Basic Setup and Operation
SmartMusic® (I’ll simply call it “SM”, to save time and space) is a subscription computer accompaniment program by MakeMusic.
A subscription program requires you to pay a yearly (or monthly) fee to remain “active” (i.e., for the program to continue working). For information about system requirements, cost and how to subscribe to SM visit
Because my computer is a Mac, all of my information and suggestions are based on my own personal (Mac) experience. PCs should be the same or similar but I apologize in advance for any possible discrepancies.
The current version of SM has a very thorough and well set up Help - available from the “Help” menu or clicking the “?” on the top right of the play screen (you must be on line). Check the various categories at the bottom of this page if you need further information.
Playing User Created smp Files
Move any User Created smp files from the CD to your hard drive.
Double click to open(or choose My Accompaniments in My Library.)
Once played, the title will appear in Recently Played in Playlists.
The following suggestions change the set up for ALL files played. If you have already been using SM - you can check your set up in the Settings (near the bottom on the left of the opening screen). In Advanced settings you might have to adjust the Fine adjustment (rushing/dragging) if you feel that accompaniments are speeding up or slowing down.
For the largest size of music choose “Full screen” in View (also using Command “+” or “-”).
Also in View you have the choices Cursor (“on” or “off” - better readers often find that the cursor is distracting because it seems to be late), Cursor follows the beat or Cursor follows the note (this used to be the only choice). Because it depends on your level of playing and experience, you will have to experiment to see which Cursor choice is best for you.
Check Pin control strip (bottom Controlsmenu) - this can also be done while a file is playing by checking the “pin” in the top left of the play screen. The Pin control strip displays Tempo (once you have clicked the number, you can easily change the tempo while playing, by using the up or down arrows on your computer keyboard), Location (bar and beat) and My part & Accompaniment (both of which can be turned “on” or “off” while a file is playing).
TIP:Most of the “Short cuts” listed in the Controls and View menus work while a file is playing.
To begin other than at the start of a piece, simply click on the bar & beat where you want to start. Start playing by using the “Start take”.
Both the computer keyboard space bar or a Foot Pedal can also be used to both start and stop (totally) but only the pause icon (which appears when a file is playing) can be used to stop and then resume play at the same spot.
Playing a file automatically records (which is why each “play” is called a “take”) both your performance and the accompaniment (including “click” if it is on and count in). You do not have to listen to each “take” but, at any time, can choose from My takes and Listen and, if you want, save as MP3s.
SmartMusic Features & Adjustments
- Output (Speakers/Earphones), Input (Microphone), Kybd & Foot Pedal
- Customize any file in a large number of ways:
- adjust the “Follow” (formerly ”Artificial Intelligence”) level
(how closely the accompaniment reacts to and follows your playing)
- set pauses where the accompaniment stops until you play a specific note
- add “breaths” (slight or noticeable delays in the accompaniment)
- adjust tempo (entire work - a specific region - beat by beat)
- turn off repeats (including DS and DC)
- set cuts in the music (e.g., skip Tutti sections)
- adjust rushing or dragging (if the accompaniment speeds or slows down)
- starting/stoping & practice loops (repeated sections)
- record yourself with the full Orchestral Accompaniment
- add a metronome click
- set a count in (click or voice) of 1 or 2 bars
- check fingering
- check tuning
- change pitch from standard A = 440
- set reverb level (from none to Taj Mahal)
- adjust the display (how the music and cursor appear on screen)
- look up symbols and terms used in the music
- and most importantly, you can save your custom changes
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