Bang Box ©

Allen has worked hard, combining his expertise in software development with his passion for music, to create...

Bang Box is a stand-alone Windows application making it possible for people with little to no musical training to explore composing music, especially Isorhthmic Rounds. Bang Box sports an easy to use and learn drag-and-drop interface. Though easy, it has powerful tools that let you assemble thematic material in ways limited only by your imagination. And there are no references to esoteric musical terms like 'ledger line' and 'Schenkerian analysis'.

•Bang Box is in development and not yet available to the general public.

Figure 1: Bang Box
How it Works
Begin by dragging a sequencer onto the composition pallette. Then drag out the individual notes you want to work with in the body of the sequencer. As you drag notes, a bit of text appears next to the little ball indicating the pitch in traditional terms. When you release the note, it is played.
Bang Box Layers
A layer displays a set of notes in an isorthythic round sequencer. You may use as many layers as you wish. When you hit the play button, layers are performed simultaneously so that you hear many overlapping melodies (or snippets) of music. Changing the ratio lets you determine how fast or slowly a layer takes to play.

Divide the layer into segments. Drag out more notes on a layer and repeat the process of creating new layers and adding notes to it. When you press the play button at the center of the sequencer, the performance begins. You will see something like a second hand in a watch, sweeping over each layer of the sequencer. As the sweeping line reaches each segment, the notes located within that segment are played.

You may change layers at any time as when you need to revise the notes played in that layer. As you change layers, the topmost layer appears in the foreground, while other layers are dimmed out. In figure 1, the topmost layer has four segments (each layer can contain as many or as few segments as you wish).

Here are some examples of what this sequencer can do:
From Haiku for piano and voice.
From Gently Turns the Wheel for harp.
From Isorhythmic Rounds for symphony orchestra.
From Symphony of Short Rounds for symphony orchestra.
Bang Box provides a variety of sequencers depending upon how you want to compose, including...
  1. Plain old. Notes are played at a specific time as the sweep hand reaches each note.
  2. Isorhythmic round (pictured). The Isorhythmic Rounds sequencer is used to juxtapose multiple melodies to create a tapestry of music. Divisions of the sequencer are played when the sweep hand is on the division.
  3. Ring. Use the ring sequencer for long, sustained-play notes, like pedal tones.
  4. Transitional. Used to smoothly move from one set of pitches to another.
Composing Controls
You can use composing controls to fine-tune your composition. One class of controls, modulators, allow you to control a sequencer, e.g., change an instrument, transpose notes, change the tempo, etc. Triggers, another class of controls, allow you determine when something happens. You can base the decision on an arbitrary amount of time, or when a sequencer sends out an event (like, I'm done playing this layer or, I've just completed my 3rd pass at playing this layer).

Web Site
When launched, Bang Box will be accompanied by a web site that lets you share your work with others. If you wish you can get feedback from other composers, decide which compositions are your favorites and all with complete anonymity.