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13 - Creating a Search Group

One of the benefits afforded by analysis is the activity of comparison. Comparison is implicit in pattern-matching, in which one or more patterns are compared against fragments of a larger whole. MelodicMatch enables you to create a series of musical patterns and, through comparison, identifies where these patterns appear in a work or works.

At another level, the charts that have been produced in this discussion may themselves be subject to comparison. MelodicMatch provides the ability to assemble a series of related charts and invites the user to draw inferences based on comparing them. The mechanism by which two or more charts are displayed together is referred to as the Search Group.

In Working with Display Groups, we saw how relationships can be common to a set of searches where the pieces that they examine are related. A Search Group will allow us to inspect the charts from more than one search together, activating Display Groups as desired.

On the File menu, click New -> New Search Group. The Search Group Files dialog appears. This dialog allows you to specify the search file and any MusicXML files whose charts you want to appear in the group.

Click Browse and select the "099SonataForm.mms" search file. This is the first search file in the Search Group. Click Add and select the "Symphony No 99 - Adagio - Vivace assai.xml" xml file. This is the file whose chart we wish to display in the Search Group. The Search Group Files dialog should now resemble that shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

These settings will cause one chart to appear when the search group is run. Click OK to save the contents of the dialog.

To add a second chart, on the Search Groups menu, click Add Search. Click Browse and this time, select "101sonataForm.mms" from the "No 101" folder. Click Add and select "Symphony No 101 - Adagio - Presto.xml". Click OK.

On the File menu, click Run Searches. This will cause all the searches in the Search Group to run, showing the charts of the files that you have selected in the Music files list for each search in the group. At this point, you may wish to specify a height in pixels for each chart. On the Tools menu, click Chart Options. Set the Pixels per Staff field to e.g. 15. This should cause the charts to fit within the Search Group window, although you may need to experiment with this setting.

You can also use the Chart Options dialog to set the Pixels per Bar field. By default, this field is set to 0 and MelodicMatch scales each chart to fit the window. However, if you want to see each chart occupy a width that corresponds to the number of bars in the file, you can set the Pixels per Bar field to 1 or greater. This can be useful when you want to compare the lengths of each piece in the Search Group. For the pieces in this discussion, a Pixels per Bar setting of 2 or 3 is a good place to start.

At this point, you should see the charts from both searches, similar to those in Figure 2.

Figure 2

You can activate the relationships for each search by pressing Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2 and so on. As the two searches in this example have been configured to use display groups consistently, you can use Ctrl+1 to compare the extent to which material from the first subject group appears in each movement, Ctrl+2 to compare the use of material from the bridge passage etc. As with individual searches, you can activate relationships singly or together in any combination.

Naturally, for this type of comparison to be meaningful, each of the searches in the Search Group must be configured with the patterns allocated to relationships (either Display Groups or Compound Patterns) in a consistent manner. On the Relationship menu, click Relationship List to see a list of all the relationships. Note that in a pattern-based search, the Relationship List contains the names of the relationships that have been configured. In a Search Group, the Relationship List contains a list of placeholder names. The searches in a Search Group may not all use the same relationship names. You can review the relationships in a search from within a Search Group by selecting the search file in the tree and clicking Review Relationships on the Relationship menu. This saves you having to open the search itself.

A Search Group can contain any number of searches, each of which can display any number of charts.

When adding a search file to a Search Group, you don't have to specify a MusicXML file. If the Music files list is empty, MelodicMatch will show the charts from every file encountered by the search. This can lead to many charts appearing in the Search Group window, so it's always advisable to specify a MusicXML file here unless you know that the search will run through only a small number of files.

This tutorial concludes with The Next Step.


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