Hands on with Band-in-a-Box 2013

Keith White
29 July, 2013
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It’s been a few months since I  last took a look at at Band-in-a-Box. That was version 2012.5, which was a significant upgrade from version 2012. Version 2013, which I’m looking at here, probably doesn’t offer as many groundbreaking additions, but nevertheless continues to add features and improvements to an already amazing musical tool for students teachers and users of music.

For starters there are 101 new RealTracks. These are live recordings of studio musicians that Band-in-a-Box allows you to rearrange to a chord pattern or a musical style you have chosen from a vast array of options. The new offerings include a variety of jazz tracks from boogie to smooth to Cuban percussion. There are country tracks with professional pedal steel, saxophone and resonator guitar, and pop which includes Texas blues, Euro dance and Celtic. You can listen to samples here.

MIDI SuperTracks, first introduced in 2012.5, have been augmented by 50 new tracks. Like RealTracks, these have been played by real musicians, but being in MIDI format you can edit them right down to individual note level in GarageBand or any DAW. A range of styles includes pop, folk, new age, jazz piano, Latin piano and country piano. Check out some samples here.

If you didn’t take advantage of the 2012.5 upgrade you’ll notice a significant upgrade in notation features including improved notation windows, note-based lyrics, guitar and bass tablature and many more.

A new feature in 2013 is Artist Performance Tracks. These tracks showcase professional musicians playing firstly the melody followed by simple and then advanced versions as solos. You can learn from the pros just by listening or by following the notes in the notation window.

Other features include SoundCloud and Dropbox integration and a new form feature that allows you to define sections of a song you have created as A, B or C etc and then rearrange the song in the form you wish by simply entering something like AABACAC.

For a complete list of the new features in Version 2013 click here.

Over the years I have found Band-in-a-Box an indispensable musical tool. I use it to generate backing tracks for my solo performances, to quickly sketch out musical ideas, to create background music for my documentaries, to learn from the pros and, finally, just for fun. If creating music is important in your life, Band-in-a-Box should certainly be part of it.

Check out the various purchase options here.

by Keith White


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