Sticky posting about note colours? / 17 colours request and other aspects

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Posts: 25
Location: Germany

Post by AllNotesCount » 11-02-19 4:06 pm

I've tried to get a forum overview in regard to colour requests (and answers) - but I must confess that I quickly get lost when trying this.

So please forgive me if I ask things again here, which you most probably already had to answer quite a lot of times:

1) There are up to 16 midi channels, plus the option to split hands for one of them. So why are there only 6 different colours available, instead of 17?
2) Why can't the user even choose his note colours freely from whole range of the RGB spectrum?
3) How do the default colours apply atm? A specific colour for channel 1, another specific one for channel 2, and so on? And if so, wouldn't it be also nice to alternatively set the default colours by instrument type (e.g. sting instruments, key instruments, and so on - or even more specific guitars, basses, and so on)?
4) Why can't the user also choose (e.g. in the general settings), which colours should be the default for which channel/instrument?
5) How does the software decide atm, which colour is on top, if two instruments play the same note? And isn't this order also a thing which the user might want to decide by himself (depending on which instruments he is more interested in)?

Why would someone want to see many instruments at once in Synthesia?
1) Although Synthesia is intended as a piano learning software mainly, it has also very much potential in regard to learning all other instruments with this software as well.
2) Understanding also the other instruments is quite important for playing in a band
3) If a song has a boring piano part, a piano player can decide to partially play the guitar notes on the piano, or the string orchestra parts and so on
4) A piano player can decide to play the bassline himself instead of letting the bass player doing it
5) Or the bass part might at least deliver a rough orientation, what a piano player could do with his left hand, if he displays a band arrangement that originally only has a part for his right hand
6) Or the total opposite: The bassline could help to find something for the left hand of the piano player, which is explicitely not in overlapping with the bass player
7) All instruments can deliver ideas for improvising on the piano
8) You'd like to find out which instrument plays that specific riff
and so on ...

Hm in order to not having to answer this kind of questions again and again anymore: Maybe you might want to write an overview about these (and other colour related) topics, which you could then make sticky - containing explanations about the status quo and future plans/roadmap in regard to note colours.

Posts: 12289

Post by Nicholas » 11-18-19 10:18 am

If I recall correctly, the posts from here up through the video on the next page are the most-recent official word on the subject of "More Colors".

The short version: yes, I'd like to add more color choices. The final technical hurdle is essentially a solved problem now. I'll have to tinker with some GPU shader code, which is always a little scary, but the hard parts are all done.

1. Looking at the post after mine on that page, 18 does look like it might be the sweet spot before the number of choices becomes overwhelming.

2. I address that on that page. Short answer: it becomes a little too fine-grained for repeatedly choosing the same color. Five shades of blue are easier to pick between than 255 of them.

3. Default is just to assign the current six colors in order to each track, starting over at the top when Synthesia runs out of colors. "Color by instrument type" is a suggestion I've never heard before. Hmm.

4. To date the colors have been keyed more to a particular hand than a particular instrument. Going further in that direction, we've heard a lot of requests for pitch-based colors. At that point, the instrument and even the hand don't have anything to do with the color. Now that a particularly unsavory software patent has expired, pitch-based color is a possibility.

5. Prioritization for note drawing is that "your" notes (e.g., all notes belonging to the right hand when you choose to play the right hand, etc.) are always drawn on top of the others. Beyond that, it's not well defined. If I had to guess, they're drawn in the same order as the track list on the song settings screen.

Posts: 25
Location: Germany

Post by AllNotesCount » 11-19-19 5:52 pm

Hi Nicholas,

1. That 18 colours thing would be great!! I'm much looking forward to this, whenever it becomes available.

2. I see

3. Understood

4. Pitch-based might also be interesting. I've never thought about this, so far, and therefore I don't have an opinion on this yet.
I think, that the preferences (track based, hand based, pitch based or instrument based) might be very much varying among the users - depending on their "style" of using Synthesia / what in specific they want to do with Synthesia.

Since you've never heard the "instrument-based" idea before, it might be interesting for you to get an impression about my "style" of using Synthesia:

Originally, I'm a bass player. And I can't read traditional sheet music (I more or less have to "decode" them; bass tabs are ok, at least; and btw Rocksmith notehighways enable me to play along terrificly well right from the start even with songs that I've never heard before).
However, over the years, I developped a strong interest in also learning more about other instruments. For totally different reasons. E.g.:
a) When our keyboarder can't participate in a session, I'd like to be able to take over the keys, to make sure that at least the core of the keyboard/piano part is represented. Synthesia is perfect for this (e.g. I learned, sufficiently enough for my bandmates, "Mas Que Nada" by Sergio Mendes - a piano heavy song with a high bpm - with Synthesia in just one day ... and that was not because I would be so talented, but simply because Synthesia makes learning so efficient even for non-pianists).
b) As a bass player, I for sure have an interest in the drum part - when does the dummer play the kick drum and so on. Synthesia visualizes this for me perfectly. And meanwhile, I can even imagine to learn to play the drums with synthesia.
c) I often find piano parts boring in songs, and then I try to play the parts of other instruments on the keyboard.
d) etc. (I could list dozens of more cases here, including discovering parallels, polyrhythms or other interdependencies beetween instruments, or getting ideas for improvising on the bass from the horn parts, and so on and so on ...)

Well, the conclusion is:
I often visualize a lot of instruments at once in Synthesia. And in order to identify the instruments quickly, I try too keep the same colours for the same instruments over all my midi songs.
So for each new midi song in my Synthesia folder, the first thing I do is changing the colours (e.g. in my case, drums always get yellow, the bass always gets red, synth bass and bass horns like Tuba get orange, piano gets blue, additional other keyboards like Electric Piano and Organs get violet and green, Synth Strings get ... well, I run out of colours now :-)

5. Depending on which from the above list of usages is currently the case, I would like to have the notes of specific instruments on top (instead of beeing covered by he notes of other instruments). When I practice piano, I want the piano notes to be on top, but when I learn about drums, I want the drum notes to be on top (and so on).

Well, I'm most probably not representing the average Synthesia user. But I might at least represent quite a spectrum of different users that could as well discover Synthesia as useful for their even non-piano-instruments in the future :-)

Anyway: The time that I win when learning inside Synthesia or Rocksmith is huge. But the time that I need to switch back and forth between all my music apps, in order to set up songs and so on, is quite a lot.
So for sure, the user's "deam music software" would combine as many as possible of his current apps (which in my case are mainly Synthesia, Rocksmith, Go Playalong, Guitar Pro, IReal Pro and Anytune), and I see Synthesia as a good candidate for this - although I for sure know that something like this would take a lot of time to be realized. But I am a quite patient person, and, well, hereby I try to support at least a couple of steps into that direction by sharing my thoughts ;-)

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