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Jeffrey Reid Baker

Atari-Midi Programs and Alternate Classical Perfection

Jeffrey Reid Baker's Orchestra in 1987

Jeffrey Reid Baker

Atari-Midi Programs:
Dr T Keys!
JeRBil inc Tempo Master MPE
JeRBil inc KCS Text MPE

Released as FREEWARE JUNE 2001

I was cleaning up my studio and came across a CD I got many moons ago when I was into synthisized classical pieces. It was a performance of Carl Orffs CARMINA BURANA with the orchestra part SYNTHISIZED by Jeffrey Reid Baker. Looking closer at the CD notes, he said he first recorded the Choir, then synced everything using Dr T's KCS on a Mega ST.I wrote to Emile Tobenfeld (Dr T) about the recording, and he responded favourbly saying he remembered when it was recorded. After a web search, I found Jeffrey Reid Baker's web site (JRB Records) and emailed Emile's response as feedback for him. He responded very positively with the release of his former Atari-Midi programs as well as information on his "alternate classical" recordings which a majority of them were recorded using Dr T's KCS system. See the Links section below for full details on these excellent CD recordings now available.

Composer Application

Main Keys! Screen

KEYS! is a composer program, or more specifically, a STEP-TIME RECORDING environment with a lot more tools to offer besides step-time recording.The files are also compatible with Dr T's KCS System.
In the words of JRB:

"I wanted a complete environment for step time. So I wrote a small program to show Al Hospers and Emile Tobenfeld how a normal keyboard with note values could use the mouse to enter scores - then display them in normal music notation. I would sit and enter parts from scores. By being able to see the notation, I would know what I entered was correct. "

What is step time?

Step time is a recording environment where events are carefully recorded in 'pre-defined time steps'. Time itself is really not actively involved as it is in 'real time'. Its like the difference between (1) filming a movie with 'live' actors (Real time) and (2) animating a movie with cartoon characters (Step time). The animation is done carefully 'frame by frame'. How long or short a time it takes to do a frame is insignificant. Once the frames are put on a reel and shown on a projector in real time, it all looks very real indeed. Keys! lets you 'animate' with notes. You can carefully place notes where you want them, and then, Voila!, when you play them back in real time, you sound like the greatest instrumentalist alive.

The Auto-Composer

Another tool available is the Auto-Composer which is basically an algorithmic generator.Just setting parameters and playing what the results are is one one to work with it. Fruitful experimentation is needed to get the most out of it.

Auto-Composer screen

Inside the computer is a random number generator. This generator creates numbers - one after the other. The only hitch is, we have NO idea which number will be generated next. What the auto-composer does is allow for you to convert this meaningless stream of numbers into note data through several number 'filters'. These 'filters' are the parameters found on the auto-compose page. For example, if, in the Midi Channel strip you have selected #1,5,13, the filter will wait for one of these numbers to be randomly generated before creating the midi channel for the next note. So, in essence, we've filtered the computers random choices to meet our needs.


What the Tempo Master does

The Keys! Tempo Master allows you to create a 'tempo map'. A 'tempo map' is a list of events which alter the system tempo at specific times. By tapping out the tempo we hear before applying it to the piece (or section of a piece) at hand. With this feature you can save the file to start at any measure in the piece when interfacing with the KCS or MRS. Working in sections is very often the best way to apply it.

Tempo Master screen

The Tempo Master screen features an 88-note keyboard. However, this keyboard does not record notes - it records tempos! Beneath all of the C's on the keyboard are boxes with numbers. These are the tempos in Beats per Minute (bpm) that each consecutive C represents. When first loaded, Middle C {C4(60)} represents a tempo of 120 and each key to the right and left represents an increment of 1 beat per minute(bpm). Thus, 12 notes up from middle C (60+12 = 72 or C5) represents 132 bpm.

There are more features to this program in which you are going to have to read the manual. Suffice to say it fills a need as a Composers Step Time Recording Tool.

In corresponding with JRB for this page, I posed the following question(s) to him regarding the Topic of "Step-Time Recording":

Tim Conrardy Asks:

I have a question I think you are more then qualified to answer : Is Step Time Entry a *legitimate* form of composing/arranging? For example, using step time to input classical scores, then rearranging them to your own interpretation. In my own case, I was not trained classically on piano. However, I still loved classical music. When I found a way I (myself) could arrange some of the pieces I liked into an arrangement by step-time input, it brought out a part of me I did not know was there and also at the same time appreciate the pure genius of the composers I was arranging. It is said that the only true way to appreciate Bach is to *play* it.I was in awe after I played back some of my arrangments, not on what *I* have done, but on the actual music.

In your work, it sounds like you use both approaches, step time and actual playing. Is this true?
I hope you find these Questions an interesting topic.

JRB Responds:

Step time is especially good for preparing a composition for NOTATIONAL purposes. The big difference is between the WRITING & PERFORMING processes which are considerably different. I.e If music sounded like it looks on paper, we'd all become accountants. I have however used it for very fast and difficult music that is close to an even tempo and then tap out a tempo map to give it a little more "give". However, music conceived in heavily "rubato" fashion is best entered via "playing". As far as "legitimate" - if it sounds great - it doesn't matter HOW you made it happen! When I recorded the Liszt, I was incrementing and decrementing the tempos with two keys on a Commodore 128 keyboard ( with real early KCS stuff.) You have no idea how fast I was hitiing those keys. But it sounded like someone was playing it. That's all that mattered to me.


After the creation of Dr T Keys! JRB went on and started JeRBil inc which produced utilities to be used in Dr T's KCS MPE (Multi-program Environment)

JeRBil Logo

JeRBil's first product was Tempo Master MPE.

Tempo Master screen

Tempo Master MPE is really 3 programs in one. You can:

`Tap out' a tempo map (which is a track or sequence containing tempo type events) by simply playing the keys of a midi keyboard or clicking on the left mouse button.

Place the notes of a real time recording neatly into measures with the Real Time Converter sub-program while, at the same time, creating a tempo map that maintains the actual feel of the original real time performance on playback.

Including a special feature called Real-Step Time Note Entry which allows you to tap your foot on a pedal (or finger on a key) while you play in real time (no metronome) and within minutes place that file into measures. This is essential for anyone who does a lot of `solo' transcribing.

Use additional tempo altering features including:

Averaging (all or by range) - to smooth out intended but too `ragged' changes of tempo.

Interpolation (all or by range)- to create and insert new tempo events for higher resolution.

Real Time Tempo Clipping - to define a tempo maximum while recording.All MPE (Multi Program Environment) - running as a page within the KCS itself!

This program works ONLY from the KCS MPE environment and may NOT be run from the desktop as it addresses all of its data DIRECTLY to KCS memory.

It is best if you think of the Tempo Master, once it has been loaded, as a separate page of the KCS which, with the exception of `playing tracks from the current cue', does not duplicate any of the KCS's functions. Therefore those functions (such as naming a track, or setting steps/beat) must be carried out from within the KCS itself. It should also be noted that the KCS contains some tempo altering functions in the Master Edit section that can be quite useful. These include the selective deleting and scaling of tempi.When recording a tempo map with the Record Tempi feature, the track(s) to which the map will be applied must have been recorded in measured time.

Measured time will mean events that fit neatly in measures (i.e. have been recorded with metronome or with a step time editor). Tempi recorded with the Tempo Master will not work with real time recordings since the tempo data that you create with the Tempo Master is recorded in exact time step values.

There is a Real Time Conversion sub-program in Tempo Master MPE which creates a tempo map from an existing real time track which, subsequently, could be applied to a measured track.

Trond Einar Garmo ( a member of the Atari-Midi Mailing List) has this comment to say about Tempo Master:

"You can try to improvise a track in free time, then open this plus a new empty track in Tiger. In the empty track you draw the "pulse", like the quarternotes, in relation to the improvised track. Then you open Tempo master and use the new quarternote track as reference. The Tempomaster will then change all times in the improvised track so the notes can be edited as quarternotes etc. and displayed in a score editor. It also makes a new tempo track, so the result would sound the same. This is the most useful feature of Tempo Master. Other sequencers might have something similar, but call it "fit improvisation".


Another utility was created to enable to save and load different text formats within KCS.

kcstxt screen

JRB Records : Alternate Classical Perfection

Jeffrey Reid Baker has available many outstanding CD's of his "alternate Classical" material. These are brilliant arrangments of the masters such as Franz Liszt, Beethovan,Bach, Brahms,Rachmaninoff, and many more. Quite a few of these were sequenced with Dr T's KCS system. They are excellent examples of what can be done with this system. In addition to KCS, he also used the Caged Artist series of Synth Editors by Bob Melvin.These recording show the many kaliediscope variations in musical colors coming from the "alternate" arrangments of these masterpieces. A must hear.

Jeffrey Reid Bakers KCS produced Alternitive Classical Cd's

The Fantastic World Of FRANZ LISZT

The Fantastic World Of GEORGE GERSHWIN

Fantastic FAVORITES(many different composers)

NOTE: This particular CD uses a lot of TIGER editing.

Composers Christmas

Christmas Stright Up

Fantastic World of Christmas

Selectons from Carl Orffs CARMINA BURANA

Note: The original CARMINA BURANA with JRB is owned by Sony.They only have the above available.


KCS TXT MPE module. Allows more options in the TXT part of KCS. 14 KB

Keys ver 2.2 in ST format for use in STEem, the Atari Emulator for PC. 720 KB

Key! manual in Desk Top Publisher Format with the DTP extension. 182 KB

Keys! ver 2.2 by JRBaker Composer program For HD users, you need to put the program on a 3.5 disc without folders as when the program loads, it looks for files on the A drive. There might be a way around this. Experiment. 304 KB

Keys! Docs in 1rst Word Format with IMG files 180 KB

Tempo Master Docs in 1rst Word and Desk Top Publisher Format with the DTP Extension 186 KB

Tempo Master. MPE module for Dr T's KCS. Allows you to create a tempo from a tapping source. 46 KB

Keys! manual in TXT format. Taken from the 1rst Word Docs. 42 KB