Glossary

Glossary

Aftertouch
Ability of some keyboards to transmit data on how hard you press the key after the initial Note On message. “Channel Aftertouch” sends a single value for all keys pressed. “Polyphonic aftertouch” sends a value for each note pressed. Sabre supports both but very few synths and samplers support polyphonic FX
Chromatic
Referring to a sequence of notes which are a half-step apart:  A, A#, B, C, C#….
Half-step
Note distance represented by two consecutive notes on a keyboard, A -> A#, B -> C
Harmony
Two notes played at the same time, e.g. A and C# is a “Major 3rd” harmony
Key Signature
Identifies which notes are used primarily in a given song. In the Sabre it determines which notes the beams represent. “Key” sometimes just refers to the letter value, e.g. “Ab” is the “key” and “major” is the “scale” in Ab Major — though it would not be incorrect to refer to the “key” as “Ab Major”.
MIDI
Musical Instrument Digital Interface. The standard, for over 30 years, for encoding and transferring musical data
MIDI CC (Continuous Control) Message
MIDI has the ability to send a continuous numeric values rather than just discrete notes. These usually represent things like faders, knobs, or touch pad position. There are 127 MIDI CC values. Some are reserved for special purposes.
MIDI Learn
The ability on a DAW or softsynth to activate a state on a knob, slider or other control where the next received MIDI (CC) value will subsequently be used to control that parameter. Sabre has a MIDI Learn mode which sends this discrete value for a gesture control you wish to map to a parameter in your softsynth/DAW
Multi-timbral
Refers to a (software) instrument that allows multiple instruments to be controlled via one plugin instance, usually with each instrument on a different MIDI channel.
Octave
The distance between the nearest two notes of the same name e.g. C5 -> C6. Also the position of a particular note in the whole range of notes: E.g. “C5 is in the 5th octave.  C-2’s octave is -2”.  Also refers to a harmony with two notes that are an octave apart
Pitchbend
Augmenting the pitch of a sustaining note continuously up or down. MIDI devices usually have a wheel or some other mechanism to accomplish this. Sabre uses a Ribbon or Theramin Mode.
Root Note
Refers to any note in a scale that has the same letter value as the key: any A note in “A major”.  When improvising, ending a riff on a root note (yellow beams in Sabre) often has a feeling of resolution or completeness, especially if the chords in the backing track matches.
Scale
Defines a set of notes given a key letter value, e.g. E Dorian
Sustain
Refers to a note which is currently playing, or placed in a mode where it will continue to play indefinitely. A MIDI note is sustaining from the moment the Note On message is sent until the Note Off message is sent. Keep in mind, a sound in a synth may linger even after a MIDI Note Off message has been sent. In this case you might say that the MIDI note is no longer sustaining though the sound itself is.
Vibrato
A technique of rapidly and smoothly altering a note’s pitch above and/or below the median value. Adds character to sustained notes and on physical and especially amplified instruments brings out additional harmonics and tones.
Whole-step
Two half-steps , C->D, B->Db