If you have used an older version of Song Surgeon you will note that the Standard version of 3.0 is essentially a continuation of the earlier versions–of course with a number of improvements and additions. The newly introduced PRO version released in Version 3.0, contains a very significant number of changes, enhancements and features.
The Demo or Trial version of Song Surgeon is completely functional with no limitations except time. The Demo is programmed to give you 4 hours (240 minutes) of run time, after which the Demo will no longer function. The countdown timer for the Demo runs anytime the program is OPEN, regardless of whether you are using it or not. Keeping the program closed except when in use will conserve your 4 hours of run time. The Demo runs in the PRO version. These is no standard version demo.
In addition to basic overview provided below in this Quick Start Guide, we strongly recommend that you go to the Training Videos page (a link can be found at the bottom of this Guide) for a more in depth discussion and illustration of how each of the major functions in Song Surgeon Version 3 work.
This button is used to open three kinds of files: Song Surgeon Project (SSP) files; any supported audio file formats such as mp3, wav, wma, mp4, etc.; and any supported video formats. Remember SS does not play video but strips the audio from a video and opens this audio in SS. Lastly, if you right click on the Open button you will find a list of Recently Opened Files from which you can select. If you have a touch pad with only a single mouse button on your Mac, you can emulate this right mouse click by holding down the Control key and then clicking.
This button is used to save changes you may have made to a project. Using this button overwrites the previous version by saving with the same name.
Save As –
This button is used to save a project with a different name. It creates a new project file – and does not overwrite any existing project data.
Project Concept –
The first three buttons work on the concept of a project. This concept does not alter the audio data but rather stores meta data in a project file (SSP) that remembers all of your settings for the currently open project. When you open a project it will recall all of your previous settings and open the audio file with all of those settings applied.
The export button is not part of the project concept. The export buttons saves the underlying raw audio file with whatever changes you have made on the screen. It makes these changes permanent. For example if you slow the audio down, change the pitch and delete several parts of the songs, the EXPORT command saves all of these changes in a newly created file, and when that files is opened those changes are inherent to the file. One other important note. Audio files that are highly compressed (pushed to the limit of the recording envelope, may clip when exported. To eliminate this problem, we suggest that you reduce the volume slider to 95%.
You will note that the Export button has three options.
Export Entire Song
–This selection exports everything on your screen
Export Selected Loop
–This selection exports only the data within the selected loop area
Export All Loops
–This selection exports ALL loop areas present on your screen, cutting away all other data. The resulting file consists of these loops placed one immediately after the other.
This button allows you to rip files from a CD. You can choose to select the entire CD or any combination of files at once.
Before you can execute any of the Edit functions you must first select an Edit area. This is done by holding your left mouse button down and dragging your mouse in the Wave Form area. This will begin highlighting that area of the wave form file and continue until you release your mouse button. You can adjust the placement of this highlight area by grabbing the beginning or ending edge of this selected (highlighted) area with your mouse and left-clicking and moving it. To deselect a selected edit area, tap the Escape key on your keyboard.
Once you have selected an area to edit, click the Edit button and open the Edit menu. The follow selections are available. (There are also key board shortcuts for these).
The use of the editing commands Paste and Insert Silence are done, not by selecting an area of the wave form file as described above, rather these commands are executed, using the progress indicator as the insertion point from which data is pasted or silence is inserted.
–This deletes the highlighted section but places a copy of it on your clipboard
–This copies the highlighted section to your clipboard
–This copies what is on your clipboard into the wave form window, by inserting it at the current position.
–This deletes the highlighted section
–This inserts a silence, of a length you specify, into the wave form window at various positions
–This allows you to increase or decrease the volume of the selected section of the wave form.
You can cut, paste and copy within the same instance of Song Surgeon, or you can open multiple instances and cut, paste and copy between them.
This will undo you last action and will continue undoing as many as 10 previous actions.
The opposite of undo, it will reapply previous actions that you have undone.
This button toggles between float and fixed states of the progress indicator. In the fixed state the progress indicator is centered in the wave form area and the wave form data moves while it stays fixed. In the float state the progress indicator moves or floats over the wave form data and the wave form data is fixed.
The Marker button when clicked, inserts a marker at the current position, in the marker area above the wave form window. You can also insert a marker by clicking with your mouse in the marker area of the wave form window. Markers can be edited by hovering your mouse over the inverted blue triangle, and right clicking. A menu will appear that will allow you to delete the Marker or change the name.
The EQ button opens a separate EQ window that enables you to adjust the
EQ settings for the current file. Click one of the presets listed and the EQ sliders will adjust to that setting. You can also grab individual sliders and move them. EQ settings are recalled as part of a Song Surgeon Project file; they are also applied to the audio file when the EXPORT button is used.
The top button with the blue arrow will SAVE the existing settings as they appear on the screen, thereby changing or overwriting the current setting.
The Plus (+) button allows you to create an entirely new EQ Preset.
The button with the Red X will delete the selected preset.
Music Pad –
This button toggles a separate window open where you can create and store music notation or tablature, as well as notes. This feature will be fully implemented in the near future in version 18.104.22.168. (Mac)
The sniffer button toggles the sniffer window which contains the capability to detect audio or video playing in your browser. It automatically detects the link and enables you to download these files, whether audio or video. Audio files are downloaded and stored on your computer directly. The sniffer window will NOT save video, rather it extracts the audio from the video and saves this as an audio file. This sniffer technology works on approximately 90% of all websites with A/V files.
As depicted to the right, the links detected in the sniffer window are color coded. The red color indicates a link has been detected. This red turns to orange as a file is being downloaded. Once a link has been downloaded the orange then turns green.
Preview allows you to hear a preview of the file (works on most sites) once detected. The remove button removes the link from the sniffer window. Download only saves the file to your computer, but does not open them in Song Surgeon. Download and Play saves to a temporary location and then opens the file in Song Surgeon's main window.
Vocal Reduction –
This button opens a slider that allows you to apply an algorithm to the audio file, which in some cases can be fairly effective in reducing the vocals in an audio track. Its effectiveness is song dependent. Generally speaking it works better on older songs, where fewer tracks were employed and less sophisticated effects and mixing/mastering methods were applied. There is no prescribed best setting. We recommend trying the center section, around 128, as a starting place and then adjust up or down from there to see if better vocal reduction is obtained. VR settings are recalled as part of a Song Surgeon Project file; they are also applied to the audio file when the EXPORT button is used.
This button contains a number of settings for Song Surgeon. These are primarily default file locations for various functions.
This button contains a link to the Quick Start Guide, the Help Desk, and the Training Videos.
The Wave Form Window shown below consists of a Marker Area, at the top, a Wave Form area in the middle, and a Timeline area at the bottom. Each of these areas is described in more detail below.
Marker Area –
The area at the top of the wave form window is called the Marker Area. Two types of Markers appear in this area. Blue, sequentially numbered, triangles are Information Markers. These can be inserted by clicking in the Marker area or by clicking the Marker button from the top menu. These blue Information Markers can be deleted by right clicking over top of one with your mouse, or they can be edited. Editing allows you to enter a limited number of characters to custom label the Markers. These Information Markers are always found at the top of this section.
The Markers found below the blue Information Markers, will be either green, red, or yellow. These markers are referred to as Loop Points, because they define an area of a song that will loop repeatedly. They are also numbered sequentially. To set a Loop Point you click in the blue wave form (grided area). When you set the first loop point it will be orange to indicate it is not complete and is only one – of a pair. As soon as you set the second Loop Point you will see the first one turn green signifying that it is the beginning Loop Point and the second one turn red, signifying that it is the ending Loop Point. Loop Points are set by clicking in the Wave Form area with your mouse. A left click marks the beginning Loop Point and a Right Click marks the end. Right clicking over top of the Loop Points allows you to either delete or edit the Loop Points. See the Loop Control (section #25) for more details on the Loop Point controls, as well as setting beginning and ending Loop Points from this control area.
Wave Form Area –
The wave form area is where the left and right wave form data is plotted in the GUI. This area of the wave form window is where you can select sections to edit and set loop points by right or left clicking in this area. The wave form data in this area also can be zoomed in to enlarge the details and to make the selection or setting of markers, loops and edit areas easier and more accurate. To the far left of this area are small speaker icons that can be clicked to select the left or right or both channels. When in the Float mode you an grab the wave form display with your middle mouse button (rollerball) by clicking onto it and holding it down and then you can drag the wave form display to the left or right. If you have a notebook that doesn't have a middle mouse button you can accomplish the same thing by holding down the Command + Options key and then clicking and holding down the mouse button and then dragging with your mouse.
The timeline area at the bottom shows the chronology of the wave form data. If you click with your mouse in this area, you will automatically move the current position of the audio to that place on timeline that you selected by clicking.
P/T Toggle –
This button toggles between Performance (P) and Transcribe (T) algorithms. The graphic on
the left shows this button from the user interface. Please note that the white color shows the algorithm that has been selected or turned on. Song Surgeon 3.0 uses a completely new sound engine for changing pitch and tempo that virtually eliminates ALL distortion. As part of this change we have implemented two different algorithms. If you are using Song Surgeon to practice something and are making significant changes in Pitch and/or Tempo, you should use the "T" or transcribe setting. This setting gives you the BEST quality sound reproduction for extreme changes, for example, slowing the tempo of a song to 25% of the original.
If however you are going to use Song Surgeon to make a small adjustment, +/- 15% of the original (say – a 1 or 2 step change in pitch), then you should use the "P" or Performance setting.
Playback Controls –
The bottom area of the GUI is the playback control area. The top portion of this area contains the normal or typical playback controls.
The first three playback controls are pause, play and stop. The fourth, smaller button is a repeat button. When the repeat button is selected, whatever is opened in Song Surgeon will play from start to finish and then jump to the beginning and play the file again repeatedly.
This slider controls the volume. You may also have additional control over the volume by adjusting your system volume controls in your computer or on your computer speakers
The blue shaded area to the right of the volume is the numerical time display of the song. The first number shows the current position and the second number shows the total amount of time in the entire song or audio file currently open.
The tempo control section controls the tempo or speed of the playback. The range is 10% to 400%.
The plus and minus buttons on the left incrementally change the tempo. The larger (thicker) + and – buttons change tempo by 1% at a time. The smaller + and – change by .01% at a time. The black buttons at the bottom are presets that will move the tempo to the designated speed shown. You can also grab the slider with you mouse and adjust the tempo. The small white button with the circular arrow is a default button the returns the tempo back to 100% or default setting.
The controls for zooming the wave form file are similar to the ones described above for Tempo.
You can grab the slider and move it as a means of zooming, or you can use the black pre-set buttons. These presets use seconds as units, NOT percentage. This means that if you select 10, the zoom will adjust to display 10 seconds of data in the wave form area, 2 will show 2 seconds. ALL is the default setting and shows the entire song or file.
Controls for the pitch (or key) are similar to the controls for the tempo. The white buttons on the left side adjust either by 1/100 of a half-step (a cent) or by a ½ step at a time. The black buttons are presets except for the first one marked +/-. This is a toggle for the black preset buttons. In other words, if this button is toggled to +, the presets change the pitch or key by raising it. If this button is toggled to "-" the preset lower the key or pitch. The presets are expressed as musical intervals and are as follows:
|3rd||=||Major 3rd||=||4||-||half steps
|4th||=||Perfect 4th||=||5||-||half steps
|5th||=||Perfect 5th||=||7||-||half steps
The white text that indicates the current pitch setting is expressed in – Steps and Cents. For example a reading of 2.25 would mean 2 half steps and 25 cents.
Looping Controls –
The loop controls found in Song Surgeon are as follows: Start and End when clicked
set the starting and ending loop points. If you prefer to set loop points based upon listening to the audio playing, these two buttons allow you to do that. You can also set loop points by left clicking in the wave form area (starting loop) and right clicking (ending loop) (emulate the right mouse button if you don't have one by holding down the Control key and then clicking with your mouse.) Once a loop point is set in the wave form area in can be physically adjusted or moved by approaching it with your mouse and grabbing it and dragging it. Loop points are entered in pairs and numbered sequentially beginning with L1, L2, etc. A green lines designates a beginning loop point, red lines are the ending loop points and an orange line means that only 1 of 2 loop points that comprise a pair has been set.
The Delete button deletes a pair of loop points. This deletion only occurs if the progress indicator is placed BETWEEN a pair of loop points (start and end ). When the progress indicator is not located between a pair of loop points, clicking the Delete button will do nothing. A second way to delete is to hover your mouse over the triangle that designates a loop point in the marker area, right click, and then select delete.
The Edit button opens a separate menu window for a pair of loop points. To view the settings for a loop, that loop must be selected by placing the progress indicator line BETWEEN two loop points. This Selects that loop area. When so positioned the Edit button opens another window as shown to the right.
The Label section at the top is created chronological as mentioned earlier, but if you want to edit this designation you are free to do so.
The start and end points are the current precise locations of the beginning and ending points of the selected loop. If you would like to edit these to adjust the location you may do so here.
The Pitch and Tempo settings are the presently designated pitch and tempo for this loop. Again, these can be changed by editing these values.
The loop count refers to the number of loops on playback. The default value is negative -1 which means infinite. You can change this to any number you like. Song Surgeon will loop the designated number of times and then move beyond the ending loop point and continue playing the remainder of the file.
The delay refers to the number of seconds of delay at the end of each loop. A "0" means a continuously looping play back with no delay. A 5 would insert a 5 second delay at the end of the loop, before it jumps back to the beginning and plays the loop again.
The white arrow buttons are "jump to" buttons. If you click the arrows at the top while in a loop area, you will advance to the end of the loop, or rewind to the beginning of the same loop. The arrow buttons at the bottom, with a line after them, will cause the progress indicator to jump to the next beginning loop point, in either a forward or backward direction.
Global Settings –
If you set NO loop points, but change tempo or pitch, you apply the changes to the entire song. These are referred to as global settings. If you apply such a global change to a file, and then create a set of loop points, you will see that the area defined by these newly created loop points will have the same global setting. Once you change the settings of this specific loop area, it will retain those settings, over-riding the global settings. However, once a loop area is designated, you can no longer apply global settings, so if you’d like to make Global changes, you must make these first before creating smaller loop areas within the audio file.
Keyboard Shortcuts –
The following keyboard shortcuts can be used with Song Surgeon Version 3.0.
||Add Start Loop at Position Needle||B|
||Add End Loop At Position Needle||N|
||Add Marker At Position Needle||M|
||Jump To Start of Loop||, (comma)|
||Jump To End of Loop||. (period)|
||Jump To Previous Loop||L|
||Jump To Next Loop||; (semi-colon)|
||Zoom in 2X||Arrow Up|
|Delete||Del||Zoom Out 2X||Arrow Down|
|Insert Silence||Shift-S||Scrub Back 0.1 secs||Arrow Left|
|Change Volume||Shift-V||Scrub Forward 0.1 secs||Arrow Right|
|Silence Highlighted Section||Shift-L||Nudge Marker or Loop Left 0.1 Secs||C|
|Play/Pause||Space Bar||Nudge Marker or Loop Right 0.1 Secs||V|
|Move Position Needle to Start||H
||Scroll Left or Right
Foot Pedal Support –
The Foot pedal interface is only supported in Version 3, not on older versions. Secondly, the foot pedal is a Song Surgeon Pro feature, it is not supported in the Standard version.
The Infinity pedal has three switches or pedals.
The center pedal can be used to Start and Stop the playback of the currently open audio file. The left pedal has two functions. When depressed once ( a single click ) it rewinds the playback to the BEGINNING point of the current loop. If, double clicked, it causes the current position to jump BACKWARD to the BEGINNING point of the next previous loop. Subsequent double clicks will again cause the progress indicator to jump out of the current loop and BACKWARD to the previous loop, until there are no more previous loops.
Similarly the right button of the pedal when depressed ADVANCES the playback position to the next BEGINNING loop point. And, with subsequent clicks of the pedal continues to ADVANCE to the next BEGINNING loop points until there are no more.
Music Pad –
Music Pad is a place within Song Surgeon where you can create and store, text note, music tablature and conventional music notation. Whatever you create within music pad can be stored when you save an open file as a Song Surgeon Project file (.ssp). All of the contents in Music Pad will then be recalled when you re-open this project file at a later date.
Main Toolbar –
There are three toolbars found within Music Pad. The main toolbar which appears below has the follow functions.
- A. This button toggles your screen back to the main Song Surgeon interface.
- B. This button opens the music notation toolbar
- C. This button displays or opens the tablature toolbar
- D. This is a print preview button
- E. This is a print settings button
- F. This is the print button
- G. This is an undo button
- H. This is a redo button.
Music Notation Toolbar –
Standard music notation is quite varied and quite complex. In designing Music Pad we have created a set of tools that will allow you to create basic music tablature, and give you some flexibility when doing so. Keep in mind that Music Pad is not intended to be a complex Music Score program, rather it is an auxiliary feature found within Song Surgeon that allows you to create and store basic music notation.
The Music Notation toolbar is shown below.
The standard music notation toolbar allows you to create basic standard music notation like that shown below. Note the basic layout. It is like an online sheet of paper. The inner gray line represents the margins or useable area for printing purposes. It is within the gray line boundary line that you will create your music.
- I. This is a text notes button that allows you to enter text onto your music notation via a text box. Within the text box you can control the font size, the orientation, the font color, and you have a several fonts to choose from including a music symbols font. This music symbols font enables you to enter additional, less common symbols that are not available from the notation toolbar. For example, the following symbols can be created by typing the following characters into the text form.
- J. This is the staff button. When clicked if you move your mouse onto the music pad paper and left click and drag to the right, you will create a grand staff. If you also pull or slide your mouse downward as you do this you will create 2 staff lines simultaneously.
PLEASE NOTE: All objects place on this cyberpaper have selection handles on them that appear as a square box in the upper right and lower left corners of the object. These handles, when they appear tell you an item(s) is selected and allows you to move or reposition the selected item(s). ALSO: Once you have drawn an object and positioned it on the paper you must left click to place that object onto the paper.
- K. This Cleff button allows you to select a cleff sign from the dropdown box and place it on the staff.
- L. The clock is the icon for the tempo. You can select from any of the tempo presented in the drop down list. If you also want to include a numerical designation of tempo, like for example, 120, you can do this by using the text tool mentioned in (LETTER I).
- M. This time signature button allows you to select from any of the normal time signature and place it on the staff.
- N. The flat/sharp button allows you to select either one and place this on the staff.
- O. and P. These are beginning and ending repeat signs that can be selected and place on the staff.
- Q. This button is a vertical measure line for delineating measures.
- R. Til Y. These are buttons for individual notes beginning with a whole note and decreasing to 128th note. All of these notes have the tails pointing upwards. However, there are many circumstances in which the tails of notes point downward. To flip these notes by 180 degrees so the orientation of the tails is downward, select the note from the toolbar with your left mouse button. As you begin to move your mouse with the note attached, right click and hold down and you will see that the note has been inverted. Continue dragging the note to the position on the staff where you would like to insert it. While your right mouse button is being held down and the note is inverted, click the left mouse button and this will place the note, in an inverted position, onto the staff.
IN ADDITION.. these same buttons (S-Y) also double as REST buttons. You can toggle to see the rests by holding the Command key down. When you do this you will see the corresponding rest notes displayed. While holding the Command key down and with the rest being shown, you can select a rest and place it onto the staff.
- Z. This is the half dot, which when place after a note increases the length of the designated note by ½ or 50%.
- AA. This is a triplet button which allows you to create a triplet line that can be place above a group of three notes to designate them as a triplet.
- AB. This button allows you to create a tie of an indeterminate length. It can be stretched to accommodate any number of notes AND it can be rotated so the arc opens upward or downward.
Repetitive Insertion: If you need to insert the same object onto Music Pad, you can do this by using the space bar. For example, let’s say you are inserting a measure of quarter notes. Rather than having to go to the toolbar four times, go there the first time select the quarter note. Place in on the staff, and then after placing it, tap the space bar. Immediately you will have a second quarter note to also place. After placing this note, tap the space bar again for another quarter note. You can do this an infinite number of times.
Because rests are viewed by using the Command key, if you want to repetitively insert a rest, you follow the above procedure except you must hit the Command key down and then tap the space bar.
Tablature ToolBar –
The toolbar below is the Tablature Toolbar. It contains four buttons as described below. Anyone that is familiar with tablature knows that there are many different forms not only between instrument types but even within the same instrument. Accordingly we have created the tablature part of this program to be flexible to accommodate the specific preferences of users.
This button is a Text Block Insertion tool that has a variety of uses. It is especially useful when creating tablature. When you click this button and move your mouse to the Work Area of Music Pad it will display an insert a text box that looks like what is shown below.
As the text says, you can drag and resize with your mouse and double click within the box to edit the text. You can also right click and you will see a menu that will allow you to resize the text by choosing alternative font sizes. This is especially useful when cutting and pasting text from documents or web pages. Whether tablature, lyrics or something else. The ability to resize allows you to have it fit into the work area so it visible and can be formatted correctly for printing.
AD. This button allows you to create strings similar to the staff button in the Music Notation toolbar. It is different though, because it enables you to create any number of strings with a minimum of two. After you click the button you move your mouse to the main work area and left click. As you drag your mouse to the right you can size the string area horizontally. And, if you drag down, you will see the number of strings increase.
This is the button for the symbols key. When you click the drop down box you can select from a few preset symbol keys for commonly used instruments like guitar, drums, harmonica and a few others.
When you select one of the items in the list, it opens a text editor window with the selected information. You can modify or edit this information at any time. To save these changes you must click the save button on the text window.
When you click this button you will also see the option to create a new symbols key. This will open a dialog where you can enter the name of the instrument or some other name you will recognize and then you can enter the set of series of symbols for this new key, and then click Save on the dialog box. You have now created a new symbols keys.
Symbols keys are for reference and should be altered or modified to customize them for your needs. Also if desired you can copy these symbol keys and paste them into the work area of Music Pad using the Text Block button #28. This might be helpful if you are going to print the information in Music Pad to share with someone else.
This button creates a line of indeterminent length. Once place in the work area you can grab it and change the length. This line is similar to the measure line found in the Notation toolbar except this line can be resized. This line should be useful when creating measure markers for tablature, as it will allow you to size it to the tablature you are creating.
Important Keyboard Functions
Space Bar – Depressing the space bar will insert again onto the Work Area the last selected object.
Caps Lock – When the caps lock is on the Quick Text Insert Mode is invoked. This allows you to push any alphanumeric key on your keyboard and that letter or number will be inserted at the location of your mouse.
Command Key – Holding the Command key down reveals the “rests” toolbar and enables you to select these objects.
Command + Space Bar – Holding the Command key down allows you to select a “rest” and then ones placed on the work area, while continuing to hold the Command key down, tapping the Space Bar inserts the same rest note again.
Left, Right, Up, Down Arrows: – When one or more objects are selected these arrow keys allow you to nudge the object(s) in the direction of the key.
Escape – If you have selected an item from one of the toolbars by mistake and would like to deselect the item without having to place it in your work area, simply hit the Escape key.
Music Pad Page Toolbar – At the bottom of the music page frame there is a small menu (shown below) that allows you to insert additional pages.
Other Important Features
Selection – An object that is selected will show two small green squares or handles. If an object is selected this means that it is active and can be manipulated. Multiple objects can be selected by clicking on these objects one at a time, within the boundaries of the object. Lastly, if you want to select multiple objects in one operation simply use your mouse and trace a rectangle around the OUTSIDE of all of the object you want to select, while holding the left mouse button down. Once you release you will see that all of the object within this rectangular area are now selected as indicated by their green handles.
Nudging – An object or group of objects that is selected can be nudged by using the four arrow keys on your keyboard.