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#9380034 Apr 14, 2014 at 12:33 PM · Edited over 7 years ago
Senior Officer
75 Posts
Click Here to download the Oathsworn Songbook (Version 7.6, uploaded October 23th, 2014)

Note: This post is very long, but it's broken into sections which, together, cover everything about playing music in LOTRO you will likely ever need to know, including walkthroughs of how to get things set up the first time before you play music. Let me know if you have additional questions or if you need help.

We have a Kin Band in The Oathsworn that gets together to play for special events, kinship recruiting, and at times just for the fun of it. And boy, is it fun!

To get started, you're going to need to spend a little time learning how to set up and play, and a couple of quick downloads.

Install the Songbook Plugin
If you don't already have it, click here to go to lotrointerface.com and download Chiran's plugin named "Songbook". This plug-in for LOTRO makes playing music files a great deal simpler.

To install the Songbook plugin:
  1. Press Windows-E to open an Explorer window. Click Documents on the left-hand side to open your "My Documents" folder. In this folder, find and open the folder named The Lord of the Rings Online.
  2. In The Lord of the Rings Online, you need to have a folder named Plugins. If you don't have that folder, create it now by clicking New Folder at the top of your Explorer window.
  3. Open the Songbook zip file you downloaded from lotrointerface.com, and drag the folder named Chiran out into your Plugins folder.
  4. For ease of updates, open up the Plugins folder, then open the Chiran folder inside there up, and you should see a program named SongbookFiller or SongbookFiller.exe inside. Using your RIGHT mouse button, drag this program to your desktop, and when you let go, you should be given a popup menu. Click on "Create shortcut here" in that menu, and you'll have a quick link to update your song list.
  5. If you run LOTRO now, you should be able to type /plugins load songbook in the chat window to load the Songbook plugin. NOTE: If you were already in LOTRO, type /plugins refresh before loading Songbook, or LOTRO won't see the new plugin.

Install the Oathsworn Songbook
We have our own collection of songs to play, which will give you over 1,300 arrangements for playing by yourself or with others. More than half of these are exclusive arrangements you won't find anywhere else!

To install the Oathsworn Songbook:
  1. Download the latest version of the Oathsworn Songbook by clicking here.
  2. Press Windows-E to open an Explorer window. Click Documents on the left-hand side to open your "My Documents" folder. In this folder, find and open the folder named The Lord of the Rings Online.
  3. In The Lord of the Rings Online, you need to have a folder named Music. If you don't have that folder, create it now by clicking New Folder at the top of your Explorer window, and name the new folder "Music".
  4. Be aware! Windows has, by default, a library named "Music" which has a link in the left panel of Explorer windows. This is not the same location as your LOTRO "Music" folder, and putting music files in there won't let you play them in LOTRO!
  5. Open the Oathsworn.zip file you just downloaded, and drag the folder named Oathsworn into the Music folder located under your The Lord of the Rings Online folder.
  6. Remember that shortcut you made on your Desktop to the SongbookFiller program? Doubleclick it now. You should be asked which account you want to update the library for, so choose your login name from the list (if it isn't already highlighted) and click the "Build library" button. After a little bit you should be told that SongbookFiller found over 1,100 songs in several folders.
  7. Whenever you add files into your LOTRO Music folder, you will need to re-run the SongbookFiller before you can see the new songs in-game.

Updating the Oathsworn Songbook
The Oathsworn Songbook is updated pretty frequently, and has a readme file in the top level of the zip to tell you the date and version of the one you've downloaded.

Songs get moved around and renamed but rarely get removed (unless there's a real problem) so it's a good idea to replace the folder with the new version, instead of just copying the new version over the old one.

To update your Oathsworn Songbook:
  1. Download the latest version by clicking here.
  2. Open up your Documents directory, open your The Lord of the Rings Online folder in there, and under that, open up your Music directory.
  3. Drag the existing Oathsworn folder to the trash (or click it once and hit the "Delete" key to delete it.
  4. Open the Oathsworn.zip folder you just downloaded and drag the folder named Oathsworn inside of there, to your LOTRO Music folder.
  5. Click your shortcut to run the SongbookFiller program, and update your music library.

Using The Songbook Plugin
Songbook is very handy for playing music on your own, and indispensible for playing music in a group. Let's have a quick look at the important features.

First, type /plugins load songbook in your LOTRO chat to load the Songbook plugin. If you like, you can open up the plugin manager with /plugins manager instead, where you can also choose to load Songbook automatically for certain characters.

When Songbook is loaded, you will have a small, mostly transparent icon on your screen which looks like this, when you hover over it:

When you click that icon, the Songbook window will open up.



This is the Songbook window. At the top are some buttons that we'll look at in just a minute, but below this, in the "Directories" pane, you should be able to see "Oathsworn". This is the Oathsworn Songbook folder. If you click on this folder, you will be presented with more subfolders, and a large list of arrangements in the "Songs" pane. There are scrollbarso n the righthand side, and you can drag the arrows in the middle between the two panes to resize the panes as you like.

At the bottom of this window are several boxes, into which you can drag instruments from your inventory. This will make shortcuts which will equip those instruments, which makes it easy to switch from one instrument to the next as needed. There's also a button to open the Settings, but we won't worry about that right now.

Here are the steps you need to take to play a piece of music by yourself:
  1. Equip a musical instrument. Players can play Lute and Horn by default. Minstrels learn additional instruments as they level, and can teach instruments to other players as well, about once a week.
  2. Enter music playing mode, by clicking the M button at the top of the Songbook window. You can't play songs until you get into music mode, and moving or jumping will break you out of music mode (and interrupt anything you're playing).
  3. Pick a song from the song list. Songs starting with "1-" in the Oathsworn Songbook are arrangements for single instruments (usually Lute).
  4. Click the play button (right next to the M button).
  5. Within a second or two, you should hear yourself playing music, and see musical notes fly out of your instrument.

There you go! You need to stand still (although you can turn around) while playing music. Moving or jumping will interrupt your playing. This becomes even more important when playing in a group, because if one person moves accidentally and quits playing, there's no way to rejoin a song in progress, and the rest of the band might have to quit playing as well.

Now get out there and have some fun playing music for others!

Playing Music in a Group
One of the neat things you can do in LOTRO is play songs which have multiple parts, as a synchronized band. It's really quite something to behold, and always a crowd-pleaser.

First, you'll need to be a part of a Fellowship or a Raid. No big secret here on how to do this, but there's one very important step you should know about. A bug in LOTRO (which they have not fixed in four years... looking at you, Turbine) can cause people who have joined a fellowship to not be able to hear player-generated music in the game. There's a way to prevent this bug, which is this: When you join a Fellowship to play as a band, you need to be playing music at the time you join the fellowship.

So, whip out your lute, open up the Songbook plugin and start playing a solo piece of your choice. Once you've accepted the fellowship invite, you can quit playing and it will work from that point out.

The leader of the fellowship is going to be your band director. They should pick a piece and tell which person what part to play. In the kin song folder, pieces are named like this: 3-Beatles-Blackbird.abc. What this name means is that it's an arrangement for three players of the song "Blackbird" by the band The Beatles. There are 475 pieces of music in the kin song folder, over 230 of those are for single players. Quite a few songs have multiple arrangements for different numbers of musicians, depending on how many you have available.

This arrangement of Blackbird for example, has three parts: Lute, Harp, and Theorbo. There's also a single player version named 1-Beatles-Blackbird for a single lute player. Multiple part pieces used to need to be in separate files, and I (Care) have taken the time to merge a lot of these older multi-file pieces into single file formats and name them to match the #-band-song naming scheme.

So, Click on the "Oathsworn" folder to open up that folder of songs (it has several subfolders, as well!) and click on the name of the piece that you are going to play, to highlight it. That will look something like this:



If you notice, the first part, for Lute, is shown selected above. So if the band leader tells you that you're playing, say, the Theorbo part, how would you choose it? In the image above, if you look at the row of buttons, you'll see a marking that says X:1 with a little arrow pointing down below it. This is Songbook's part selector. Click that little arrow down, and you'll switch to the next part. If you keep clicking until you see the Theorbo part, it looks like this:



Now, you've got the Theorbo part selected. Now would be a good time to switch to your Theorbo, as well!

An Important note: When you have the Theorbo part selected, the "X:1" will say "X:3" instead. Don't worry too much about the number... it's not always going to make too much sense; what it actually refers to is the ABC music notation format instrument denotation. (Huh?) Yeah, like I said, don't worry about it too much. Basically, every different instrument has a different number, and in properly formatted ABC files this can be used to tell what instrument a particular part is for.

Lute is a 1, Harp is a 2, but Drums are an 8... so if you had a piece for lute and drums, the parts would be numbered 1 and 8, not 1 and 2. This level of detail is not important to know, but just be aware that the "X:" number doesn't really mean "part number three". That's why it's important to hand out parts by telling band members "you're Lute 1, she's Lute 2, he's Theorbo" instead of saying "first, second and third" parts.


Let's look at the buttons of Songbook a little closer. Here's what the important ones do:



Here's what those buttons are used for:

A. Music Mode: This puts you into the music playing mode. If your character isn't holding an instrument and tapping their foot, click this button to get ready to play music.
B. Play: Start playing the currently selected song, only if you are playing by yourself (not in a band).
C. Sync: This gets you ready to play the currently selected part of the currently selected song, but won't start playing until the "Sync Play" button is clicked.
D. Sync Play: Starts everyone in the band who has clicked the "Sync" button playing their part, all at the same time.
E. Part Selection: For multipart pieces, this shows which part you currently have selected, and will have up and down arrows to let you pick other parts.
F. Say: uses an emote to tell everyone in the area what you're playing. Handy when they ask.
[/list]

So, once you have the right instrument equipped, and after you click the M button to get into music mode, and after you've clicked the right song to play with your band, and after you've picked the right part to play, then you should click the >| button to sync up with everyone else to play at the same time (whew!). This will tell the people in your party, as well, that you're ready to play, and which part of which song you have selected.

When the band leader (and they should be the one to do this!) clicks the |> button, everyone who has been synced up will start to play together. This is how up to (theoretically) 24 people could play in a band together! If you need to stop playing, you can click the M again (or move or jump), but you will have to hit the M button to get back into music mode before playing again.

Please note: BE CAREFUL when playing in a band, because if you accidentally move or jump, you quit playing, and there is no way to rejoin a performance in progress which means that song will likely need to be scrapped, if you have an important part.

Oh, also... there aren't really any unimportant parts. So be really, really, super hyper careful to not move. At all.


Final Notes
Notes, get it? Ha ha! In all seriousness, here's a few additional things you might like to know.

If you want to listen to the multiple instrument arrangements without having to find several other people who know how to play the right instruments, click here to get and install Maestro/ABC player. It's free, and while it does require Java, it will allow you to browse through the Oathsworn music folder outside of the game and just double-click the pieces to play them, all parts, like they would sound in the game.

If you're musically-minded, Maestro (which the player comes bundled with) is the editor used to import MIDI files, assign voices to parts and and name them, set transpositions and more. It's basically your MIDI-to-ABC Swiss-Army knife.

I use one other tool from time to time written by the author of Maestro a few years earlier, when there are pitch bends in MIDI files that don't translate well. I have stored a copy of he Pitch Bend Remover behind this link, it's a Java JAR file, just save it and double-click it to run. It will let you import a MIDI file, remove the pitch bends altogether or replace them with multiple notes to fill the range, your preference, and save a new MIDI file out. Very useful on some pieces.

I hope this helps you to all get out there and start playing in bands (or even solo) with Songbook and the kin song folder. If you need a hand, or just want someone to play a multi-part piece with you to make sure you've got this down, please give me a shout in game! I'm always willing to lend a hand if I can.

Thanks, and happy performing!
-Care
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#9457188 May 02, 2014 at 07:44 AM · Edited 8 years ago
Officer
15 Posts
Hi :)
I made some songs, Care, if you want to add them. They came out okay I think.

Leek Spin, two part.

Symphony 8 second movement, three part.

Final Fantasy 8 waltz, three part.

William Tell Overture, Finale! Three part.

That's it for now, but I'm working on a few others.
Question: I have some songs with 12-33 music 'threads'. Do you ever double instruments for these? As in, it seems to me that one lute, for example, cannot handle six 'threads' by itself, and sort of cuts out at times.

For the first movement of Beethoven's fifth symphony I've had to make three lutes, two harps, two theorbo's, three flutes, and two clarinets to cover the whole thing without notes being 'cut out'. It sounds great, but I'm hesitant to make a 12 part song, for fear it will never be played.
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#9457839 May 02, 2014 at 10:55 AM · Edited 8 years ago
Senior Officer
75 Posts
Woot! These are GREAT Kona! :) :) :) Voicings are superb choices! I've gone in to make one minor change... to add your name to the Transcriber Field, because by gosh you deserve credit for these! I'm uploading a new version of the song folder right now!

As for your question, I have come to accept that LOTRO will never be analogous to a real orchestra, but that the best I can do is to voice things appropriately (and not always in their original octave) so that the "important" elements stand out. I have had to use two of the same instrument a few times as a minimum for reasonable voicing, specifically when there is a lead line and a backup which both need to be on the same instrument, and I need the backing to be much quieter than the lead, so as not to cover it up or interfere.

Flute and clarinet parts when there's a lot of sustained chords, but also lute parts when there's a rhythm and lead in similar ranges. So, what to do? Multiple arrangements! Save one that's an 8-part, and then simplify it down for 6, 5, maybe 3 and even solo variants. You can often get away with combining things down farther than you think, and while it won't truly be the heart of authenticity, it will still represent reasonably well. This is why there are (for example) 3 or 4 versions of each of the Fleetwood Mac and ABBA songs... because if there's a bigger group that can support it, I want us to have better arrangements of the popular songs to use.

A good example of this is Orinoco Flow. I put together six arrangements of this, for one to eight players, and each added player really improves it a little bit. To be honest though, my favorite is probably the three part, which strips things down to the basics without losing any of the major components. (oops, I realize the last version didn't include half of the new arrangements, so they're coming with the next update including a much better 4-parter).

I can't tell you just how many times I have had to say "Well that's as good as it gets" for the solo or duo arrangements, upload it, and have people say "OMG that's AMAZING!" when they hear it, and I know in my heart the 5-part arrangement is sooooo much better, but that I might never hear it in-game.
+1
#9475390 May 06, 2014 at 05:15 PM
Officer
15 Posts
+0
#9532416 May 21, 2014 at 12:57 AM · Edited 8 years ago
Senior Officer
75 Posts
Ok I've added them, some really nice choices in there. Really nice voicing, it worked out really well! They're in the song folder zipfile now, renamed to the x-artist-song.abc format, and put in the places you suggested. I also added numbers to the instrument parts in the Symphony 5 First Movement, to make assigning parts easier for performance, hopefully we can get enough people for it. That one's spectacular :)

I hope you don't mind, but I did make a couple versions of some of those for fewer instruments, like a 5 part (parts compressed down to single instruments) version of Symphony 5 1st Movement, and a solo lute version of the Appasionata because I want to play that one solo, too. Such a beautiful piece, always loved it. Neither of course does as well as more instruments but I wanted to make them more accessible for performance. If you prefer that I didn't I can remove them, just let me know.

Thanks so much Kona :)
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