Making Play-Lists For Quick Changes On-Stage

With the flexibility of the KeyMusician Keyboard, being able to have different key-signatures and different instruments in different performance panes, as well as three different ways of playing chords (sustained, strummed, or arpeggios), It's easy to need a separate configuration file for every song you perform.

But when you're up on stage performing, you can't be fiddling around with the laptop between songs, searching for the next song's configuration file. And there can be a lot of configuration files to search.

Fortunately, there's a really slick way of making this process quick, and easy. This article shows you how.

Setting Up A Play-List

The first step in solving this problem, is to set up a play-list of just the configuration files you will be using in a given performance. You might just have one play-list, or one for each type of performance, or even each particular performance.

You need to create a folder for each play-list, naming the folder in a way describing each particular play-list.

To do this, use your computer's file browser (file explorer) to open the “KeyMusician-Keyboard” folder of your home folder, which is where configuration files are kept.

In that folder, create a new folder for your play-list, similar to what is shown in the following screen-shot:

KeyMusician-Keyboard folder, with a play-list folder just created, applicable to August of 2018

The “PlayList-2018-08” folder is the folder I just created. If you use calendar dates to identify play-lists, If you put the year before the month, and use a 2-digit month, your play-lists will be sorted in increasing order of the date specified.

Also notice in my “KeyMusician-Keyboard” folder, there are a lot of configuration files ('.kmk' files), so there is a real need to organize them for a particular play-list.

The next step is to copy all of the configuration files ('.kmk' files) from the KeyMusician-Keyboard folder, to the new play-list folder. Alternatively, you could copy just the ones you think you might ever need in a performance, which would reduce the number of files you need to search among.

Since configuration files are small, it doesn't waste much space even if you have all your configuration files in the play-list folder. You won't have to search among them, because you're going to put them in the order of the songs you play.

Arranging The Order Of The Play-List

Next, you need to arrange the play-list's configuration files in the order of the songs you will be playing.

The way we'll arrange them, is to have the files used in the play-list come before the files not used.

We do this by re-naming the configuration files starting with a 2-digit number, corresponding to the order the files are to be used in.

You need a 2-digit number, because otherwise, file 11 would appear right after file 1, and file 2 would come after file 11, which is not the order you want. With a 2-digit file number, the files names will automatically sort alphabetically in the order we want them.

If your play-list has more than 100 songs, you will need a 3-digit file number.

So go ahead and rename your configuration files in the order you will use them, as shown in the screen-shot below:

Renaming the first file of the play-list, inserting “01-” in front of the name, so it will be sorted at the beginning of the list of files

You repeatedly rename additional files, inserting “02-” at the beginning of the file-name for the second file, “03-” for the third file, and so forth.

In the screen-shot below, I've renamed all of the files I intend to use in the play-list, specifying their order:

My play-list folder, with the files appearing (alphabetically) in the order of the text of the file-name

Notice that there are three un-numbered files at the end, that I didn't actually use in the play-list (because I didn't re-name them starting with a number). Any files you don't re-name in this manner will appear at the end of the folder, where they could still be used if you changed your mind on needing them.

Note: If any of your configuration file names already started with a number, this scheme will not work so well.

Also notice that instead of a single file starting with “02-”, I have two files, starting with “02a-” and “02b-”. This is because I wanted to insert another file after what was originally the “02-” file, and I didn't want to re-name all of the other files to correspond to the new numbering. They still appear in the order I need them to appear.

Also notice that some configuration files (such as the one starting with “04-05-06-”) are used for multiple songs, and that is the way I indicate a file is used with multiple songs.

The “09-ChopinEtudeEMajor.amk” file is a mistake, and I need to delete it. Files ending in “.amk” were originally what configuration files were called early in the development of the KeyMusician Keyboard.

Using The Files Of Your Play-List

When you bring up the KeyMusician Keyboard application, it will use the “PriorConfig.kmk” configuration file in your KeyMusician-Keyboard folder, which may (or may not) be what you need at first.

To use the configuration files in your new play-list, you need to load the first file of your play-list.

To do that, switch to the “F1 (Help/Setup)” pane, and click on the “Configuration File” drop-box, selecting the first entry in the list (which is “(browse for more)”), as shown in the screen-shot below:

Selecting “(browse for more)” in the Configuration File” drop-box

When you do that, a “Load Config” window will appear. Select the folder name of your play-list as shown in the screen-shot below:

Selecting your play-list folder

After selecting your play-list folder, click the “Load Config” button, and a new “Load Config” window will appear, showing the files in your play-list, as shown in the screen-shot below:

Selecting the first file of your play-list

With the first file of your play-list selected, click the “Load Config” button (or your could just double-click the first file of your play-list), which loads it. Click (or press the function key of) your song's starting performance-pane, and you're ready to play your first song.

Notice they are displayed in the order you numbered them (by renaming the files).

When you're ready to play the next song of your play-list, hit the “F1” function key (to switch to the “F1 (Help/Setup)” pane), and click on the “Configuration File” drop-box to expand it. Then select the very next file in the list, as shown in the screen-shot below:

Selecting the next configuration file in the list

The selected configuration file will replace the current configuration file, and you're ready to play your next song.

Likewise, when you're ready to switch to the next configuration file in the list, hit the F1 key, click on the “Configuration File” drop-box, and select the next file in it, as shown in the screen-shot below:

Selecting the 3rd configuration file in the play-list

You repeat that process to go through all of the configuration files of your play-list, used in a performance.

If for some reason you needed to make a change to a configuration file, you make your changes in whatever performance pane, and click the “Save” button (of the performance pane) to save the change in memory. Then hit the F1 function key (to switch to the “F1 (Help/Setup)” pane), and click the “Save Config” button.

The current configuration file will be saved in the play-list folder you're using, rather than in the “KeyMusician-Keyboard” folder. It will replace the contents of the current configuration file, unless you click on the file-name and change it, to create a new configuration file in the play-list folder.

Hopefully this article will save you a lot of fiddling with the computer when you're up on stage, thus appearing more professional to your audience.

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