Ornament

Individual notes in various tracks can be embellished or ornamented by using standard musical ``tricks'' like grace notes, mordents, etc. This is specified with the ORNAMENT command. This command is valid in CHORD, BASS, WALK, ARPEGGIO and SCALE tracks. This command has a number of valid options, all set in the OPTION=VALUE format. Following are the recognized options:

Type
This is the type of embellishment to use. Valid settings are MORDENT, TURN, TRILL, GRACE, 3AFTER, GLISS16.1 and GLISSAFTER.16.2 The effects are best illustrated in standard notation:

Lost Image

In the above illustrations each TYPE of ornament is show with the PLACE option (see below) set to the default of ABOVE. For a number of these you'll really want to use PLACE=BELOW for conventional results.

Chromatic
By default, when selecting the additional notes to use, MMA uses the scale list for the current chord. This ensures that the added notes blend with the rest of the accompaniment. The exception occurs when the initial note is part of a modified pattern;16.3 in this case a chromatic note is used.

The CHROMATIC option forces the use of chromatic notes. It is set with CHROMATIC=ON. You can also use TRUE to enable; OFF or FALSE to disable.

Place
Valid settings are ABOVE, BELOW, RANDOM. The examples shown above are all with the default option ABOVE in effect. Using the PLACE=BELOW setting moves the embellishments down below the note. The final option, PLACE=RANDOM, places the ornament randomly.

Count
Used only in GLISS and GLISSAFTER ornaments. This specifies how many notes are played in the glissando. If you use short note durations or a large COUNT value MMA may truncate the value to give each ornament note a duration of a single MIDI tick. By default COUNT is set to 5.

Duration
The time-slice ratio given to the main note and the embellishment can be set with this option. By default the embellishment is given 20% of the duration (the remaining 80% going to the note). This is pretty straightforward to use, except that in the TRILL setting this sets the number of pairs of notes to use (for example, in TYPE=TRILL DURATION=25 you will get each note divided into 4 pairs). The ARTICULATE setting will effect both the main note and the embellishments. When using the 3AFTER setting a duration of 75 will set all 4 notes to the same duration.

Pad
This option adds (or subtracts) duration to both the ornamented and main portion of the note(s). Optionally, you can set 2 values (a comma separated pair, e.g., PAD=10,20) which will set different values for the main note and the ornamentation (in that order). The value(s) are set as percentage value(s). The default is to add 10% to each note. The placement (the start time) of both notes is determined by the note duration specified in the pattern; this option effects the ``overlay'' time. Judicious use of this option will give the notes/ornamentation a more legato or staccato feel. Both values must be in the range of -100 to 100.

Volume
The relative volume (actually MIDI velocity) of the embellishments defaults to 75% of the main note. You can make added notes louder (VOLUME=150) or softer (VOLUME=50).

Beats
Set the offsets on which the embellishments will be applied. Beats are specified in the same manner as pattern offsets (here). The beats (offsets) are a comma separated list:

Scale Ornament Beats=1,3.25,4

You can disable this setting (the default) with the special value ``All''.

Bars
Limit the ornamentation to specified bars in the sequence. This is a comma separated list. For example, if you have a 4 bar sequence you could limit the ornamentation to the first and third bars in the sequence with:

Arpeggio Ornament Type=Moderent Bars=1,3

To make life more interesting (and confusing) this can be combined with the BEATS option, above. You can disable this setting (the default) with the special value ``All''.

Rskip
Skip a random number of ornamented notes. The setting must be in the 0 to 100 range (with 0 turning the feature off and 100 skipping every event). RSKIP is only applied to events permitted by the BEATS and BARS options. Also, the track setting for RSKIP is further applied to generated notes.

Rvolume
Applies randomization to the volume (velocity) of the generated notes. The syntax for this is the same as the RVOLUME command, described here. Please note that if you have a RVOLUME setting for this track, it will be applied to the ornament notes already ``randomized''. The main use of this command is to apply a random volume to the ornaments, but not the main note.

Offset
Add in a further offset for the ornamented notes. The main note is not effected. This can be used to insert additional space between the ornament and actual note:

Walk Ornament Type=Grace Chromatic=On Offset=-20

The argument is the additional number of MIDI ticks to shift the ornamentation. It must be in the range -194 to 194 (equivalent to a quarter note).

For reference, here is a setting line which duplicates the defaults:

Type=NONE Chromatic=OFF Duration=20.0 Count=5 Pad=10.0,0 Offset=10.0 Volume=75.0 RVolume=0,0 Place=ABOVE Beats=ALL Rskip=0 Bars=ALL

To disable all ornamantations you can use an empty command or the single keywords ``None'' or ``Off'':

Scale Ornament
Scale Ornament Off

There are a number of examples in the egs/ornament directory.

Some points to note:

There are some examples in the directory egs/ornament which illustrate many of these options.


Footnotes

...GLISS16.1
In traditional music a start note is given for a glissando. In MMA we just count back COUNT notes.
...GLISSAFTER.16.2
This might be more correctly called a ``drop'' or ``fall''.
... pattern;16.3
This can occur in BASS patterns which have a $ \sharp$ or $ \flat$ modifier.
... etc.16.4
This is a deliberate departure from the normal MMA syntax. It's quite unlikely that you would want more that one ornamentation setting in a sequence, but quite likely that you'd only want a setting to be applied to a certain bar in the sequence.
Bob van der Poel 2017-03-25