Converting PDF files for use with Gig Performer ChordPro

Converting PDF files for use with Gig Performer ChordPro

Background

The ChordPro/Lyric window in Gig Performer does not yet have built-in support for viewing PDF files. However, since it does support images, a workaround is to convert PDF files into image pages that can be used by our viewer. However, it is time consuming to manage manual conversion of a PDF file into image files as well as creating the ChordPro directives needed to make them usable.

Solution

There are several free (and indeed open source) command line utilities that can be used to convert PDF files into collections of image files. We decided to create a wrapper around one of these utilities to automate the creation of the required image files and to automatically create the ChordPro directive to insert into your ChordPro viewer. It is called PDFToGPChordPro.

We do have to note that PDFToGPChordPro comes with absolutely no warranties. It probably will not delete all your files nor damage anything on your computer but if you manage to mess something up, we cannot provide any support or accept any responsibility. Use it solely at your own risk.

 

Steps – Part 1 – Download and install the PDFToGPChordPro utility from the Gig Performer Website

  1. Download PDFToGPChordPro Mac version or PDFToGPChordPro Windows as desired.
  2. Open the compressed zip file and put the application anywhere you like. By convention, Mac user may prefer to put it in their Applications folder while Windows users may prefer to put it in their C:\Program Files directory.
  3. Double-click (or otherwise open) the application. You should see a window that looks like this: Obviously the titlebar will look slightly different if you are running on Windows.

Screenshot 5215

Now you’re ready to start converting your PDF files.

Steps – Part 2 – Creating your image files from your PDF

  1. Drag a PDF into the application window
  2. Wait a while!
  3. Eventually you’ll see the following message

    Screenshot 5217

  1. Now open the Song Lyrics/Chords.. window in Gig PerformerScreenshot 4938
  2. Click on the Edit tabScreenshot 4943
  3. Now just paste the contents of the clipboard directly into this window (Cmd-V on Mac, Ctrl-V on Windows). Your Window will look like this (obviously with different file names)Screenshot 4949
  4. Click on the View tab to see your sheet musicScreenshot 4950
  5. Remember to save the newly created ChordPro as usual.

Steps – Part 3 – Tweaking the results (optional)

If you look closely at the ChordPro directives that were generated, you’ll notice that before each image directive, there is a songpartname directive, with increasing numbers. The songpartname is new in Gig Performer 4 (another reason to upgrade!) and when you are switching from one song part to another, the lyrics view will scroll automatically so you see the sheet music associated with the particular song part. Unless you want to name your song parts 1,2,3… you will want to change the entries for each songpartname directive in the ChordPro text file to match whatever song part names you have used in your song. 

You can of course add or insert other ChordPro directives as needed.

Conclusion

PDFToGPChordPro is a useful helper tool that will expedite your creation of ChordPro files if you are starting from PDFs.

As mentioned earlier, this tool is not officially supported but you are welcome to discuss it on our community forums

Appendix- the XpdfReader

If you are interested, you can download the underlying PDF to Image conversion tool from the Xpdf website.



Scaling curves allow you to control the shape of the output of a widget or convert an incoming note velocity to a new velocity. Various predefined curves are available and they can be tweaked as necessary. You can also just draw your own curve as well to achieve the effect you require.

 

MIDI File Player Plugin


You can load up to 128 MIDI song files in a single plugin instance. Switch from one song to another, mute tracks and/or change their channel numbers. Tempo can be controlled by individual songs or you can use the global tempo and tap tempo to control the BPM interactively.

 

Favorites and Presets


Create a sound by placing and interconnecting your desired plugins, such as a synth, some effects and perhaps a mixer. Select them all and then save the selection as a named favorite. The favorite will subsequently show up in all plugin insert menus, making it easy for you to recreate that configuration whenever you need it again. This feature is also very powerful for creating your needed sounds on your studio computer and then transferring them to your touring laptop.

 

Probabilistic Sound Designer


Parameters you select in an open plugin are captured into the Probabilistic Sound Designer dialog window. When you click Randomize, you're only adjusting those selected parameters. Each entry in the PSD dialog has a curve but unlike widgets where the curve controls scaling, in the PSD the curves are used to define the probability of particular values being selected. Make sure the filter cutoff never gets too slow so as to block all sound. Perhaps adjust the max range of the VCA attack parameter so that the sound doesn't have too much delay. Constrain the octave ranges of the oscillators, perhaps ensuring that 1/3rd of the time we select 8' and 2/3rds of the time we select 4'. The possibilities are endless.

 

More Widgets


Numerous new widgets are included in Gig Performer - a new sustain pedal, plastic knobs, drum pads and more colored sliders. Shapes can be colored with different borders and fill colors and morphed from rectangular to circular. Your creativity is now the limit to creating fabulous front panels in Gig Performer.

 

MIDI Message Helper


Select MIDI devices by name. Choose the MIDI message type and adjust the appropriate parameters for the specific type

 

  

Layout management


Gig Performer supports arbitrary resizing. Layout your widgets the way you want - resize the main window and the widgets will grow or shrink as necessary to maintain the same interrelationships. No matter what size screen you have, your front panels will still be neat and usable.

 

Undo Support


If you move your widgets around and/or resize them, or even delete them by mistake, the Undo facility will correct your mistake. Minor moves to a widget by mistake will no longer spoil your design

 

Plugin Channel Count


Some plugins support a large number of outputs and they depend on the traditional channel strip to control how many ports should be available.   When you only need a stereo pair, it is convenient not to have a large horizontal block. In Gig Performer, the number of available ports  is controlled by the channel count override, which can be applied to individual plugins and will be remembered when the gigfile is reloaded or if the plugin is saved as a favorite.

 

Input muting and output fading


Rather than a single audio length tail, Gig Performer 4 gives you the ability to control input muting and output fading separately. Input muting controls how much time it takes for audio input to be silenced when you leave the rackspace. Output fading controls how much time will be taken for audio to fade out when you leave the rackspace.

 

Faster Plugin Finder


Instead of searching through menus of perhaps hundreds of plugins (you know who you are!), the Quick Plugin Finder makes it easy to find the plugin you need by simply typing partial strings. For example, as shown here, to find the Modartt Pianoteq 7 plugins, it's enough to type pia mod 7 (in any order, by the way)  to restrict the list of available plugins to those matching your query. The Quick Plugin Finder also knows about manufacturers, presets and favorites.

 

  

Touch Friendly Input


Any entry field can be changed by either dragging your mouse (or finger) up or down, or by using the large popup touchpad where you can just tap on the squares to enter a value. The large popup keypad also does validation so you can't enter an invalid value. You can also just tap the BPM field to pop up a larger view where you can quickly change tempo, tranpose, trigger Tap Tempo and enable Ableton Link, the last allowing you to synchronize Gig Performer with any other application that also supports Ableton Link.

 

New Tuner Display


The tuner view makes it easy for guitarists to quickly check and adjust their tuning. You can toggle into the tuner view from any other view and toggle right back as soon as you're done. All output will be silenced automatically while you're in tuning mode. You can adjust the concert reference pitch from its default of 440 Hz to suit your own needs. The tuner view fills the entire screen so you can easily see it from a distance.

 

GP Script Enhancements


GP Script adds new language improvements such as multiple initialization sections, initialization with declarations and enhanced callbacks. The WidgetValueChanged callback now supports multiple widgets. Sysex messages are now built-in with numerous supporting functions. String array handling is much faster. Integer bit manipulation is now built-in. A new global GigScript allows incoming MIDI messages to be modified and redirected on the fly. It also allows you to define keyboard macros for your computer keyboard to control Gig Performer itself. For complete information, please review the GP Script Language Manual available through the Help menu.

 

Scriptlets


Scriptlets make creating custom MIDI processors easy. You don't have to be a programmer to use them - you can just download scriptlets from our ever-growing collection on our website and drop them right into your rackspaces to use them. Use scriptlets for simple operations such as turning your single notes into chords, modifying, duplicating or converting one kind of message into another, automatic chord latching (AutoSustain), threshold detection, sysex manipulation... imagination is the limit.

 

Other Improvements


  • System Actions plugin
  • MIDI Out to OSC converter
  • Comment plugin
  • New GUI dialog to define MIDI events to send on song part change
  • MIDI Out blocks can automatically send multiple MIDI events
  • Open/close a plugin editor from a widget
  • Choose default startup view
  • Quick find for plugin parameters
  • Large collection of startup hints
  • OSC Patchbay mode
  • Plugins now default to stereo I/O
  • Dragging presets into the wiring view will automatically create the required plugin
  • Numerous other minor (but nice) usability and workflow enhancements

Numerous other enhancements and optimizations serve to make Gig Performer 4 a superb platform for performing artists.

 

Songs and Setlists


You can organize your rackspaces into songs and your songs into setlists and then just select the setlist you need for a show. Then simply cycle down through the parts, or use your control surface or a MIDI Guitar pedal controller to select individual parts directly.

 

Predictive Loading


Predictive Loading™ is an advanced feature that reduces your RAM and CPU resources by only loading rackspaces (or songs) as needed.

 

 

The Global Rackspace


The Global Rackspace can receive audio from whatever rackspace is currently active. Instead of inserting effects in every rackspace, simply insert them once in the Global Rackspace and all your local rackspaces will have access to them. The Global Rackspace can also send audio to the currently active rackspace. So you can insert a looper that receives audio directly from your guitar (say) and then send the looped audio to different effects in different rackspaces. If a particular instrument such as a piano or organ is needed everywhere (or almost everywhere), put it in the Global Rackspace.

 

   

Zoomable Wiring View


Gig Performer 4 provides a virtual view allowing you to spread out your blocks and connections to make them easier to see and manage, even if you have a very small screen. You can zoom in or out and you can use the Auto-Fit option to position your blocks to fit in the available space.