MIDI note colours

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MickG666
Posts: 1

Post by MickG666 » 01-28-20 1:14 pm

Hi - is it possible to assign different colours to the notes received on different MIDI channels?

e.g.

MIDI ch 1 notes - green

MIDI ch 2 notes - red

MIDI ch 16 notes - blue

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I use Synthesia only to display incoming MIDI streams from external MIDI devices on different MIDI channels.

I'd like to be able to distinguish each musical/MIDI part by assigning a different note colour to each MIDI channel, please.

Nicholas
Posts: 12430

Post by Nicholas » 02-03-20 3:59 pm

For a MIDI song, sure, just change the colors based on the channels, like step #5 in this guide.

In Free Play, only a single color can be picked for (usually) Channel 1.

Otherwise, I'd like to hear more about your "incoming MIDI streams from external MIDI devices" scenario. Which types of devices? And does that mean you're watching the input on the Free Play screen?

DrJedd
Posts: 2

Post by DrJedd » 04-03-20 8:54 am

Hi, I want to say a big thank you for the software first of all. I only use a small part of it, namely the free play feature. But it's great!

I have two suggestion regarding colours in Free Play mode:

1) When setting up a color other than the default green in Free Play mode, the setting is not remembered. This is a bit annoying. I'm not sure if it's a bug or a feature. (I'm on Windows 8.1 x64, latest stable build, pro version)

2) It would be nice to have the same principle of "1 colour = 1 midi channel" in free play.

Here's my use case: I'm using Synthesia to better show what I'm playing in online lessons and live streams. I'm using two keyboards, as well as recording loops and playing over them with different instruments (the sounds are generated elsewhere, I only use Synthesia to display midi input/recorded sequences). Having every note showing the same color can quickly become confusing.

I'm aware these are not essential features, but they both would improve my setup greatly! (And number one seems easier to implement at least)

Thanks, have a lovely day!

DrJedd

viddavisda
Posts: 4

Post by viddavisda » 04-03-20 5:46 pm

I'd like to second DrJedd's suggestion. Online piano teaching using freeplay mode with two keyboards on two different channels would allow the student to easily see what RH and LH are doing.

Thank you!

viddavisda

Nicholas
Posts: 12430

Post by Nicholas » 04-07-20 1:41 am

DrJedd wrote:
04-03-20 8:54 am
And number one seems easier to implement at least...
This only took about six lines of code across three files just now. It's inexcusable that color and instrument aren't saved between sessions. That fix will show up in the next 10.7 development preview.

As for multiple channels showing up in different colors, hmm...

That would complicate the UI a bit, to be sure. Two keyboards connected at once seems like a niche case... but allowing Synthesia to facilitate this kind of teaching sounds like the sort of thing that should be one of our aspirational goals.

I suppose I could cheat and kind of hack it in there. Anything that comes in on channel 1 would be in the color you picked. Anything that came in on channel 2 would be the color you picked plus one (according to the order shown in the color selector). So, pick blue and you get blue+green. Pick green and you get green+orange. Etc.

That would keep the UI less complicated, but it might lead to some surprises where a user that has a keyboard set to output on, say, channel 4 gets a completely different color than they expected. (I can think of a few possible workarounds, but at some point the hack would end up taking more work than just doing it right in the first place.)

What do you think of a silent "if we see two distinct input channels, make the larger valued of the two the 'next' color in the selector" as a workaround? Effort-wise, that's still more than the six lines it took to remember color/instrument choice, but it should still be a lot faster and easier than tinkering with the UI and adding more to an already-crowded screen.

DrJedd
Posts: 2

Post by DrJedd » 04-07-20 4:43 am

This only took about six lines of code across three files just now. It's inexcusable that color and instrument aren't saved between sessions. That fix will show up in the next 10.7 development preview.
Thanks a lot for that. The default green is nice but didn't fit the rest of my palette too well :D
That would complicate the UI a bit, to be sure. Two keyboards connected at once seems like a niche case... but allowing Synthesia to facilitate this kind of teaching sounds like the sort of thing that should be one of our aspirational goals.
Again, thanks for looking into it. I understand the concern about UI/UX, and I guess your "conservatism" is to thank for the clean UI we have after so many versions.

Hacking it in would be nice, but might create more problems: it might confuse users as to why the app behaves that way when it's not explicit.
I don't mind only choosing the main colour, as long as there is consistency throughout sessions (new channel colours are not randomized).

While searching for a fix to my colour-related issues, I've seen people who wanted to get rid of that color menu, not add more to it. (If you screen grab the notes/grey area it does stand out a bit and can hide information depending on resolution).

Have you thought about moving the colour option to the top-right menu containing key and note labels? This one could host more content. I'm counting 8 items in the other menus. If we could fully customize the colour of 8 different channels it would almost be too much already: there are not enough colour offers to have 8 different options (which is not a criticism).

I understand that these are design choices and that I'm not the main target audience! So no hard feelings whatever you choose to do or not do!

Thanks again for the software and the time you put into looking at these requests!

DrJedd

Nicholas
Posts: 12430

Post by Nicholas » 05-21-20 8:38 am

DrJedd wrote:
04-07-20 4:43 am
Have you thought about moving the colour option to the top-right menu containing key and note labels?
This gets a little more interesting starting in 10.7 with the new recording feature. There are now up to six more instrument/color pairs that need to be shown.

Still, I agree that it'd be nice to have a way to get more things off the screen. Maybe something simple like a few drawing/drafting apps use: a single hotkey to remove everything non-essential and go into a sort of "full screen" mode. In Photoshop that key is Tab and it can drop everything except the canvas (including the tool and menu bars) if you set it up correctly. It might be worthwhile adding something like that to all the screens with a keyboard view (i.e., Play and Free Play). Hmm.

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