Extended Style Files
YamJJazz defines a new file format (.yjz) which extends the capabilities of a standard Yamaha style file (.sty, .prs). Objective is to enable the design of rhythms with a wider dynamic range, rhythms which sound less repetitive.
An extended file (.yjz) supports :
- Unlimited number of variations
Instead of Main A, Main B, Main C, you can define Main A-1, Main A-2, Main B-1, Main B-2, Main B-3, Main C-1, Main C-2, …
- Unlimited Alternate takes for each variation
With a Standard Yamaha style the same phrase is always used for a given variation, let’s say Main A. ‘Alternate takes’ lets the rhythm designer define different-but-similar phrases for Main A, which will be used randomly by the YamJJazz engine to sound less repetitive.
A .yjz file is an extension of a standard Yamaha style file, the base style. So when you read MyRhythm.yjz, YamJJazz expects to find MyRhythm.sty or MyRhythm.prs in the same directory.
Creating a .yjz extension file can be time-consuming, that’s why the first version of JJazzLab contains only a limited number of such rhythms.
Creating a .yjz requires some advanced knowledge of Midi and of the Yamaha style format. Also you must be comfortable with a Midi multi-track editor.
.yjz extension file format
The extension file (.yjz) must be associated to a base Yamaha style file (.sty or .prs) with the same name in the same directory.
YamJJazz first reads the base style file to get the following information:
- CASM data: channels parameters for each available variation (Intro A, Main A, Main B, …)
- SINT data: instruments parameters (bank select/program change, volume, …)
- Musical data: the Midi source phrases for each channel of each available variation
Then YamJJazz reads the .yjz extension file to get Midi source phrases used to refine the available base variations and to add ‘alternate takes’ source phrases.
If the base style uses variation e.g. Main A, then it’s possible to define variations Main A-1, Main A-2, Main A-3, etc in the extension file. The number is called the complexity level. As soon as you define a Main A-x variation in the extension file, it replaces the original Main A variation from the base file.
If the base file defines variation e.g. Main D but the extension file does not define Main D-x, then the original Main D will be used with the name Main D-1.
If the base style does not use variation e.g. Intro B, then it’s not possible to define Intro B-x in the extension file.
.yjz files use Midi format 1, they can contain several tracks. Note that .sty or .prs files use Midi format 0, they contain a single track.
Each track of the extension file must start with a Midi trackname meta event with the following syntax:
track name=<base variation>-<complexity level>-<id string>-<phrase length in beats>
- Main A-1-drums-8
- Main A-1-bass-8
- Main A-1-guitar-8
- Main A-1-guitar_root-8
- Main A-2-drums-8
- Main A-2-bass-8
- Main A-2-guitar-8
- Main A-2-guitar_root-8
- Ending B-1-piano-4
- Ending B-1-bass-4
All tracks for a given variation must have the same length in beats. But different variations can have different lengths.
Depending on the CASM data, there might be one or more source phrases for a given destination channel (the guitar and guitar_root phrases in the example above).
A track should contain only Midi note on/off messages for one Midi channel. It must be the source channel defined by the CASM data for the target instrument represented by the id string. For example, if the CASM data says that Midi channel 11 is the only source channel for the bass of variation Main A, then the Main A-1-bass-8 should contain only notes for channel 11.
To add ‘alternate takes’ for a given variation, just append source phrases on each track of this variation. Each appended source phrase must have the same length than the original phrase.
The source phrase length of track Main A-1-bass-8 is 8 beats. You can append 2 similar 8-beat source phrases on that track, so the track length becomes 24 beats. YamJJazz will consider the 2 appended phrases as ‘alternate takes’ of the first source phrase, to be used randomly when rendering the Main A-1 bass part. Note that 2 ‘alternate takes’ must be also added for all the other Main A-1 tracks: Main A-1-drums-8, Main A-1-guitar-8 and Main A-1-guitar_root-8.