers on alphabet letter means for data entry. As with this case, any exclusive machines have some horoughly tailored operation system. That requests user not a small compromise, and to fit their feet into shoes.
Music data entry is possible in many ways on the DTM software programs now available in the market. They are on 1. hardware keyboard, 2. music keyboard, 3. step writing. 4. mouse, 5. MIDI signal, 6. cursor, 7. optical sensor unit, etc. From standpoint of music production, data entry playing music keyboard is the best, because it doesn't disturb flow of music. The problem is that it's only good for trained keyboard player. In a widely spread assumption that those skilled musicians don't want DTM, music data entry almost exclusively relies on MIDI keyboard or typewriter style keys.

Dream DTM hardware

As many tracks as possible?

Latest DTM software provides greatly improved note resolution capability. With the former programs, a quarter note is divided into 24, that is a sixth note is expressed in 6 resolutions. Those notes under sixth can only be shown as a triplet of sixth. We have now pretty much efficient software that can resolve a quarter note into 480! That means they are more musical in terms of expressing subtle nuances by length of note and timing of voicing. There's not much problem entering ordinary chords, however, when you designate the chord to be played in arpeggio, you have to express subtle timing of voicing. Any software having efficient resolution capability can does a better job in this case.
Another important aspect of today's DTM is that enormous number of tracks is provided. An ensemble score requires to store performance data of some different parts. In case of music for string quartet, you need 4 tracks. Sequencers of earlier times had only 2 to 4 tracks. When more tracks were required, we did a kind of ping-pong recording, transferring data of a track to another with unused memory capacity left, just as the case of recording music with a tape recorder. The result was a mixed up storage of performance data of multiple of tracks in one. Correction of any specific part becomes an exceptionally hard task.
With the Yamaha C1 music computer, you have 200 tracks for simultaneous play back and another 200 track for editing works, totaling amazing capacity of 400 tracks. As it is a l28-note polyphony machine, you can produce a full score of l28-member orchestra. Numbers of tracks vary according to software: 64 for the Master Tracks Pro, 18 for the RCM and l0 for the Ballad. How much does difference of that software bring in making music? How-many-ever tracks are provided, you have maximum of l6 MIDI channels to which music data are transferred. Even those latest DTM machines having A and B output ports allow you to get access to 32 channels of voice. In other words, you can produce up to 32 voices in maximum. 32 voices are good enough to express every part of a full orchestra, however, in case with the Ballad 2 software, the l0th track is exclusively allowed for rhythm section. 9 tracks are left for 9 parts. It's impossible to enter music even of a small orchestra. In addition to this restraint, the exclusive sound generator for the Ballad 2 is 8-note polyphonic. It further reduces capability.
On the other hand, the Yamaha C1 provides 8 MIDI output ports. Individual sound generator allows you to play 16 voices, that is a total of 128 voices are provided. When you make a combo jazz music or rock band tunes, 8 voices will be good enough. However, a music performed in more than 8 parts and in different instrumental voices, obviously you need more tracks and output ports.
The "Tool de Music" software is capable of transferring 256 tracks through its A and B ports. That means you can produce 3a instrumental voices using two l6-note polyphonic multi-timbral sound generators. In what case do we need 200 tracks, then?
In multi-track recording, full-bodied string ensemble sound can be produced recording melody of the 1st violin several times over. Mr. Isao Tomita reportedly produced his earlier work after 80 times of layered recordings for a violin part. He had 24-track or 32-track tape recorder at best then. He had to mix-down a finished part onto another track. Today's DTM machine having more than 200 tracks came out as a solution for this pains-taking recording works. However, the problem is that when finished music is played back, sound of a track just sounds as plain music no matter how many music data are down-loaded in one track. We can understand this fact better when we think of a recording on tapes. The total effect of playing back multiple of same music data copied onto multiple of tracks is just same as music produced from a single track and played back in monaural mode.
Chorus and ensemble music are collective mass of differences produced by a multiple of performers. It doesn't produce any effect how many times of music layering are done unless you designate differences of timing of voicing, sound, level of pitch, vibrato, sound locality, etc. on individual track. To accomplish this, you need sound sources equivalent to number of available tracks. It's not practical at all, and you will need enormous money to have this system. To compensate the situation, some manufacturers have introduced PCM sound generators that incorporate a sound voice with those differences preprogrammed. You are free from a headache to have to have huge number of tracks and sound generators.
The C1 has tempo LFO, which is designed to produce differences of tempo by tracks, to create ununiformed timing of voicing and level of pitch automatically. Though, it doesn't always work as well as said.
Summing up this subject, machines with fewer tracks are suitable for pop music, while those with a host of tracks are better for production of classical music.

Start teaching single melody on DTM

As it was typical for the earlier times of DTM, the first works assigned to computer are entering single melodies and performance of them. Music education at Japanese elementary school isn't designed to try younger children learns reading or writing scores. The situation is the same as their linguistic environment. The 1st graders speak Japanese without difficulties in their daily life, however, they are unable to read or write Japanese. The course of study regulates words that children are required to learn during each year. Music education takes the same course; study of score step by step.
In many cases, children don't have any idea about written notes. Unlike numbers of 1, 2, 3, etc., which are widely used in everyday life, pitch names of Do, Re, Mi and so on are only a mean to recognize difference of individual note. Being marks only used in music, we can sing a song not knowing pitch names, and even play the musical instrument. What makes the situation worse at school is that a great number of music teachers in Japan are inclined to teach Solfeggio in C major with no regard of at which pitch names they are written. As a result, children are confused, not understanding difference of pitch names and syllable names.
The point is that expressing pitch names on conventional music staff is nonsense except for C major. Pitch names of Do, Re, Mi and so on just tell pitch relationship of main note and others in letters for convenience sake. In other words, they are rather likened as numbers showing inter-relationship of notes, but off an idea of pitch. We can definitely write absolute notes on music staff, but we need a major note that becomes a standard note when we want to express relative notes on the staff.
In teaching musical sense on DTM, we can't ignore this. I remember a small-key keyboard that incorporated 'naming pitch' function as a fun feature that was introduced some time ago. It won't be any help unless you want to teach children absolute pitch. Absolute pitch may poison students when they study any theory of music including chord and counterpoint, in which relative pitch is deeply involved.
The 'Hanauta-kun' software is designed to change entered vocal to MIDI chord with help of the built-in pitch-to-MIDI A/D converter. What they call pitch means absolute pitch. It's not helpful to learn sense of relative pitch. While the system at Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S. is capable of producing relative pitches detecting major note with help of AI technology. It's naturally capable of adding chord accompaniment automatically based on functional harmony. Not marketed yet, however, it's expected to be introduced as an automatic accompaniment performance system not in the distant future.
Ibo Elementary school at Tatsuno City, Hyogo Prefecture, has been teaching DTM using the Logo System. In the music creation lesson of 3rd and 4th graders, two children share one computer in the classroom. Music creation doesn't necessarily mean compositions, however, the children are requested to study the idea of functional harmony, as part of melody making in their terms of 'lasting music' and 'ending music' . Computer displays set up for the children show an 8-measure music with blank ending notes on staff, which are loaded from a 3.5 ' floppy disk. The children can know the music by individual note and phrase or a group of harmony by moving a turtle. They work together to complete the music entering notes matched to the blank part.
They can experiment as many times as they want with no fear of bothering their classmates since they listen to music through headset. A big excitement soars among children when they demonstrate produced music to the whole class, but not on computer display staff. Playback of music with only a touch of a return key had never been realized with the conventional style of music presentation either in written scores or in real time performance. In this way of study, children who are not good at performing the musical instrument or making music into scores actively join music lesson.
Started with completing 4-measure music with closing notes, the music program expands to include filling works of initial notes and middle notes. They learn relationship of notes and written music unconsciously as they continue studying. The advantages of this program include;

  1. Concentrated study in quiet circumstances is realized without interfering other children,
  2. As children experiment entering different notes repeatedly, they can acquire an ability to materialize their ideas into notes,
  3. Teachers can better evaluate children's progress since works can be reviewed both by scores and sound,
  4. Children can try complicated music even if they don't have a skill to play it themselves,
  5. As children try unrealistic idea by entering wrong notes, and canceled by computer, they come to understand legitimate score writing,
  6. Produced music can be played in any instrumental voice and key.

I found that DTM is an ideal educational tool of teaching basic studies of score and production of music, seeing the children enjoy music lesson at the school in the same feeling as playing a computer game. This type of note and vocal entering away from conventional theoretical study really helps children to acquire a musical ability while enjoying all the processes of music making.

Terminology of feeling and thinking

In the previous column éh wrote that children acquire a feeling of lasting or ending music selecting notes that make them comfortable in relation to neighboring ones. What's important in this study is feeling sound. Music creation may sometimes rely on thinking theoretically, however, I'm confident that there's an ultimate difference between feeling natural flow of music and thinking music as a structure in making sound. Children have a feeling that a music is ending is definitely a feeling, and something beyond musical theory. I think that children should acquire natural sense for sound in the initial stage of music education at school.
Teaching absolute pitch is primarily designed to make children acquire an ability to tell pitch of individual note. Except modern music, majorities of music written on tonality are based on interval of multiple of notes rather than pitch of individual note and feelings such relationship of interval brings. This is what music teachers have to teach children. It's known by experiences that children who have learned playing keyboard instrument by age of 5 or 6 acquire absolute pitch almost without exception.
On the other hand, it's also widely known that school music education isn't helpful to make children acquire the ability. Despite the fact, sight-reading on C major and naming notes by white keys are everyday occurrences in music classes of elementary school. This shouldn't be ignored and is the point which Mr. Seiichi Higashikawa has been warning these days. Mr. Revez of Holland is the one who recognizes the importance of relative pitch as a real sense for tone.
We are surrounded by many examples of universal relative pitch; door chimes sound in major third and motor horns alert in minor third everywhere in the world. They come in different keys, but we apparently feel interval of these sounds. One more example, ambulances squeak in major third, too. You may find more of this kind. Not a few of us will be no doubt frustrated if we are only allowed to express interval by absolute pitch. Well, DTM helps effectively solve this problem.

Teaching sense for music on DTM

Someone may remember the Yamaha HS-501 Handy sound small-key keyboard. It incorporated a music game mode that encouraged players to tell name of keys discerning sound provided by the instrument according to several musical levels. Children having absolute pitch had no difficulties and it was a fun game, however, for those who don't have the ability, they were supposed to have known standard note and remember it precisely to tell right keys in relative pitch.
The game can be produced on computer when it's plugged with a sound generator without any help of music software but only with simple programming works. Yet, it doesn't provide any good effect from a stand point of music teaching. I propose a more educationally creative program instead. Majorities of DTM software with a note entering capability have key transpose function. And an ability of key transposes is referred to an ability of absolute pitch.
In the first step, advise children to enter any designed interval starting Do of C major on display staff and make them play. It will be more an effective lesson when C major scale is already entered before asking them questions. The second step is to give them a note and make them write in another note with the same interval above. The point is to make them feel a note, but not just write from knowledge. Any software that produces sound when children give an instruction by mouse or move note on display is recommended.
If not available (currently not with almost all software), then, advise children to transpose original scale. It clearly shows children that a scale can be transferred to another one in parallel visibly on display and audibly by sound. After children have mastered making an interval of two notes, you can go further to study of melody transpose. The key issue of this practice is to encourage children to feel music. Don't let them think music. It's quite possible to make it happen as you instruct them to transpose a whole melody. These are protective doses that you must keep in daily lesson:
1. Pay attention to guide children to be conscious about basic note (Do) of transposed scale and determine following notes in relationship with basic note. Avoid just transferring note in parallel,
2. Don't rely too much on score in lesson. Learning by ear is the key. I recommend that you provide backings in as many keys as possible when singing. Unfortunately a very illogical myth that C' major scale is the easiest to teach music still lives in school. Almost all music staffs for younger graders are expressed in C major, accordingly. While, take account of playing, it's no doubt easier to understand fewer 5 black keys than 8 white keys. You are well-aware of that. You know that anyone can play 'Tramping Cats' (Japanese popular tune for beginner pianists) even with no experience on piano, but what if it's written? A very complicated music with 6 sharps or flats are the answer. A keyboard with MIDI capability will instantly solve the problem because key transposes can be done easily when backing singing in classroom. The Software for the Yamaha Disklavier can also cope with the key transpose problem without difficulties.

Melody making & DTM software

Too primitive to say it is composition, but it's possible to instruct 1st or 2nd graders of elementary school to try to make or sing original simple melody. In earlier times when music education is designed on 5 objectives, singing, instrumental music, music creation, listening and rudimental study, many people misconceived "music creation" as "composition." They approved only written music as created products. Thus, so many children lost interest in music. It's not an old story. In fact, in my town Kobe, the municipality continues to sponsor a kind of nonsense "Composition Competition" every year and encourage elementary school children to take part. The applicants compete to make melody to a given lyric. Without doubt it's a strange competition where children (most of them are girls) struggle searching sound while playing recorder or keyboard harmonica. DTM can dramatically and totally change the scene. Music becomes a major obstacle for music activity. Who can feel and create own music in the flood of noise produced by neighbors? This ridiculous atmosphere is the everyday occurrences without any warnings at music classes at school. Music room of a school has traditionally existed as a place for mass tutoring, but not for individual study. Thoughtful teachers have tried to divide a class into several groups and made them practice at each corner of a room. With only 4 corners in a room, groups over 4 had to be expelled.
The greatest advantage of making melody on DTM lies in totally individualized study. DTM assures it. Using headset, children can study in quiet environment, free from neighboring sound, and not bothering classmates. It's quite effective in creation of music. In addition to that, DTM can cope with level and speed of study of individual student in given time.
Not all, but most DTM software has note entering capability. Student can enter imagining music data by mouse and confirm entered sound playing it back. That beginner-helpful software as "Hanauta-kun" that allows vocal data entry and another for real time data entry is also provided. The concept of "no sound" music class apparently satisfies requirement for individualized and characteristic guidance suggested by the Course of Study. It's time to be freed from 100 year tradition of mass tutoring system, and a starting point toward a brighter future.

Problems of DTM in music creation

DTM is an effective tool, but can never be a flawless mean in melody making. The biggest obstacle is that the work of confirming image. Children's first define an image of music to be created. A kind of solfege in their brain. As we always experience, the first idea can't always be excellent. They have to compare the second and third ideas, accordingly. Compare, adjust and determine. No music software capable of satisfying this requirement is available on the market.
Because they don't have a buffer or memory in which first idea is stored, students must tentatively enter melody first come into mind on display. Adjusting and editing data is only possible playing entered music back on display. The works, comparison of various ideas on melody and harmony, the most sensitive part of music creation, can't be done. If it's possible to program some measures of music into the internal memory with push of a button, it will provide you with more educationally helpful and human-like works. Any music software developed for educational purpose should be more user-friendly, allowing students to keep several alternatives in memory for comparison. Some software has solved the problem with "cut & paste" capability, but not good for storing multiple of ideas.
Another problem is that almost all music software aren't designed to produce sound when patching notes on staff by mouse. It will be a great help for students if they can confirm by ears image of designated notes by cursor on the display just by pressing a key. Ironically, most sequencer have no display but are equipped with this capability. Professional musicians will be sure to be benefited from this function as they can confirm their ideas.

More improvement on edit capability

I'm greatly encouraged to hear affirmative voices from many readers against my last article in which I wrote that we needed sound monitoring capability in DTM to confirm notes entered. It's quite logical because the situation we now face is likened to a practice on a silent piano. Not only me, but so many teachers have been frustrated with lack of monitoring capability.
Here in this article, I give some more suggestions helpful to improve DTM environment at school.

1. Size of music on display
We often come to a need of changing gate time and velocity of entered notes on Ballad 2 and other software. The problem in this case is that only 2 measures of music are shown on the display. One drag of mouse allows us to edit just 2 measures of music. With tens of measures to edit, we have to repeat dragging many times until we get tired. If we have a similar type mode available as Aldus Page Maker that can compress display size, the work will be done with one single operation of mouse dragging. Some software including Prelude has layouting capability, but no editing mode.
2. Separation of entered parts
Some software like Myujiro and Ballad 2 display music in great staff on display as with piano scores. However, notes are displayed either on treble or bass staff according to tonal range. Can it be possible to designate music played by only right hand to treble staff? If possible, music entering by left and right hands separately and completing it to a perfect piano score will be readily available for print out for practical use. In case this idea isn't acceptable, how about incorporating edit capability that enables operator to separate music written in great staff either to treble or bass staff after it is entered? Also C clef or C staff is requisite for students of classical music.
3. Instant edit
Mistakes often occur when entering notes. We can continue working on RCM and other software capable of entering data by numerical means. Just correct any misloaded numbers and it can be done instantly. It's another problem of note entry type software. We have to delete the once entered notes and reenter correct ones. Then, the program keeps us waiting tens of seconds, especially when it's the beginning part of music. We need this to be improved anytime soon.
Any capabilities allowing us to click wrong notes simply with mouse and place them to right position on staff to change tonal pitch (note monitoring by sound at the same time is preferable) and move horizontally to designate length of notes freely will greatly improve data entry works. The idea seems to be close to the edit function of word processor.
4. Total edit
Only transposition function can edit designated notes in one operation as a group. With the Yamaha QX3, you can adjust velocity and gate time to any required level instantly, but there is no DTM software that can satisfy this requirement. When computer is introduced into music class at school, teachers will have to correct massive wrong music data entered by children. Total edit function will greatly reduce work burden of teachers. It's critical in class teaching. I suppose that music teachers will be very often benefited from this capability as they will face all the time to need to change fourth notes into eighth notes and the like. Another frequent case will be changing notes designated in piano to forte.
5. Part designation in quantize mode
Almost all music software allow us to load data real time in association with quantize capability. It's usual to quantize the shortest note of given music as a standard. However, I've never achieved satisfactory quantize to this day. The problem lies in limited quantize capability of software. When music contains trills and ornaments graces, which are sources for quantize, longer notes can have incorrect quantize, or when longer notes are designated as standard for quantize, the same thing occurs to shorter notes. This error can be only prevented with edit capability of any designated notes on display. A host of software with quantize mode now available on the market can degrade quality of works. Teaching children with poor finger training experience will be greatly improved with quantize correction capability because spotting wrong notes and instructing them to correct is possible.
6. Free assignments of control signals
Music study on computer may propose experiments such as adding expressions to simply entered music without such control marks as crescendo and decrescendo. In such studies, a function that allows us to add and change volume and velocity at will will greatly enhance the result. The Yamaha QX3 has this capability and some other software including RCM provides a helpful mean, to enter control changes on different track or channel. It may be realized somehow on DTM, too.
7. Problem solving capability
It will be good for students if they can rely on help or 'return to start' functions whenever they have trouble on computer without calling for the help of music teacher in classroom.

Domestic Software or Imported Software?

Certain software produced domestically depend on the family of CPU built in NEC, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Hitachi, Epson and other machines, and are therefore compatible of programs and data among this hardware. Some of them have compatibility with IBM-PC. Sharp machines are built with the CPU same as that of Macintosh, and therefore have no compatibility with aforementioned machines. However, it is most intimate with the imported software. Almost all domestic hardware are dependent on MS-DOS and inherit its recessive character. This recessive character is mirrored by software, and there is the rub.
MS-DOS has been improved to a certain degree by the recent release of WINDOWS Version 3. It suffered from limited 640K memory, which did not allow very complexed software program because of its limited capacity, and only one kind of the screen font, which produced but only very limited screen information. Macintosh, which has become a main stream overseas, does not make its users conscious of the concept of DOS, and, in this regard, has realized truly "easy operation" imperative for the educational DTM. One typical DTM software "Finale" for Macintosh is the summit program for the DTM, as judged by this writer's experiences. Although, this valuation is given for its functions. No elementary school children nor junior high students could practically use this software. Its price is also forbiddingly high for the students, comparing with the domestic products.
There is another software called Aldus "Page Maker," a DTP program, which performs equally on NEC and Macintosh. The "Master-track Pro," a DTM software, runs the same way. That is to say, when WINDOWS is implemented onto MS-DOS. If all hardware, be it domestically produced or imported, could attain same level of operational conditions, the DTM software, be it domestic or imported, could pervade with the same somewhat excellent functions.

DTM Overseas

In a recent collection of ISME essays, the writer found an essay titled "An Eclectic Approach to the use of Computer Technology in Music Education" by a Robin Stevens. In this 4,500-word essay, Stevens advocates the following points-(1) the utilization of computer in music education in the United States has been centered on CAI (Computer-Assisted-Instruction) for trainings of musical theory and ears; (2) in England, on the other hand, it has been applied to creative music makings (composition and performance); (3) Ear training by CAI is 50% more effective than that without it. The reasons are; individualistic instruction, instantaneous and private feedback, quick and comprehensive assistance, possibility of selecting "drill-execution" type test programs, judgment of correct and fair nature upon students' responses, proper adjustment of proficiency level to the students' performance, assembly of students' performance data for teacher's minute scrutiny, upgrading the students' learning motivation, emphasizing joy of study and elimination of students' anxiety for competition with the classmates; (4) Computer utilization should be taken into consideration upon the basis of cognitive theory in such aspects as: a creative tool, performance (including composition and arrangement) tool, printing tool, learning by user control, acquiring musical sensitivity, and learning by discoveries. (further contents omitted); (5) An eclectic utilization means an eclectic means good for students' needs stated in (1) and (2) and those of teacher.
In this essay, Stevens apparently points out the DTM activities in the United States and England standing at two opposite poles. As a typical software for (1), he mentions Macintosh "Listen" as an example. For (2), he introduces CD-ROM masterpieces series by Macintosh Hypercards as well as simplified software and Composer programs such as "Concertware+." "Creator," "Master Track Junior," "Sequencer," "Performer," etc.
In Japan, Kawai is producing type (1) software, and Logo Japan is making use of a certain types of software. However, many of those type (2) programs in this country are not good enough for the DTM education, as the writer pointed out in the former article. So, a conclusion this writer could or at present, for the sake of avoiding unnecessary investments on the part of the readers, will be that they'd better wait a while.

Rhythm training

Man developed musical notes that determine relative lengths of tone only 700 years ago. In the medieval times, people bad neumes to express difference of tone length in some ways, though not perfect. However, when in ensemble music with multiple of music part where to be played in parallel, entire music should sound according to absolute tempo, and each part to be performed with a synchronized beat. Dance music needs time signatures to solicit players timing of passages.
These musical factors that could be hardly symbolized by marks or written words allow no ways but to acquire by physical sense. Beat is basically sorted out into two types, based on time of a sequence consisted of an up and down movement of body and duple time that comes from walking rhythm. Triple time belongs to the first one and can be expressed by a circle movement. Children are possible to express duple time rhythm when they begin walking themselves. Before that, they feel single time typified by comfortable movement of cradle.
Kindergartens and nursery schools operate at their own curriculum, but not under guidance of the Ministry of Education, and it's quite natural for them to encourage children to acquire the feeling of rhythm while playing. The teachers provide a variety of programs based on that aim, to teach children's sense of pitch and rhythm. When teaching little children's rhythm, body language is a requisite. Unfortunately, DTM system we have today lacks a link with body movement and hardware. Timing and accents play an important role in recognition of the sense of rhythm. The play around program in association with a kind of dance helps children acquire the sense effectively. Singing songs also precede children to understand the ideas of tempo, pitch and timing in vocal terms of music.
Computers are unable to respond to, neither recognize movements of children. A very impractical interface developed on biofeedback technology is available but it hardly looks possible to be applied to children, because the system requires children to place numerous electric taps throughout their body surface to detect movement of muscle beneath skin. Sometime ago, I found an interesting musical toy at a department store, which was an 80 cm by 200 cm vinyl sheet with some islands printed in different colors. I don't remember which manufacturer designed it, but the sheet produced Do, Re, Mi, etc. by sound, when children stepped on any of the islands, though I wasn't sure whether they were absolute pitches or not.
We may be able to develop data entry system designed on body movements of children in forms of a sheet or pad instead of keyboard of computer. When children are good at that system, they can play melody jumping on them. Or different data entries such means as tapping or stomping may be developed. In all, only children with basic knowledge on tempo and rhythm will be benefited from that style of learning, but younger children will be excluded because they can hardly respond to music with parts of their body.
The key is that children can acquire the sense of rhythm unconsciously while playing games and dance. Software manufacturers are requested to design programs based on child psychology. Music educators unanimously point out the importance of rhythm training that should be started at earlier times so that children can acquire right sense for rhythm. I believe that DTM can play a greater role in this respect. Children study music sitting at the desk in most cases at elementary schools. When rhythm training is done on DTM, children are supposed to express rhythm with their fingers or hands. To serve this purpose, many musical instrument manufacturers are providing a variety of products, those with small drum pads beaten by sticks, desk top machines with pads and buttons controlled with fingers, and electronic keyboards that incorporate percussion voices.
These electronic instruments are good companions to computer to teach children music visually on computer display. Brunner theorizes on recognition as, 1. Recognition by activities, 2. Recognition by visual (or acoustic) means, 3. Recognition by theory and regulated symbols and marks. No. 1 approach is applied to little children. At elementary schools, teachers try to teach by number 2. Upper graders of elementary school and junior high school students study music on scores and by theory, that is the step number 3.
In the advanced study of music, teachers rely more on student' general understanding of mathematics. For example, a fourth note is divided into two eighth notes. It's further divided into triplet or 4 sixteenth notes and so on. Students can recognize these rudiments upon their acquired knowledge on mathematics. Children at higher grades of elementary school study more complexed rhythms on tables and algebra that they are based on division and linkage of a beat.
I don't believe the saying that Japanese in general are less sensitive to rhythm. Traditional drum performance inherited in some local cities in Japan has dynamic rhythm and some are quite unique in terms of rhythm tyle.
Sense for rhythm determines musical expression itself. That's why I expect much in DTM, what it may contribute in this area of music education.

Harmony Training

Some people believe that chord is a kind of tone color. The idea seems to be legitimate in some extent because major and minor chords sound different and we can tell the difference immediately as they are voiced. Originally, conception of harmony deeply rooted in the idea of 'functional harmony' until 19th century. People were more concerned about supplemental functions such as ending, suspension and rest of melody, or a medium to support transposition or tonality than real effect brought by individual harmony.
Today, we have many DTM software programs having chord name entering mode available, however, they are designed to provide composite parts for harmony from the standpoint of keyboard harmony. Certain models of synthesizer incorporate a function to produce chord matched to played melody automatically. The most efficient system based on AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology seems to be the product of Mr. Dannenberg of Carnegie Melon University. Even though, you are required to enter necessary knowledge on basic chord progression into the system before use. In this term, it's not a perfect automatic backing system.
Automatic backing capability is indispensable for music education using DTM, and a good system is longed for. Though we are able to get a basic idea of harmony in theory, it's too complicated to program harmony in algorithm, because it has too many fuzzy aspects. Dopple dominante and the kind may be programmable, but automatic productions of a counter line, determination of inverted chords or progression of bass line are all deeply related to human feelings. These factors can hardly be theorized and programmed under a certain regulated rule. Nevertheless to say, it won't make any good effect to students in music lesson.
I say that the ABC (Automatic Bass Chord) system incorporated in the Yamaha Electone organs is well designed and expected to be a helpful tool for students to experience the idea of harmony. You will find that automatically played backing patterns often give images of preferable chord to be played next. Presumably, Yamaha has successfully programmed frequently used chord progression in algorithm. In music class, teachers are expected to teach students chord progression somehow regulated from experience. For example, when chord I is regulated to use at the end of music, choosing chords IV or V before the last makes a basic algorithm. Because any DTM software now available on the market don't have the chord algorithm, they are inappropriate in teaching harmony. Kawai Music Drill software provides a function named 'music board' that allows students to enter data by mouse or keyboard and make it play music. While this try and error type learning provide capabilities to help students understand relationship of notes and music staff visually and audibly, it incorporates no means to judge and determine which chord is best suitable.
Study of harmony is always associated with study of bass chord progression. Students must determine bass line before they select harmony. To do this, they are required to have a knowledge of movable Do. Every algorithm of the Yamaha ABC system is supposed to have been designed upon bass line. That means harmony training software must include bass chord training in the first stage. Students are guided to select bass chord matched to melody, and harmony matched to chosen bass chord next. The software is required to have a capability to judge whether entered bass chord is correct or not. It's widely conceived that Japanese lack good sense for harmony simply because of poor training of bass chord. We must take an action immediately to start comprehensive training of bass chord for younger graders of elementary school. Unfortunately, not a few rock musicians take electric bass just as a simple rhythm instrument. They may give children who listen to that bad music all the time an adverse effect.
Looking back to the history, concept of harmony progressed from l. primitive sustained bass sound called Orgelpunkt, to 2. functional sustained bass sound in the name of organum, and to ideas of 3. homophony and 4. polyphony thanks to acoustical effect of echo typically found in stone structures of Western world. The best way to study harmony starts from tracing the course our ancestors proceeded.
Japanese living environment has traditionally been far from the idea of polyphony. Typical Japanese buildings and houses using wood and paper material produced nearly an anechoic space. Under these circumstances, it was quite natural that our forefathers had hardly have an idea of music in harmony that is produced on harmonic series. Even though, we can find a kind of organum in some Japanese traditional music produced by BIWA (stringed instrument) and when SHAMISEN, also stringed instrument, is played in open strings. SHO (vertically blown wind instrument) can produce harmony in the same way as those heard in jazz music.
Elementary school children of this age were born and raised in abundance of so called Western music. They are naturally familiar with the sense of harmony. We often encounter middle-aged businessmen with a kind of marveled eyes watching young people sing in harmony at karaoke bars. Has school music education helped raise those children? If so, music lesson in ensemble might have been commended. However, mass media probably inducted the greatest influence over them. Taking DTM a medium of communication, it can be more influential providing children with richer musical possibilities.

Dream DTM at last

In October 1991, I made a trip to Montreal, Canada to attend ICMC (International Computer Music Conference.) On my way home, I spent a few extra days visiting MIT, Stanford University and some other leading high-tech institutes in the U.S. I must confess that I found almost nothing of innovative ideas and technology in terms of computer music there. They continued experimenting a sort of avan't-garde music. But they showed me some interesting ideas on sound making.
Majorities of them are based on DSP technology. Unlike the conventional approaches by means of l. sine wave synthesis, 2. signal filtering, 3. sound modulation or 4. sound sampling, they are more inclined to DSP processed by operation. The material sound sources for processing are kinds of sampled, sine wave, etc. however, you can design and process sound source in anyway on display screen using mouse. This type of sound processing has eliminated complicated controls of knobs and buttons that were typical on conventional synthesizers, and enables you to try unrestrained approaches to sound creation and designing. It's becoming a mainstream.
While most DTM software are designed to handle data entry and storage like MIDI Manager, a new software named MAX from IRCAM engineer group looked quite promising to me. It's capable of handling even contents of files, and programming details of music play. For example, you can designate instrumental voice, pitch bend, tempo, dynamics and other musical parameters simply by connecting relative blocs of commands with lines. Thus editing works can be done instantly. This is already available in Japan. Given the simplicity of the system, I believe that it will find comprehensive number of users.
I also found that NEXT computers are becomingü@widely accepted, and silicon graphics that writes FFT in high speed seems to find larger market, especially in the field with greater importance on graphic capability. Japan will be a prospective market for this kind of product.
One software I was greatly impressed was one that a doctor course student of MIT was developing. Run on a Sun computer, controlling 64 MIDI channels, it's designed to display sequence data by blocs of tone range in horizontal bar graphs, just like Mastertrack Pro software. With this software, all edit works can be done with simple operation on the display screen. You can select desired bloc with mouse for play, cut and paste at will, move any part you want and make it play, or transpose simply by moving the bloc, change tempo, sequence, etc. It helps composers and players as well because they can compose music confirming visually on the display screen. Quite appealing it was, but impractical from some points. Firstly, it runs on very expensive Sun computer, and secondly, chances are slim that the software to be marketed anytime soon.
Somewhat disappointed, but I found a much more attractive and sophisticated software at the next visit to Cal Arts (California Institute of Art) in the suburbs of Los Angeles! Morton Subotnic, who's a kind of celebrity in synth world, heads study of computer and music at this I5-year old young school.
The "Interactor" software that I am referring to runs on Macintosh. It has remarkable capabilities far excessing the MIT software. Besides moving blocs by mouse and duplicating them, all those works of composers like completing music collecting pieces of motives written tentatively and randomly on different parts of scores can be done on the display screen. I'm sure that the software can be applicable to any level of music education from elementary school to music college.
The Interactor has 1. same capabilities incorporated in conventional sequence software, 2. perfect functions to do edit works on the display screen with mouse immediately after music is entered with keyboard as the entered music is shown by graphics as sequence data, 3. linking capability of sequence data which are named and stored by bloc with use of mouse, 4. real-time tempo control capability by keys and other means, 5. a controller which allows operator to play music without touching musical instruments. In all, it's really a fantastic software developed with music in mind and designed for such works as "music playing," "music writing," and "transcription." I have learned that Dr. T's of the U.S. schedule to start distribution of this software very soon.
I'm optimistic about the future of DTM dominated by NEC PC-98 series computers in Japan as the 98 series users are increasingly familiar with Windows 3.0. It will enable them to get access to foreign-made excellent software including the Interactor soon. Brighter days ahead, yet we have still serious burdens. One is that we are unable to use mouse and MIDI interface simultaneously in high resolution mode. Another is that we have fewer software for music and music education.
As far as I know, the Interactor seems to be the only one reliable software that doesn't disturb creative work while in operation, is easy to manage and programmable of every musical expression. To my regret, Japanese DTM software incorporates a multiple of functions, however, lack ideas to coordinate these capabilities in truly musical way. Surprisingly, Ballad software developed for Macintosh and sold in the U.S. has far more excellent capabilities, though it was originally written in Japan.

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