The Impro-Companion Project

Instructions: How to use the Impro-Companion


On the next page you will find a list of music pieces produced to be used as a basis for improvisations. Find an interesting one and download it for free: you'll get a zip file containing everything you need to start the playback.
Once extracted on your hard-disk open it directly with REAPER (if already installed) with a double click on the version suitable for your instrument and your tuning. You find the rpp-file in the folder you just opened, at the first level, not in the "Media" folder.

In the example on the side, an historical ground, the Passamezzo Antico, you can choose whether to play in 440 Hz or in 415 Hz.

The project will automatically open in REAPER and here you can choose which instrument you prefer for the accompaniment - or mix the instruments to your liking.

After downloading the desired playback, if you just want to practice in the solitude of your room, without prying ears, you will no longer need to continue working online: you can simply click on the play button and let it accompany you for the next few minutes ... or hours ;-)
The necessary loop has already been programmed and requires no intervention on your part.

However, you can easily change the playback tempo by setting a new value in REAPER. To the right of the mixer you will find the field where you can enter the new bpm.

Actually you can also change the pitch of the playback, but in a less intuitive way (and with more or less high loss of audio quality) - in this case please refer to the DAW handbook.

In many cases you will find scores related to the playbacks alongside the REAPER files (especially in the section dedicated to early music).

How to use the Impro-Companion to start a jam-session

On the other hand, if you want to play with other musicians who are like you also tired of playing only in their room and completely by themselves, you can use the NINJAM plugin, starting a jam-session using the REAPER-project you are listening to as playback, and invite friends who live near and far to participate.

You can find online on the dedicated website the instructions on how to use the plugin and also numerous explanatory videos on Youtube.

Insert the plugin and open its control window, then log into a free "room" on one of the servers, graciously provided by ninjamer.com and ninbot.com.

Next to the name of the "room" you see some important information: the preset BPM, the maximum number of participants and the number of users already present at the moment.

An example:
Server                              Info                     Users
ninjamer.com:2049         100 BPM / 8        1/8: pincopallino
This means that at this moment the BPM (Beats Per Minute) is set to 100, the BPI (Beats Per Interval) to 8 and that there is an active participant (pincopallino) on a maximum number of 8.

An interval can be a measure but also a group of measures or the full length of a loop, depending on the type of music and your preferences.

After connecting to the server, you have to set the BPM and BPI to those of the song you have chosen. The informations you need to do this are included in the song name.

 

An example:
"Passamezzo Antico Dm 415 60 bpm 2-2"
This means that the tonality of the Passamezzo is D minor, the tempo 60 BPM and the time signature 2/2. This means you have to set the "room's" BPM to 60 and concerning the BPI you can choose between 2 (which is the smallest interval) and a multiple of 2. The BPI will determinate the number of beats in the visual (and acoustical) metronome in the NINJAM window. In this way you will be able to choose whether to have a "one" in each measure, a "one" every two, or every four, or even only a "big one" at the beginning of the loop.

To set the "room"-BPM you have to enter this text:
!vote bpm xxx (where xxx is the required value)

Then click on the send button

 

The same process will be required to set the BPI:

!vote bpi xxx

 

Then click on the sync button and then on start REAPER playback on next loop.
Once the playback starts and is sent to the "room" you can finally invite your friends to join the jam session. You should be aware that not only the friends you have invited can participate, but also any other musician using NINJAM who "passes" by there by chance and who are curious to listen (and maybe even to participate in the jam session!). You will be able to mix the sounds of the various participants to your liking (or even to mute them if you don't like how they play!), to record it - and each participant in the jam session will be able to do the same...with you ;-)

For a better experience using the NINJAM plugin for online jam-sessions I strongly encourage you to use a good quality sound card with zero latency hardware monitoring!

Next (and last) page:

This project was realised with the support of Musikfonds