beaTunes News

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Introducing the OK-Notation

For a long time people have been asking me to introduce the Camelot notation to beaTunes. Unfortunately, the company that invented that notation, believes it can force other companies to license the scheme from it - a concept more than a few people disagree with. What is needed, is a truly free and open notation that features the advantages of a numeric key notation. In other words:

Nobody will ever be forced to license the scheme or - even worse - pay fees to use it.

Surprisingly, this isn't hard to achieve at all. Any harmonic mixing scheme must be based on the so called Circle of Fifths - a concept hundreds of years old. In it, neighboring keys typically match pretty well.

Circle of Fifths illustration by Just Plain Bill

All one needs to do to make it a little easier for non-musicians, is to assign numbers to each key and a letter for the mode (i.e. major or minor).

The Open Key Notation (OK-Notation) does just that. In it, the very top of the circle, i.e. A minor and C major, are denoted by a 1. The next keys in clockwise direction (G major and E minor), are denoted by a 2 and so forth. Major keys are annotated with a d (for German dur), minor keys with an m (for German moll). So C major becomes 1d.

From release 2.1.19 on, beaTunes will display the classic key name, a color, and the OK-Notation. MixMeister already displays keys in a fairly similar fashion. I hope other programs will follow.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool!

March 22, 2011 at 8:10:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is awesome. in the future will you include the ability to write these to tags? as i suspect the ability to view and categorize this in a program like traktor the true inspiration for wanting something like this in beatunes.

March 25, 2011 at 3:07:00 AM EST  
Blogger beaTunes said...

What's must be written to the tags is specified by the ID3 spec (see TKEY). For interoperability, it is essential to not break this spec. However, software like traktor can read the TKEY field, but still show you both - the musical key name (e.g. C Major) and the OK code, i.e. 1d. It's really a trivial mapping..

March 25, 2011 at 4:03:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know im overlooking something small but right now i can not get OK notation to appear anywhere in traktor.

my deck headings and list views still only show the musical key names, perhaps this is a deficiency of traktor :(

i also tried copying to group and comment hoping that i would atleast be able to see the ok notation there but it only copys over the musical key name

March 26, 2011 at 11:41:00 PM EST  
Blogger beaTunes said...

This sounds like a misunderstanding.
beaTunes writes the key to the id3 TKEY field as specified in the id3 specs (musical key names).
What another software shows you, is up to that other software. Currently, any other software will just show you what's in the field. However, if they wanted to, they could write code that shows you the OK notation instead. You might want to ask them (Native Instruments) to write that code.. :-)

March 27, 2011 at 4:37:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, i see.

traktors inability to convert key names into ok-notation is what leads users to search out programs such as beatunes, rapidevolution, etc.

i appreciate ok notation being introduced but fundamentally it is not working as a DJ would want it. not being able to write the ok-notation from beatunes into the mp3 either forces me to keep beatunes open or to force me to set a playlist before hand. however if i were able to catalog my collection properly (perhaps with the ok-notation written to comments) i could freely go through all of my music in my dj program rather than

1) alt tabbing between the two programs constantly. this is a hassle as i am on a laptop and not being able to go full screen wastes a lot of real estate
2) play only from playlists that i have spent time before hand putting together in beatunes. in this scenario, i handcuff myself and ok notation makes little difference here as i already have a myriad of other cues to use in beatunes to figure out if tracks will work together.

i hope i am not coming off as demanding or anything of the like, id just like to give you a view from a person that has been wanting something like this in your program.

as it is implemented right now, the introduction of ok-notation hasnt changed much for me.

March 27, 2011 at 2:39:00 PM EST  
Blogger beaTunes said...

Well, the OK notation is a pretty new idea. Right now one has to see it as a suggestion to other DJ software makers. MixMeister already shows the same notation. I hope I can convince other software vendors to follow suit.
What is stored in the id3 tags actually does not matter. What matters is how the information that is stored is rendered. OK notation is a suggestion how one can render key information - one that's more helpful than the standard musical key names.
I'm sure sooner or later there will be programs supporting the notation and plugins that copy the OK value to the comment field. There's already a plugin for beaTunes that copies the key value to the comment field - I don't see why someone shouldn't be able to copy the OK value as well.
If you'd like to accelerate this adoption process, feel free to bring this topic up in DJ software forums. Unless there is a user demand, software vendors won't move...

March 28, 2011 at 3:50:00 AM EST  
Blogger beaTunes said...

Update: Description with artwork

May 27, 2011 at 12:07:00 PM EST  
Blogger Laurent Khuat Duy said...

What about a notation that is using capital letters for major, and lower case for minors?

The big advantage is that it would also let people learn about music theory without even having to think about it.

In practice, I double-check all my songs with a piano, which requires me to use a conversion table because I don't know that 7A is D major. Now imagine that the key notation would be 7D, then I would directly know that this is a D major chord.

I also noticed that 1A in Camelot is 6m in OK. Why change the number? Is it also protected by MIK?

November 6, 2012 at 2:13:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about a notation that is using capital letters for major, and lower case for minors?

The big advantage is that it would also let people learn about music theory without even having to think about it.

In practice, I double-check all my songs with a piano, which requires me to use a conversion table because I don't know that 7A is D major. Now imagine that the key notation would be 7D, then I would directly know that this is a D major chord.

I also noticed that 1A in Camelot is 6m in OK. Why change the number? Is it also protected by MIK?

November 6, 2012 at 2:14:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think OK nation numbers are better because it start on C Major like in Piano

May 20, 2013 at 8:28:00 PM EST  

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