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Sequencers revisited

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  • Victor Jules
    Any help I get will have to come from some nice person who knows the score and can tell me do this, this and this. And since I'm only asking the organ to do a basic task that positively should be automatic, I'm afraid the only definitive answer will be that this model simply isn't capable of doing this. Proof: I can set any of the alternative organ sounds, and they're set for good -- the extra ones lurking behind each organ stop tab that you access with setter button and selection wheel.

    I would appreciate hearing from any others who do external sequencing with a Rodgers organ on this. There have to be a great many out there. Maybe it's not even a Rodgers problem but a Cakewalk one, maybe I should go to Reaper or some other program -- but it's taken so long to get familiar with Cakewalk and the others (even later versions of it) don't seem to bear any resemblance. .

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  • Bach-On
    The reason people fall asleep while reading computer manuals is that the people who write them know a lot about computers and technical things, but few are able to write clearly. AND they insist on using acronyms like MSB and LSB and do not recognize this is using a foreign word in an explanation or sets of instructions. Few people could tell you what the Most Significant Bit or Least Significant Bit is and why they matter.

    I'd start on page 44 of the manual. Try to do every step and begin to learn how to get the steps they describe down. Experiment, practice, get to know that part of your organ well. Pay special attention to channels. I think the answer to what you want to do may be over around pages 49 to 55. But they insist on pimping their particular brand of hardware sequencer. They make casual mention of software sequencers, but they would much prefer you buy their hardware to add to the company profits.

    You may notice it mentions master channels. But they use Master Channels and what I call sub channels interchangeably. And some channels (I suspect sub-channels) are set by the factory. The organ and Cakewalk may not be sending the needed data on the same sub channels.

    I can't do it for you because I don't have the same organ. I repeat. Follow the instructions in the Rodgers manual. Begin to look through the Cakewalk help system. Their instructions are only a tiny bit better. There are some old resources still floating around on YouTube and even the old website.

    In Google, type [cakewalk AND rodgers I548 support]

    Notice that the only word with capitals was AND. It is a connector, not part of the information for which the search looks. Use lower case letters only. Words with capitals are generally treated differently.

    Drink coffee and Red Bull, take speed and keep working at it. And report back to us here. What you want to do can be done. BTW, your local Dealership may be able to put you in touch with someone who knows exactly what you need to do.

    I'm not an expert. I just know a tiny bit more than some other people. And there may be people who are still laughing at some of the explanations I posted to you.

    This is stuff that many never learned.

    Bach ON

    P.S. My name is Ron

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  • Victor Jules
    I've tried reading the manual, samibe, but fall asleep every time.... This organ is clearly set to handle that info, because it does so perfectly on everything else (regular 'organ' stops, pistons, swell pedal). Page 52 is dead wrong about one thing -- the 1st 2 paras under "Seq. Update". No initial/existing settings are picked up as you're starting a new Cakewalk track unless you enter them yourself, e.g. by hitting a piston (which still won't convey the status of the swell pedal).

    Wait a minute, the manual is probably talking about the Rodgers' internal sequencer here.
    Last edited by Victor Jules; 08-26-2019, 12:42 PM.

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  • samibe
    commented on 's reply
    Is it possible that the General Midi settings on your Rodgers are not set to send and receive "stops and pistons" information (pg. 52)?

  • Victor Jules
    commented on 's reply
    It's not a sound module, Bach. These are sounds built into the organ. Most of the tabs are for the regular organ sounds, but as I said there's one tab for each division that allows selection of a 'MIDI' sound for that division. Selecting it automatically brings it on = "ORCH/MIDI couplers" near right end of stop rail on page 10.

  • Bach-On

    Rodgers probably had some owner's or operator's manual for the MIDI sound module, Victor. Please look on it or in any of the documentation to see if there is model number. Then a Google search for that [model number AND midi control] might help us find out how to accomplish what your real goal is.

    After reading your responses to my questions, I went back and reread your first questions. They make more sense to me now. You don't care all that much about the tabs as much as the sounds in the MIDI box. Is that right?

    So I've been taking you on a long, verbose lession about how to do something you probably don't have any need to do. But I'm also giving you perspective on on how MIDI works - whether you want it or not.

    Last edited by Bach-On; 08-26-2019, 08:33 AM.

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  • Bach-On
    Since I've mentioned a can of worms, let me just toss this in as a quickie:

    I have an older Korg T3 workstation. It can play up to 16 MIDI channels at once.

    My version of Cakewalk is currently setup to use Master Channel 1. So my Korg must also be set for Master Channel 1. If I had the Korg setup to use Master Channel 2, it would ignore data programed for Master Channel 1.

    So the project I'm working on will only be concerned with Master Channel 1. That is our Solar System for this project,
    I'm allowed up to 16 data channels under this Master Channel 1. Maybe it will be easier if you think of the 16 data channels as sub-channels under the Master Channel.

    So I can take my Korg (Master Channel 1) and assign Channel 1 (a sub-channel) as a Grand Piano. Sub-Channel 2 might be a Guitar voice. Sub-channel 3 might be a bass guitar, Channel 4 could be an Alto Sax, Channel 5 could be a Violin, Channel 6 could be a Viola, Channel 7 could be a Cello, Channel 8 could be a Double Bass, Channel 9 could be a Harp, Channel 10 could be a bass drum, and so on up through Channel 16. So Master Channel 1 has 16 sub-channels. One instrument could get data to use up all 16 sub-channels, or they could be divided with four sub-channels going to four different devices. Why? Well maybe another model of workstation, like a Rhodes might have better sound strings, or better brass instruments, and a real drum machine might have more authentic sounding percussion sounds. The assignment is based on what the arranger or composer needs. BUT the maximum is 16 sub-channels. Once we use all 16 sub-channels we've exhausted the capacity of Master Channel 1.

    Some MIDI information - such as the time code is needed by every device in this Solar System. So time code info might be sent on Master Channel 1 so it can be used by every device in this solar system. But other information is specific to the sub channel or instrument, such as are individual notes loud or soft. This info sent on the sub-channel data thread. That stuff would be ignored by instruments assigned to a different sub-channel.

    When we first learned to count, it was customary to begin with number 1. But digital math actually uses the number zero too. So it IS possible to number beginning with 1, or beginning with zero. But you will be limited to no more than 16 sub-channels for MIDI under any single Master Channel. So it is like a Solar System with 16 planets.

    Now, pretend you are John Williams doing an arrangement for a Star Wars movie with a really huge orchestra. You are going to need perhaps a hundred different instruments. While it might be that all the 1st Violin players play the same thing, your arrangement would probably end up needing way more than 16 individual lines of music played at a time. Having two Master Channels would provide you with up to 32 sub-channels. Each Master Channel would get you 16 more lines of music, and so on. Then you can play it back without a real orchestra and get some general idea how it will sound. Better to make changes before you have a 100 professional musicians on the clock.

    Beyond here be terrible dragons. So I'll stop.

    Bach On
    Last edited by Bach-On; 08-26-2019, 08:30 AM.

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  • Bach-On
    Victor - I know you are not an idiot. And forgive me if my questions sound like I'm treating you like a child. I just don't know what you know and what you don't know. And I can't see your organ and what you are trying to do. Once I get a better idea of the lay of the land, I'm hopeful my questions and comments will seem more relevant - and respectful. I used to teach teachers how to use computer programs. The difference is that we were in the same room. I'm working in a vacuum of information here. My intentions are good.

    So, there are tabs that change the organ's sounds on your Rodgers i548. May I suggest that let's not think of the tabs as MIDI sounds. Let's begin with the organ's native sounds (Diapason, Flute, Oboe, etc). Now, the organ may also have some extra sounds that are specifically utilized with that "MIDI Box". As an example, our Allen organ at the house is a two manual, with pedalboard. It has native sounds that are turned on and off using tabs. It also has a MIDI Expander module with extra sounds. These are changed with a series of buttons (I suspect this is somewhat like what you are describing). There are regular tabs that allow those sounds to be included in the ensemble. Let's not go there yet.

    What I'm trying to describe is NOT focused on the sounds in the MIDI sounds Expander. I'm focused - at least for now - on the regular tabs on the organ.

    Going back to the Allen organ at our home, for example:

    If I put Cakewalk in Record Mode:

    If I flip the 8 foot Diapason on the Great ON, a MIDI control message is sent from the organ to the computer. Then if I play some notes on the Great manual, they are also recorded.

    Then if I flip the 8 foot Diapason on the Great Off. This is also recorded. MIDI doesn't know or care if a note is a quarter note or an dotted sixteenth. It is all about time - down to the microseconds. Code was added to Cakewalk many years ago to allow it to print out notation, but early sequencers didn't have that capability.

    The events I just described are transmitted through that Roland UM-1 interface to your computer. And I'm assuming Cakewalk has been setup to receive that data.

    I can then take Cakewalk and end the recording.

    So a series of MIDI events has been recorded in Cakewalk.

    Now, comes the second part of the equation. Playback. Remember that none of the tabs of the organ are ON at this point.

    We rewind to the beginning of the sequence in Cakewalk.

    We then select Play.

    MIDI data goes through the same UM-1 interface to the MIDI of the organ. This should tell the organ to flip that same 8 foot Diapason tab ON.

    Then the note events we played should be sent to the organ and you should be able to hear them. These will play using whatever tabs are ON. It doesn't do anything with that pushbutton expander.

    Finally, the Diapason tab should turn OFF. And the sequencer reaches the end and stops. This episode of the game is over.

    Notice that I did not press any combination preset buttons. I had to individually flip the tabs. I could do another recording and flip several tabs for Swell, Great and Pedals. Flipping each tab is an event. I can flip one tab to ON. Change my mind and flip it OFF. That was two events if a recording was made. The playback SHOULD do the same thing.

    I understand that you also want to use the MIDI sounds. But let's first learn to get the hang of how MIDI works.

    As for that long section I previously wrote on Solar Systems and Universes, you do not need to know how to do that. Frankly, I don't see that you have a need to do so. And I wrote that I cannot do that. BUT Cakewalk has the ability to do that stuff.

    Let me stop there. We can do what you want. If you want to stop, no hard feelings.

    Bach On
    Last edited by Bach-On; 08-26-2019, 12:14 AM.

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  • Victor Jules
    commented on 's reply
    Of course the instrument is a standard Rodgers 2m -- the i548. There are no separate tabs for individual 'MIDI' sounds.

    I like your large paragraph above and hope to understand it someday.

  • Bach-On
    Now I'm the one who is really confused, Victor.

    Maybe you need to tell me a little more about your Rodgers. I was imagining a Rodgers Classic Organ with two or three manuals and a pedalboard. Each manual and the pedalboard would have some sort of tabs (or drawknobs) that would allow you to adjust the sounds for each 'division'.

    Then I was imagining your organ has MIDI In and MIDI Out jacks that connect to the Windows 7 Toshiba Laptop Computer using your Roland UM-1 MIDI Interface .

    Have I misunderstood the situation?

    The instrument (organ) you seem to be describing sounds more like a digital workstation than an organ. That's a whole different situation.

    Michael - I think the confusion about MIDI Channels has to do with Master Channels vs. the channels operating under a Master Channel.

    You know that many MIDI devices have not only a MIDI IN, a MIDI Out, but also a MIDI Thru jack. Up to 16 Master MIDI channels are allowed. You can plug 16 instruments together and send instructions from Cakewalk (or other sequencers) directed ONLY to each of the 16 instruments about up to 16 channels of that particular instrument. So MIDI instructions to a MIDI drum machine set for Master Channel 12 can be relayed via the MIDI Thru jack on a Roland Workstation (Master Channel 1), or an organ (Master Channel 2) or other MIDI devices (each with a unique Master Channel number). Each device will have a Master Channel. It will receive instructions specific to that device and act on them using data passed through the data pipeline. But it can also pass instructions to other devices without having to act on them. So the MIDI instructions to the Drum machine (Channel 12) will be ignored by the instruments assigned different Master Channels. It's really remarkable.

    Did you notice that Victor said he can only sequence on his Rodgers using Channel 0? On some instruments the default is Master Channel 1.

    This adds to the capability and the confusion. The channels (both kinds) can be numbered 1 through 16 OR 0 through 15. Think of these 16 Master Channels as being a Solar System - with each planet being like a Master Channel in that system. But the MIDI Universe can have more than one Solar System. So far more complexity is possible.

    To be honest, I've never learned exactly how to do this kind of configuration in Cakewalk, though I understand it can be done by someone who has been taught how to do the secret handshake.

    Bach On

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  • Victor Jules
    I'm afraid your advice doesn't help, Bach-On, because there are no tabs for the 'MIDI' instruments -- you get them by holding the setter button and mashing the Great, Swell or Pedal 'MIDI On' button. and 'time-consuming' simply won't do.

    The Sysex code can't be changed in Event List either -- they've really got us covered

    And thanks Myorgan for your input -- but I can only sequence on the Rodgers in channel 0.

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  • myorgan
    commented on 's reply
    Bach On,

    You give great advice. ROFLOL regarding a SYSEX explanation! I feel your pain.

    I found when I was using Cakewalk, for some reason it would always record any changes (including stop changes, patch changes, etc.) into Channel 1 ONLY. When using the method Bach On describes, I found those changes in the incorrect channel, and simply changed the channel and the stops/patches would work correctly. It was a nuisance, and had I wanted to waste my time with channel re-mapping, I could have fixed it permanently. It was just easier to get everything correct for one channel, changed that channel to another channel assignment, then record the next into Cakewalk's Channel 1. Rinse and repeat!

    Best with discovering the issues and correcting them.


  • Bach-On

    OK. So you are trying to use the presets, not manually flipping the harpsichord tab on the swell and flipping the piano on the great.

    Now, just for giggles, what happens if you MANUALLY flip the harpsichord and piano tabs instead of using the #6 General Piston?

    BTW - there is no relationship between the MIDI code for the harpsichord voice on the organ and the MIDI code for in the harpsichord voice in the sound cared of the computer. Let's focus only on the organ.

    Remember that computers have no intelligence. You have to break things down to the smallest of baby steps. It's like programing a blender or an electric knife.

    Here is why I'm asking. The Rodgers, the Allen, the XYZ brand organ has an internal system for presets. These systems may not generate a MIDI signal Cakewalk can decipher. But they may produce a MIDI code if you just flip the tab or pull a draw knob for the harpsichord. (The really bad news is that they also may NOT produce a signal Cakewalk was programed to decipher.)

    Here is a suggestion.

    1. Start with all stops on the organ cleared.
    2. Put Cakewalk in Record MIDI,
    3. Flip one stop ON (make it a manual for now)
    4. Play a note or two on the manual where that one stopped was flipped
    5. Flip the same stop OFF
    6. Stop Cakewalk from recording
    7. Rewind Cakewalk
    8. In Cakewalk, Select View,, select Events
    9. Visually look at the list to see what was recorded
    10. Play the sequence and see if the tab and the notes are duplicated on the organ.

    Look closely for anything that says controller or patch.

    Cakewalk also uses something called SYSEX. I have to kill you if I explain how that works. ( )

    Some signals have to be sent to and from the organ using SYSEX. But lets start with regular MIDI stuff.

    The numbered steps I suggested should help you start to identify the MIDI code for flipping each individual tab.

    Then you need to write this down somewhere. Then repeat the process for each tab. What you should end up with is a list of the codes for each tab.

    This is time consuming. BUT you can't get the results you want without knowing this.

    Hope at least a tiny part of that helps.

    Try some of it and report to us what happens.

    Good Luck!

    Bach On

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  • Victor Jules
    commented on 's reply
    It seems this is easier on everything else than a Rodgers -- even my ancient Yamaha PSS-680 :-3

    Yes on questions #1-3. My interface is the fabulous Roland UM-1 which replaced the pitiful M-Audio. I use a Windows 7 Toshiba Satellite laptop. We agree on how it's supposed to work, but it doesn't. I'll hit for instance my #6 general piston which has harpsichord on Swell and piano on Great in the course of 'recording' a MIDI track live from the Rodgers onto the puter, but on playback it won't be those sounds -- always others.

    Attempting the changes to an existing track (put cursor before where I want them, hit 'R' for record etc.) brings the exact same results -- whether I hit a piston or make the change manually.

  • Bach-On

    I did do one or two projects for the Rodgers. Frankly, it is much easier on an Allen. But I understand that you have what you have.

    Correct me if I'm misunderstanding what you're trying to do.

    1. You are playing physically something on your Rodgers and setting Cakewalk to "record" it. Is that right?
    2. You are making changes in registration on the organ while playing? Is that also right?
    3. But Cakewalk is not accurately making the changes. Is that also right?

    I need to know what is plugged into the organ. Is it a USB MIDI dongle, or something else? Laptop, desk top, what, operating system. Please tell me the details.

    Voice changes are typically programed with Patch control settings in MIDI files. So if the line is playing on channel 3, the patch control setting must be sent on channel 3. Let's say you have a three manual organ. Choir is Channel 1. Swell is Channel 2. Great is Channel 3. Pedal is Channel 4. Let's say the harp passage is on channel 6. How are you telling Cakewalk to assign the harp to that channel? I don't think you can do that from the organ, but I could be wrong.

    Before I go off half-cocked, please confirm or clarify what the problem is.

    Let's not lump a bunch of them issues together. Let's take them one at a time.

    I may not be one bit of help to you, but I'm willing to try.

    Bach On

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