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JAM tutorial

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JAM tutorial

JAM user manual

Notice: The knowledge of music notation is NOT necessary to understand this manual.

download a sample file to mess with...

Getting started

Suppose, you want to play the following chord sequence:
 C C7 | F G7 | C
There is nothing can be easier! Just type the chords in the window
(or you can cut-and-paste directly from this page) and press Play.
You will hear something like this:
chords example 1
It is recommended that you listen all examples!

More beats and rests

Slash (/) stands for another beat of the same chord. Minus (-) stands for rest:
 C / C7 / | F / G7 / | C - / /
chords example 2

Creating fancy rhythm

Equality sign (=) extends the chord for one more beat. Here is a little example:
 C== C7== /= | F== G7== /= | C / /= ----
chords example 3
Jam counts the total number of beats in measure and divides it into equal parts.
If there are 4 or 8 beats in measure, each beat will be Quarter or Eights note,
if there are 3, 5 or any other number, Jam will play Triplets, Quintuples or whatever-else-plets.
Try to experiment with uneven rhythms, you can discover something really unusual...


There is a little trick to save your typing.
You can use one or several percent (%) signs to repeat one or several last measures.
For example,
 C C7 | F G7 | % | % is the same as C C7 | F G7 | F G7 | F G7
 C C7 | F G7 | %% is the same as C C7 | F G7 | C C7 | F G7


Default measure size iz 4/4, however you can set any other meter:
 [2/4] C C7 | F G7 | [3/4] C / /
meter example
Both numerator and denominator can vary from 1 to 256,
however, if you are planning to export your score for use with some other musical software,
it's better to use only 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 or 64 for the denominator.


Chord name (for instance, Bbm7-5/Db) consists of 3 parts:
 1: main tone (Bb);
 2: chord type (m7-5) - this is empty for major triads;
 3: optional bass (/Db).

Some extra examples must look familiar to you:
C (Do major triad)
Am7 (La minor sept)
F#dim (Fa-sharp diminished)
Esus4/A (Mi suspended fourth with bass A)
Dm7-5 (Re half-diminished) - it's also known as Dø, but there is no ø on my keyboard :(
C7+11, C7-13 (oh come on!) - some publishers may also print these as C7#11, C7♭13

There may be several different names for the same chord: Gaug is the same as G+ or G+5.

B / Bb / H convention issues

By default, Jam assumes "English" naming convention: B for Si, Bb for Si-flat, and no H.
However there is a lot of music written in "German" notation: H for Si, B for Si-flat, and no Bb.
Some musicians also use "mixed" style: H for Si, Bb for Si-flat, and no B.
Jam automatically detects the correct notation.
If there are more than one matching notations, Jam tries to use the default notation set by user.
If there is no matching notation (i.e. if B, Bb and H all present in the score), Jam reports an error.

Defining new chords

We were trying to make sure that Jam understands every type of chord you may need.
However, we could miss something, or you can invent your own chord.
Try to play this little stupid example:
 [CHORD fart = 0 1 2 3 4 5]
 Afart Bbfart | Bfart Cfart/A

Chord must be defined before use.
Chord definiton has the following syntax: [CHORD name = number number ... ]
where name is either the chord type or its full name with main tone (but without bass)
Chord type can be any combination of lower-case letters (a-z),
decimal digits (0-9), pluses (+), minuses (-) and underscores (_).

There may be from one to six numbers representing the chord notes as
their distances from the main tone in semitones.
Number can be negative if the chord note is below the main tone.

You may redefine existing chords as well, if you like to change their sound, for example,
 [CHORD m7 = ... ] redefines all m7 chords;
 [CHORD Am7 = ... ] redefines only Am7;
 [CHORD C = ... ] redefines C major triad;
 [CHORD = ... ] redefines all major triads.


If the line begins with a sharp (#) character in the first position, it is ignored:
# This is a comment!
It can contain the song name, lyrics, copyright information, or whatever else.

We hope you'll enjoy Jam!

We are currently working on several new features.
Your suggestions are welcome at our message board.

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