How Music Varies During Playback
As DirectMusic plays a -based segment, changes are made to the basic harmony and rhythm so that the performance does not sound static. Changes are partly scripted and partly random.
- Choice of pattern. A typical style contains multiple , which are selected in response to commands from the command track. For example, if the command track calls for a break embellishment to be played, the style playback engine selects a break pattern that is compatible with the current . (The author specifies which groove levels are appropriate for each pattern.) If there is more than one suitable pattern, one is chosen according to rules embedded in the segment by the author. The choice might be completely or partly random, or patterns might be selected in a certain sequence.
- Variations within a pattern. Any part within a pattern can have multiple variations. Variations can play in an order specified by the author; otherwise the style playback engine makes a random choice of variations on each repetition of the pattern.
- Groove level. The groove level of the segment determines which of the patterns in the style can be selected for playback. The current level is set by the command track, which is normally authored into a segment. The groove level of a segment can also be changed programmatically, and a modifier can be applied to all segments by setting the master groove level for the performance.
- Transposition. As the segment plays, changes are made to the underlying chord according to the progression in the chord track. The notes in the current pattern are automatically transposed to harmonize with the new chord.
- Variations in timing. The playback engine can introduce small random changes in the start and stop times of individual notes. The degree of randomness is set by the author of the content.
- Band. The choice of instruments and instrument settings (volume, pan, and transposition) can be changed as the segment is playing, either by the band track within an authored segment or dynamically by the application.
In many cases, applications exert control over the music by playing different segments rather than by manipulating existing segments. For example, to have the music reflect a change in the intensity of a game, you can simply change to a new segment authored for that intensity level. You can achieve a similar effect with a single style-based segment by having the author create patterns with different groove ranges, and then changing the groove level in response to game events.