Step by Step Mode

Command Location: Tools Menu / Program Options / Step by Step Mode Tab

With Step by Step Mode you can ‘step’ the cursor through the score selecting notes one at a time or in ‘chord groups’.

This command is available in Performance Mode only.

When you enter Step by Step Mode a dialog will be displayed asking you which staves you would like to include in each ‘step’. Keyboard players may choose to select a single staff to practice the left or right ‘hand’ of a piece or they may select two staves to practice ‘hands together’.

The keys for each chord are highlighted on the score and on the keyboard. A dashed red box is drawn around the chord(s) on the score. Note names are shown in the status bar.

You can move backwards and forwards through the score using the cursor keys. Each time the cursor moves a new set of notes will be selected. If you have selected the ‘Play Set Note Sounds’ option then each new group of notes will be played back as it is selected.

Performing Hands in Step by Step Mode

Performing Hands can also be shown in Step by Step Mode when finger numbers have been created for the score.  This can help with studying hand positions.

Stepping with a connected MIDI Instrument

If you have a MIDI Instrument connected to your computer and you have configured MidiIllustrator to ‘listen’ for input from the instrument, you can step through the score by playing all the notes in each step on your MIDI Instrument. When MidiIllustrator detects that all of the notes in the step have been entered simultaneously on the MIDI Instrument the cursor will move automatically to the following step.

If you are using Step by Step Mode in a Practise Session, when you enter the last notes in the practise range, the Step by Step entry cursor will move automatically back to the start of the practise session.

"Wrong" notes from a connected MIDI Instrument

When you play notes on your keyboard which are not in the current "step" MidiIllustrator will display them on both the on-screen keyboard and the score to show how near/far you are from the correct keys.

Jump to User Input

If you have enabled the “Jump to User Input” option (see below), and you move around in the score, then MidiIllustrator will automatically move the Step by Step cursor to the new input position and show that part of the score, turning the pages as necessary.

For more information about setting up your external MIDI Instrument see MIDI In.

Quick Starting Step by Step Mode

You can choose to skip the Start Up dialog when starting Step by Step Mode by checking the box at the bottom of the dialog, and you can switch the dialog on or off in Program Options, Step by Step Mode. If you are skipping the dialog then MidiIllustrator will automatically select a single staff for Step by Step Mode based on the location of the cursor at the time.

Pressing Ctrl+B will start/stop Step by Step.

Setting the Playback Starting Position in Step by Step Mode

When you want MidiIllustrator to accompany you during Step by Step Mode, you may want to have playback begin at a different starting position to the Step by Step cursor. This will give you the opportunity to have playback ‘lead in’ and allow you to prepare to start playing your part.

A colored triangle marks the playback starting measure.

The playback starting position can be set with:

To set the playback starting position with the mouse, hold down the Control key and click the left mouse button on the score at the appropriate measure. You can then click anywhere on the score (as normal) to set the Step by Step cursor position you will play from.

Step by Step Mode Options

Show Dialog when starting Step by Step Mode Allows you show/hide the Step by Step dialog upon start up.

The dialog can also be switched on and off in the Step by Step tab of Program Options.

Play Step Note Sounds with Cursor Left/Right Actions

This option enables you to hear the sounds of the notes in each chord by moving the cursor through the piece, note by note or chord by chord, using the left and right cursor keys on your computer keyboard.

This is a useful tool if you are learning a new piece and wish to familiarise yourself with the note sounds.

Show Future Notes in each Step As well as highlighting the keyboard keys that should be played immediately, this option also highlights the keys that are to be played one step ahead - the ‘Future Notes’. MidiIllustrator displays the Future Notes in lighter colors than the colors used for the immediate notes.

If you are learning a new piece, this can be very useful, as the Future Notes give you advanced warning of where your hands should be in order to play the next note or notes, thereby speeding up the learning process dramatically.

Jump to User Input MidiIllustrator is able to analyse the notes you are entering with a MIDI Instrument attached to your computer. When these notes are received, MidiIllustrator scans the score to determine if you:

  • are playing at the current Step by Step position (shown with a dotted red rectangle around notes on the selected staves)


  • you have skipped to a new place in the score and are playing the notes from a position other than the current Step by Step position

If you have enabled “Jump to User Input”, and you move around in the score, then MidiIllustrator will automatically move the Step by Step cursor to the new input position.

Jump Marker

MidiIllustrator will calculate the input position using a number of factors, such as distance from the current position and note ‘matching’. Whilst MidiIllustrator is listening to your input, a small triangle (the “jump marker”) will be shown at the place in the score MidiIllustrator thinks you are currently reading from. Only when MidiIllustrator is sure that you have ‘jumped’ to a new position will the Step by Step cursor be moved to that new input position.

Playing Through Mistakes

Step by Step mode is much more flexible and forgiving with “Jump to User Input” enabled. If, for instance, you miss a note or two in a particular passage, you may simply keep playing and once MidiIllustrator has determined that you have ‘played through’ an error, the cursor will immediately be moved to your new location. In this way, you will not have to keep returning to the current cursor position after missing a note or two, and can instead focus on progressing through the score.

Jumping Distance

In general, the greater the gap between the current Step by Step cursor position and any new input position, the more reluctant MidiIllustrator will be to move the cursor to that part of the score which it thinks best reflects your input. By contrast, if the jump is only a few note lengths from the current position, the move will be made quickly. Bear this in mind when jumping large distances in the score; you will need to play a passage of several notes quite accurately so that MidiIllustrator can be sure that a jump is appropriate.