Essential requirements for "Live Mode"

Question: what would you consider to be the absolutely essential items you’d need in a “Live Mode” screen for it to be useful for you?

(By Live Mode - I mean something designed for easy use during performance - as opposed to the detailed editing screens currently shown in the main window).

No promises, but thinking about doing something basic sooner rather than later but only if simple enough and useful enough.


  • Songs in the setlist, with the current one highlighted
  • Song states in the current song, with the current one highlighted
  • Large, clear buttons for next/previous song / song state
  • Tempo / time signature
  • Flashing beat indicator, ideally reasonable size for cueing tempo off before starting a song
  • Load
  • Level meters for all output channels

Very nice to have:

  • Option to auto-relaunch Cantabile in the last known good song / song state if it happens to crash
  • Clear indication of which zones of which MIDI controllers are routed to a plugin/rack (ideally showing plugin/rack name and preset)
  • Time - useful to know during gigs, especially if you take your watch off while on stage

There were some ideas from @Torsten in this thread on this subject

Full screen live performance mode - just the set list and essentials, all editing disabled.

Wow, Neil’s list covers a lot of it. The only things I could see that were not mentioned here but have probably been mentioned before are…

  • Main Outs Volume Sliders by the output meters
  • MIDI Panic Button
  • Some form of Transport Control
  • Small notes area if doable ( Torsten brought this up in other thread )

These I think it already does. But don’t know about in the large view.

  • Abilty to select from song list with mouse or touch screen or pad randomly (instead of using prev/next buttons) for when you need to go to a song quickly
  • Scroll follow on Set list for long set lists

Combined with Neils list that’s a lot, so my own bare bones Iist would be

  • Current Large Status items we already have in place
  • Mouse Selectable Setlist with Current Song Highlighted ( I don’t require States list the current Large display info is good)
  • MIDI Panic
  • Ouput meters
  • Notes Area

I’m happy with the current screen, I’d just disable editing.
I got set list, input ports map, used plugins with meters and large status.

I’d just add more variables to be used in custom large status panel (I could use values of triggers, but it’s probably special case)

@dave_dore what do you mean with notes area? Only some small information or for example some sort of area where you can display a pdf with chord progressions?
I personally would love that idea of having, let’s say on a widescreen monitor one third for cantabile (setlist, states of current song, midi panic etc) and the other two thirds for displaying chords (or whatever i want)


I was hoping on this version to get an area for song notes (simple chord progressions or song setup notes and reminders). @brad had already logged a trello ticket found here : Document and notes viewer (PDF, Html, Text, Tabs) describing something like what you describe. In the thread I asked for something very much like your idea but I wanted the lyrics full screen at the time. I also have since then thought I would like multiple monitor support for this feature as well. I now think a set list view would also make good sense. I like your vision of how it could work and look but don’t know if it can be done now because of complexity of request. I’d have to defer to brad.


A post was split to a new topic: Notes and document viewer

Thanks all for your input on this.

Something that would be really nice is some kind of “performance view” meaning a kind of visual representation of the midi controller used.
This would come in very handy as you would not have to remember things like “which knob was mapped to the master reverb plugin again? is this fader the right one to change the volume of the layered pad sound?”

what about a picture of the hardware with free to place text boxes?

…might sound strange…

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Guess most has been covered - my ideal live state would be:

  • Current song in setlist / next song in setlist
  • Current state in song / next state in song
  • Tempo / time signature / metronome (flashing)
  • song specific / song state specific text notes (which fader controls what, which guitar / pickup position to use, …)
  • maybe: display value of selected input controllers (something that I find quite useful on my Kurzweil PC3), a selected gain level or even a selected plugin parameter

Live mode view would be configurable by song or global override.



Actually yes, great one!! I’d find it very valuable to be able to display the current value from my MIDI expression pedal.

Interesting. When you say “display” do you mean a numeric value or it’s position on some sort of slider/gauge?

For me, I would say just a read-only indication of controller values for one/handful of chosen controllers, so a numeric value would be sufficient, but a graphical gauge that also indicates the actual value would be nicer in terms of instant visual indication on stage.

Perhaps this could be done using new MIDI assignment targets for Live Mode indicators, so you can also display mapped values if desired.

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I would like also to be able to run CB3 live mode windowed rather than full-screen.

The reason is that I have other applications running, such as CB2 with “in place GUI” for my guitar and Pod Farm.

Yes, was planning on this.

Just adding my 2 cents:

I agree with almost all of the comments here, and think @Neil_Durant’s list covered things nicely. Having even just some of these would be great.

But I especially like the idea of seeing the values of a few selected controllers (perhaps a different set of controllers per song) at runtime. I run multiple expression pedals through a MIDI Expression Quattro, and seeing the values would be great.

Real-life example: I have one controller (a knob, not a pedal) that controls the filter cutoff frequency in a particular song, and in one show I had warmed up playing the synth solo from that song and had turned that parameter all the way down. When it was time to play the song during the show, I got no sound since the cutoff frequency was too low. But I didn’t realize the problem until later. Having that parameter visible at runtime MIGHT have saved me from my own stupid mistake.

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All the above are great ideas. My one wish list item is a PDF (or multiformat) reader for sheet music. I perform a lot of different styles of music with different bands and memorizing is not always gonna happen and I would rather have it on my laptop since it is already there in front of me. Also w pageturning capabilities. Also, for PDF to be part of the preset, so the sheet music shows when I select a particular song. I use PDF Reader now, but it conflicts at times with CB2 and is a separate program of course.

It seems the consensus is that sheet music reader doesn’t belong in Cantabile - and I’m starting to lean in that direction too. Sheet music reading software is a fairly specialized thing and probably best left to dedicated software.

That said, I do plan two things here:

  1. basic “notes” viewing capabilities - probably limited to images and plain text to start with.
  2. better integration with score reading software (not sure what exactly this means yet).

See too this discussion

One of the “standards” in this field is MusicReader - pretty advanced PDF sheet music specialist. You can use Midi Triggers combined with Bome’s MIDI translator
to send key presses to MusicReader and thus automatically turn pages at song start or during the song - not sure if you can actually automate loading a specific song directly, but even that should be possible using tools like AutoIt and fiddling a bit.

Maybe MusicReader has an API that Cantabile could plug into to

  • load a song by number or title
  • turn page / half page

I don’t believe it makes sense for @brad to invest in developing this kind of Digital Music Stand functionality when it’s already there in a very sophisticated form for a reasonable price ($59).

Personally, I don’t need sheet music on stage - usually lyrics and chords are good enough for me, so my solution is my additional 8’’ tablet on my keyboard running a specialized text teleprompter. And it’s easy enough to just step thru the songs - as long as I run a pre-defined set list (simply press SPACE on the Cantabile laptop and press a pedal for my prompter for next song). If I were to do a very ad-hoc type of gig, i would indeed have to find the song both on Cantabile and on my prompter - but again, still doable - and I rarely do completely unplanned gigs :wink:

Just my 0.02 EUR



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I have MusicReader. I agree with Torsten. If it worked in tandem with Cantabile 3, I would be happy. I had issues with Cantabile2 and MusicReader working at the same time when doing song changes in each. This only happened occasionally.