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MMA (Musical MIDI Accompaniment) is an accompaniment generator.

MMA is very versatile and generates excellent tracks. It comes with an extensive user-extendable library with a variety of patterns for various popular rhythms, detailed user manuals, and several demo songs.

MMA is a command line driven program. It creates MIDI files which are then played by a sequencer or MIDI file play program.

How good is MMA's output? Well, to start you might want to check out some of my own recordings. And here is a song created TOTALLY with MMA. Give a listen . . . I was impressed and I wrote MMA! My understanding is that Kara took an existing Yahama .sty file, converted it to MMA library format, wrote a MMA song file with a few chords, compiled, and that's about it. Very cool! Finally, here's another song by Kara, Sunshine Of My Life, which was done in studio with a MMA background track.

I have completed a complete CD of my saxophone playing with MMA backgrounds. Give a listen, and buy it, at Cedars.

People all over the world are using MMA on a daily basis. From Bach Fugues (really!) to Jazz to Country to Techno to just about anything you can imagine MMA's templating track system puts you in control of your music.

MMA is written in Python. You'll need version 2.5.0 or greater of Python for MMA to work (it will probably work with 2.4.x if you modify the initial script, but you're on your own). Please note that the 3.x Python series will not work with MMA.

MMA was in BETA for over 3 years and had over 24 releases before we decided that it was time for the 1.0 version (release 1.7 is now available). We continue to tweak the program to make it better ... but, right now it is a pretty nice piece of software. Please help the community by advising us of bugs, creating songs for distribution, and new and improved library files.

There are lots of other generators like MMA. The most popular are “Band In A Box” and “Jammer”. The problem with many of these programs is that they lock you into a proprietary format, work only with limited computing platforms, or insist on a silly GUI which limits your choices. You might think that the lack of a GUI is limiting, but we've found that MMA's method gives you a great deal of flexibility in setting volumes, patterns, etc.

MMA is free! Yes, this means you don't have to pay for it—more importantly it means that you can use (or even change) MMA in any manner you want. MMA is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

MMA is developed on a Linux platform, but should be usable on just about any modern computer system.

The main MMA archive is really all you need. It includes:
  • mma - the executable python script,
  • modules - the various python modules needed to run MMA,
  • lib - a set of standard library files which contain over 900 MMA patterns for different rhythms,
  • egs - a few simple demo songs and more complicated examples,
  • docs/html - the entire set of documentation files in HTML format.

After downloading this file you need to unpack it (the directory “mma-bin-VERSION” will be automatically created). The magical incantation:
tar xzf mma-bin-*.tar.gz

should work just fine. Then run the one of the install scripts (either ln-install or cp-install). Read the file text/INSTALL for details, but we recommend using ln-install.

This will create the needed system directories and install the Python modules and the standard MMA library. The script has been designed for Linux ... follow these instructions for Windows and if you install this on a different OS, please let us know just what problems you had and your solutions.

This is a Unix/Linux tar.gz file.

Download (1.7MEG): mma-bin-1.7.tar.gz

Distribution Packages

To make installs easier for people with Linux systems we have created deb and rpm packages. These packages include the basic MMA distribution, plus the PDF documentation.

The packages will be installed in the /usr (not /local) directory structure.

MMA's only dependency is Python 2.4 (or greater), so there should be no dep problems with these packages. Please let us know if there are any problems.

Debian Package Use your favorite debian package manager (from a command line you can do something like:

sudo dpkg -i mma*deb).

We're not “real” Debian package makers ... so, shout if you find a problem ... better, mildly shout if it works as advertised!
Download (3.2MEG): mma_1.7_all.deb

RPM Package

A RPM based package for users with Redhat, Mandriva and other rpm based distros has been created using alien run on the the deb package.

Download (3.1MEG): mma-1.7-1.noarch.rpm

PDF Documentation

The documentation for MMA consists of 3 PDF files:
  • mma.pdf - a 193 page printable manual.
  • mma-tut.pdf - a short (21 page) tutorial.
  • mma-lib.pdf - reference to the standard mma library.

The HTML docs supplied with the main distribution are extracted from the PDF files. You should have both sets if for no other reason that the PDF files look much nicer.
This is a Unix/Linux tar.gz file.
Download (1.5MEG): mma-pdf-1.7.tar.gz

Chord Documentation

In addition to the main reference manuals we have prepared an auxiliary PDF document listing in both text and standard music notation all the chords and scales supported in MMA.

This is a compressed Unix/Linux .gz file.
Download (49K): chords.pdf.gz

Current Developer Version If you are brave, you might want to try the very newest!

This package has everything in it that the “official” distribution contains. However, the pdf documentation, above, doesn't reflect changes ... the download comes with html docs which should document all the changes.

Install note: if you have an existing install using the .deb or .rpm package you should probably delete/remove it first to avoid confusion. The .deb/.rpm install is the /usr/ directory and the manual install for the developer versions install in /usr/local.

New command TRUNCATE will reduce the duration of the following bar(s). Makes it very easy to insert “short” bars or to split Grooves over a single bar.

Chord enhancement—polychords are supported!

Groove enhancement—specify filename with groove name.

Some Examples

A Short Sample

For those who like to “try before you buy” (even if stuff is free), here is a real-life MMA file for the Cole Porter tune “I've Got You Under My Skin”. Depending on your browser settings, you may have to left-click the following links to download to a file.

Download (1K): ive-got-you-under-my-skin.mma

And here is the MIDI file created by MMA.

Download (27K): ive-got-you-under-my-skin.mid

Quality depends on your MIDI synthesizer. Here is a MP3 file generated via Timidity and some good soundfonts: ive-got-you-under-my-skin.mp3.

MMA Songs

This archive contains 714 songs which I've converted to MMA. They are mostly jazz standards, but a few country and Latin songs can also be found.

Legal gooblygook: Please respect other people's copyrights—these files are supplied for educational purposes only and should most likely not be used for public performance.

The quality of some of these tracks ranges from “not-so-good” all the way to “pretty-darn-good”. I perform for various functions in our community and use MMA generated tracks played on a synth when going solo with just my saxophone (not always solo, sometimes my dear wife sings as well). These are the same files that I use. Hire me for a reasonable fee to really hear them!

All the song files are packed into a single Unix/Linux tar.gz file.

Download (276K): mma-songs-1.7.tar.gz

Plectrum Track Example

The Plectrum track (available in MMA 1.5c and above) emulates a picked or strummed instrument like a guitar. Here is a short example file showing a few of the features:

Download (2K): PlectrumExample.mma

The MIDI file created by MMA.

Download (790 BYTES): PlectrumExample.mid

And a MP3 file: PlectrumExample.mp3.

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About Hugo Repetto

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that offers an operating system predominantly focused on desktop computers but also provides support for servers. Based on Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu focuses on ease of use, freedom in usage restriction, regular releases (every 6 months) and ease of installation.
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