Fronimo Quickstart Tutorial
By Kemer Thomson

Entering the Notes

I find that it is easiest to think that there are three "zones" for entering the tablature: the duration, notes that align with the duration, and any bourdons (or diapasons) that also align. When the cursor is in each "zone", pressing keys have a different effect.

I will define the column as a vertical column that has at least one duration flag, note, or bourdon. A column always has either an explicit duration, as defined by a flag in its "duration zone" or an inherited duration, which is the same as that of the preceeding column.

You can use the mouse to place the cursor, but once placed, I find it is easiest to use the arrow keys to move around accurately. I also find that it is easiest to think horizontally and vertically:

  • Move horizontally to a column.
  • Move vertically within that column to set the duration, individual notes and/or a single bourdon.

Let's take a stab at this. Point to the duration zone above the (currently empty) staff and click. How do we know it is the duration zone? Press the <up-arrow> key: if it won't go higher, we're there. Now try this: press the number keys 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Notice that the flag changes values: this is how we set the duration for everything below.

RebeamPress the "2" key as the duration we want and use the <down-arrow> key to move down three steps to the position for the third string and press the "d" key. We have placed our first note, which lasts for the duration of the measure. To terminate the measure and start a new one, press the <Enter> key: you will see a barline and the cursor is left in the first beat of the new measure. Use the arrow key to move up to the duration zone and press "4", then back down to the third string. Type another "d", move up to the second string and type the keys, "a",<right-arrow>, "b", <right-arrow> and "d". Finally, press the <Enter> key to end that measure.

Ex. 1Let's add one more measure. Move to the top string and type "a", then move directly below it to the third string and type "d". Type the <right-arrow> to move to the next duration (which by default is unchanged), up the the second string and type "b", <right-arrow> one more time, move up to the first string and type the "b" and <Enter> to end the measure. But, wait! That last note should be longer, so move the cursor to its duration zone and type "3". What you should have is something like what you see on the right.

Ex. 2There is one thing I don't particularly like about this, and this is a personal choice. For this particular duration stem style Fronimo fills in all of the beams when "auto rebeam" is turned on—each style has a little different behavior, so you'll want to play around with them. Let's turn off that automatic action and also get rid of the redundant flags. To turn off "auto beam", click on the "Edit" menu item and you'll see a long drop-down list (see the example to the left) and towards its bottom there is a "Auto rebeam" with a check next to it: click on it to uncheck it. Now duration flags will be displayed only when you put them there explicitly. To get rid of redundant flags, click on the Edit->Clean Rhythmic Values. Finally, I happen to like having a duration flag at the start of each measure; you can easily fix that by clicking on Edit->Rhythmic Sign on First Beat. The result is just what I like:

Ex. 3

MAOne last thing. Time signatures in tablature are often not present, but if you want one, here's how you can get one. Click inside the first measure. Now you want the Measure Attributes window: there are several ways to get it. The F2 key should cause it to pop up (your keyboard may need you to press an <F Lock> key), or you can select the menu item View->Measure Attributes Box from the main menu. As if that were not enough, there is also a graphical icon you can click on: MA. All of these give you a popup window:

Select the "Meter" tab and press whichever button you think fits—I think it's probably cut time.

Incidentally, this is the way you change meter within the music. In fact, if you establish the meter, Fronimo can verify the measure length (see the big, long menu to the left).

Quick Summary of Things to Know or Remember

Here's the things you want to remember in particular:

  • Set the note duration first, set it again whenever it changes, and think "vertically" from there. Actually, think just like tablature, and the rest should follow.
  • Press the <Enter> key to terminate the measure. (Don't terminate the last measure—more about that later!)
  • The cursor doesn't "auto advance", except when you end a measure: use the arrow key to move to the next column.
  • Auto rebeaming actually works only with the first and third flag types. If you turn Auto rebeam off and leave it off, you won't care about this complication.
  • Reposition the cursor to either a note or duration flag you want to change and simply re-enter a new value.
  • "Erase" values with the <spacebar>. However, be careful: if there is neither another note or a duration flag in that column, that column will disappear, creating a minor nuisance if you meant to keep it and were going to fill it back in with something else.
  • <ctrl-z> undoes changes, just in case you get yourself into trouble.

Next Step: Changing Things