SONGFRAME ® SONGWRITER'S TOOLKIT SOFTWARE
What is SongFrame?
SongFrame is the song development toolkit designed to provide songwriters and recording musicians an integrated and comprehensive set of tools for writing and refining songs. In addition to serving as an overall notebook for a songwriter's ideas, SongFrame allows the user to construct songs using drag & drop icons representing song structure elements and then fully develop every aspect of the song within these. SongFrame is used before the songwriter ever fires up his or her Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) recording or sequencing software. As the name implies - SongFrame creates the framework, foundation and superstructure of a song prior to the recording, arrangement and production process. Think of SongFrame as a "pre-DAW" or a songwriting front-end to your existing recording or sequencing setup.
The inspiration for a great song can come from a great idea for a title, a catchy chord progression, a melody line, an interesting rhythmic idea , or even some lyric ideas scribbled on a napkin. SongFrame allows the songwriting process to begin with any of these starting points, and completely integrates all aspects of song development in one powerful and intuitive environment. Simply put, SongFrame is a professional application that focuses on the complete songwriting process and lets the user utilize their favorite instruments and recording environment to take the "framework" of the song to completion. Like any DAW application, SongFrame includes an audio engine, recording capability and a transport to control playback and recording. Unlike a DAW, its focus is on the song itself; structure, chord progressions, melodies, lyrics and rhythm.
SongFrame exports MIDI and Audio files for easy import into any DAW application capable of importing audio and MIDI data. Exported DAW Audio/MIDI files contain all song structure and chord markers, Audio and MIDI data, tempo map and key information, providing a head-start to the production process. In addition, SongFrame prints simple lead sheets for musicians to use in studio production and recording. The tool is 100% focused on the songwriting process and the elements that make up a song - the chord progressions, the melody and the rhythm, the overall structure and the lyrics. It is the perfect companion product to a DAW recording application for songwriters and recording musicians.
The SongFrame songwriting process can begin in any one of several places - chord progressions, melody development, song title, lyric development or beat/rhythm development. The songwriting process is about inspiration and development of ideas; SongFrame provides a one-click menu bar enabling the user to work rapidly and naturally. Songwriters can hop back and forth between all aspects of the song development freely. Structural elements of a song, such as Verse, Chorus or Intro, are represented in SongFrame by "SongBits." A SongBit contains all audio, MIDI, chord changes, lyrics and rhythm for that section. SongBits may be freely rearranged by dragging, edited, or copied individually from your own personal notebook. In addition to the eight standard song structural elements SongFrame provides, a "Custom" SongBit serves as a container for any snippet of a song idea - an inspiring melody idea, a nice chord progression or a great lyric that might not be immediately categorized. You've decided that this Chorus is really better as an Ending? Right-click and its changed.
SongFrame Features and Quick Specifications
- Develop complete songs, including chords, chord progressions, melodies, lyrics, rhythms and song structures.
- Import all Guide Tracks and Markers showing every song section and chord change into any Digital Audio Workstation recording or sequencing tool.
- Audible Chord Library with 70 Chords per Key, find chord substitutes by shared notes and get suggestions based on surrounding chords and desired mood.
- Thousands of real chord progressions in every key to boost your inspiration - filter by musical genre, era, complexity and root movement. Just drag and drop right onto the chord track!
- Choose from over 500 drum patterns for each song section, or have SongFrame build the entire drum track for you with one click.
- Quickly record ideas using audio or MIDI.
- Highlight vocal or instrument ranges directly on the MIDI track or display the scale tones of almost 150 musical scales.
- Store SongBits in a dynamic Notebook - drop any past idea into your current song, or share ideas with collaborators.
- Compatible up to Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion and Windows 7.
SongFrame Product Overview Information
These documents provide a general overview of the SongFrame product and its capabilities.
SongFrame for Windows
For Windows users, these documents provide installation and setup help along with troubleshooting advice in case of an issue.
SongFrame for Mac
For Mac users, these documents provide installation and setup help along with troubleshooting advice in case of an issue.
This section contains a variety of useful applications notes to help you understand specific aspects of SongFrame.
Download these example song files to get a feel for SongFrame in action. These examples may or may not use all the program's capabilities (such as MIDI and Audio tracks.)
Other Support Documentation
Other useful support-oriented documentation.
SongFrame will run in Trial Mode for 30 days, but the product is discontinued and no license keys will be sold. The trial version is exactly the same as the full product - nothing is restricted.
For existing SongFrame users, we have eliminated the Pace Interlok-based anti-piracy protection requiring a Challenge/Response step and embedded our own simpler licensing capability. Your old SongFrame serial number will not work any longer - but if you EMAIL us at firstname.lastname@example.org we'll provide you with a new license key that you can use moving forward. This policy applies only to users who purchased the product prior to August 2015, not to users who received it as a prize or promotional item OR who have purchased an older shinkwrapped version off EBay or Amazon. We must find your name in our customer records to qualify.
Mac Users - SongFrame Build 9.0 works with OS 10.7 Lion but at low audio volumes. The Mac volume issue is fine in OS 10.8 Mountain Lion.
Windows Users - We've seen some rare occurances where SongFrame won't load on a Windows PC - the launch status bar gets to around the 75% complete point and hangs. PLEASE install the 30 day free evaluation before purchasing and unlocking the product so you are sure it will run on your system!
Remember - once you load SongFrame, go to the Setup menu, then Audio Setup and choose an output. For Windows users, go next to MIDI and VST Setup and choose the Microsoft GS Synth for the Chord, Drum and MIDI/Melody tracks to hear audio. Refer to the SongFrame Mac or SongFrame Windows QuickStart Guides for help.
SongFrame Example Screens
Examples of SongFrame screen shots can be found below.
Chord Library Grid
Chord Progression Selection Grid
Chord Progression Select by Complexity and Movement
SongFrame Detailed Information
Chords and Chord Progressions
SongFrame provides a rich set of tools to help choose chords and develop interesting chord progressions. The Chords Tool contains a audible chord library of 70 chord types in every key. Easily find substitutes for any chord based on a given number of shared notes. Innovative "chord suggest" tools allow filtering by musical genre, harmonic context (what chord came before it and which will come after it) and even chord color - a 2D graphical map allowing the user to select chords based on a "happy-sad" axis as well as a "stable-tense" axis. The perfect tools to get that chord out of your head and into your song.
SongFrame contains chord progression snippets from real songs - literally thousands of them. The user can start with these chords and drag them verbatim or find substitutes that make musical sense and drag them into place to ensure originality. Choose how many chords in the progression you'd like for the song section you are working on - every progression will appear in the key of the SongBit you are working on. Filter by musical genre, era or the progressions "color" tool - a tool that helps select chord progressions containing either simple or more complex chords, as well as amount of relative movement away from the root note.
Audition chords and progressions, choose what inspires you and simply drag them down to the chord track. All previous work can be saved and recalled as "takes" - just in case the perfect progression was one you created 5 versions back!
Like the melody or drum track, chord progressions can be auditioned using some VST or AU software instrument plug-in/s available. Once chords are selected, they are dragged to the Chord Track. Chords can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the timeline or changed at any time. And if dragging isn't your thing just type chords into the track. Chords can be displayed as chord symbols or guitar fretboard diagrams.
SongFrame's melody development tool provides unique tools for composition, providing a framework in which the user can develop their own musical idea, without being limited by the framework itself. SongFrame does no composition of its own that's left to the songwriter. SongFrame does display melodic and harmonic ranges right on the MIDI track, that can be adhered to or not. We don't keep you from coloring outside the box, in fact we encourage it! Ranges may be selected for vocal ranges or any one of over 60 instruments. Right on the MIDI track, so you know where you are in terms of what is likely to sound good.
Need inspiration for your melody? Get out of the rut by experimenting with scales and modes. With one click any one of over 150 scales and modes can be superimposed on your MIDI track, showing you scale tones that just might inspire your melodic and harmonic direction. We don't do the writing for you, but we can show you what directions are possible.
Need to edit? SongFrame utilizes a "Piano Roll" style track view, allowing the user to edit pitch and note timing on the MIDI track by drawing, dragging and dropping. Easy.
The optional Tanager Chirp Virtual MIDI Keyboard Controller can be used for input right from your computer keyboard, or use any external MIDI keyboard or controller available for the task. And like the chord progression tool, any MIDI synth or available VST compatible virtual instrument plug-in can be utilized to audition the melody lines created. "Take" information is stored with each successive melody line created, allowing the songwriter to go back and hear something already auditioned or worked. So no excuses for the one that got away.
SongFrame integrates a rich set of lyric development tools as well. Once entered, lyrics appear in their own track for each SongBit in the song. Several powerful tools are available to the songwriter during lyric development, including fast access to your favorite web-based rhyming dictionary site, plus a web-linked Wikipedia and Wiktionary can be accessed as well.
Need a scratch pad to work out your lyrics? Lyric ideas can be refined using the LyricPad, a word-processor like tool, and then one you are satisfied with your work, pasted into the appropriate SongBit Lyrics Track as the song message evolves. Save and load your lyrics as separate files as well. SongFrame is designed to fit your workflow. Don't need the scratch pad? Just type your lyrics right into the lyric track. (And hit save). Like audio, MIDI or chords, "Takes" of different lyrics can be saved in each SongBit allowing the songwriter to try out different lyrics without losing versions.
Very often a song idea begins with a drumbeat or an interesting rhythm. SongFrame includes hundreds of beats that can serve as a foundation of your musical idea. Even better, our pattern names are inspired by the real songs they emulate (like "RingoRock - Jude Verse 1" as opposed to the cryptic "BLU138" or "BA-F-133" so often found in drum loop libraries.) Audition patterns, search by genre, meter, SongBit type, key words or even enter an actual kick, snare or hi-hat hit pattern and find those that match. Listen, and drag the one you like on top of the SongBit's Drum Track. The selected pattern appears below the lyrics in the Document pane.
The songwriter can now quickly build a rhythm track for the song under development. This function does not replace full featured loop/pattern composition tools, but aims to provide basic "drum track" creation capability during songwriting (and can serve as a much more inspirational click track during DAW recording!) If the songwriter doesn't want to be bothered "building" a drum track, they can choose to let SongFrame automatically generate a complete drum track for their song. SongFrame contains a library of drum patterns that have been chosen to go well together - one click and you have a supporting drum track. Also, since the drum track uses fully GM mapped MIDI drum patterns, any software-based drum sample player using GM note mapping can be utilized for hearing the Drum Track.
Upon completion of the song, a MIDI track representing the complete drum performance from Song Frame is can be exported for easy inclusion in the production DAW Project file.
Perhaps the most powerful feature of SongFrame lies in its ability to allow you to recall any SongBit of any song you have stored on your hard drive (or ones your songwriting collaborators have sent you) quickly and easily. Want to use that Intro you worked on three weeks ago? Just drag it into your song, transpose it to the key you're writing in, and all tracks from that songbit are instantly copied.
To browse your previous musical ideas, click on the Notebook icon on the main toolbar and you'll be taken to the SongFrame Notebook. A grid which shows song title, SongBit name, any notes you put in the SongBit notes section, the Music Composer, Lyricist, and SongBit Type appears - for every SongBit you have stored in your default folder on your computer. If you keep all your song files there, every SongBit you ever worked on will appear in the list. Simply find the one you want to re-visit and drag it into your song - that's it.
You can Transpose it into the key you are currently writing in as well. This is ideal for utilizing bits of lyrics, chord progressions or melody ideas you came up with and set aside.
As mentioned earlier - we fully expect the next step in the songwriting process to be recording a demo of the song in your favorite DAW recording or sequencing application. SongFrame helps you do this in two ways; first, by printing simple lead sheets for musicians containing all chords (chord symbols or guitar fretboard diagrams) and lyrics, and second by exporting all the guide tracks and markers for every song section and chord change to audio and MIDI files easily imported by any DAW application on the market. The Lead Sheets provided are perfect for handing to your session players, or using yourself in the recording process.
Exporting for DAW Recording
When the song is completely developed, simply choose "Export" from the File menu. An Audio Track in WAV format as well as a set of time-aligned MIDI tracks are created. The MIDI file contains the chord, MIDI/melody and drums on separate tracks, and the audio track is in WAV file format. And - along with tempo, key and time signature information - timeline markers showing every SongBit name as well as every chord used in the song are created and imported to the DAW timeline - perfect for starting the arrangement and production process and speeding the recording and overdubbing workflow.
Minimum Computer System Requirements for SongFrame
Windows - Intel Pentium III 1GHz or faster processor , Windows 7; Windows 8; Windows XP with Service Pack 2; Windows XP Tablet PC Edition; or Windows Vista Home Basic, Premium, Business, Ultimate; Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4; Windows 2003 Server , 512MB of RAM, and the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (or later) installed. SongFrame also installs the required Adobe AIR framework during the installation process, as well as the LoopBe30 MIDI Loopback Driver. Audio interfaces must have Wavedriver/MME drivers for SongFrame to utilize them. Minimum monitor resolution of 1024 by 768 is required.
Mac - PowerPC G4 1.8GHz or faster processor or Intel Core Duo 1.33GHz or faster processor, Mac OS X v.10.4.2 or later, 512MB of RAM; 32MB of VRAM, 1024 by 768 resolution display - actually the bigger the display, the better experience you'll have with SongFrame, Audio input/output device (SongFrame will work with an internal sound card or external audio interface), MIDI Input and Output device OR AU Plug-in Instruments. Audio interfaces must have CoreAudio drivers for SongFrame to utilize them.
Running SongFrame on Multiple Machines
SongFrame comes with unlimited authorizations per License Key. This means that when you purcahse the product via our webstore, you can install it on any computers you own - Windows or Mac. Most people have a computer they use for recording, and many people have a separate laptop for work or travel. We anticipate you'll want SongFrame on at least both of these machines.