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How to change the instrument for any part or for individual beats with the mouse,

Fully accessible - you can also use keyboard methods for all these features

What are they?

Instruments you can use to play different parts in the rhythm or individual beats.

What can you do?

Set a different midi instrument for

  • Each part in the rhythm
  • Each individual beat, to help pick out the rhythm.
  • This lets you use it like a drum machine with the visual bounce added to help you keep time.

The notes are played via midi, which gives you access to any of the huge range of sounds you can play in this way. They are stereo panned to follow the bouncing ball to help you hear your position in the measure.

Bounce Metronome also has some sounds of its own, including metronome style Beeps, in its Wave Shape Player. It also has an automated CSound Orchestra and Score Builder.


Where do I find it in Bounce Metronome:

The Instruments drop menu.

These instruments can be used anywhere in the program including the free taster.

As you'll see in the demo at the top of this page, you can set the instrument for a part using a left click, and set the instrument for individual beats using right click to right of the beat.

Accessible way to do the same thing

The program is fully accessible. Just about anything you can do visually, you can also do with keyboard methods.

You change the instrument for the part in the Parts window (in Parts drop down menu or keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 9), and select the instrument for individual beats in the Non Melodic Percussion menu (Ctrl + 21)

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Bounce Metronome is preset to use the default GM Non Melodic percussion set.

This percussion set includes the instruments of a standard drum set, Afro-cuba instruments such as bongos and congas, and various other instruments.

49 Non melodic percussion menu

Using these instruments for any part or beat

You can use separate instruments for each part. This is useful to pick out the different rhythms of a polyrhythm or to distinguish the main beats of a rhythm and so on.

You can also set a separate instrument for any individual beat as well. 

It is easy to use - right click towards the right of any beat. A menu of instruments will pop up and you can pick any instrument from the menu to use for just that beat.

For one application of this see the Beat Boxing Syllables feature.

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Adding more instruments

Bounce Metronome plays notes via midi. Normally these play via the midi synth in your soundcard, which has many built-in instruments. However you can easily add new midi devices to extend the range of instruments available.

In this way you can play the notes on any sound set or soundfont using a sample player or soundfont player. Similarly you can use any VSTi (Virtual Studio Technology instrument) There are many of these now, some made by enthusiasts for free and some commercial.

You can also use any midi hardware e.g. hardware synth.

Also you can use midi with any other software sample players, synths etc.

For more about this and help with setting up your computer to play these sounds, see the Extra Sounds page in Bounce Metronome Wiki.

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You can also use any pitched (melodic) midi instrument in Bounce Metronome. There are several reasons why you might want to do this.

  • To use the sounds of percussion instruments which can be played melodically such as melodic tom, Timpani, and Agogo - and so are in the GM melodic midi sound set.
  • To use the GM sound effects - these again are in the GM melodic midi because they can be pitched.
  • To adjust the pitch of each part separately - this is used for the harmonic metronomes feature
  • To play chords - for the chord progression player
  • To play automatically generated fractal tunes to help you hear what the rhythm can sound like when played melodically..

For the future

In the future I also plan to add a feature to let you enter any melody line for a tune or part for any of the parts - probably using the text based musical ABC notation.

Where to find in Bounce Metronome?

The melodic instruments are hidden by default for the non melodic views. To show them, go to the Instr. drop-down menu and select  Add melodic instruments, tunes and harmonic metronomes.

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Wave Shapes

This is Bounce Metronome's own built-in synthesizer which adds new extremely accurately pitched sounds including

  • Beeps (useful for a metronome especially)
  • Sine, Square, Triangle, Saw
  • Other pure harmonic timbres
  • Pluck effects
  • A few unusual effects entirely of its own (such as "hyperspace chickens" and "we have lift off")

It is of especial interest for the harmonic metronomes as the notes are extremely accurately pitched - no resampling is needed and the calculations are all done to double precision floating point accuracy.

Also (most of) the sounds are pure harmonic timbres - i.e. sounds with all the partials exactly in tune. This is useful when listening to chords involving pure harmonies such as just intonation chords and the harmonic metronomes.

Where to find in Bounce Metronome?

The melodic instruments are hidden by default for the non melodic views. To show them, go to the Instr. drop-down menu and select  Add melodic instruments, tunes and harmonic metronomes and then look for the Wave Shape Instruments in the Instr. drop-down menu.

What it does

It builds up the sounds using various basic waveforms as building blocks. This is a commonly used technique called additive synthesis but most often the only building blocks you have are sine waves.

The wave shape player gives you extra building blocks such as triangle waves, square waves, saw tooth waves etc. as. Indeed you can also use any wave defined by a mathematical formula as well (including things you mightn't expect to work such as exponentials, polynomials, Bessel functions etc). This makes it accurate and very flexible.

Also you can add a "pluck effect" to any of the waves you make (using the "Karplus Strong" technique). This makes the sound die away, and gradually change to a pure sine wave which creates the type of sound you get when a string is plucked.

In conventional additive synthesis then theoretically with enough sine waves you can build up any shape you like. However, the extra wave building blocks help with creativity. It also helps the program to play the waves more quickly and efficiently.

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What you can do

You can use any of the built in sounds that come with the player. These are especially useful for the harmonic metronomes and rhythmicon.

You can also use it to make your own new wave shape instruments. What's new about it is that you have a wider range of "building blocks" you can use to make the sounds.

Instead of building them up using sine waves as in conventional additive synthesis - you can use any wave you like including triangle waves, saw tooth waves etc - or enter your own mathematical formulae.

You can even use things such as quadratics, exponentials and so on which aren't normally thought of as suitable for making sound waveforms. The player automatically adds extra terms to make your curve start and end at the zero point and to balance the areas above and below the zero line as is required for a sound wave.

Then, because your shapes are based on mathematical equations rather than samples, the player can use extreme levels of precision for the pitches. And all the harmonics of the waveform are also in tune to the same level of precision.


Same idea as additive synthesis but adds more wave shapes you can use to build up your sound, so is in some ways more versatile.

Also similar idea to the original wave table sythesis (i.e. the original idea based on repeated single waves, not the 'wavetables' of Sound Blaster etc which are really short samples stiched together).

However, because it uses mathematical routines rather than samples for the original wave shape, can be much more accurate and scaleable to different pitches. It doesn't have the issues such as aliasing etc. of ordinary (single) wavetables.

Exactly repeating waveforms are the same thing as pure harmonic timbres

It is easy to see that any sound which has a pure harmonic series must repeat exactly at the base frequency of the harmonic series.

The other way around, any repeating waveform has a discrete spectrum with all the pitches exactly in tune in a pure harmonic series (i.e. they are all exact multiples of the base frequency). This is a result by Fourier.

Mathematical background - see Wikipedia article on Fourier Series

What's new about it?

Actually - it doesn't give any new waves in theory because any periodic waveform can be built up using sine waves if you use enough of them (by a result of Fourier).

But in practice it makes it easy to make some new waveforms which would require a lot of computation otherwise. For instance a pure triangle wave needs infinitely many sine waves in theory though in practise you would stop say a dozen or so - but do it as a triangle wave right off and you don't need to work with the sines at all.

Also by using different building blocks, which makes it easier to make certain shapes - in practice it adds to the range of waveforms you can make easily.

So - in summary - theoretically by the fourier result you can do anything with sine waves. In practice you are likely to use small numbers of sine waves, or any other building block - so adding new wave shapes as building blocks gives you many more possibilities.

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You can also use CSound instruments. Comes with many pre-installed, and moderately techy users can easily modify other CSound instruments to add them to Bounce Metronome.

Bounce Metronome Pro's Automated CSound Orchestra and Score builder makes it easy to use these instruments - just select from a drop list and the instrument is ready to use. No techy editing of code or parameters required.

You can use these instruments to render midi recordings to CSound - or to save directly to CSound. Or if you install CSoundAV you can also play the instruments in real time as well.

Where is this in Bounce Metronome?

It's under Instr. >> CSound Instruments for Parts. Available with any of the melodic metronomes or if you use the option to add melodic instruments.

You also need to tell Bounce Metronome where to find your copy of CSound. The easiest way to do that is to get the minimal CSound installer from the extra downloads page. See Extra Downloads | Csound.

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The notes are stereo panned to follow the bouncing ball.

This helps you hear where you are in the measure.

With the conducting patterns you can hear as well as see the movements of the baton.

You can set the range for the stereo pan - how far to pan for hard left and hard right. You can also use pan in other ways e.g. to set each part to a different pan position for the polyrhythms.

Where is this in Bounce Metronome?

Check box in the main window. Configure in the Stereo Pan window (keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 50)

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