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The Rosegarden team has announced the availability of the first Beta Version of Rosegarden 10.02, the next incarnation of the audio and MIDI sequencer and musical notation editor for Linux. The development team says that they've fixed the most catastrophic bugs and Rosegarden 10.02 beta no longer carries the strong "use at your own risk" warnings. You will almost certainly experience crashes, bugs, and usability problems, but it is worth giving the new Rosegarden a try in order to maximize the chances that the final release in February will be stable. The new Rosegarden is part port, part rewrite, and it has taken nearly two years to reach this point.

Rosegarden 10.02
Rosegarden 10.02 Rosegarden 10.02

Rosegarden 10.02 will finally bring an end to the long and difficult job of transforming Rosegarden from an obsolete KDE 3 application into a modern Qt 4 application. There was no precedent for an application following this upgrade path, and so the dev team had to begin this process by writing their own custom porting tools. From there, they spent an entire year chipping away at an immense mountain of compiler errors before they could even get a glimpse to see if the new code was going to work. From that first peek until now swallowed the biggest part of a second year, digging into every dusty corner, and putting everything back in order.

Along the way they found plenty of opportunities to improve Rosegarden, and get this new codebase turned into a landmark release that probably rivals 1.0 for the sheer amount of collective effort that went into its making. They have fixed hundreds of bugs, including many old bugs that had been around for years, and they have introduced dozens of new features.

Usability Enhancements:

  • With its bold new custom look, including hundreds of new icons, Rosegarden ensures all of its interface elements are usable, freeing you to configure the rest of your system any way you like.
  • With its more compact, netbook-friendly interface, Rosegarden gets more done with less screen real estate.
  • Rosegarden has a low installation footprint, and creates local, user-editable copies of all example and library files.
  • Expanded translations (varies by language) put more of Rosegarden in your native language than has ever been possible before.
  • You may now run as many instances of Rosegarden as you like, in parallel, and can even install and run different versions simultaneously.
  • Enhanced device management support, including an all-new MIDI device manager, finally addresses a number of long-standing usability issues and bugs.
  • Control rulers (notation and matrix) completely redesigned from the ground up to use primary editing tools (e.g. pencil) and present controller data as a series of connected points that may be manipulated very fluidly and easily.
  • Control rulers share a selection with their associated editor (notation or matrix), allowing control events to be cut, copied and pasted along with notes.
  • A number of non-critical warning dialogs about system configuration issues have been moved out of your way, and onto a compact health indicator at the bottom right of the main window.
  • You can add, display and access what we hope will prove to be an effectively unlimited number of MIDI controllers in the instrument parameters box, eliminating the need for an alternative tabbed layout mode.
  • Instrument channel selection controls have been merged into the instrument itself, such that assigning something to instrument "#1" is now exactly synonymous with assigning it to channel 1, rather than merely a loose default correspondence.
  • New streamlined interface merges the insertion cursor functions into the playback cursor, so Rosegarden has only one cursor at long last.
  • All new integrated project packager provides built-in, native support for Rosegarden project packages, eliminates a number of obscure dependencies, and provides a cleaner user experience.
  • Document modified status is indicated in the title bar.
  • Markers text entry fields have been renamed to make it more clear which of the two editable texts is the functional one.
  • The simple event editor now handles notation-quantized notes more intelligently.
  • All but a few keyboard shortcuts are now exposed through menu entries or tooltips, to facilitate learning.
  • Improved controller manager dialog now opens the editor automatically after creating a new controller.
  • Grace notes are scaled correctly relative to full-sized notes (in a way that may lead to true support of cue-sized notation in the future).
  • Fast-forward and rewind buttons on all transport toolbars throughout the application now auto-repeat.
  • The matrix editor can finally track and reflect external changes to any segments it displays.
  • The key mapping editor in the bank editor is more reliable, with some long-standing bugs sorted out.

New Features

General:

  • Most windows have special function-related icons associated with them, so it is easier to use your desktop task manager to find the window you seek.
  • Improved flashing metronome mode and more realistic looking LEDs for the transport.
  • Rosegarden comes bundled with a library of composition templates (.rgt files), and any file can be saved as a template with the new File > Save As Template option.
  • New support for Frontier Design Group's TranzPort contributed by Immanuel Litzroth.
  • The MIDI device manager can now import bank and program information from LinuxSampler .lscp files.
  • The automatic clef guessing feature (used in a variety of contexts, such as when importing MIDI or splitting a segment by pitch) now adds transposing clefs to its repertoire in order to avoid excessive ledger lines in parts that extend to the extremes of reproducible pitch.

Notation:

  • Higher quality on-screen rendering removes the annoying chromatic artifacts that have afflicted all previous versions, and provides crisp, clear rendering.
  • New pan and zoom allows you to move around quickly, and zoom the window contents as far in or out as you like, or zoom either axis independently.
  • You can now add a layer to the part you're editing with just one click. The "Add Layer" function uses the currently active segment as a template for creating a new "layer" segment in the same place, with the same clefs and key signatures, but in a contrasting color.
  • The segment changer (located with the pan and zoom controls) provides a visual indication of which segment is currently active for editing, even in continuous page layout mode, and allows you to change segments without removing your right hand from your mouse.
  • Print and Print Preview are both performed through LilyPond, which provides extremely high-quality output.
  • Expanded range of point sizes (from 6 to 30) available for LilyPond export.
  • New interactive LilyPond Print/Preview allows you to configure your preferences for which applications you prefer to use for printing files and viewing PDFs, and compares the result of the LilyPond conversion operation against your LilyPond export options in order to offer intelligent suggestions for what steps to take when things go wrong.
  • New support for notation symbols, giving Rosegarden the ability to display (non-operative) segno, coda and breath mark symbols.
  • New marks for open, stopped/muted, and harmonic/flageolet.
  • New cycle slashes function allows you to use the / shortcut or the new toolbar icon to cycle through from 0 to 5 slashes on selected notes.
  • All marks are exported to LilyPond now, and mark placement has been aligned with LilyPond's placement rules, following the philosophy that they have spent vastly more time studying best notation practices than we have, and where we disagreed, we were wrong.
  • Add Trill With Line moves from Note => Marks… and the marks toolbar to Phrase and the group toolbar, reflecting an internal change that transforms this from a mark attached to a single note into a more flexible indication that can span any number of (usually tied) notes. The mark version still exists internally to preserve compatibility with existing compositions.
  • Even quicker and improved keyboard access to inserting notes and rests, with the default duration determined by the denominator of the current time signature.
  • More compact notation toolbar layout combines note and rest entry in one place, freeing up space, and improving efficiency.
  • When using the notation editor to insert notes, long notes are tied at barlines by default, so red barlines are less common.

Matrix:

  • At long last it is possible to open multiple segments (from any number of different tracks) in the same matrix view.
  • The pitch highlights on I III and V are now calculated relative to the key signature in effect, rather than being fixed against C major.
  • Notes and pitch highlights are always displayed in concert pitch, allowing you to work with segments in many different transpositions simultaneously on the same grid, even though they appear as completely different notes in completely different keys in a notation view.
  • Cleaner interface leaves the instrument parameters in the main window, so you have more room for editing what's important.
  • New pan and zoom allows you to move around quickly, and zoom the window contents as far in or out as you like, or zoom either axis independently.
  • The segment changer (located with the pan and zoom controls) provides a visual indication of which segment is currently active for editing, and allows you to change segments without removing your right hand from your mouse.
  • Is is now possible to insert key changes from the matrix.
  • The standard matrix now allows the possibility of opening the same segments in a percussion matrix, and vice versa.
  • New Pitch Bend Sequence allows you to insert a series of calculated, machine-generated pitch bends to create a variety of vibrato effects.
  • Translucent event bars make it easier to see and work with overlapping notes.

Audio:

  • If the JACK audio server is not already running, Rosegarden will start it for you transparently.
  • If you attempt to record to a document named "Untitled" you will be prompted to name your composition before continuing, so as to promote better housekeeping over time.
  • New controls available from the main window and the audio mixer allow you to give audio and synth plugin instruments (e.g."Audio #3" or "Synth #5") custom names.
  • When recording, the composition title and custom audio instrument name (if provided) are used in the filename in order to make it much easier to work with recorded audio files outside of their original context. Instead of rg-20091123-102030-1.wav you can now have something like rg-[Jam Session 12]-[Bobs_Guitar]-2009-11-23_10.20.30-1.wav.

Bug Fixes:

  • The project packager can now handle spaces in paths and filenames.
  • Faders can now be moved in both directions with the mouse scroll wheel.
  • Corrected LilyPond export of double octave clefs.
  • Corrected rendering problem when moving expanded-height tracks.
  • Controller editor dialog now keeps track of the color index properly.
  • Newly created knobs of color "default" now display the correct color, rather than black.
  • Rosegarden no longer creates useless, confusing extra devices, which solves many related problems.
  • Percussion tracks now sound when importing broken MIDI files that use zero-length notes for percussion.
  • The forward and back tab navigation buttons on the MIDI mixer work properly now.
  • Problems with the "trill with line" mark solved through the new indication, which allows a trill to span multiple tied notes, and allows all of this to export to LilyPond correctly.
  • Corrected export of sustain pedal notation for LilyPond 2.12.
  • The main window no longer expands horizontally upon loading files that were last saved with a high level of zoom.
  • When grace notes occur at a height that requires ledger lines, the ledger lines are now drawn at the correct size.
  • Notation staffs now respect user font configuration choices consistently.
  • Visible and non-visible MIDI controllers now behave as expected without manual tweaking when sending all visible controllers.
  • Activities in the Manager MIDI Devices > Controllers… work as expected (Controller transmission reflect changes).
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