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  1. #1

    Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    LOTRO's musical system is unique in the MMO universe. Not only can you play back ABC files, you can actually perform live tunes. The initial keymapping setup leaves something to be desired, though. Using 1-8 with shift and ctrl is not an easy interface.

    I've played for years on the harp and hammered dulcimer. Using these two instruments has given me two important insights into keymapping in lotro:

    From the harp: Much music is diatonic, meaning no sharps and flats. You can play it on the white keys of the piano. This is especially true for traditional and ancient music.

    From the hammered dulcimer: Using rows of fifths, you can make chord shapes that move around, yet maintain the same chord type.

    So for a LOTRO keymapping, I have combined a bit from both of these instruments to produce the following keymap:



    This works out to the following keymap:
    C2 - Z
    D2 - X
    E2 - C
    F2 - CAPS LOCK, V
    G2 - A, B
    A2 - N, S
    B2 - D, M
    C3 - Tab, F
    D3 - Q, G
    E3 - W, H
    F3 - E, J
    G3 - R, K
    A3 - L, T
    B3 - Y, semicolon
    C4 - single quote (by the semicolon), U
    D4 - I, Enter (Many will not map the enter key...)
    E4 - O
    F4 - P
    G4 - [
    A4 - ], 7
    B4 - = (this may vary according to your keyboard layout)
    C5 - BACKSPACE (This may vary according to your keyboard layout)

    With this layout, we can make very natural chord shapes for open chords. This is a chord with a root, a fifth, and an octave. It sounds very medieval and is my preferred chord shape on the harp. For some quick chords here's the letters:

    C chord: zaTAB
    D chord: xsq
    E chord: cdw
    F chord: vfe
    G chord: bgr
    A chord: nht

    You'll notice that there is redundancy in the keymapping. That is, there are more than one key mapped to a particular note. This is something I've borrowed from the Hammered Dulcimer tuning. Redundant notes means you can make multiple chord shapes. So I could also have a G chord like so:
    G chord: aqr
    This is useful if I want to keep my chords on the left hand side of the keyboard, while the right hand plays melody. This is the way it is done on the harp.

    Finally, lets say that you want to play in a different key than C... This is quite easy if we borrow a concept from the lever harp. Simply "sharpen" or "flatten" the notes required for the new key. So for instance, the key of G has one sharp, F#. Simply clear all your F natural key mappings and reassign those keys to F#. At that point, the entire keyboard layout plays in G. This also works with flats, but you have to keep in mind that A# = Bb.

    Well I wish you all the best of luck. And I'll leave you with a short tune, Brian Boru's march. This is the first tune that nearly every harper learns.

    chord melody
    first part
    xsq ljhgg
    xsq ljhgg
    zaTAB khgff
    zaTAB khgff
    xsq ljhgg
    xsq ljhgg
    xsq ghjk
    zaTAB l
    xsq ljhgg

    2nd part
    xsq ghjljljlj
    zaTAB fghkhkhkh
    xsq ghjljljlj
    xsq ghjk
    zaTAB l
    xsq ljhgg

    You can hear a clip of brian boru's march here:
    Brian Boru's March

    Oh, and IC, I always refer to this song as "Lord Brand's March" to bring it a bit more into LOTR universe.

    EDIT: Here are some extra tips...

    In options,
    Make sure the "Quantize Player Music" box is unchecked
    Make sure the "Low Latency mode" box is checked
    Last edited by Harperelle; Oct 26 2009 at 04:31 PM.
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  2. #2

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Bump for posterity. /sign for a sticky...
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  3. #3

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    /signed for a sticky
    I currently don't key in real time, but I might like to in the future.
    Primary: Tirigifu of Rohan, female human burglar/yeoman; Alt 1: Tiriadoc Brandybuck, male hobbit minstrel/historian; Alt 2: Tirialataire, female elf lore master/explorer .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    59

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Awesome layout mate thanks for your work!

    I prefered hand playing since day 1.. but sad thing is that I always sucked at it since day one :P

    Your layout made it a bit easier, but im still having trouble getting rythm in.

    Anyway, more song would be so awesome!
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0a2040100000107d8/signature.png]Inandout[/charsig]

  5. #5

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Quote Originally Posted by CaRaMeL View Post
    Your layout made it a bit easier, but im still having trouble getting rythm in.

    Anyway, more song would be so awesome!
    Glad its working out better for you. Make sure to remove the "Quantize player music" checkbox. And also make sure to check "low latency mode." These are two big sources of problems for freestyling.

    --Harperella
    [url=http://alesandtales.com]The Lonely Mountain Band[/url]|[url=http://tinyurl.com/freestyleharp]Freestyle![/url]|[url=http://tinyurl.com/winharperella]Winner: Top Guild Leader![/url]|[url=Weatherstock.guildlaunch.com]Weatherstock V[/url]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Beautiful Oregon
    Posts
    1,264

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Quote Originally Posted by Harperelle View Post
    Glad its working out better for you. Make sure to remove the "Quantize player music" checkbox. And also make sure to check "low latency mode." These are two big sources of problems for freestyling.

    --Harperella
    And remember to switch them around again for playing abc files in a group.

  7. #7

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurefinde View Post
    And remember to switch them around again for playing abc files in a group.
    I've never had a problem with this when playing in a group... my understanding is they only affect freestyle music.

    --Harperella
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Behind a tree, arrow nocked...
    Posts
    3,245

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Quote Originally Posted by Harperelle View Post
    I've never had a problem with this when playing in a group... my understanding is they only affect freestyle music.

    --Harperella
    Those setting affect client side playing. ABC grouping is all done server side (has to be for synchronization).
    Lle merna aut farien?
    Playing music in LotRO is as easy as ABC!

    Warders of the Weald
    Landroval: Northwoods, Hjogii

  9. #9

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Quote Originally Posted by Harperelle View Post
    Glad its working out better for you. Make sure to remove the "Quantize player music" checkbox. And also make sure to check "low latency mode." These are two big sources of problems for freestyling.

    --Harperella
    Well it depends. If you're playing freestyle solo, low latency mode is great. When trying to play with others though, I generally turn it off. Yeah it's a bit harder to play, but it means you hear your notes a lot closer to when others would hear them. With low latency mode, your client is playing the note immediately as you press the key, as it sends the note to the server. With it off, it sends the note to the server, and you hear it when the server sends that note back to your client to be played. So you do have to compensate in your playing but it generally syncs up with others a lot better. I also do this if I'm freestyling to someone else's ABC.
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    [/CENTER]

  10. #10

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    A bump for all freestylers
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  11. #11

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Another bump for freestyle music. My 8 year old daughter puts out pretty good tunes on this layout...
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    21

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    thanks I was looking for how to do free style. I may not be very good but I enjoy doing it myself.

  13. Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Today I came across something called a Wicki-Hayden layout, which is an alternate layout for a keyboard on a hexagonal grid. I was reminded of Harperella's freestyle layout, because it also stacks 5ths together so its easy to play chords. Apparently this was invented back at the turn of the century and never caught on, but its used on some concertinas.

    What I like best about Wicki-Hayden is it also includes all the accidentals (black keys). I like to play using a MIDI keyboard, so having all the notes mapped is nice. Below is my attempt at making a Wicki-Hayden layout for LOTRO. I photoshopped your key layout, Harperella, I hope you don't mind!

    Pros:
    * Contains every chromatic key in 3 octaves.
    * Wicki-Hayden lets you transpose easily by shifting the pattern of notes up down left or right on the grid.
    Cons:
    * The bottom octave got smushed off to the side, and isn't part of the Wiki-Hayden pattern. This will make playing basslines harder.
    Neither:
    *Since its not tuned to any one key, its easy to produce weird experimental sounding whole-tone scales, stacked 4ths, and progressions that don't have a clear root. (could be pro or con, depending how you like your music)




    Key map:
    Code:
    C 2 - Z
    C#2 - E
    D 2 - X
    D#2 - 1
    E 2 - 2
    F 2 - A
    F#2 - 3
    G 2 - S
    G#2 - C
    A 2 - Q
    A#2 - V
    B 2 - W
    C 3 - B
    C#3 - D
    D 3 - N
    D#3 - F
    E 3 - M
    F 3 - G
    F#3 - ,
    G 3 - H
    G#3 - . R
    A 3 - J
    A#3 - / T
    B 3 - K
    C 4 - Y
    C#4 - L 4
    D 4 - U
    D#4 - ; 5
    E 4 - I
    F 4 - ' 6
    F#4 - O
    G 4 - 7
    G#4 - P
    A 4 - 8
    A#4 - [
    B 4 - 9
    C 5 - 0
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  14. Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    I'm discovering a weird problem with my layout. Seems like there are a lot of key combinations that you can't press, due to limitations in the electronics or something. For example, try (J + L + M) for an A major chord. It will only let me press two keys and the third gets ignored, and then the computer starts beeping at me. This is really weird. Anyone else seen this happen?
    [url="http://astleigh.mymiddleearth.com/"]Astleigh's Songbook[/url] | [url="http://www.lotrointerface.com/downloads/info455-Lyrical.html"]Lyrical[/url]

  15. #15

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Quote Originally Posted by Astleigh View Post
    I'm discovering a weird problem with my layout. Seems like there are a lot of key combinations that you can't press, due to limitations in the electronics or something. For example, try (J + L + M) for an A major chord. It will only let me press two keys and the third gets ignored, and then the computer starts beeping at me. This is really weird. Anyone else seen this happen?
    This is a normal, inherent limitation in most keyboards' design:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Key jamming and ghosting

    Key ghosting occurs on matrix keyboards for certain combinations of 3 keys. When these three keys are pressed simultaneously a fourth keypress is erronously registered by the keyboard controller. [4] Modern keyboards detect ghosting and instead of registering a fourth key will ignore the third key, which is known as jamming. Which keys jam when pressed together differs between brands and models of keyboards.
    Key jamming is most often noticed when using a keyboard to play action-oriented computer games. The original Star Control game included a utility to test for key jamming and help the player determine the best key mapping for his/her keyboard, since during gameplay it was common for each of the two players to be pressing three or four keys at the same time.
    Most modern action-oriented computer games and console emulators use the control, alt, and shift keys by default, since they are always designed to be pressed in combination with other keys, and thus usually circumvent key jamming.
    You would need a high end keyboard with higher rollover to get around this, but at that point someone could just head for a low-end MIDI keyboard.
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    [/CENTER]

  16. #16

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Quote Originally Posted by Astleigh View Post
    I'm discovering a weird problem with my layout. Seems like there are a lot of key combinations that you can't press, due to limitations in the electronics or something. For example, try (J + L + M) for an A major chord. It will only let me press two keys and the third gets ignored, and then the computer starts beeping at me. This is really weird. Anyone else seen this happen?
    I had this same problem on my old laptop keyboard. I got around it by using arpeggiated and rolled chords. None of my USB keyboards seem to have this problem though. Some seem to have a 3 key limit. I bought an older Logitech G15 keyboard (the old one with 18 macro keys!) and it works like a charm. I rarely use my G13 macros for chords anymore--Its all keyboard now and no macros.
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  17. Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    I use an IBM model M that I found secondhand. So the hardware is quite old. Perhaps its time I bought an actual gaming keyboard. I just hate the squishy keys though, and it seems they don't make gaming keyboards with clicky keys.
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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    23

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    /signed for Sticky and giving it a bump for usefulness

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Pinon Hills, CA
    Posts
    805

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Thank you, Harp!!!!!!
    Caralie Carlin of Arkenstone
    "There is suffering in the light; in excess, it burns. Flame is hostile to the wing.
    To burn and yet to fly, that is the miracle of genius." -- Victor Hugo

  20. #20

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Here's a link to another freestyling keymap by Diamond:

    http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.p...estyle-playing
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  21. #21

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Bumpity bump
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  22. #22

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Hoping to inspire a new generation of freestyle musicians!

    --Harp
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  23. #23

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Bumping back up for posterity
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  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Brabrand, Denmark
    Posts
    219

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    Nice thread this!

    Personally I feel very uncomfortable playing on the PC keyboard, if I really felt a great urge to do so I'd probably bite the bullet and learn to play the chromatic accordion. You can fit 3 or 4 rows neatly on a standard keyboard.

    Chromatic Button Accordion
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  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Bartunnel, Meneldor
    Posts
    56

    Re: Freestyling (keymap layout and first tune)

    This vid has probably been seen by folks who've been around awhile; but I was pretty impressed when I first discovered it recently. It's someone freestyling on their keyboard, and aside form a few lag issues, it's sounds terrific.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP9sI5Q-m8s

    Maybe that's Harper in the vid? o.O

 

 
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