Generators are fully customizable MIDI phrases, which can be variations of chord accompaniment (basic rock/pop piano), arpeggios (fingerpicking, piano-style, or string-ensemble-style), or legato/monophonic (melodies, or basslines). In many of our Tutorial videos, we threw some Generators into our Composition, to get some quick ideas going with phrases and patterns.

The following phrase generators are included:

  • Arpeggiator: creates arpeggios from many types of patterns
  • Bass Generator: melody in a lower octave, resembling a bass guitar performance
  • Chord Generator: simple rhythms: quarter notes, half notes, whole notes, etc.
  • Dyads Run Generator: generates a MIDI run, specifically by interval… commonly a “thirds run”, similar to the bridge of “Let It Be”, but could also be any interval or more than two notes)
  • Fingerpicking Generator: guitar-style patterns/arpeggios
  • Generic Generator: piano-like patterns that can be easily manipulated rhythmically, based on a series of variables
  • Markov Melody Generator: experimental, generates melodies where the next note depends on previous notes. Not available in LE version
  • Melody Generator: generates melodies that intelligently fit over any chord or key. Not available in LE version
  • Ostinato Generator: generates ostinato patterns
  • Phrase Container: arranges phrases using the selected order in the track
  • Phrase Morpher: intelligently connects Generators/Phrases, via voice-leading/analyzation. Not available in LE version
  • Piano Run Generator: rhythmically rich arpeggios running up and down chords
  • Rest: Use only in the Idea Tool to inserts rests in the composition
  • Strings Staccato Generator: creates beautiful staccato patterns, perfect for orchestral and string quartet arrangements

Let’s get to know Generators in detail. First, open up the Phrase Browser:

As you can see, there are several Generator types. Three new Generators: Strings Staccato, Dyads Run, and Piano Run were added in version 2.7. You can learn more about those in the next Section (Generator Parameters). In earlier chapters, we mentioned which Generators are more commonly used, and which ones are used less frequently. In case you forgot, here are the most common Generator types, according to our customers/users:

Bass, Chord, Fingerpicking, Generic, and Melody Generators. Let’s start a New Composition, and create a chord progression. Right-click the first chord on each bar (in the Chord Selector window, choose “Scale Degrees” instead of “List”, to work with the chords by Roman Numerals.). Now, create the common chord progression I - V - VIm - IV.

Now, let’s create several new tracks in our Composition, by pressing the A key on your keyboard three times. This should create 4 tracks total.

Now let’s set the instrument for each track that we’re going to put a Generator on. In these examples, we will be using the included Soundfonts that come with RapidComposer. To customize the Instrument for each track, you’ll need to pull up the Track Inspector (mentioned in Chapter 1, Section 1E). In case you forgot, we can access the Track Inspector by right-clicking the Track Header (where the name of each Track is).

Leave track 1’s Instrument as default (it defaults to the RCPiano soundfont). Set track 2’s Instrument to the RCBass soundfont (this will be our Bass track, of course) Set track 3’s Instrument to RCGuitar (we will be putting a Fingerpicking Generator on this track). Set track 4’s Instrument to the RCClarinet soundfont (this will be our Melody Generator track). If you are using the LE version, you can skip adding a 4th track, as Melody Generator is only available in the Full version.

Your Composition should now have each track set to a different Soundfont.

Now insert some chords…. for this example, our progression is I - V - VIm - IV (C - G - Am - F) and we left our Composition / Master Track settings default (key of C, 120BPM, 4/4 time).

Left-click the Track Header for Track 1, so Track 1 is the active/selected track. Hit Q on your computer keyboard, and Track 1 will fill with the default Generic Generator.

Left-click the Track Header for Track 2, so Track 2 is the active/selected track. Hit B on your computer keyboard, and Track 2 will fill with the default Bass Generator.

Left-click the Track Header for Track 3, so Track 3 is the active/selected track. Hit N on your computer keyboard, and Track 3 will fill with the default Fingerpicking Generator.

Left-click the Track Header for Track 4, so Track 4 is the active/selected track. Hit M on your computer keyboard, and Track 4 will fill with the default Melody Generator (not available in LE version).

Your Composition should now look like this:

We’re going to “tweak” one Generator at a time in this chapter. Let’s first work with the Generic Generator on Track 1. To pull up the Phrase Inspector window, right-click one of the Phrases (for example, the Phrase in Bar 1, which plays through the I chord).

You’ll see this Phrase Inspector window (at right). There are 5 icons at the top of the window. Click the 3rd one, which looks like a magic wand. This is where you will make the common changes to your Generators.

NOTE: For these examples, we won’t change much, but the next Section of this Chapter (Generator Parameters) shows the many, many ways Generators can be “tweaked” to achieve your desired result.

After you click the magic wand icon, you’ll see that the Phrase Inspector window enlarges and shows lots of cool parameters for the Generic Generator we placed on Track 1. Let’s hit the main PLAY button to hear how the Phrase sounds, with the rest of the tracks. Sounds alright, but we might want to tweak the Generic Generator by “randomizing” it (in RC, this is called “Generate+Apply” and there is also a keyboard shortcut for it, which is the letter G (after a Generator is selected).

With the Phrase highlighted and the Phrase Inspector window open, we can hit the letter G to create a new randomization of the Generator. Another easy and fast way to do this is as follows: Hit the right-facing arrow next to the Generator name. Whichever way you choose, you’ll see the 1/1 changed to 2/2.

This is called Phrase Local History. What it allows you to do is save and recall previous states of phrase generation (most commonly used with Generators). For example: “4th of 4”, or “6th of 6” near the Generator names. These indicate that we’ve generated/applied three additional Generators in one generator, or five additional Generators (using different parameters) in another. These can be recalled and changed at any time, by clicking the left or right arrows on each phrase!

Let’s go back to our Composition. Press PLAY again and listen to all four bars. Sounds pretty good, but maybe the Melody Generator in Bar 1 isn’t complimenting the Composition the way we’d hoped. Let’s work with Phrase Local History some more, but before we do, let’s tweak some of the Melody Generator parameters, in the Phrase that is located on the 1st bar.

1. Change the “Division” parameters to 1/4.

2. Change the “Mode” to Scale Notes+Chord Notes., instead of Downbeat is always a Chord Note.

3. Now, click the “Regenerate!” button. Then “Apply To Selection.” (or just hit the letter G, as it combines both commands).

4. Press PLAY. Still not satisfied?

5. Left-click the right-facing arrow next to the Generator name, to create entirely new Generator Phrases quickly (as long as the Generator is highlighted). Both the letter G and clicking the right-facing arrow do the same thing: “Generate+Apply”.

6. Keep pressing PLAY until you find something you like.

In the screenshot below, it took us only 4 additional generations/randomizations of the Melody Generator before we found something we liked. Initially we were going to go with the 1st generation. But we decided after listening back to the others, that the 5th generation sounded better to our ears. To cycle through the generations, simply left-click the left-facing arrow or right-facing arrow, and you can press PLAY to see how each sounds in the Composition. Truly rapid composing!

Now, we might want to “tweak” the Generator even more. That’s what the next section is all about!

Section 2B: Generator Parameters (using Generic Generator)

So, you want to tweak some Generators in your Composition? You’ve come to the right Section!

As mentioned on the previous page, clicking the magic wand icon in the Phrase Inspector enlarges the window and shows lots of cool parameters for the Generic Generator we placed on Track 1. Let’s go over what each Parameter is and what it does. All Generators have a Rhythm Generator option at the top. Keep in mind, some Generators have certain parameters that other Generators don’t. It all depends on the chosen Generator you initially pick (and of course, the chosen Rhythm type).


Manual Editing is one of the most powerful Rhythm types when it comes to Generators. You can create a manual rhythm that the Generators will perfectly follow, while they work their harmonic magic by staying perfectly in key.

Manual Editing The settings above show the defaults for Manual Editing (using the Generic Generator). All of these parameters can be changed and tweaked to your liking. Let’s run through what each Manual Editing setting means, and also (on the following page), we’ll learn how to use the little ruler right below “Snap & Grid” settings, to create your own custom rhythms.

Manual Rhythm Settings:

Drop-Downs:

Snap & Grid: Here is where you’ll set the grid/snap lengths for the “diamonds” you’ll be moving around when you create a custom rhythm.

Note Selection Hints: Available “Include” settings are Bass Note, Chord Highest Note, Note Below Chord Highest, Note Above Chord Highest

Note Lengths: Available settings are “Note On Until Next Event” (default), and various “Equal” lengths (Shortest Interval, 1 Beat, 1/2 Beat, 1/4 Beat, 1/8 Beat, and 1/16 Beat).

Sliders: Chord/Scale Notes: 100% Chord Notes only use the notes from the chord in your Phrase, and other settings mix scale notes in.

Repeat Last Note: How often you’ll hear repeated notes back-to-back in your Phrase.

Repeat Next To Last: How often you’ll hear notes repeat, though not back-to-back.

Full Polyphony: Sets the amount of notes that are played together (up to 4).

Monophonic Notes: A mixture of single notes mixed with polyphonic chordal harmony

Manual Editing 101

Your default Generic Generator might have a simple rhythm, or it might have something slightly different. No matter what is, let’s clear it. You can clear the rhythm easily by right-clicking each “piano-roll” style note. After you clear the rhythm, it will look like this:

Let’s assume you want to create a somewhat interesting rhythm for your phrase, such as:

1 and (2) and (3) and 4 and Let’s change the Snap & Grid setting to 1/16, which gives us a 16th note Grid. Double-click to insert a note wherever you want, and right-click on the note to change velocity or erase it if you made a mistake. Right-click the note (once for medium, twice for light, and a third right-click erases the note). Keep this in mind, as this helps you create exactly the type of “feel” you want, as well as the exact rhythm you want.

So, assuming we want that rhythm above: [1 and (2) and (3) and 4 and], it will look like this. You can also hit the Preview button to hear how the rhythm sounds with a metronome click/cowbell-type sound (if you’re unsure if you placed the notes correctly):

TIP: Melody Generator tweaked with your own rhythms via Manual Editing: great results.

Section 2C: Generator Parameters (using Bass Generator)

Earlier in this Chapter, we created a basic multi-track Composition. Right-click one of the Bass Generator phrases in your Bass track (should be Track 2). The Phrase Inspector window appears. After you click the magic wand icon in the Phrase Inspector window, you’ll see that the Phrase Inspector window enlarges and shows lots of cool parameters for the Bass Generator we placed on Track 2. Let’s go over what each parameter is and what it does (Remember, parameters change depending on your Generator type). Most Generators have a Rhythm Generator option at the top. As mentioned above, some Generators have different parameters than other Generators. It all depends on the chosen Generator you initially pick (and of course, the chosen Rhythm type).

Bass Rhythm (default) The settings above show the defaults for a Bass Generator. Notice how the default Rhythm is “Bass Rhythm”, note length “Medium”, etc. All of these parameters can be changed and tweaked to your liking. Let’s run through what each setting for Bass Rhythm means (when using a Bass Generator). Again, parameter settings are different for the other Generator types.

Bass Rhythm Settings:

Drop-Downs:

Insert To Each Beat: Available settings are One Note On Beat, Two 16th Notes Before and After Beat, Two 8th Notes Before and After Beat, Two 16th Notes Before and a Note On Beat, and finally, Two 8th Notes Before and a Note On Beat.

Depending on how these are set, you’ll see the notes below change to be more “busy” or more “simple.”

Note Length: Available settings are Short, Medium (default) and Long.

Note Usage: There are MANY settings inside this drop-down, besides the default “Use Only Bass Notes”. Some of the other useful ones are “Use Bass Note+Fifth” or “Use Bass Note+Fifth+Octave”. Experiment!

Global Movement: Available settings are Up (default), Down, Up-Down, Down-Up, Random, and Select Randomly.

Note Movement: Available settings are None (default), Select Randomly, or Alternating.

Connection To Next Phrase: Available settings are None (default), Select Randomly, One-Note, or Two-Note.

Connection Movement: Available settings are Converge (default), Select Randomly, Approach From Opposite Direction, or Mixed/Random.

Transpose: Available settings are -2 Octaves (default), and -1 Octave, -3 Octaves, or -4 Octaves.

To save pages and your time, we encourage you to experiment with the other Rhythm types for the Bass Generator. The Bass Rhythm is very useful, indeed, but you might want something different from your Bass Generator phrases. Notice how (after selecting the other Rhythm types) that all of the parameters might be similar, with slight changes to accommodate the legato and/or monophonic performance and playing style of bass instruments.

Section 2D: Generator Parameters (Fingerpicking Generator)

Right-click one of the Fingerpicking Generator phrases in your Fingerpicking track (should be Track 3). The Phrase Inspector window appears. After you click the magic wand icon in the Phrase Inspector window, you’ll see that the Phrase Inspector window enlarges and shows a few parameters for the Fingerpicking Generator we placed on Track 3. Let’s go over what each parameter is and what it does (Remember, parameters change depending on your Generator type). Most Generators have a rhythm Generator option at the top. The Fingerpicking Generator is one that doesn’t. As mentioned above, some Generators have different parameters than other Generators. It all depends on the chosen Generator you initially pick (and of course, the chosen Rhythm type).

Fingerpicking

The settings above show the defaults for a Fingerpicking Generator. Notice how there is no default Rhythm type, as Fingerpicking only has one rhythm type: itself. These special parameters can be changed and tweaked to your liking. Let’s run through what each setting means.

Don’t forget– parameter settings are different for the other Generator types.

Fingerpicking Generator Settings:

Drop-Downs:

Speed: Available settings are Fast (default), Slow, or Travis Picking. Depending on how these are set, you’ll see the notes below change to be more “busy” or more “simple.”

Strings To Use: Lots of settings here. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Default is “Bottom 4 Strings.”

Add Pinch: Available settings are “None” (default), Once, Sometimes, and Always.

Tick Box (not shown in the screenshot):

Sustain Notes: Default setting is enabled, where the MIDI notes resemble fingerpicking an acoustic guitar.

Section 2E: Generator Parameters (Melody Generator)

The Melody Generator is a relatively new Generator type (since version 2.5) which we at MusicDevelopments feel is a great and incredibly useful addition to the Full version of the program. There aren’t too many melody generation programs out there (only one application that we know of, for a smart phone, and a few older free ones from the web).

These programs don’t let you choose your own chords (the harmony) underneath, which is the most important aspect to make the melody work, and all of them are either too confusing to use, or too limited, or generate melodies that sound like nursery rhymes. This is not the case with RapidComposer’s Melody Generator. There are lots and lots of parameters to choose from and tweak, and you can get very usable results, in a very short amount of time!

As frequently mentioned, certain Generators have different parameters than other Generators. It all depends on the chosen Generator you initially pick (and of course, the chosen Rhythm type). This is especially true with the Melody Generator, which has the most parameters out of any Generator.

Probabilistic Rhythm (default)

The settings above show the defaults for a Melody Generator. Notice how the default Rhythm type is Probabilistic. These special parameters can be changed and tweaked to your liking. Let’s run through what each setting means.

Don’t forget– parameter settings are different for the other Generator types.

Probabilistic Rhythm (default) Settings:

Drop-Downs:

Interval: Available settings are “Half Beat” (default), One Beat, or Quarter Beat. This setting goes along with the Density slider, and allows your melody to be “simple” or “busy.”

Musical Stress Levels: Default setting is “Strong”. Other settings are “Strong-Middle” and “Strong-Middle-Weak.”

Mode: Available settings are “Downbeat is always a chord note” (default), “Scale notes only (independent of harmony)”, “1st & 3rd beat is always a chord note”, and “Chord notes only.” Depending on how these are set, you’ll hear more “chordal” melodies, or more “scalar” melodies.

Options: Lots of settings here. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Default settings are “Penultimate note is a step above tonic (also depends on the chord!)”, and nearly all “Allowed Up Motion” and “Allowed Down Motion” scale intervals are checked (except Octave motion).

First Note: Available settings are “Random chord note” (default), Chord base note, Random scale note in note range, and various absolute notes.

Last Note: Available settings are “Random chord note” (default), Chord base note, Random scale note in note range, and various absolute notes.

Climax: There are many settings here. The default Climax setting is “First Note plus Major 3rd”. You can also choose “No Climax”, or various scale interval movements. Experiment!

After Leap: This is the behavior that Melody Generator uses after notes “leap” (such as go up or down equal to or greater than a minor 3rd). The default setting is “Any step or leap (allow 2 leaps in the same direction)”. You can also choose “Step in the opposite direction”, “Step in any direction”, “Step or smaller leap in opposite direction”, or “Leap in opposite direction”.

Sliders:

Density: Depending on how these are set, you’ll see the notes below change to be more “busy” or more “simple” (shorter note lengths such as 16ths or 32nds will be frequently used as the Density increases. Likewise, when you move the Density slider to the left, you’ll hear mostly half notes, quarter notes, dotted quarter notes, etc).

Randomness: Move to the right to use more chord notes and common melodic movement, and move to the left to have your melody be well, more random!

Steps & Leaps: Move to the right to have your melody movement be more “scalar” or step-wise, and move to the left to add more leaps to the melody.

Note Repetition: Move to the right to increase the number of consecutive repeated notes in the melody.

Note Range: Default range is G2 to F4 (common tenor range).


Melody Generator Quick tip: Set the Movement slider all the way to the right (100% expected), and increase the Note Repetition slider for more “melodic” results.

Melody Generator Quick tip: Set the Steps slider for a majority of steps (with fewer % leaps) for additional “melodic” results.

Melody Generator Quick tip: Set the Climax to “No Climax” for melodies that don’t reach a “peak.” (a lot of melodies don’t… they hang around in one place, unless the melody is deliberately trying to draw attention to itself (then, a climax is recommended).

Probabilistic Rhythm Quick tip: For longer notes that are more “vocal-style”, change your Interval to One Beat, and increase the Density slider to .70.

To save pages and your time, we encourage you to experiment with the other Rhythm types for the Melody Generator. The Probabilistic Rhythm is one of the most useful rhythm types for melodies (we’ve done extensive tests to see which rhythm type should be the default, and the Probabilistic Rhythm always produced the most useful results, and quickly. Though ALL of the Rhythm types will generate something useful. Notice how (after selecting the other Rhythm types) that all of the parameters might be similar, with slight changes to accommodate the legato and/or monophonic performance of melody.

Section 2F: Generator Parameters (Dyads Run Generator)

The Dyads Run Generator is a new Generator type, since version 2.7. If you have ever heard the Beatles song “Let It Be”, and the bridge part right before the guitar solo, you know what a dyads run is. It’s common practice in pop/rock songwriting to throw in one of these runs to function as a countermelody to add variety to an arrangement. This Generator offers different interval types, instead of just thirds (which is the most common dyad run), and also offers various polyphony amounts in the run.

As frequently mentioned, certain Generators have different parameters than other Generators. It all depends on the chosen Generator you initially pick (and of course, the chosen Rhythm type). This is especially true with the Melody Generator, which has the most parameters out of any Generator.

Probabilistic Rhythm (default)

The settings above show the defaults for a Dyads Run Generator. Notice how the default Rhythm type is Probabilistic. These special parameters can be changed and tweaked to your liking. Let’s run through what each setting means.

Don’t forget– parameter settings are different for the other Generator types.

Probablistic Rhythm Settings: Drop-Downs: Division: Available settings are One Beat, Half Beat, and Quarter Beat. Depending on how these are set, you’ll see the notes below change to be more “busy” or more “simple.”

Musical Stress Levels: Available settings are Strong, Strong-Middle, and Strong-Middle-Weak.

Motion: Available settings are Downwards (default) or Upwards.

Interval: Third (default), Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Octave

Sliders: Density: How “busy” the Phrase can be, rhythmically (or how “simple”). Less dense means more longer-duration notes. More dense means more shorter-duration (8th, 16th) notes.

Randomness: Sets the movement or phrasing of the Run. Random can lead to some unexpected surprises, and Expected is the opposite.

Polyphony: 2 (default) through 12. Additional notes added in different octaves.

To save pages and your time, we encourage you to experiment with the other Rhythm types for the Dyads Run Generator (though, the Probabilistic Rhythm generates the most realistic/common types of Runs. As mentioned elsewhere, ALL of the Rhythm types will generate something useful for a Dyads Run. Notice how (after selecting the other Rhythm types) that all of the parameters might be similar, with slight changes to accommodate the run performance.

Section 2G: Generator Parameters (Piano Run Generator)

The Piano Run Generator is another new Generator type, since version 2.7. It offers a variable-note-length run through different octaves, in any direction, to easily add intensity or energy to a Composition. If you’re into minimalist piano composers such as Philip Glass or even Moby, you’ll love this Generator!

As frequently mentioned, certain Generators have different parameters than other Generators. It all depends on the chosen Generator you initially pick (and of course, the chosen Rhythm type). This is especially true with the Melody Generator, which has the most parameters out of any Generator.

Waterfall Using Inversions (default)

The settings above show the defaults for a Piano Run Generator. Notice how there is no default Rhythm type, however, there are different Techniques for this Generator. These special parameters can be changed and tweaked to your liking. Let’s run through what each setting means.

Don’t forget– parameter settings are different for the other Generator types.

Waterfall Using Inversions Settings:

Drop-Downs:

Technique: The “style” of the run. Default is “Waterfall Using Inversions”. Additional options are Straddle, Straddle Without Middle Note, 2-1 Breakup, 3-1 Breakup, and Waterfall. Depending on how these are set, you’ll see the notes change in the Inspector to be more “busy” or more “simple.”

Motion: Available settings are Upwards, Downwards, Up-Down (default), Down-Up, Up-Down-Up-Down, and Down-UpDown-Up.

Division: The note length. Default is Sixteenth Note Triplet. Other options include Eighth Note, Eighth Note Triplet, 16th Note, 32nd Note, 32nd Note Triplet, and 64th Note.

Note Length: Default is “Same As Division”. Half Beat, One Beat or Two Beats are the additional options.

Sliders: Up Motion Range: How many octaves the Run plays through. Lower number means less octaves. Higher number means more.

Down Motion Range: How many octaves the Run plays through. Lower number means less octaves. Higher number means more.

The Up/Down sliders can be set independently of each other. For example– you can set the Up slider to 6, and the Down slider to 16, and the run will briefly run upwards, then go steadily downwards through more lower octaves.

To save pages and your time, we encourage you to experiment with the other Rhythm types for the Piano Run Generator (though, the Probabilistic Rhythm generates the most realistic/common types of Runs. As mentioned elsewhere, ALL of the Rhythm types will generate something useful for a Piano Run. Notice how (after selecting the other Rhythm types) that all of the parameters might be similar, with slight changes to accommodate the run performance.

Section 2H: Generator Parameters (Strings Staccato Generator)

The Staccato Strings Generator is the third newest Generator type, since version 2.7. It is obviously best utilized with a Staccato Strings soundfont or VSTi. This Generator is absolutely perfect to create classical runs/arpeggios, that stay true to string ensemble arrangements, and the intervals they often use. The algorithm was painstakingly created through extensive study of classical compositions by Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach.

If you love classical music and the beauty of staccato string arpeggios, this Generator might be the missing puzzle piece for your ideas.

As frequently mentioned, certain Generators have different parameters than other Generators. It all depends on the chosen Generator you initially pick (and of course, the chosen Rhythm type). This is especially true with the Melody Generator, which has the most parameters out of any Generator.

Default The settings above show the defaults for a Staccato Strings Generator. Notice how there is no default Rhythm type, like with most other Generators. These special parameters can be changed and tweaked to your liking. Let’s run through what each setting means.

Don’t forget– parameter settings are different for the other Generator types.

Staccato Strings Generator Settings:

Drop-Downs:

Density: Default setting is Low+Medium+High. Other available settings are Low, Low+Medium, Medium, Medium+High, and High.

Sliders: Polyphony: How “thin” the Phrase can be (Polyphony 3), or how “full” (Polyphony 8 or 9). Put simply: Polyphony 3 means 3 performers playing complimentary arpeggios, and Polyphony 9 or 10 means more than 3 performers playing complimentary arpeggios in different octaves.

To save pages and your time, we encourage you to experiment with the other Rhythm types for the Thirds Run Generator (though, the Probabilistic Rhythm generates the most realistic/common types of Runs. As mentioned elsewhere, ALL of the Rhythm types will generate something useful for a Thirds Run. Notice how (after selecting the other Rhythm types) that all of the parameters might be similar, with slight changes to accommodate the run performance.