Welcome to the tutorial.
To start out with, here is a single line of a FOMUS input file. It specifies a single note:
There are four parts to this note entry or “event.” First the keyword
time followed by a ‘0’ indicates that
the time for the event being defined is 0. 0 is always the downbeat of the first measure in the score.
dur followed by ‘1’ indicates that the duration for the event is 1.
The time and duration units are in “beats,” which by default is equivalent to a quarter note
(this can easily be changed).
pitch followed by ‘60’ indicates that the event
has a pitch of 60, which is defined to be middle C or C4. The final
; at the end of the line functions as an enter command,
telling FOMUS to take all of the values just specified and create a note event.
Let's add a few more notes:
// this is a comment /- this is a multi-line comment -/ time 0 dur 1 pitch 60 ; time 1 dur 1 pitch 62 ; time 2 dur 1 pitch 64 ; time 3 dur 1 pitch 65 ; time 4 dur 1 pitch 67 ; time 5 dur 1 pitch 65 ; time 6 dur 1 pitch 64 ; time 7 dur 1 pitch 62 ; time 8 dur 1 pitch 60 ;
Figure 4.2: More Notes
This is the most straightforward way of entering note events. Simply list each one, giving all of their attributes followed by
Two different ways of entering comments are also shown—either prefix a single line with double slashes (‘//’)
to tell FOMUS to skip the rest of the line or surround a block of text with ‘/-’ and ‘-/’ to tell FOMUS to skip that block.
In each of these examples FOMUS assumes a default meter signature of 4/4 and a key signature of C major. Later on we will look at how to change these.
dur 1 time 0 pitch c4 ; time 1 pitch d ; time 2 pitch e ; time 3 pitch f ; time 4 pitch g ; time 5 pitch f ; time 6 pitch e ; time 7 pitch d ; time 8 pitch c ;
Figure 4.3: Shortcut
In this example, the duration was only given once at the top of the file. There is no
; following it, so no note event is entered
after FOMUS reads the first line. The second line specifies the time and pitch and “inputs” the note with a
;. The rest of the note
events are entered this way also. When
dur is set, then, it behaves as a variable or “placeholder” that retains its value until the next
time it occurs in the file. As FOMUS reads the file from top to bottom, it keeps track of
dur and uses the last value it read
whenever it encounters a
;. A more visual way of understanding this is that
dur at the top modifies everything that appears below it
(up to the next appearance of
The pitches are also specified as symbols and should be significantly easier to read than the previous example. After specifying C4 (middle C), each of the following note symbols represent the pitch in the octave that is as close as possible to the previous note symbol. Although these don't appear until later, flat alterations are specified with ‘-’ or ‘f’s and sharps are specified with ‘+’ or ‘s’ (these are alterations in pitch and not actual spellings).
The following example contains a chord and an alternate way of specifying
time 0 dur 1 pitch c4 ; pitch e ; pitch g ; time + dur 1/2 pitch d ; time + dur 1 pitch e ; time + dur 1/2 pitch f ; time + dur 1/2 pitch g ; time + dur 1 pitch f ; time + dur 1/2 pitch e ; time + dur 1/2 pitch d ; time + dur 1+1/2 pitch c ;
Figure 4.4: Chord
In the first four lines, time and duration remain the same as three pitches are entered. This forms a chord at time 0. The ‘1/2’'s are
rational numbers and the ‘1+1/2’ is a mixed number (1/2 is added to 1). The ‘+’ after the
times is a shortcut symbol that means “increment
the time by as much as the previous duration.” The time in line 5, then is 1, since the duration of the first event is 1.
The next event has a time of 1+1/2, etc..
There are many more shortcuts like this designed to make editing note events easier. See `.fms' File Features for more information.
FOMUS always needs at least one part to be defined to process a score. If none is specified, then FOMUS provides a default part for you. The examples above all have default parts. In the next example, we'll create a part for an oboe and make a little oboe piece.
part <id: mypart inst: oboe> part mypart time 1/3 dur 1/3 pitch 70 ; time + dur 1/3 pitch 69 ; time + dur 1 pitch 68 ; time + dur 1/4 pitch 65 ; time + dur 1/4 pitch 66 ; time + dur 1/2 pitch 68 ;
Figure 4.5: Part
In .fms files the ‘<’ and ‘>’ signs are used to define “objects.”
Anything inside the ‘<’ and ‘>’ is part of the definition of that object and the keyword preceding the ‘<’ specifies the type of object
(in this case a
In FOMUS, parts, instruments, notes, measures, staves, clefs and the score itself are all objects (for a complete list, see Reference),
the majority of which can be defined using this syntax.
In the part being created here there are two “settings,” (
id followed by ‘:’ and then ‘mypart’ specifies that this part is to be
referred to as ‘mypart’. The colon is optional, but it helps to distinuish between pairs of keywords and values when there are
many of them (colons can also be placed after parameters like
inst followed by a another string chooses one of FOMUS's built-in instruments and bases the part on that instrument.
After the part is declared the notes are listed as before. There's a new parameter now,
part, which chooses the part that events belongs to by its ID string.
part to ‘mypart’ at the top of the file causes all of the following note events to belong to that part (i.e.,
part is another parameter
that behaves like
The next example contains a few more definitions:
title: "Piece for Electric Viola" author: "David Psenicka" quartertones: yes inst <id: elvla template: viola name: "Electric Viola" abbr: "evla"> part <id: mypart inst: elvla> part: mypart time: 0.0 dur: 0.333 pitch: 70.1 ; time: 0.333 dur: 0.666 pitch: 65.6 ; time: 1.0 dur: 2.0 pitch: 68.4 ;
Figure 4.6: Instrument Definition
Some strings are now enclosed in quotes. This is necessary when they contain spaces or characters that might be confused with the surrounding context (like ‘:’ or ‘>’).
Some score settings,
quartertones, are being defined in the example above.
The strings following
author, for example,
should appear at the top of the first page of the score.
quartertones activates quartertones for the
entire piece, meaning any pitch values entered will be quantized to the nearest half of a semitone. The pitch numbers now all have decimal points
to demonstrate this. FOMUS quantizes ‘70.1’ to 70 and ‘65.6’ to 65.5, which is a quartertone sharp from note 65.
quartertones are part of the definition of the entire score (or score object)—in a .fms file
score settings like these always must appear at the top of the file before anything else is defined.
In this example a new instrument is defined on which our part is based.
template specifies that the definition
is to be based on FOMUS's built-in viola instrument.
abbr override the name and abreviated name of the built-in instrument, respectively.
These are the texts that appear in the score to the left of the staff systems.
Also, since we've set the ID to ‘elvla’, the
inst setting in the part definition is now ‘elvla’, referencing the new instrument.
The time values are also different this time because they are floating point numbers with decimal points. FOMUS quantizes these to the closest rhythmic representation it can find, searching through all combinations of metrical divisions and tuplets that it considers valid and choosing the one that provides the closest fit. This allows FOMUS to handle a certain amount of imprecision in its input and find reasonable rhythmic spellings for times durations that aren't obvious as in the example above.
In the next example, equals signs are used instead of the colons of the previous example (you can actually use ‘=’, ‘:’ or nothing for any assignment, depending on your visual preference).
title = "Electric Canon" layout-def = (elvla piano) tuplets = 3 min-tupletdur = 1 inst <id = elvla template = viola> part <id = p1 inst = elvla name = "Electric Viola 1" abbr = "evla 1"> part <id = p2 inst = elvla name = "Electric Viola 2" abbr = "evla 2"> part <id = acomp inst = piano> time = 0 dur = 3 || part = p1 voice = 1 time = 0 dur = 1/3 pitch = 60 ; time = + dur = 1/3 pitch = 59 ; time = + dur = 1 pitch = 58 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 55 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 56 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 58 ; part = p2 voice = 1 time = 2 dur = 1/3 pitch = 60 ; time = + dur = 1/3 pitch = 59 ; time = + dur = 1 pitch = 58 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 55 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 56 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 58 ; part = acomp voice = (1 2) time = 1 dur = 1/3 pitch = 72 ; time = + dur = 1/3 pitch = 71 ; time = + dur = 1 pitch = 70 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 67 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 68 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 70 ; time = 3 dur = 1/3 pitch = 48 ; time = + dur = 1/3 pitch = 47 ; time = + dur = 1 pitch = 46 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 43 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 44 ; time = + dur = 1/2 pitch = 46 ;
Figure 4.7: Instruments with Layout
layout-def is defines a score “layout” and is set to a list of instrument IDs (denoted with ‘(’ and ‘)’) specifying
the order in which instruments should appear in the score.
tuplets defines the highest tuplet that FOMUS is allowed to use (a triplet) and
the smallest duration a tuplet allowed is allowed to span (in this case no less than a quarter note in duration).
This time the ‘name’ and ‘abbr’ settings appear in the parts, overriding the settings defined in the instruments.
That enables us to assign separate names and abbrievated names to two different parts based on the same instrument.
A new note parameter,
voice is also being used here. Note events in a part may belong to one of several different voices.
voice wasn't specified up until now, the default value was always ‘1’.
The voice in part ‘acomp’
is set to ‘(1 2)’, which specifies a choice. This indicates that the following note events can be in either voice 1 or 2 and that it's up to FOMUS
to figure out which one is appropriate. This option of specifying a choice only works with the
voice parameter and is most useful when
importing data from a file where seperate voices might be mixed together in one track.
The double pipe ‘||’ above the first part signifies the downmbeat of a measure. ‘||’ is just a shortcut for ‘meas <>’,
a definition of a measure object with the same basic syntax as the
inst definitions above.
Settings for the measure go in between the two ‘|’'s (examples of this will follow). Measures use two of the same attributes that notes do, time and duration, which
is why both appear before the ‘||’.
time specifies where the downbeat of the measure falls and
dur is simply the duration of the measure.
Although it is possible to specify one, there is no time signature given—FOMUS's figures out what the time signature from the duration and several other settings.
Also, only one measure is specified here. FOMUS automatically fills in areas of the score where measures aren't explicitly defined by repeating the measures you've defined. In the example above, FOMUS generates a measure at time 3 by repeating the measure given to it at time 0. You only need to define measures when a significant change occurs—for example, a change in key signature (an example of this appears later).
Articulations, special techniques, text markings, vocal texts, tremolos, trills and harmonics, and many other score items are created using “marks.”
.fms files, the syntax for a mark is to enclose a symbol within two brackets ‘’ and to place this anywhere before the “enter” semicolon.
The following example shows how to add a few simple articulation marks.
part <id: mypart inst: violin> part mypart dur 1/2 time 1 pitch 67 [.] ; time + pitch 67 [.] ; time + pitch 67 [.] ; time + pitch 67 [.] ; time + time + pitch 67 [>] ; time + pitch 67 [>] ; time + time + pitch 67 [/.] ; time + pitch 67 [/.] ;
Figure 4.8: Articulation Marks
Marks don't “stick” or retain their values like time, duration or other parameter values. They must be placed in every note entry where they are to appear in the score.
Some marks come in pairs, and are referred to in the documentation as “spanners.” Spanners represent markings that are attached to more than one note or extend over a section the score. Examples of such marks are slurs and crescendo wedges, shown here:
duration 1/4 time 0 pitch 55 [(..]; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 57; time + pitch 56 [..)]; time + pitch 55 [(..]; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 57; time + pitch 56 [(..]; time + pitch 55; time + pitch 56 [(..]; time + pitch 57 [(..]; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 55; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 57 [..)]; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 55 [<..]; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 57; time + pitch 56 [..<]; time + pitch 55 [>..]; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 57; time + pitch 56 [<..]; time + pitch 55; time + pitch 56 [>..]; time + pitch 57 [<..]; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 55; time + pitch 56; time + pitch 57 [..<]; time + pitch 56;
Figure 4.9: Spanner Marks
Mark symbols that begin a spanner have a ‘..’ appended to them, while symbols ending a spanner have a ‘..’ prepended to them. It is not always necessary to include both. For example, the first slur above is defined with both the begin and end marks, but the second slur is defined with only one begin mark. The end is placed right before the next begin mark on the eighth sixteenth note of the measure. The slur over the tenth note into the measure doesn't appear at all, since it must span a single note and therefore wouldn't make any sense.
The following illustrates several special notations that can be defined using marks:
part <id: vln inst: violin> dur 1 time 0 pitch 60 [trem] ; time + pitch 60 [trem 1/2] ; time + pitch 60 [trem 1/4] ; dur 1 time 4 pitch 60 [trem] ; pitch 63 [trem2] ; time + pitch 60 [trem 1/2] ; pitch 63 [trem2] ; time + pitch 60 [trem 1/4] ; pitch 63 [trem2] ; dur 2 time 8 pitch 60 [longtr] ; time + pitch 62 [longtr] ; pitch 64 [longtr2] ; time + pitch 61 [longtr] ; pitch 63 [longtr2] ; time + pitch 60 [longtr] ; pitch 62 [longtr2] ; dur 2 time 16 pitch a5 [natharm-sounding] ; time + pitch b5 [natharm-sounding] ; time + pitch b5 [artharm-sounding] ;
Figure 4.10: Special Marks
trem marks are examples of marks that take arguments. Mark arguments always appear inside the brackets and after the mark symbol.
The 1/2 argument represents the duration of a tremolo repetition (an eighth note in this case)
and determines the number of slashes that appear across the note stem.
trem2 mark is used along with
trem to denote
multiple-note or multiple-chord tremolos.
longtr2 function in a similar fashion to notate trills.
artharm-sounding denote the sounding pitch of a natural and artificial harmonic, respectively.
Although there are other marks for specifying touched, played and open string pitches, in the absence of any other information FOMUS finds the easiest
method of playing the harmonic and notates it accordingly.
Parameters such as
tuplets, etc. so far have been referred to as “settings.”
Besides defining objects and specifying note events, FOMUS's behavior is completely controlled by changing the values of these settings.
Where settings appear determine the scope in which they are effective. For example, the
in the last tutorial section were defined at the score level and are effectively default values for the entire score. The same settings
could also appear in a part definition or a measure, overriding the score-level values. By placing settings in different object definitions like this
you can control FOMUS's behavior in different sections of the score.
So far settings have been defined in scores (at the top of the file), parts and instruments. The following example shows a few more places where settings can be set:
beat: 1/8 timesig-den: 8 part <id: apart inst: piano> time: 0 dur: 4 |keysig: dmaj| time: 0 dur: 1 pitch: d4 staff: 1 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: e4 staff: 2 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: f+4 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: g4 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: a4 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: b4 ; time: 8 dur: 4 |keysig: b-maj| time: 8 dur: 1 pitch: d4 staff: 1 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: e4 staff: 2 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: f+4 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: g4 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: a4 ; time: + dur: 1 pitch: b4 ;
Figure 4.11: Settings in Various Locations
The measures in this example contain
keysig settings which have the effect of changing the key signature at that measure.
‘dmaj’ and ‘b-maj’ signify D major and B-flat major.
Also attached to some of the notes is the
staff setting which
forces FOMUS to choose one staff over another (staff 1 is on top and staff two is on the bottom).
FOMUS places the notes with
staff settings in the requested staff and does its best to make the remaining staff choices fit.
Even though ‘staff: 2’ looks like any of the other parameters for note events (i.e., time, dur, pitch, part or voice), it
behaves differently. The value doesn't “stick” and must be repeated for every note entry (like a mark).
The global setting
beat at the top of the file is extremely useful. It defines 1 beat (i.e., a duration of 1) to be equivalent to an
timesig-den specifies that all time signatures should have a base denominator of 8.