Performance view - like MainStage?

Hi all,

I recently purchased Cantabile Performer and have been working on creating a workable set of live sounds to eventually replace my Kronos/iPad combination. The actual sound creation and stability have, with a little help from Brad and some remaining confusion over state behavior, been wonderful. But now that I’m ready to take a few things “live” I’ve been checking out the perfornance view to see what info I can have there to replace my iPad with sheets and lyrics and the control surface of the Kronos. I have used MainStage a long time ago and enjoyed how you can create all sorts of objects to represent what kind of controllers you have and where they’re assigned, and at the moment my iPad is doing sheets/lyrics/preset selection duty using Set List Maker. I would like to shift this all to my laptop which has a 17 inch full HD display but I’m running into a few things.

  • Other than adding a “note” I don’t really see any way to add info to a song, and the display itself is severely limited. I can add text or an image but I can’t really position either on the screen other than the text alignment. There is no way to view two notes side by side meaning lots of wasted space on screen.
  • Is their any kind of “chords” or “lyrics” field somewhere that has transposition functions?
  • Can I autoscroll notes based on time or song tempo or assign a computer keyboard key to scrolling?
  • I can’t seem to be able to load any PDF and by extension, no multi-page document.
  • I haven’t completely checked out the bindings view yet but I can’t seem to be able to see bindings and notes in the same screen? The idea being that I could see my sheet music, with the most important controller assignments (foot pedal, knob1 etc.) off to the side or something.
  • can I save/load a layout?

Assuming none of these wishes are actually possible at the moment, does anyone know if they’re being considered for development? Or otherwise how does everyone solve these issues?

Hi @sanderxpander

You’re right the Show Notes support in Cantabile is somewhat limited, but that’s partly be design and partly because I wanted to collect together as much as feedback as possible for building anything more. Unforuntately I still don’t have a clear idea in my head on exactly what this should be.

Yes, I do have plans to improve show notes down the track. It won’t however be a full score reader - there are other apps better suited for this and I think this is outside Cantabile’s wheelhouse.

At this stage I’d prefer focus on better integration with external tools in this area. I know some users already control external PDF readers by using bindings to invoke external programs - that’s probably the best place to start.

As for further customization of the main screen for custom controls etc… please see this post.


Right, thanks. I would love to be able to use Cantabile as an all-in-one solution for live work, i.e. eliminate the iPad. I understand this is not possible yet but I’m encouraged by the other thread about controller UI enhancements. I can probably live with an external PDF reader assuming it integrates reasonably well. I’d love to hear some suggestions on one, and on how to set it up.

As for the notes view itself, I still use them for lyrics or basic chords and a few things would help me immensely:

  • Some way to scroll automatically by time or tempo. In Set List Maker, you can set a song duration and it will autoscroll, but take into account a starting offset (for intro and first verse for example). Some slight enhancements like linking it to tempo and “after 32 bars scroll” or something would be welcome.
  • Some way to scroll by using a keyboard key. I realize this might be an issue with panel focus, but I really hate having to use the mouse while I’m playing a song and I’d rather not sacrifice a note on my keyboard (not to mention filtering out those notes from every patch). Even a simple page down would be helpful.
  • Some system of columns perhaps? Lyrics on the left, chords on the right? Right now notes are only sequential. Ideally I’d draw an adjustable text field on the screen.
  • Basic transposition of written chord progressions. Set List Maker/Band Helper got this right. Any kind of chord progression you write (just basic text, no special editor, think you can transpose up or down in half tone steps via two simple buttons. Regular text is not affected. So you could basically throw a GuitarTabs sheet in there and transpose it. Which is useful for when you play a song with multiple bands in various keys or you’re at a session and the singer is still figuring out the key etc.


There are several threads here concerning lyrics and such. I also used setlist helper awhile back and didn’t really like the scroll function for a live band because tempos were never accurate enough to keep the lyrics even. While all you are doing with S.H. is pasting off a site page it would be convenient for transposition, but I find it easier to paste pages onto the show notes, and you can always transpose on most of the sites you visit. Here is one thread I gave input on lyrics:

Lyrics/Notes to save my aching head?

I use state changes to change my lyrics. Most of my pages also include chords, as on the site pages you copy from. Show notes already has a scroll function, not like S.H., but very useable. Check out Torsten’s Live Prompter. There are so many different wants from so many different people, I really don’t know how Brad keeps up with so much. Cantabile is far superior now to any other live vst host. It is a work in constant progress, but I doubt that it will ever please all the desires for every person. From what I get from the community, as long as improvements do not affect performance, it is welcome. I, like many others, have made it my all-in-one-solution by looking under the hood and seeing what great tools are already there for use now. I dumped Mainstage sometime back, as well as Setlist Helper, and Forte, and Bidule, and Live Professor, Ableton, and even Cantabile 2…and landed on Cantabile 3, because it wasn’t like the others. Four days is not enough time to see what this monster can do and maybe not the way you are used to, I would suggest you make it your own through experimentation, just like many of us did, before you suggest it being something it is not. My 2 cents.



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Hey sanderxpander,

Here’s a tut on pdf reader setup with C3

First you create a Song ‘On Load’ binding, set the source to Song ‘On Load’ and the Target to External Script ‘Execute’.

when done press the Action slot where it says (not configured) and you’ll get this dialog box. Press the arrow on the right of Command Line

Select Browse

locate your pdf file you want and click Open.

The path will appear in upper box. This next step is unnecessary if the PDF reader for the windows system is used. If this is the case then you can ckick OK and the binding is done. ( thanks to @FantomXR for pointing this out). If your reader is not the system one then you press the arrow on the lower Working Directory section

Click Browse

Locate the directory where the exe file for Pdf reading is located. (most use Adobe, so they would find the Adobe Acrobat Reader Directory under Programs or ProgramsX86). My example uses Pdf Reader as the program.

Now the dialog box is finished and ready to go

You can check the binding with your keyboard switch you chose or the handy checker icon shown below

as far as Navigation of the external pdf, recently Brad created some new bindings for that. The way they work and want to be treated is like this:

  • The pdf external program must be the focus of the windows system for the bindings to work, this shouldn’t be a problem for live work because the Song ‘On Load’ binding you made will load the external program (pdf reader) on top and the Page up and Page down buttons bindings shown will work for you. Of course you’ll need to adapt your particular settings but that’s the rough of it. Some users have been creating Midi fliles to auto turn the pages from a built in Cantabile media player using these same type of “Navigation” bindings.

Hope this gets you thinking about it and best of luck …


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Hi Corky,

Thanks for your input! I certainly don’t pretend to have figured out all the ins and outs of Cantabile yet. I was just surprised to see the notes view is so limited. I’m encouraged to hear there is some development planned and also that many people have found other ways to optimize workflow. As for your specific points, most bands I play with use a clicktrack so tempo drift is not an issue. Manual scroll would also be great if I can use a keyboard key, I haven’t found that option yet.
And I can’t always know the right transposition beforehand, that’s kind of the point. I can also transpose on sight but depending on the song complexity it’s less convenient. I don’t think it’s wrong to suggest features/enhancements like these that obviously have a use but I don’t expect Brad to drop everything and implement them because I suggested them.

Thank you for the other suggestions, I’ll look into them as I really am quite keen to make this work for me despite any current limitations or alternative workflows. Also many thanks to Dave for the tutorial on PDF use!

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Another approach is to use song states, where you could use a footswitch or pushbutton to advance through song states, and each state can have different show notes text (as well as different sounds, routing, volume levels and so on). It would be more like a page-turning effect rather that scrolling.



Right, good point! I’ll check that out.

By keyboard do you mean PC keyboard or MIDI keyboard. There are bindings for the show notes scroll position so you can bind MIDI buttons to scroll up/down/pageup/pagedown, or you can binding a knob/slider to Show Scroll Position (Which is a typo and should be “Show Notes Scroll Position” - I keep forgetting to fix that).


I mean computer keyboard, but thanks for the suggestion.

If the show notes panel is active you can use up/down/pgup/pgdn/home end, but they move the selection and only scroll if necessary.

Thanks to you both, I think the song states seems the nicest route for now, it sounds like I could also use it for sheets with multiple pages… I’ll experiment!


Hi there,
Not had occasion to call external scripts until now. PDF loading and ‘next page’ etc works perfectly. How would one go about calling a specific page?