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re: How to play music in LotRO the easy way


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Joined: 10 Mar 2011
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re: How to play music in LotRO the easy way.


How do you play music in LotRO?

When I first went to the Prancing Pony I was mystified how people could play songs the way they do, notes flying, the themes of the Eighties plonked out on a synth lute.  I knew there was some kind of knack to doing this, a bag of tricks that I didn't have. Then I joined a LotRO band, and it was rapidly made easy. I'd like to pass on this info.

Here's the basic breakdown of the three ways to play music in LotRO:

While in music mode (/music) you can:

1. Play notes freestyle.
>Numbers 1 - 8 give you a C major scale.
>Numbers 1 - 8 with the control button held down flattens each note of this scale by a half-step.
>Numbers 1 - 8 with the shift key held down will give you the C major scale one octave higher.

Due to latency issues, it's hard to keep good rhythm with this method, so it is rarely used. You can attempt to jam with people, but it's never as precise as playing written music.

2. Play files alone. The abc format is a very simple text-based music code that is even more rudimentary than .midi files.

3. Sync with others in a fellowship or raid to play multi-part abc's, or multiple abc files that (preferably) were made to go together.

So how do you do those last two?

First before anything else you must do this one thing:
create a folder in your 'The Lord of the Rings Online' folder, called: music  
No caps, nothing else. This is important. This is where you'll be storing your abc files.

There are text prompts you can type while in /music mode, for playing things in your abc library, and for synchronizing with others, and for starting up a sync'ed song... But I never learned them. Here they are:
Add sync at the end for synchronizing! Here's an example:
pippin does:  /play weargreen 2 sync
samwise does: /play weargreen 3 sync
pippin does: /playstart

What you really want, though, is this plugin:
It types all those prompts for you, and lets you see and navigate your music folder, among other things.

Download Songbook free over here

Songbook (its folder is called Chiran) goes in the Plugins folder in your 'The Lord of the Rings Online' folder. (It's little update program is only run for it to know your music file list.) It can be accessed in two different ways.  It can be managed in a menu on your character selection screen, to load automatically when you log in. 
Or it can be loaded by typing: /plugins load songbook (And unloaded with your other plugins by typing: /plugins unload).

Here's how Songbook works:

We'll start with how it looks: (that's my dwarf, Raggolgrimbob a.k.a. Bob the Bard, by the way)
Forum Image

So I'll describe the buttons at the top and what they do, first.

this toggles music mode on and off for whatever instrument you have equipped.

For solo play: When you have selected a song, or a part of a song (here I've selected Fade Into You) you alone will play this track, and right away.

Ready check: for band leaders with absent-minded musicians, which is most every band.

Play With Sync. This cues up a track for a multi-part piece of music for when playing in a group. It announces that you're ready to play the track you've chosen in chat, so everyone in your fellowship/raid can see. Everyone does this as the first step for playing multi-part music. Here's a fun aspect: you can cue a second song while you're still playing the first one, provided your part uses the same instrument. Very handy!

Start Sync Play. This is for when everyone is synced up correctly, to begin playing. The one who is in charge of pushing this button is up to your group. Bands have broken up over this button. :)

Announces in /say what you're playing, and is identical to the text alert that normally you see in standard text.

Necissary Tweaks:

1. There's a settings button at the very bottom of the Songbook panel to access these options. I would suggest ticking these ones:
>Song part list visible (it lets you see the separate parts within a multipart abc file)
>Search enabled (invaluable in a pinch)
>Songbook button visible (it adds a floating blue button for toggling songbook open)
>Instrument slots visible (that bank of instrument icons at the bottom: so you won't have to dive into your inventory every time you need to switch instruments.)

2. Run the Songbook update program out of your Chiran file, when you're starting up, and after changing or re-arranging your music files.  It's called: songbook and it's little and blue, and is an HTML programme.  It will update your in-game Songbook to match your files, (and you need to do this for your musician's account in particular if you have multiple LotRO accounts). If you're in-game you can still do this without logging out: just unload all plugins and then reload them using the text prompts.

Now You're ready to go! Rock on, my friends!


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Joined: 10 Mar 2011
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re: How to play music in LotRO the easy way.


So... How can I learn other instruments?

Your instruments.  This is where Minstrels are your friends.  Starting at about level fourty they can start teaching you new instruments on a 4 day cooldown.  It's called mentoring. The particular instruments they can mentor depends on which mentoring manuals they can get their hands on. Most of them are drops, a few are picked up by minstrel trainers, and one of them (harp) is purchased from an Esteldin reputation vendor.

If you don't get mentoring you'll be limited to lute and clarinet or horn, unless you're a mini, of course. Even then your level determines what you can play:

Harp, clarinet, horn, flute, cowbell: min level 6-7 (exit from the starting zone)
Drums: min level 10
Theorbo (bass): min level 15
Bagpipes: min level 25
Pibgorn: level 65 for non-minis, and 20 for Minstrels, lucky ducks!
And Moor Cowbell, but who cares about that one!

The Eriador Music Society holds a concert regularly at Michel Delving on Thursday nights starting at 10pm, and afterwards they always offer free mentoring.  The other option, if you can't find a minstrel to mentor you face-to-face, is to buy/commission mentoring guides which are generated by Minstrels on an even longer cooldown, and work at higher level caps (each different instrument at a different level, fifteen levels higher than those stated above).


And for the lyricists out there... A second plugin.

It's called lyrical.
It lets you cut and paste lyrics, poetry, story -- or any text really -- and then recite them in /say without having to type. Brilliant!  You can even craft elaborate emotes using this plugin, and provided the line starts with /e you're in business.  It can manage other channels this way too: I've sung in /regional for Weatherstock this way (before a GM infamously tried to shut us up).

Download Lyrical for free here


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