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Max for Logic

If you want to do some MIDI processing during your music performance, there are a couple of ways to achieve this. Most DAW software does support some kind of MIDI processing capability. For Logic you have the Logic Environment, for Ableton Live you have Max for Live. If you have developed a Max MIDI effect (like the MIDI real-time Harmonizer that I did, with MIDI going in and only MIDI going out) and you use Logic, I found a nice way to combine them in a similar way that Ableton Live has done by integrating Max into Live (called Max for Live).

One way of integrating Max into Logic is to use the Logic Environment to do this. I'll show you how you can achieve this. I use the MIDI real-time Harmonizer as an example, but any Max application could work in this way.


What you should do is the following:

1: create virtual MIDI ports
2: set the ports in MIDI Harmonizer
3: create a cable switcher in Logic Environment
4: create an instrument in Logic Environment
5: wire all objects in Logic Environment

Click

EWI demo MIDI real-time Harmonizer

Amsterdam-based sax and EWI player Itai Weissman tested out the MIDI real-time Harmonizer. Besides the MIDI real-time Harmonizer itself, the setup on the Mac includes Logic and the ES2 synthesizer. I did a couple of ES2 sounds for Itai to try out with the MIDI Harmonizer. Also I programmed the Logic Environment which is used to switch the MH effect on and off with a MIDI CC message coming from one of the switches on the EWI.

Go to the downloads menu to have a look at all of the features of the MIDI real-time Harmonizer.

MIDI real-time Harmonizer version 3 released

Finally the new version of the MIDI Harmonizer is available. The new MIDI Harmonizer V3 adds a number of new features to the popular V2 software:

  • Several on/off switches can be controlled by programmable MIDI continuous controller messages
  • Harmonizing non-harmonic notes into the selected key/scale
  • Individual 4-note chord notes can be output onto different MIDI Channels


Graphical MIDI Monitor released


When working with MIDI and programming synth sounds, you now and then need to know what's going on between your MIDI generating controller, like your keyboard, guitar synth, EWI, or pedal controllers, and your (soft) synths. If you need to monitor your MIDI signals there are a number of good applications, however, most of them show raw MIDI message data and numbers rather than easy to read parameters. Besides this, most other monitor applications only monitor MIDI data but do not generate any MIDI data.

So I decided to develop a Graphical MIDI Monitor using Max of Cycling74. The name indeed implies that all MIDI data you put into it is shown in a graphical manner which makes analysis a lot easier. Besides this, the Graphical MIDI Monitor can also generate MIDI messages by simply dragging sliders, dragging numbers and clicking keys. Read more...

MIDI real-time Harmonizer version 3 coming up


Since the release of version 2 of the MIDI Harmonizer, I got a lot of requests from many users, in particular EWI players. Since then I've been working to include all kinds of new features into the MIDI Harmonizer. During the coming months I will release version 3, which I'm testing at the moment. Apart from a number of new functions and MIDI cc functions, the most exciting to me are the forcing of non-harmonic notes to fit into selected scales as well as the possibility to set the MIDI channel for each individual note in the 4-note harmonized chord. Read more...

MIDI real-time Harmonizer version 2 released

I'm proud to announce that version 2 of the MIDI real-time Harmonizer software is available. I had a lot of fun with the MIDI Harmonizer the last couple of months. I think it's a great tool for improvising since you can have the MIDI Harmonizer generate unexpected harmonic additions to your solo, while at the same time you can restrict the harmonics to sound within key/scale and influence this in real-time as you play. An interesting way of inside/outside harmonic playing.

I made a demonstration video of the MIDI Harmonizer version 2. In this video I explain how the MIDI Harmonizer is working. From 7:00 and further, you see a live demo of the MIDI Harmonizer. Note that the live video image is lagging behind a bit to the actual audio. In the MIDI Harmonizer window you can see what's going on while I play a demo tune. I bypass the harmonizer now and then, and also use key switches in the lower part of the keyboard to switch to the right key/scale while I play the solo line.

Go to the downloads menu to have a look at all of it's features and/or buy a copy of the MIDI real-time Harmonizer V2.

MIDI real-time Harmonizer version 2 coming up

harmonizerV2I'm currently testing a new version of the MIDI real-time Harmonizer. I'm really excited about this new release. Expected release date is june 8, 2010. This new version does not only allow you to program your own 4-note chords, but also allows you to harmonize these chords towards any key and/or scale in real-time. By designating a special (lower) keyboard area to be used as key switches, you can switch to have your chords harmonized towards a particular programmable key/scale.

This will make the new MIDI Harmonizer a great tool for keyboard players to enhance their solo lines, for EWI players to run it on a PC/Mac on stage and beef up their performance, and for DJs to play powerchords that will always fit to the music that they play. Click on the picture for a large view.

Here is a summary of some of the new features in version 2 of the MIDI Harmonizer:
- force programmable chords to fit a certain key/scale including tensions
- both overall bypass as well as key/scale forcing can be switched on/off on a keyboard/controller during performance
- primairy scales include major, minor and dominant
- tensions include lowered/raised 5th, major 7th, lowered/raised 9th and raised 11th
- 12 key switches with any key/scale including tensions can be programmed within each preset
- real-time switching of key/scale using key switches in lower keyboard area (below C1, C2 or C3)
- real-time switching of key/scale by using chromatic above/below or below/above approach while playing (e.g. playing f#,e,f or e,f#,f in a solo can be used to switch to key/scale programmed for F)
- ability to set MIDI output channel
- ability to save 128 presets (8 presets in 16 banks) including MIDI program change recognition

But how does it sound?
I made a short demo. In this demo I play a one note solo all the time. I use the key switches by playing keys on the keyboard below C3 to switch to the right key/scale during the solo. In this way the solo is real-time harmonized to the right key/scale. The 4-note chords that I have programmed provide some contra-motion in the harmonies as to prevent the use of static parallel harmonised lines. Further on in the demo I also demonstrate the MIDI Harmonizer as a perfect tool for (live) comping. The synth used for the solo is a Logic ES2 synth on top of a Jazz drum (Apple) loop, Trilogy bass and Ivory Grand, creamed up with some UAD EMT250 verb.

MIDI Harmonizer overview

EWI4000During the beginning of 2010 I started developing a MIDI real-time harmonizer. I always wanted to experiment with generating additional and unexpected notes during live performance. Influenced by saxophonist and EWI player Michael Brecker, I came up with the MIDI harmonizer. Basically, the MIDI harmoniser will take an input note via MIDI and will generate a 4-note chord as MIDI output. In the MIDI harmoniser you can program 8 different chords that will be played one at a time, each time you play a note. In later versions I have added the possibility to harmonize these chords to specific keys/scales.
The MIDI harmonizer is a stand-alone application that can run both on Mac as well as on PC. Under the hood, the MIDI harmonizer is based on the Max platform of Cycling74. Typically the MIDI harmoniser can be used both in the studio running on your favorite Digital Audio Workstation, as well as on stage running on a PC or Mac. It will sit between the input MIDI signal coming from your instrument and the MIDI output signal going to your synthesizer or plug-in instrument. The MIDI input and output signals can be real physical MIDI ports as well as virtual ports within your computer. Physical ports are used for real physical MIDI inputs coming from your keyboard or wind controller. Physical outputs could be used to drive external synthesizers for example. Virtual ports are used to route the MIDI signal to other applications running on your computer like Pro Tools, Logic or Live.

Create virtual MIDI ports on Mac

If you want to have applications communicating with each other via MIDI on a Mac, here is a short explanation how to do this. As an example, if you want to use the MIDI harmonizer application to feed its output notes to your sequencer, in my case Logic, or any other stand-alone plug-in, you will have to create a virtual port where both applications can make use of in order to feed and access the MIDI stream. Besides this you would have to set the right MIDI virtual output port in your sending application as well as select the right MIDI virtual input port in your receiving application. When using Logic, you would have to route the actual virtual port into your sequencer input.

1: create a virtual port

In Finder, click on Go | Utilities and select the Audio MIDI Setup application.
Make sure the MIDI Devices tab on top of the Audio MIDI Setup window is selected.
Double click on the IAC Driver icon, the IAC Driver Properties window will open.
Now create a port by clicking on the + button, and name it for example "To Logic".


2: set the virtual port as output port in the sending application

In this example, select "IAC Driver To Logic" as MIDI output port in the MIDI Harmonizer.


3: select the virtual port as input port in the receiving application

In your receiving application, select the virtual port as MIDI input port. In Logic, the new virtual port is automatically added to all input ports and automatically fed into the sequencer.

4: route the virtual input port to your sequencer in Logic

To avoid duplation of incoming notes in Logic, you would have to make sure only input from the  virtual port is routed into Logic. By default, the sum of all input ports are routed into Logic. The problem with this can be that both the physical MIDI input port used as input for your sending application (e.g. the MIDI Harmonizer input) as well as the input from the virtual port (e.g. the MIDI Harmonizer output) are being fed into Logic, in this case duplicating the original input note in Logic.  

In Logic Pro click on Window | Environment and select Click & Ports from the drop-down list in the upper left corner. Make sure you only have a cable running from your desired virtual port in the Physical Input box towards other objects in your Environment, the SUM output should not be used. In this example route a cable from the "To Logic" port to the Input Notes object. That's it!