I'm adding scales and exercises. I will be replacing previous uploads with new versions in an attempt to standardise the images. The scales in particular need attention. The original staff-tab layout I chose was too crowded which only became noticeable when I tried to create a scale starting from the low E string where upon I discovered that the note from the staff "touched" the top line of the tab. This was the standard layout of the staff-tab given by the Sibelius software that I will be changing to a custom layout. I'll give details of any custom settings I've used here.
- Microsoft Photo Editor
All scales, exercises and chord diagrams are first created in Sibelius. The image is then exported as a bmp graphics file which is then opened in Photo Editor. Microsoft Photo Editor is a program that accompanies Microsofts Office Suite though on my version it is not installed by default and I have to do a custom install. Microsoft Photo Editor is a very basic photo editor and I use this for cutting. resizing or cropping the images. I then paste the image as an object onto a template (150px square for the chord boxes) in Ulead Photoimpact (mid-range graphics program designed for home-users rather than professionals). Though Photoshop is the industry standard for graphics; I find that Ulead Photoimpact suffices for most tasks.
Please note that the steps vary depending on the result I want. If I design a four bar scale exercise in Sibelius of the staff-tab variety and it needs nothing else (like customised text, arrows to show direction, instructions to leave fingers in place, etc) then simply exporting it as a graphics file is enough. It is ready to be converted to PNG and then uploaded. Sibelius creates a graphic file of the four bars not the whole page though if you design a four bar exercise on a 32 bar stave then you get a 32 bar graphics file.
It must be noted that Sibelius is a full-featured score designer aimed at the publishing market. It is used extensively throughout the UK education system. My simple use of its features belies what is essentially a flexible and powerful scoring program that is capable of producing full orchestral scores at a professional standard for printed books.
- Horizontal spacing = 10
- Vertical spacing = 10
I don't use the Align (Center Both) on the Object menu of Photoimpact for chord diagrams. I found that in using the 150px square template (for chord boxes) its size created problems when entering text; like fingering or fret numbers looking squashed. To allow the text to fit in I have had to pull the object (all the chord boxes are cut out of a bmp file I export from Sibelius and then pasted as an object onto a 150px template) slightly off-center. At the grid settings above and with a zoom of 600%, I chose to align the object "4 squares up and 4 squares from the left". I may look into increasing the chord box template to 175px or 200px at a later date so as to be able to "truly" center the object using the Center Both command on the Object menu of Photoimpact.
I've set a value of 6.5 in the Engraving Rules (Sibelius software) for the spaces between the staff-tab variant I use (Sibelius has a default of 5.5). This removed the problem of the low E in standard notation "touching" the top-line of the tab when I created scales using the low E.
For exercises with just Tab; the space between "Systems" (Sibelius terminology for Tab and Staff) has been increased to 11.5 (default is 9.5) in the Engraving Rules. This is to allow Chord letters to be entered. This does mean that the Italian Wikibook editors may be reluctant to use some of exercises due to the use of the English system. The Italian music system is called "solfeggio". An example of the type of exericse I create with Tab and English Chord letters is to be found in the Rock section: Exercise 1.
I tend to use Arial (in Photoimpact) for all lettering not achievable with Sibelius. For example on the "Scale Theory" page I placed note letters inbetween the staff-tab variant because I wanted to use the space above for other text. Sibelius allows full text editing (articulations, lyrics, expression marks, etc) though its real "ease of use" (for my text requirements) lies more in entering chord letters (above the staff) or in the case of the "Scale Theory" diagrams the letter T (for tone) and the letter S (for semitone). Sibelius adheres to standard score layout for composers and was not designed for didactic fragments; this does mean that it is difficult to enter text that can be freely placed and manipulated. As stated earlier Photoimpact is the software that I open my exported bitmap Sibelius exercises in and Photoimpact is my main text and graphics tool. As for font size: the "Scale Theory" note names are 24pts. This is not a standard for every text edit I do in Photoimpact; that is something I'm going to have to address. Please note that Sibelius may offer more text manipulation than I'm aware of and may actually surpass Photoimpact.
All the exercises I create are designed to show some point of technique or theory. I read and write music to a reasonable level (far below professional level but enough to get by) which has allowed me to avoid blatant plagarism or verbatim borrowing from other sources when designing these exercises. The Jazz exercises came from jamming along to jazz recordings and then taking a few of the newly acquired chord shapes I had picked up and forming them into a jazzy-blues exercise for myself. I was listening to "All Blues" by Miles Davis at the time though being a guitarist it was the George Benson version that I was playing along with. Playing along to recorded music is something I've been doing for decades. Always puzzles me when I meet other guitarists who don't regularly play along to recorded music. You gain so much from doing it. I spent a long time with a video of a live concert by Hendrix. I noticed that he was always incredibly accurate with his "bends". So I set out to grab his bend "accuracy" by watching and playing along to "Red House" over and over again. After doing that I would like to propose that Hendrix have the title of "wild man of rock" changed to "incredibly accurate at bending". My input into this book reflects my musical journey and I hope it may prove useful.