MacGAMUT FAQs

(Frequently-Asked Questions)

Save yourself some time!

Penguin conductor

If you are using MacGAMUT 6:  If a tech problem brought you to this page, and if you're not using the latest version of MacGAMUT 6 User software (Version 6.3.0 for both Windows and Macintosh) or the MacGAMUT Instructor Materials (Version 6.3.0 for Windows XP through Windows 10 and for Macintosh), download and install the current Web Installers.  Could be you won't even need to come back to this page after you've installed the latest Web Installer! Hint:  In general, you won't find info here about bugs that have been fixed because a list of bugs that have been fixed is included on the Web Installer pages.  If you are using the latest version, you won't be bothered by those bugs, so there's no reason to waste your time here looking for answers to questions you wouldn't have if you had already installed the latest version!  Click here to go to the Web Installers page.

Windows users:  If you try to open or save a file (for example, when you click Change Presets), and MacGAMUT just closes instead of letting you select or save a file, click here for more info.

If you UPGRADED to MacGAMUT 2003:  If you've already used your free UPGRADE to move from MacGAMUT 2000 to MacGAMUT 2003 you may want to consider buying MacGAMUT 6Click here for ordering info.  But, if you prefer to continue using MacGAMUT 2003, make sure you have downloaded and installed the final MacGAMUT 2003 Updates (Version 2003.12 for Windows; Version 2003.12a for Macintosh OS X; Version 2003.10 for Macintosh OS 7 - 9). It's likely you won't even need to come back to this page after you've installed the Update.  Click here to go to the 2003 Update page

Three penguin tenorsQuestions about buying MacGAMUT:

Q:  How much will it cost my department to use MacGAMUT?

Q:  Why don't you offer site licenses for installing MacGAMUT in a computer lab?

Q:  Why don't I find MacGAMUT listed among the software products offered in my computer/music catalogs?

Q:  How does MacGAMUT compare to other ear-training programs?

Questions about installing MacGAMUT:

Q:  When I try to install MacGAMUT on Macintosh, I get a message saying it can't be installed. What do I do?

Q:  When I try to install MacGAMUT 6 on my Windows computer, I get a strange error message saying I can't install some or all of MacGAMUT.  What's going on?

Q:  I just upgraded my Macintosh system, and now when I try to use MacGAMUT, it tells me the Gamut font is not installed. Is there a quick fix?

Q:  I just bought MacGAMUT, and I can't wait to try out the program.  What do I do next?

Q:  Can I use MacGAMUT on a networked computer?  If so, do I need to know anything special about how to install it?

Questions about MacGAMUT registration:

Q:  I can't find my Registration Number. Where is it?

Q: I registered MacGAMUT but didn't download my start file while I was still on the website, and now I can't make the link in my Registration Confirmation e-mail work. Help!

Bunny pointing to his own earsQuestions about startMG6.mgs files:

Q:  I can't find my startMG6.mgs file. How do I get one?

Q:  I copied my working startMG6.mgs file from my hard drive onto a flash drive so I could take it to another computer to work on, and I made a back-up copy too.  But when I tried to use the startMG6.mgs file on the other computer, it wasn't the most recent version of my file.  What gives?

Q:  I copied my startMG6.mgs file onto removable media, but when I put the disk in a different computer, the name has been changed.  Will the file still work?

Q:  Every time I start the program, I’ve lost credit for some of the work I know I’ve completed.  I mastered several levels the other day, but now it says I haven't mastered anything.  Help!

Q:  I've lost my startMG6.mgs file, and MacGAMUT won't let me do anything without that file.  How can I get another one?

Q:  My startMG6.mgs file doesn't work.  When I try to use it, MacGAMUT gives me a message saying my file isn't in the proper format for a startMG6.mgs file. What's wrong?

Q:  I have registered my software on the MacGAMUT website and I'm 100% sure that I filled in the correct e-mail address.  However, I have not yet received the Registration Confirmation E-mail, and I didn't download my file when I registered. What should I do?

Q:  I've registered my software, but I can't seem to get into the program.  Can I get some detailed instructions to get me started?

Q:  When I double-click my startMG6.mgs file on my Windows computer, it tries to open some application other than MacGAMUT 6.  Is there some way to fix this so it starts MacGAMUT?

Q:  When I double-click my start file on a Macintosh, it opens something other than the regular version of MacGAMUT 6.  How do I fix this?

Questions about sending files as e-mail attachments:

Q:  I've tried attaching my startMG6.mgs file to an e-mail message to send it to another computer [or to my instructor], but then the file doesn't work when it gets to the other computer.

Q:  OK, I've tried sending it zipped and it still doesn't work to send it by e-mail.  Now what?

Questions about upgrading:Gramophone

Q:  How do I upgrade my MacGAMUT 2003 software to MacGAMUT 6?

Q:  When I upgrade from MacGAMUT 2003 to MacGAMUT 6, will I lose my records of everything I did on the older version of the software?

Questions about hardware/system specifications:

Q:  Can my students use MacGAMUT on a departmental (or campus-wide) network?

Q:  What are the minimum hardware and system requirements for MacGAMUT 6?

Q:  Will there ever be tablet or iPad or phone version of MacGAMUT?

Cherub with trumpetQuestions about sound:

Q:  I'm getting a "Sorry--sound doesn't seem to be working properly" alert on Windows 10, and sure enough, it's not working. How can I fix this?

Q:  I'm not getting any sound at all when I use MacGAMUT on my Windows computer.  Help me!

Q:  I really hate the sound I'm getting from my MIDI keyboard when I use MacGAMUT.  I've checked the instrument, and it's set for piano, so that's not the problem.  What gives?

Q:  I'm having trouble with sound, and it's ruining my chances at mastery. Help!

Q:  Sometimes my MIDI keyboard seems to work fine, but other times it does strange things like playing intervals in the wrong direction or playing just plain awful sounds or not playing all the notes.  What can I do?

Q:  I'm not getting the "tick" sound for the metronome from my MIDI keyboard, even though I've selected it in the Hear Beats before Exercise submenu in the Tempo menu.  What gives?

Q:  I'm getting a strange pitch for the metronome even though I've selected tick in the Hear Beats before Exercise submenu in the Tempo menu.  Sometimes it's really confusing because the pitch is a half-step away from the beginning pitch or the tonic.  Why is this happening?

Q:  I sometimes hear the beats played before a melody and sometimes not.   How can I fix this?

Q:  I'm using Windows sound, using the sound card in my computer, but I don't think the instrumental sounds are very realistic. Is there something I can do to improve the sound quality?

Penguin with accordianQuestions about using MacGAMUT:

Q:  I'm having trouble getting the notes and accidentals written on the right line or space on the staff.

Q:   I can’t seem to put any accidentals on the staff when I’m working on my Mac so I can’t ever get an exercise right if the correct answer has an accidental in it. This problem is ruining my chances for passing this course. Help!

Q:  I'm trying to enter Melodic Dictation from the Virtual Keyboard, but I keep getting extra rests notated between the notes.  Is there any way to enter the melody without having to erase all those extra rests and fix the durations?

Q:  I don't understand how I can enter Harmonic Dictation from the Virtual Keyboard since I can't click on 4 notes at once to play the chords.  In fact, I don't think anyone could anyone do that!

Q:  I can't access the Melodic, Harmonic, and Rhythmic Dictation libraries.  The computer tells me I have to find them, but then either I can't find them, or else the computer can't read them when I do find them.  Do I need new copies of the libraries?

Q:  I understand I should always use the very latest update of MacGAMUT, but how do I know if I have the latest update?

Q:  I'm working on a Scales level that seems to require an accidental for every pitch.  It's a pain to use the mouse to select each accidental again and again.  Why isn't there an easier way?

Q:  Do I really have to click on the erase HD box to get rid of a Roman numeral?

Q:  Entering the notation in Melodic Dictation seems cumbersome.  I have to click on each duration box and then go down and enter the note.  When the durations change a lot from note to note, that's a pain.

Q:  I'm trying to enter my notation for the Alto and Tenor voices in Harmonic Dictation (or 4-voice Chords), but MacGAMUT won't let me do it.  Why not?

Q:  I hate to mention it, but I'm sure MacGAMUT graded something wrong.  I got the identification right, but my notation was wrong, and I still got full credit for the exercise.

Q:  I was working on MacGAMUT, and the program wouldn't let me quit.  The Exit button on the screen was dimmed, and Exit [Windows] or Quit [Macintosh] was dimmed in the menu.  Other than pulling the plug, how am I supposed to stop working on the program?

Q:  I had 7 out of 10 right and got the next one right, and I still had only 7 out of 10 right!  This happens to me all the time, and it's just not fair!  Why won't MacGAMUT let me get mastery when I only need to get one more right and I do get it right?

Q:  MacGAMUT graded one of my Melodic Dictation exercises wrong.  I'm not really complaining because my score was higher than it should have been, but it counted several notes right even though those notes were different from the notes in the same position in the correct melody.  Have I found a bug?!

Dog playing congaQuestions about instructional considerations:

Q:  Why can't I just have my students turn in a printout of their statistics rather than my collecting all their startMG6.mgs files and checking them myself on my office computer? 

Q:  This may seem like a silly question, but I can't find anyone among our theory faculty who knows what the Anh. Pentatonic and Hir. Pentatonic scales are.  What are those scales?

Q:  I'm a teacher just starting to use music technology for instruction.  Where can I get more info about music theory and ear-training software, and about using music technology in general?

Q:  Do I need to have and use MacGAMUT Instructor Materials so my students can use MacGAMUT?

Q:  I'm not requiring my students to buy MacGAMUT, but I am going to put it in my music computer lab to make it available for my students to use. Do I need to do anything special with the presets? And if so, how do I install them, since students will be sharing MacGAMUT start files?

Q:  Aren't the melodies in the first couple of levels of Melodic Dictation awfully long for beginning students?

Q:  How can I help my students who complain that they can't hear the bass voice in the MacGAMUT Harmonic Dictation exercises?

Q:  If I require my students to work a certain amount of time on MacGAMUT ear-training drills each week, how do I know they're actually working and not just sitting there doing nothing while the clock runs?

Questions about this and that:

Q:  How did you come up with the name MacGAMUT for your software?

Q:  I know MacGAMUT started out as Macintosh-only, but since there are a lot more MacGAMUT Windows users than MacGAMUT Macintosh users now, shouldn't you call it something more appropriate, like WinGAMUT?

Q:  I've found apparent bugs in other music theory programs which the publishers assure me will be fixed in the next release, but I've waited years, and there's still no new release and no fix. Will I have to wait as long to get fixes for any problems in MacGAMUT?

 

Answers to questions about buying MacGAMUT:

Q:  How much will it cost my department to use MacGAMUT?

A:  That depends on how you want your students to use MacGAMUT.  If you adopt the software as you would a course textbook, each student buys an individual MacGAMUT Registration Number online at www.macgamut.com. The Registration Number is the "ticket" that allows the student to download his/her own personalized startMG6.mgs file which records all the work he/she does on MacGAMUT. In addition, we will send you your own free Instructor-use-only Registration Number and info about how to access to the MacGAMUT Instructor Materials.  You can install MacGAMUT 6 (click the Installers link on the left side of this page to access installers for both Windows and Macintosh computers) on as many lab computers as you like without violating copyright, since each student must use his/her personal startMG6.mgs file to access and use the software. Total cost to your department: $0.00 (as in zero, zip, nada)!

On the other hand, if your department wants to purchase MacGAMUT 6 for a computer lab, we offer a 20% discount as well as giving you access to the MacGAMUT Instructor Materials for institutional orders of as few as 5 Registration Numbers.  For a computer lab installation, we require that your department purchase one MacGAMUT Registration Number for each computer the software will be installed on, and only one “working” startMG6.mgs file is permitted for each Registration Number purchased. The number of students who may use MacGAMUT simultaneously is, therefore, limited to the number of Registration Numbers you have purchased for your lab. Of course, without having their own individual startMG6.mgs files, your students will be limited to using MacGAMUT only in the lab, so they cannot exploit the software’s portability by using it on their own computers at their convenience. And, since each start file in a lab installation is shared by multiple students, the software may only be used for practice, not for mastery-based learning. For the same reason, you do not have individual record keeping with shared start files, so you cannot monitor each student’s effort and achievement.  But many departments have found that, by purchasing a number of MacGAMUT Registration Numbers for a lab, they can offer their students an effective learning tool at minimal cost to the department and at no cost to the individual student.  Your department can equip a 5-workstation computer lab with MacGAMUT for a grand total of only $160.00! If you have more than 5 workstations in your lab and you want more than 5 students to be able to use MacGAMUT simultaneously, add just $32 for each additional Registration Number.  Sure, the total cost to your department for a lab installation is a bit more than zero, but it's still the biggest bargain you'll find in high-quality instructional music software!

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Q:  Why don't you offer site licenses for installing MacGAMUT in a computer lab?

A:  We don't offer site licenses in the sense that many software companies do.  Generally, site licenses permit institutional purchasers to install high-cost software on a number of machines in a lab at a reduced cost.  We keep the price of MacGAMUT software low so students can afford to buy it as if it were a textbook (actually costs less than most textbooks!), and we have not developed a separate product specifically for site-licensing.  But when institutional purchasers buy 5 or more MacGAMUT Registration Numbers, they get a 20% discount, and they get free access to the MacGAMUT Instructor Materials.  Of course, if you use MacGAMUT in a lab situation where students share start files, you won't have individual student records, and students can only use the software in the lab, since they don't have the portability owning their own copy affords them.  But many institutions have found buying MacGAMUT for a lab to be a low-cost option for providing their students with a very effective learning tool.

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Q:  Why don't I find MacGAMUT listed among the software products offered in my computer/music catalogs?

A:  It seems that many "resellers" are not interested in carrying MacGAMUT because our suggested retail price is so low that they can't make enough profit to make it worth their while.  More than one cataloger has told us they would be interested in listing our software only if we were to increase the retail price of MacGAMUT to $100 or $125 per copy.  But if we priced our software that high, individual music students couldn't afford to buy their own copies, defeating our goal of increasing student access to MacGAMUT by keeping it affordable!

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Q: How does MacGAMUT compare to other ear-training programs?

A:  We're really proud of MacGAMUT, and we think it's the best ear-training program available at any price, but then, you'd expect us to say that, wouldn't you?  And we're telling the truth because we are honest folk who wouldn't lie to you, but then, you'd expect us to say that too, wouldn't you?  Seriously, we always feel more than a little uncomfortable when anyone asks us this question, not because we don't have an opinion, but because no matter what we say, it's only reasonable for people to wonder just how objective we can be.  Fortunately, other people (people who aren't on the MacGAMUT staff!) have addressed this question. Click here to see Deron McGee's 2002 Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy review of several ear-training software programs.  We think everyone should read this article, even though MacGAMUT is now even better than it was way back then!  For other impartial assessments of MacGAMUT, you can read other published reviews.  We also get a lot of unsolicited comments both from instructors and students.  You'll find a few of these testimonials scattered through the pages of this website, but we've also gathered the bulk of them together and attempted to organize them into topics.  Click here to see the long list of Comments.  But you really ought to try MacGAMUT software yourself to decide whether it suits your needs.  We provide free demo versions that are as close to the real thing as possible, and we make it easy for you to access these demos.  (Students can download the Mini Demos, and instructors can request a free Instructor Demo.)  Try out our demos, and try out the demos of other software products.  Then you can judge for yourself how MacGAMUT measures up!

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Answers to questions about installing MacGAMUT:

Q:  When I try to install MacGAMUT on Macintosh, I get a message saying it can't be installed. What do I do?

A:  First, make sure you're using a more recent MacGAMUT Web Installer for Macintosh (Version 6.3.0). If you're using an older installer, you're getting that message because the MacGAMUT music font that was part of the older installers isn't compatible with El Capitan (10.11) and higher. Version 6.3.0 installs a new font that solves the problem. Also, when you click on the newer installer to open it, you may get a message saying it’s from an unidentified developer and you shouldn't risk installing it. That message results from an apparent problem that first appeared in OS X 10.11. The good news is that if you just click on the installer a second time, it will work fine. If this installer really were from an unidentified developer, your second click would just give you the same scary warning again instead of letting you continue with the installation.

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Q:  When I try to install MacGAMUT 6 on my Windows computer, I get a strange error message saying I can't install some or all of MacGAMUT.  What's going on?

A:  For most Windows users, installation is an easy and straightforward process, but depending on how your computer is set up, your computer may not allow you to install MacGAMUT unless you are logged on with Administrator privileges.  All you have to do is switch to a Windows user account that has Administrator privileges.  Then run the MacGAMUT installer again.

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Q:  I just upgraded my Macintosh system, and now when I try to use MacGAMUT, it tells me the Gamut font is not installed.  Is there a quick fix?

A:  When you upgrade to a new Macintosh system, the new system doesn't necessarily transfer all the info about software you installed on the older system.  Fortunately, the problem is easy to fix.  Just install MacGAMUT again, and the Gamut font will automatically be installed in the new system.  We recommend installing the latest updated MacGAMUT Web Installer (click here to go to the Web Installer page) so that you'll also be installing the latest version of MacGAMUT software at the same time.  In other words, for most folks, you can fix the problem by doing something you should do anyway!

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Q:  I just bought MacGAMUT, and I can't wait to try out the program. What do I do next?

A:  Whether you're using a Windows or a Macintosh computer, you need to install MacGAMUT before you can begin using it.  For detailed instructions about how to install MacGAMUT, click here.

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Q:  Can I use MacGAMUT on a networked computer?  If so, do I need to know anything special about how to install it?

A:  Yes, MacGAMUT can run on a networked computer, but your network administrator may need to install MacGAMUT for you.  Many networks are set up to prevent individual users from installing any software themselves.  In that case, when you attempt to install or update MacGAMUT, you will probably get a message saying something like "Installation failed.  You do not have access or permission to install software."  Only your network administrator can solve this problem for you since he or she is the only one who has the secret codes that will allow software installation on that network.  There's really no trick to installing MacGAMUT on a network.  You just have to know the right person who is able and willing to do the job for you!

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Answers to questions about software registration:

Q:  I can't find my Registration Number. Where is it?

A: If you purchased MacGAMUT from our website ("Download Only," no CD), your unique Registration Number for MacGAMUT was listed on the Order Confirmation page, and it was also listed in your Order Confirmation e-mail. If you haven't received your e-mail, it could be in your "Junk" or "Spam" folder if you didn't add macgamut.com to your Safe Senders list before you completed your order. If you purchased a CD, your Registration Number for MacGAMUT 6 is printed either on the Getting Started folder packaged with your MacGAMUT 6 CD (copyright 2010 or later) or printed right on the face of your User CD (copyright 2008 or 2009). Once you locate your Registration Number, it's a very good idea to copy it somewhere safe so you don't lose it again. NOTE: Your Registration Number is 9 digits long. Your "Order Number" is NOT the same as your Registration Number.

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Q:  I registered MacGAMUT but didn't download my start file while I was still on the website, and now I can't make the link in my Registration Confirmation e-mail work. Help!

A:  The problem with the link in your Registration Confirmation e-mail is almost certainly a browser problem. The download process varies from browser to browser, and it may even be prevented by your anti-virus or security software. You may need to copy the link and paste it into your browser's address box. If you can't figure out how to download your file from this link, you may find it easier to Register again, using the same Registration Number and Name you registered with before, and download your file from the Registration complete! page.

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Answers to questions about startMG6.mgs files:

Note: If you installed MacGAMUT 6 from our website and have never installed it from a CD, you can download an introductory video called Managing Your startMG6.mgs File, which gives step-by-step instructions for getting started using MacGAMUT and for keeping track of your startMG6.mgs file. Click here to download the video. If you installed MacGAMUT software from a MacGAMUT 6 CD, this video will already be on your computer (look in the Video Tutorials folder inside your MacGAMUT Work Folder in your Documents).

Q:  I can't find my startMG6.mgs file.  How do I get one?

A: The short version is that you need to register your software.  The instructions that you are given when you buy MacGAMUT from our website ("Download Only," no CD) or the instructions in the Getting Started folder packaged with your MacGAMUT 6 CD tells you exactly what to do. Your unique 9-digit MacGAMUT 6 Registration Number is given to you both on the Order Confirmation page on the website and in the Order Confirmation e-mail when you buy "Download Only." If you purchased a CD, it is printed on the insert (copyright 2010 or later) or directly on your MacGAMUT 6 User CD (copyright 2008 or 2009). After you have successfully registered, MacGAMUT will create your own personal start file automatically and give you a link where you can download your start file.  Download and save your startMG6.mgs file in your MacGAMUT Work Folder in your computer's Documents folder.  This folder is created when you install MacGAMUT, so if you haven't yet installed MacGAMUT, remember where (in which folder) you have saved your start file, and move it to your MacGAMUT Work Folder as soon as you have installed MacGAMUT. Remember that you will need to find your start file every time you use MacGAMUT!  Click here to go to the Registration page.

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Q:  I copied my working startMG6.mgs file from my hard drive onto a flash drive so I could take it to another computer to work on, and I made a back-up copy too.  But when I tried to use the startMG6.mgs file on the other computer, it wasn't the most recent version of my file.  What gives?

A:  You've run into one of the joys of trying to keep track of current file versions on either Windows or Macintosh computers. Computers are lazy, just like people, and they tend to wait as long as possible to update file information.  MacGAMUT forces the computer to write a current copy of your startMG6.mgs file whenever you leave the program, but MacGAMUT can't do much about what the computer does after that.  The only way to be absolutely sure "what you see is what you get" when you copy files on either Windows or Macintosh is to close the folder the file is stored in and then reopen the folder (on Macintosh you may also have to click on the file name to force it to update the file info). Closing and reopening the folder forces the computer to update the connection between the file as listed on the screen and the file as it is actually stored on your computer.  You can also use the Details view on Windows or the List view on Macintosh for easy access to complete information about when the file was most recently updated to be absolutely sure the date and time info are correct. 

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Q:  I copied my startMG6.mgs file onto removable media, but when I put the disk in a different computer, the name has been changed. Will the file still work?

A:  Yes, it probably will, but it would be easier for you to keep track of if you change the name back to the original name!  If you're working on a Windows computer, the .mgs may or may not show, depending on whether your computer is set up to show or hide file extensions, but the .mgs extension must be there so that Windows and MacGAMUT can recognize it as a startMG6.mgs file. 

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Q:  Every time I start the program, I’ve lost credit for some of the work I know I’ve completed.  I mastered several levels the other day, but now it says I haven't mastered anything.  Help!

A:  There are several possibilities here:

  • Is it possible you've been working in Practice Mode? If you have credit for the time you have spent but don't have credit for the levels, that's probably what happened. Make sure Regular Mode is selected on the levels screen, not Practice Mode.  Check the Help (MG Help on Macintosh) menu for more info.
  • If all your stats are wiped out every time, and MacGAMUT displays "new file" as the last time you worked on the program, you're probably starting by clicking on the link to your startMG6.mgs file in the Registration Confirmation e-mail. If you do a search for all files containing the word startMG6 on your computer, you'll probably find multiple copies of the startMG6.mgs file.  Locate the most recent startMG6.mgs file (or the one you've done the most work on), move that file to your MacGAMUT Work Folder in your computer's Documents folder), and then always start by double-clicking that file.  For more info, see Getting Started.  If you'd rather watch a video about how to keep track of your start file, watch Managing Your startMG6.mgs File (you can click here to download the video, or if you installed from a MacGAMUT 6 CD, you'll find it in the Video Tutorials folder inside the MacGAMUT Work Folder in your Documents).
  • Is it possible you are not starting up from the SAME startMG6.mgs file each time you work on MacGAMUT?  You should keep only one CURRENT startMG6.mgs file (preferably in your MacGAMUT Work Folder in your Documents so that you always know exactly where your current file is).  Also, remember NEVER to use any of your BACKUP files (the files that have the word BACKUP in their name) except in an emergency when your current startMG6.mgs file is either lost or damaged. If you find that you have to re-master levels you had already mastered and you were working in Mastery Mode, you could not have started up from your current file because your current startMG6.mgs file will automatically start you again wherever you were when you ended your last MacGAMUT session, with all your time and level mastery statistics intact. Remember, as MacGAMUT warns you, use the back-ups only if you lose your current startMG6.mgs file. Pay attention to those warnings!

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Q:  I've lost my startMG6.mgs file, and MacGAMUT won't let me do anything without that file. How can I get another one?

A:  It's too late to remind you that you should have been making regular back-ups of this all-important file and storing the latest back-up copy in a safe place, right?!  You'll probably remember to make more regular back-ups in the future.  But for now:

  • You can get a new file by registering again.  Go to the Registration page and enter your Name and Registration Number just as you did the first time to get a replacement file delivered by e-mail.   Sorry, but the replacement file will start you back at zero.  If you've lost your Registration Number, e-mail TechSupport@macgamut.com.  We can look up your number for you, but only if you can give us the exact name you originally registered under and the e-mail address where the file was originally sent.
  • If you have given your instructor a copy of your startMG6.mgs file recently, you might ask your instructor if you could have a copy of that file so you won't have to start all the way back at zero.The copy you've given your instructor is in exactly the same format as your current start.mgs file, so it will work just fine.

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Q:  My startMG6.mgs file doesn't work.  When I try to use it, MacGAMUT gives me a message saying my file isn't in the proper format for a startMG6.mgs file.  What's wrong?

A:  There are several possibilities:

  • If you just sent the file as an e-mail attachment, the problem is probably the way you sent the file. See the E-mail attachments section below. 
  • If e-mail attachments aren't involved, then the problem is more serious.  If you have been using MacGAMUT for a while and this happens, hopefully you have a back-up copy of your file that you can use instead.  If you don't have a back-up copy, you'll need to get a brand new startMG6.mgs file, so see the answer to the question immediately above.
  • If this is the first time you've tried to use your startMG6.mgs file after you registered, e-mail TechSupport@macgamut.com and tell us exactly what happened.  In addition, include the exact name you originally registered under, the 9-digit Registration Number, and whether you are using a Windows computer, a Macintosh computer, or both.  Chances are that something went wrong when you tried to download your file, but we can still get you up and running as quickly as possible.

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Q:  I have registered my software on the MacGAMUT website and I'm 100% sure that I filled in the correct e-mail address.  However, I have not yet received the Registration Confirmation e-mail, and I didn't download my file when I registered. What should I do?

A:  When you register, your Registration Confirmation e-mail is sent out automatically and immediately. It often arrives in a matter of seconds. How long it actually takes for you to receive the e-mail is entirely a function of how your own internet service provider processes incoming e-mail.  But even if your e-mail provider hangs on to your mail for a while before sending it on to you, it shouldn't take long. If it doesn't arrive in a timely fashion and you have not added macgamut.com to your safe senders list, it probably means your anti-virus or security software is blocking it. It's also possible your internet service provider isn't allowing the e-mail to reach you. Your best bet is to re-register, using the same Name and Registration Number you used to register the first time, but this time--to be absolutely sure you get your start file--download it from the link on the Registration complete! page.

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Q:  I've registered my MacGAMUT software, but I can't seem to get into the program.  Can I get some detailed instructions to get me started?

A:  Watch the Managing Your StartMG6.mgs File and Exploring the Melodic Dictation Window videos.  If you installed MacGAMUT from the web and have never installed it from a CD, click here to download these videos separately. If you installed MacGAMUT from a CD, these videos will be in the Video Tutorials folder inside the MacGAMUT Work Folder in your computer's Documents folder. If you would also like also detailed text instructions for people who are having difficulty getting started, click here.

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Q:  When I double-click my startMG6.mgs file on my Windows computer, it tries to open some application other than MacGAMUT 6.  Is there some way to fix this so it starts MacGAMUT?

A: Either MacGAMUT 6 hasn't been installed on this Windows computer (click here to go to the MacGAMUT Installers page), or else some other program you have installed recently has wiped MacGAMUT's .mgs file association off the map.  Just install (or reinstall) MacGAMUT 6, and the installer program will set everything up properly so that MacGAMUT 6 will start up when you double-click your startMG6.mgs file.

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Q:  When I double-click my start file on a Macintosh, it opens something other than the regular version of MacGAMUT 6.  How do I fix this?

A:  Fortunately, the problem is easy to fix.  First close the application that is open.  If you have not yet installed MacGAMUT 6, install it now.  If you have already installed MacGAMUT 6, right-click (or Ctrl-click) on your start file, and select Get Info.  Click on the Open with arrow to make it point downward, and then select MacGAMUT 6 from the list of applications in the popup menu.  Click the Change All button, and from then on, double-clicking your .mgs file will always open MacGAMUT 6
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Answers to questions about sending files as e-mail attachments:

Q: I've tried attaching my startMG6.mgs file to an e-mail message to send it to another computer [or to my instructor], but then the file doesn't work when it gets to the other computer.

A: E-mailing files from one computer to another can often be problematic.  Unfortunately, MacGAMUT files are no exception.  The good news is that the internet gremlins tend to leave certain kinds of files alone.  The best way to send a file over the internet is to use compression software to create a .zip file ("zipped") and attach it to an e-mail message.

  • In Windows:  Right-click on your startMG6.mgs file.  Choose Send To, and then choose "Compressed (zipped) Folder."
  • On Macintosh:  Click on your startMG6.mgs file to highlight the name of the file.  Then choose "Compress [your file's name]" from the File menu. 

If all else fails, you can try sending your files "straight up" with no compression, but don't count on the files coming through in good shape.  If even zipped files don't work for you, see the answer to the next question.

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Q:  OK, I've tried sending it zipped and it still doesn't work to send it by e-mail.  Now what?

A:  If there's no way you can make attachments work, your best remaining option is to do it the old-fashioned way and transport the file on a flash drive or other removable media.

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Answers to questions about upgrading:

Q:  How do I upgrade my MacGAMUT 2003 software to MacGAMUT 6?

A:  If you have a MacGAMUT 2003 start2003.mgs file that you downloaded from the Register section of this website, you won't believe how easy it is to upgrade.  Click here for more information on upgrading.  If the last version of MacGAMUT software you bought was before the release of MacGAMUT 2003, you are not eligible for a free upgrade to MacGAMUT 6 Click here for information about purchasing MacGAMUT 6.

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Q:  When I upgrade from MacGAMUT 2003 to MacGAMUT 6, will I lose my records of everything I did on the older version of the software?

A:  No, all your records will be preserved and transferred to the new software version.  MacGAMUT 6 will create a new startMG6.mgs file, picking up your name, statistics, and presets files from your start2003.mgs file.  From then on, all you have to do is remember to start from your new startMG6.mgs file instead of your old start2003.mgs file!

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Answers to questions about hardware/system specifications:

Q:  Can my students use MacGAMUT on a departmental (or campus-wide) network?

A:  Yes, but MacGAMUT needs to be installed on each computer it will be used on.  In many cases, you'll need the help of the network administrator to make that possible.  The advantage of using MacGAMUT on a network is that individual registered MacGAMUT users should be able to store their startMG6.mgs files in a central location so they can easily access the same file from a number of different computers on the network.

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Q:  What are the minimum hardware and system requirements for MacGAMUT 6?

A:  Pretty simple, really.  MacGAMUT 6 software has been designed for use with all Windows computers running Windows 98 or higher, and for all Macintosh computers running System 10.5 or higher.  Beyond that, if you have a MIDI Keyboard, you may choose to use it for input and output, but a MIDI Keyboard is not required (you can always use the MacGAMUT Virtual Keyboard for Keyboard responses to the exercises). 

IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHETHER MacGAMUT WILL WORK ON A SPECIFIC ELECTRONIC DEVICE: A lot of electronic devices out there are NOT computers in the traditional sense. You wouldn't expect MacGAMUT to run on a calculator, but what about all those new gadgets that let you do SOME things computers let you do? Short answer: If you have a device that runs ONLY IOS, Chrome, Android, Windows RT, etc., then MacGAMUT will not work on that device. If you have any questions or doubts about the adequacy of your computer setup, download the appropriate Mini Demo from this website. If your computer will run the Mini Demo, it will run MacGAMUT 6 with no problem.  It's as simple as that!

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Q:  Will there ever be a tablet or iPad or phone version of MacGAMUT?

A: MacGAMUT runs on any tablet that has a standard Windows operating system on it (Windows XP and higher, but not RT). Other than that, "ever" is a pretty long time. We're certainly thinking about a version for iPad sometime in the future, but for now, don't hold your breath. As for a phone version, plain and simple, no.

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Answers to questions about sound:

Q:  I'm getting a "Sorry--sound doesn't seem to be working properly" alert on Windows 10, and sure enough, it's not working. How can I fix this?

A:  Be sure you've updated to MacGAMUT version 6.3.0 that includes a workaround for the sound bug Microsoft introduced in Windows 10 shortly before its official release). If that doesn't solve the problem, see the next question.

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Q:  I'm not getting any sound at all when I use MacGAMUT on my Windows computer.  Help me!

A:  If MacGAMUT sound has been working fine before now, the problem is often that some other program has changed the volume and/or audio settings on your computer:

  • In Windows 10, right-click the Volume Control icon in your Task Bar. If that doesn't solve the problem, click on Settings and type sound in the "Find a setting" search box. Most sound problems can be solved by selecting the device you are using in the Sound window and then adjusting its Playback Properties. If you still have a problem, check out Solving Windows Sound Problems for detailed, step-by-step instructions.
  • In Windows 8, click the Volume Control icon under Settings. If that doesn't solve the problem, go to the Volume Mixer: choose Hardware and Sound from the Control Panel, then click Sound, then click Adjust system volume. If you still have a problem, check out Solving Windows Sound Problems for detailed, step-by-step instructions.
  • In Windows Vista and Windows 7, just click the Volume Control icon in your Task Bar, and then click on the Mixer to open it.  Chances are, you will immediately see what the problem is! If you still have a problem, check out Solving Windows Sound Problems for detailed, step-by-step instructions.
  •  In Windows XP, chances are that the problem can be solved easily by adjustments in the Volume Control and Audio Properties windows.  Check out Solving Windows XP Sound Problems for detailed, step-by-step instructions (with illustrations!) to help you solve the problem.

If you are a new MacGAMUT user or if the audio setup on your computer has changed recently, make sure you have selected the proper sound card in MacGAMUT’s MIDI Output Device menu.  Go back and start MacGAMUT again.  Continue through the sound test, even though you are still getting no sound.  When you get to MacGAMUT’s main menu, select Intervals, then Aural Training, and then start with Level 1 in Practice Mode.  When you get to the first exercise screen, go to the Sound menu at the top and click on MIDI Output Device.  There you will find a selection of sound cards and perhaps other devices to choose from.  Experiment, selecting each choice in turn and then going back to the interval exercise and clicking the Play button until you get sound.  You may need to guess at the name of the interval that you haven’t actually heard (probably getting it wrong) so you can have an infinite number of hearings, but since you’re in Practice Mode, it won’t hurt your score if you guess wrong. If you don't have any devices listed or if none of the devices actually produce sound in MacGAMUT, it probably means your computer system doesn't currently have MIDI capabilities. If that's the case, click here for the solution.

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Q:  I really hate the sound I'm getting from my MIDI keyboard when I use MacGAMUT.  I've checked the instrument, and it's set for piano, so that's not the problem.  What gives?

A:  MacGAMUT is sending General-MIDI messages telling your MIDI keyboard that you want piano sound.  The only problem is that your MIDI keyboard doesn't speak the same language if it's not General-MIDI-compatible. Turn General MIDI off in the Sound menu the next time you use MacGAMUT, and MacGAMUT will stop sending messages about instrumental timbre to your MIDI keyboard.  With many MIDI keyboards, turning the keyboard off and then back on resets it to the default timbre, which is usually piano sound.  Or you can set whatever instrument you want on the MIDI keyboard itself, and you'll get the sounds you expect.  (Check your MIDI synthesizer manual for instructions about setting the instrumental timbre directly on your synthesizer.)  For more info, select "General MIDI" from the Help (MG Help on Macintosh) menu at the top of any exercise screen, or check the "General MIDI" section in the User Guide.

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Q:  I'm having trouble with sound, and it's ruining my chances at mastery.  Help!

A: First, make sure you have installed the latest version of MacGAMUT.  Click here to go to the Web Installers page.  Also, it's best to work on solving your sound problems in Practice Mode, where it won't hurt if you get an exercise wrong because you can't hear the sound at all or don't like the sound you're hearing.  Then look through the rest of this Sound FAQs section to see if your specific question is covered here.  Explore the menus at the top of any MacGAMUT exercise screen, especially the Sound menu and the Help (MG Help on Macintosh) menu.  If your sound problems are on a Macintosh, use QuickTime Update (under System Preferences/QuickTime) to make sure you have the latest version of QuickTime.  If none of this solves your sound problems, e-mail TechSupport@macgamut.com with as many details as possible.  With sound problems, it's especially important to tell us whether you're working on a Windows or Macintosh computer as well as what system you're using (Macintosh 10.12.2 or Windows 10.11.1, for example). 

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Q:  Sometimes my MIDI keyboard seems to work fine, but other times it does strange things like playing intervals in the wrong direction or playing just plain awful sounds or not playing all the notes. What can I do?

A:  MacGAMUT is designed to work with MIDI synthesizers that are set up "normally," but with all the bells and whistles and buttons on synthesizers, it's sometimes difficult to understand how to reset a synthesizer to function normally.  Start by selecting the simplest settings from within MacGAMUT.  From the Sound menu, toggle General MIDI to Off and set the MIDI Output Channel to 1 (all voices on 1).  Next, turn off your synthesizer, wait a moment, and turn it back on again.  Then play a scale from one end of the keyboard to the other to make sure you don’t have split keyboard, multi, chordal accompaniment, or some other tricky setting turned on.  (Check your MIDI synthesizer manual for more info about how to reset it to “normal.”)  If everything is working well, toggle General MIDI to On and play your scale again. If your MIDI keyboard sound is still problematic, and toggling General MIDI back to Off doesn't help, ask one of your techno-music buddies for help.  It’s a lot easier for someone who can take a close-up look at your specific MIDI synthesizer to solve the problem.  All we can tell you is that MacGAMUT isn’t what’s causing your problem.

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Q:  I'm not getting the "tick" sound for the metronome from my MIDI keyboard, even though I've selected it in the Hear Beats before Exercise submenu in the Tempo menu.  What gives?

A:  If you don’t have General MIDI turned on (check the setting in the Sound menu and click General MIDI to toggle to On if it’s currently Off), or if your sound source is not General-MIDI-compatible, or if the 1 (all voices on 1) option is selected from the MIDI Output Channel submenu in the Sound menu, you won’t hear the tick.  Choose pitch instead.

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Q:  I'm getting a strange pitch for the metronome even though I've selected tick in the Hear Beats before Exercise submenu in the Tempo menu.  Sometimes it's really confusing because the pitch is a half-step away from the beginning pitch or the tonic.  Why is this happening?

A:  If your sound source is not General-MIDI-compatible, it will misinterpret tick instructions and it may play a pitch that sounds wrong in the tonal context of the melody.  The easiest way to solve the problem is to choose pitch instead of tick, but you can also toggle General MIDI to Off in the Sound menu.  If the pitch option is selected or if General MIDI Off is set, the metronome should play pitches an octave or two above or below the beginning pitch of the melody.

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Q:  I sometimes hear the beats played before a melody and sometimes not. How can I fix this?

A:  If you've selected pitch for the metronome from the Hear Beats before Exercise submenu of the Tempo menu, keep in mind that the beats are played an octave or two lower or higher than the starting pitch of the melody. Depending on the instrumental timbre you have selected, it's possible the metronome pitch can't be heard in that range.  Select a different instrument and see if that helps (piano always works).  If you've selected tick and you're not hearing the metronome beats, choose Change Metronome Sound from the Tempo menu.  That will let you try different metronome sounds and test them to make sure you not only have one you can hear, but also have one you like!

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Q:  I'm using Windows sound, using the sound card in my computer, and I don't think the instrumental sounds are very realistic. Is there something I can do to improve the sound quality?

A:  Check the MIDI Output Device in the Sound menu.  Try the various choices and see if any of them sound better (you may not hear anything at all with some of them).

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Answers to questions about using MacGAMUT:

Note: If you installed MacGAMUT 6 from our website and have never installed it from a CD, you can download an introductory video called Exploring the Melodic Dictation Window, which shows you many of the on-screen note entry techniques (including some handy shortcuts) you will be using to respond to MacGAMUT exercises. Click here to download the video. If you installed MacGAMUT from a MacGAMUT 6 CD, this video will already be on your computer (look in the Video Tutorials folder inside your MacGAMUT Work Folder in your Documents).

Q:  I'm having trouble getting the notes and accidentals written on the right line or space on the staff.

A:  Hint:  You may find it easier to work in Practice Mode while you get used to entering pitches or anything else that seems difficult at first.  That way you can relax and not have to worry about your score while you practice using the software!

If the problem is that you’re having difficulty placing the accidentals on the correct line or space on the staff, try putting the note on first.  Then, when you enter the accidental close to the right line or space, MacGAMUT will help you by “snapping” it where it’s supposed to go. 

You can also put the note or accidental on any line or space of the staff, not worrying about the exact placement, and then move it up or down to the correct location.  Just click on the note or accidental, and hold it while you drag it either up or down on the staff or else use the computer keyboard arrow keys to move it up or down.  

If you're still having difficulty entering notes on the right line or space, try using the Magnifier (Windows) or Zoom (Macintosh). You can keep these tools open and use them only when they're needed:

On Windows 8 or 10, click on PC Settings (it's just Settings in Windows 10), then click on Ease of Access, then click on Magnifier and turn it on. On Windows 7 and earlier, open Appearances and Personalization in the Control Panel, then click on Display; in the first paragraph, click on Magnifier to open the tool.
Under Views, you have the option of magnifying the "Full screen" or you can choose "Lens" to magnify just the portion of the screen where your cursor is. Then choose your level of magnification. When you are finished entering your notation, reset the magnification to "100%" and everything will return to normal size. If you chose "Lens," you will probably want to return to "Full screen" as well if you want to leave the Magnifier tool open.

On Macintosh, open Universal Access in your System Preferences panel. You can turn Zoom on or off in this window or by holding down the option and command keys and typing the number 8. To zoom in and out, hold the option and command keys down and type = (equal sign, to zoom in) or - (minus sign, to zoom back out). You can "zoom" the entire screen or "Zoom in window" if you prefer to magnify only the part of the screen you are working on.

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Q:  I can’t seem to put any accidentals on the staff when I’m working on my Mac so I can’t ever get an exercise right if the correct answer has an accidental in it. This problem is ruining my chances for passing this course. Help!

A: You’ve run into a bug that was in the 6.1.1 CD version, but an update fixing this bug was posted on August 12, 2010. That means if you have registered MacGAMUT and received your start file since then, you must have ignored the messages telling you it was really important to download and install the latest update. This is also a good time to remind you to pay attention to the monthly messages telling you to check to see if any updates are available. We try to fix bugs as soon as we know about them, but the updates don’t do any good unless people download and install them. Maybe you’ll take these messages more seriously in the future! Click here to go to the Web Installers page.
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Q:  I'm trying to enter Melodic Dictation from the Virtual Keyboard, but I keep getting extra rests notated between the notes.  Is there any way to enter the melody without having to erase all those rests and fix the durations?

A:  Yes indeed!  From the MIDI/KB Entry menu, you can choose Enter Pitches or Enter Durations to enter pitches and durations separately.  When you select Enter Durations, you can play all the durations on one key on the Virtual Keyboard, so you don't have to worry about how long it takes you to release the mouse button and move from one key to click on a different Virtual Keyboard key.  It doesn't make any difference whether you enter pitches or durations first.  Some MacGAMUT users like to enter the durations first, using the usual computer keyboard shortcuts instead of trying to use mouse clicks to to "play" correct durations on the Virtual Keyboard.  Then they choose Enter Pitches so that they don't have to worry about playing the correct durations as they enter pitches from the Virtual Keyboard.  If you find it easier to remember pitches and durations together, you may still want to enter the pitches separately.  That way, you can try to play the correct durations too as you play the pitches of the melody, but it won't matter if it's too tricky to play the durations precisely.  No matter how you make your entries, if you make mistakes, you can either try your Virtual Keyboard entry or entries again, or you can use the usual MacGAMUT editing tools to correct your mistakes.

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Q:  I don't understand how I can enter Harmonic Dictation from the Virtual Keyboard since I can't click on 4 notes at once to play the chords.  In fact, I don't think anyone could anyone do that!

A:  We don't think it's possible either, so that's why we made sure there was another way!  First of all, as has always been possible with MIDI Keyboard entry, you can play the 4 pitches of the chords one at a time on the Virtual Keyboard in any order (top to bottom, bottom to top, or any other order you like).  Also, check out the SATB boxes directly below the Enter MIDI/Enter KB button.  Using those clickable boxes, you can choose which voice or voices you want to enter at one time.  For example, if you only want to enter Soprano and Bass voices, click on the A (Alto) and T (Tenor) boxes to un-highlight those voices.  Now you only need to play the Soprano and Bass pitches for each chord.  Or if you want to enter only one voice at a time, make sure that voice box is the only one that is highlighted, and just play the pitches for that one voice.  Just remember that for each chord, you need to play the pitch for each voice you have selected before you begin playing the pitches in the next chord.

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Q:  I can't access the Melodic, Harmonic, and Rhythmic Dictation libraries.  The computer tells me I have to find them, but then either I can't find them, or else the computer can't read them when I do find them.  Do I need new copies of the libraries?

A:  There are a couple of possibilities here.

  • If you can't find the libraries, the default installation location for them is in your MacGAMUT Work Folder in your computer's Documents folder. If you can't find them there, please click here to download new copies of the original MacGAMUT libraries and the one new (2014) Harmonic Dictation library (MGRhythms 2003.mgr, MGMelodies 2003.mgm, MGProgressions 2003.mgh, MGProgressions Rev.mgh). 
  • If you're using MacGAMUT for a class, your instructor may be using different libraries.  If the names of the libraries you're looking for are something other than MGRhythms 2003.mgr, MGMelodies 2003.mgm, MGProgressions 2003.mgh,MGProgressions Rev.mgh, then you'll need to get copies of the different libraries from your instructor and copy them into your MacGAMUT Work Folder in your computer's Documents folder along with your instructor's customized Presets file. If you do that, MacGAMUT should automatically locate the libraries when you install your instructor's Presets file.

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Q:  I understand I should always use the very latest update of MacGAMUT, but how do I know if I have the latest update?

A:  MacGAMUT respects your privacy, so we will never invade your computer to see what version you are using.  That means you need to make sure you always have the latest update.  We recommend you check for updates about once a month, just to be sure you always have the latest version.  With any luck, you’ll check many, many times, and never have to download and install an update, but you should still keep checking, just in case!

First, you need to know what version you’re currently using.  We’ve made it easy for you to see the version info by making it part of the name of the main exercise window.  Just look in the title bar of the window, and you’ll see something like MacGAMUT 6.2.0 or MacGAMUT 6.3.0, for example.  Those numbers after the decimal points make all the difference, so be sure to take careful note of them.

Then visit this website, and look for info about updates.  If an update is available, the link to it will be displayed prominently, and the exact version number for the update will be part of the info given.  For example, a link on the MacGAMUT homepage might be “NEW!! for MacGAMUT: Web Installers for MacGAMUT 6.3.0”  If the new version has a higher number than the one you are using, you should download and install this updated software.  Click on the links to go to the Web Installers page, and then download and install the latest update onto each of the computers you use MacGAMUT on.  If you have installed the update successfully, your window title version info should now match the update version info (in this case, the window title should now be MacGAMUT 6.3.0).

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Q:  I'm working on a Scales level that seems to require an accidental for every pitch.  It's a pain to use the mouse to select each accidental again and again.  Why isn't there an easier way?

A:  You're in luck.  There is an easier way!  Check out the Accidentals submenu under Keyboard Equivalents to Mouse Clicks in the Help (MG Help on Macintosh) menu, and while you're in the vicinity, you might want to check out the other submenus as well.  Also, if you're interested in alternatives to other kinds of mouse clicks, take a look at the Computer Keyboard Shortcuts to Screen Buttons item, also in the Help menu (MG Help on a Macintosh).  The same info is also available in the MacGAMUT Keyboard Shortcuts file that was installed along with everything else in the Text Files folder inside your MacGAMUT Work Folder in your computer's Documents folder.

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Q:  Do I really have to click on the erase HD box to get rid of a Roman numeral?

A:  No, you don't.  If you just don't like clicking on the erase HD box, you can always type lower-case instead to turn it on and off. But the easiest way to get rid of a Roman numeral is to replace it with a different one.  And there's one more technique you can use to clear a Roman numeral you've already entered on the screen: first click Clear Choices, and then click on the Roman numeral you want to erase.  This method replaces whatever was in the box with a "blank" Roman numeral.

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Q:  Entering the notation in Melodic Dictation seems cumbersome.  I have to click on each duration box and then go down and enter the note.  When the durations change a lot from note to note, that's a pain.

A:  Try using the numbers 1 through 7 for notes (add a period for dotted notes), or Shift + 1 through Shift + 7 for rests (add a period for dotted rests), to select the durations you want on your computer keyboard.  You can select the duration (perhaps even without looking!) with one hand and position the duration using the mouse with the other hand.  You can also enter all the durations first (or second) by clicking on the note-entry slot numbers above the staff .  Of course, if your instructor hasn't altered the presets to prevent MIDI/Virtual Keyboard entry, you also have the option of playing the melody in.  If your Keyboard or mousing skills aren't the best, you can choose to play the pitches and durations either separately or at the same time when you use MIDI/Virtual Keyboard entry for Melodic Dictation.

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Q:  I'm trying to enter my notation for the Alto and Tenor voices in Harmonic Dictation (or 4-voice Chords), but MacGAMUT won't let me do it.  Why not?

A:  There are separate buttons immediately to the left of the Grand Staff which you use to select the Soprano and Alto voices in the treble clef, just as there are separate buttons for Tenor and Bass voices in the bass clef.  Chances are that all you need to do is click the "A" and "T" buttons to solve yourproblem (or type the number 2 to select the alto voice, and type the number 3 to select the Tenor voice). Check out Entering Pitches in the Help (MG Help on Macintosh) menu.

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Q:  I hate to mention it, but I'm sure MacGAMUT graded something wrong.  I got the identification right, but my notation was wrong, and I still got full credit for the exercise.

A:  Thanks for your honesty, but MacGAMUT probably did exactly what it's supposed to do.  Whenever you're not required to enter notation, MacGAMUT will still mark your notation if it's wrong, but it won't count as part of your grade because it wasn't required.

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Q:  I was working on MacGAMUT, and the program wouldn't let me quit.  The Exit button on the screen was dimmed, and Exit [Windows] or Quit [Macintosh] was dimmed in the menu. Other than pulling the plug, how am I supposed to stop working on the program?

A:  There's actually a very good pedagogical reason why you couldn't quit or go on to the next exercise.  Whenever you are working toward Mastery in Regular Mode, you must complete your response to the current exercise before you can leave the program or switch to a different kind of exercise.  As soon as you have your answer checked the first time, the Exit button on the screen will become active again, and the Exit (Quit on Macintosh) option in the File menu (MacGAMUT menu on Macintosh) will be fully operational.  The problem is that, when permitted to quit (or to go on to the next exercise) at any time, students often choose to bypass exercises that are harder than they want to attempt.  So having the option of quitting or going on at any point allows students to ignore any test questions they think are too difficult.  In Practice Mode or Review Mode, the Exit and Go On buttons are always operational, as is the Exit (or Quit) option in the File menu (MacGAMUT menu on Macintosh).

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Q:  I had 7 out of 10 right and got the next one right, and I still had only 7 out of 10 right!  This happens to me all the time, and it's just not fair!  Why won't MacGAMUT let me get mastery when I only need to get one more right and I do get it right?

A:  The problem is that you have to get 8 out of the LAST 10 exercises correct in order to achieve mastery if you're using Continuous Scorekeeping instead of Clean Slate. (If you don't know the difference, choose the What Are Clean Slate and Continuous Scorekeeping submenu item under Scorekeeping in the Change menu when you're working on MacGAMUT.)  If you're using Continuous Scorekeeping, it’s not just any set of 10 exercises.  It has to be the last 10.  There’s a graphic display of your progress in the row of boxes at the bottom of the MacGAMUT exercise screen.  As you complete each exercise, a green box (for a right answer) or a red X (for a wrong answer) shows up in the box that is furthest to the right.  If all ten boxes are full (as they would be if you had 7 out of 10 correct), the red Xs and green boxes all get shoved over one box to the left to record your new answer.  That means the red X or green box that was furthest to the left gets shoved off and forgotten because it’s no longer one of the last 10 exercises you have completed.  If that box happened to be green (i.e., if you got that exercise right), and you just added a new green box on the right, your score won’t change.  You still have only 7 of the last 10 exercises correct.  Your score will go up if a red X drops off the left when you get an exercise correct, which means your goal is to make enough of those red Xs drop off the left so that you can achieve mastery.  I know it’s frustrating to be that close and still not achieve mastery when you get one right, but watching your progress in the boxes should help you understand what’s going on.

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Q:  MacGAMUT graded one of my Melodic Dictation exercises wrong.  I'm not really complaining because my score was higher than it should have been, but it counted several notes right even though those notes were different from the notes in the same position in the correct melody.  Have I found a bug?

A:  Probably not, although we certainly appreciate your honesty.  MacGAMUT is probably doing exactly what it's supposed to do.  The problem may be that MacGAMUT is more intelligent than you expect!  It tries to grade your Melodic Dictation exercises the same way a teacher would, giving you credit for whatever is correct in the melody, even if you leave out a note or two, or add one or two extra notes.  That means that the program is comparing the correct note not only with the note you have entered in the corresponding note-entry slot, but with other nearby notes as well.  It's possible that MacGAMUT made a mistake, just as a teacher might, in trying to give you all the credit you deserve.  But the next time something like this happens, see if the "wrong" notes of your melody match up with nearby notes in the correct melody.  Chances are, you'll find that the "wrong" notes really shouldn't have been counted wrong, and that your melody is closer to the correct version than you had realized.  Of course, grading Melodic Dictation is a pretty tricky thing to do for both computers and humans.  If you are convinced MacGAMUT has made a serious mistake, please contact TechSupport@macgamut.com with all the gory details.  If at all possible, send screen shots of the graded Melodic Dictation exercise too.  This is one time when a picture really may be worth a thousand words!

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Answers to questions about instructional considerations:

Q:  Why can't I just have my students turn in a printout of their statistics rather than my collecting all their startMG6.mgs files and checking them myself on my office computer?

A:  If accomplishment and/or time spent on MacGAMUT drill constitutes part of your students' graded coursework, we STRONGLY recommend that you require students to submit their startMG6.mgs files to you rather than your accepting student-generated text files, which may have been edited before submission.  Prior to version 2003.10, students could save their own text files of their statistics from within the User program's Get Stats window to submit to their instructors, either electronically or in printed form.  The problem is that such text files are not secure and cannot be made secure.  After instructors began complaining that students they thought they could trust had falsified their records by editing text files, MacGAMUT stopped supporting student-generated text files of statistics.  Since that time, a few instructors have allowed their students to submit "screen shots" of their MacGAMUT stats.  But screen shots, too, may easily be edited, so they are not a reliable record either.

Individual student startMG6.mgs files, on the other hand, are stored in an encrypted format that students cannot alter.  When you collect copies of your student files and decrypt them yourself using the Check Stats application from your MacGAMUT Instructor Materials installation, you can be sure you are getting accurate information about your students' accomplishment and effort.  If you really want a printout of each student's MacGAMUT statistics, you can create printable text files using Check Stats.  For a complete discussion of how to use Check Stats effectively and efficiently, please see the Verifying and Organizing Student Statistics section of the Instructor Guide 6 (installed as part of your MacGAMUT Instructor Materials and Instructor Demo Installers, or click here to see it now). 

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Q:  This may seem like a silly question, but I can't find anyone among our theory faculty who knows what the Anh. Pentatonic and Hir. Pentatonic scales are.  What are those scales?

A: Not a silly question at all.  When instructors wanted us to add "20th-century" scales to MacGAMUT, there seemed to be no real agreement about what specific scales should be added.  So we took the easy way out and just added scales from one of the most widely-used theory texts: Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne's Tonal Harmony (published by McGraw-Hill). The Anhemitonic Pentatonic scale (also called diatonic pentatonic) is a fancy name for the usual "black-key" pentatonic.  Kostka/Payne notate it as G A B D E.  The Hirajoshi Pentatonic is almost the same, except it has major thirds instead of minor thirds (and a couple of minor seconds instead of all major seconds).  They notate it as G A B-flat D E-flat.  MacGAMUT probably adds to the confusion by presenting these as 8-note scales instead of 5, primarily because it seemed like playing just 5 notes for some scales would practically give the answer away! By the way, Anhemitonic is the same as Major Pentatonic and Hirajoshi is the same as Minor Pentatonic. Instructors can use the Set Params application (included when you install the MacGAMUT Instructor Materials) to label the pentatonic whichever way they prefer.

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Q:  I'm a teacher just starting to use music technology for instruction. Where can I get more info about music theory and ear-training software, and about using music technology in general?

A: Here are some websites that provide solid, helpful information, including useful links to other websites where you'll find even more information:

  • Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI) maintains an active Internet LISTSERV where you can ask questions and, even better, get answers.  The annual ATMI conference, held in conjunction with The College Music Society's annual conference, is a great place to learn about the latest technology and software and to get together with other people who are also interested in music technology and teaching.  The 2016 conference will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 27-29. 
  • Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME) was created "to promote technology as it applies to music education." If you are teaching music in K-12, this is the place to start. They sponsor summer workshops in music technology and an annual conference.

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Q: Do I need to have and use MacGAMUT Instructor Materials so my students can use MacGAMUT?

A:  The answer depends on how you want to use MacGAMUT.  The Instructor Materials include a couple of programs you may want to consider using.  Here's a quick run-down of what these programs will do for you:

  • Check Stats:  If you require your students to submit evidence of their work on MacGAMUT, then you definitely need the Check Stats program to read and verify the accuracy of the files students submit.  Because of a number of cases of students' "enhancing" the statistics for their work on MacGAMUT, we urge instructors not to trust student-generated text file reports or even screen shots of stats screens.  Whether submitted in print form or sent as e-mails, these text or picture files may have been edited before submission to you.  For maximum security, you should ask students to submit a copy of their startMG6.mgs files via e-mail or uploaded to a secure location on the web (you can use our Moodle site as that secure location--click here to find out more about MacGAMUT Moodle).  You will then use the Check Stats program from your Instructor Materials, to decode the encrypted statistics.  Since you are translating your students' files yourself, it means you can be sure the files have not been edited.  Any attempts to tamper with the encrypted form of the file will be immediately apparent.  The Check Stats program permits you to open and read student files one at a time, or you can choose to save the data in a format that can be read into a spreadsheet program, so you can easily keep track of student statistics for an entire class.  Or, if you prefer to see printouts of individual student stats instead, you can also save printable text files using Check Stats.  Check Stats 6 can even read and verify both MacGAMUT 2003 start2003.mgs files as well as MacGAMUT 6 startMG6.mgs files.
  • Set Params:  If there's anything you'd like to change about the way MacGAMUT software operates, you'll want to use the Set Params application from your Instructor Materials. Set Params gives you wide latitude to make changes in the operational parameters of your students' User software in order to customize it to your curriculum, your students, and your teaching style.  For an introduction to the range of options Set Params affords you and a demonstration of how easy it is to use, you may want to take a few minutes to view the Using Set Params video (downloadable from the password-protected MacGAMUT Instructor Materials page on this website).. 
  • Enter/Edit Libraries:  If you would like to edit any of the Rhythmic, Melodic, or Harmonic Dictation exercises, or perhaps just take a look at the specific exercises in any or all of the libraries included in the MacGAMUT Presets and Libraries folder, you’ll want to use the Instructor Enter/Edit Libraries program for Windows.
    • If you are an Intel Macintosh user: You can use the new and improved Enter/Edit application on your own Macintosh computer. First, install a Windows OS in Boot Camp on your Macintosh, and then install the MacGAMUT Instructor Materials for Windows on your Macintosh’s Windows partition.
    • If you still have a pre-Intel Macintosh computer running in OS 9 or in OS X Classic Mode: The dictation library formats have not changed since 2003, so you can still use the older Enter/Edit RD/MD and Enter/Edit HD programs for pre-Intel Macintosh computers. However, the older programs do not include the new program enhancements (e.g., the MacGAMUT Virtual Keyboard and several other user-friendly improvements in the way Enter/Edit operates).

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Q:  I'm not requiring my students to buy MacGAMUT, but I am going to put it in my music computer lab to make it available for my students to use.  Do I need to do anything special with the presets?  And if so, how do I install them, since students will be sharing MacGAMUT start files?

A:  First of all, keep in mind that each User Registration Number entitles you to just one startMG6.mgs file.  That means neither you nor your students will have records of individual student work.  In such circumstances, most instructors just install MacGAMUT on their lab computers with one startMG6.mgs file on each computer (you will need to buy one copy of MacGAMUT for each computer).  Without individual record-keeping, you have no way to require your students to work toward mastery, so they will be using MacGAMUT mainly in Practice Mode.   Since most of the preset options you could set are disabled in Practice Mode, you might as well use the default presets that come as part of each startMG6.mgs file.

If you do decide to use one of the ready-made alternative presets files and libraries included in your Instructor Materials or to create your own presets files for a lab installation, it would be least confusing for your students if you just went ahead and installed your new presets in each startMG6.mgs file yourself.  All the presets information is stored as part of the startMG6.mgs file, so you'd only have to do this once for each startMG6.mgs file to make sure each was set up as you wanted.  Alternatively, you could copy the presets file onto each hard drive MacGAMUT will be used on, or make it available on a server accessible from the lab, and ask your students to check the name of the presets file listed on the "name" screen each time they use MacGAMUT.  If the presets file name for the startMG6.mgs file they are using that day does not match the presets you want them to be using (if your presets have not yet been installed on that computer's startMG6.mgs file, or if another student has been using that computer's startMG6.mgs file with another instructor's presets), they would have to install your presets.  For more information about startMG6.mgs files and about how to change and install presets files, see the Instructor Guide 6 (included in your MacGAMUT Instructor Materials and in Instructor Demo Installers, or click here to see it now).

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Q:  Aren't the melodies in the first couple of levels of Melodic Dictation awfully long for beginning students?

A: Too often, beginning students concentrate so intently on listening for individual intervals that they fail to hear the melody as a whole.  In order to encourage them to recognize and remember longer phrases, some melodies in those early levels are characterized by repeated patterns.   While the longer melodies may be frustrating to students at first, as they learn to hear and remember melodic patterns rather than thinking of a melody only as a succession of discrete and isolated intervals, their dictation skills will develop rapidly as they "stretch their ears."  You might want to check out "Editing tools as music theory and ear-training tools" in the Instructional Considerations section of the Instructor Guide 6 (included in your MacGAMUT Instructor Materials and in Instructor Demo installers, or click here to see it now) for more info.  If, however, you still find the beginning melodies too long for your purposes, you might want to change the presets, using the Set Params program from your MacGAMUT Instructor Materials, to permit students to hear melodies by halves, so they are effectively notating two shorter melodies in each exercise.  You can also use Enter/Edit Libraries to shorten the current melodies or even to create new levels containing shorter melodies.  You might also be interested in our Prep Presets and Libraries, specially designed for pre-college and remedial college courses.  Click here for more information.

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Q:  How can I help my students who complain that they can't hear the bass voice in the MacGAMUT Harmonic Dictation exercises?

A:  You might suggest that students who are having trouble hearing the bass voice try changing the volume and timbre of individual voices.  The default setting for MacGAMUT 6 allows students to change the volume and timbre of individual voices.  However, if you have changed that setting, students will have this option only in Practice Mode.  Often, after working briefly with a markedly differentiated bass voice, students find they can hear the bass voice quite clearly, even when it is no longer artificially emphasized.  If you want to be sure students can change individual voice volume and timbre at any time, you can use the Set Params application included in your MacGAMUT Instructor Materials to check the Harmonic Dictation presets and select "Student can change voice volume."  This setting allows students to make one or more voices louder or to select different instrumental timbres for one or more voices, even when they are working in Mastery Mode.  For a more complete discussion of this issue, see "Bringing out individual voices . . . " in the Instructional Considerations section of the Instructor Guide 6 (included in your MacGAMUT Instructor Materials and in MacGAMUT Demo Installers, or click here to see it now).

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Q:  If I require my students to work a certain amount of time on MacGAMUT ear-training drills each week, how do I know they're actually working and not just sitting there doing nothing while the clock runs?

A:  Very soon after the first version of MacGAMUT was published in 1988, Ann was appalled to see one of her Ohio State students sit down at a lab computer, pop his disk in the floppy drive, and settle in to read the newspaper as he put in his time.  Obviously, she took immediate steps to prevent that sort of abuse, and all later versions stop keeping time whenever a pause in the student's interaction with the software is long enough to suggest that he or she isn't actively working (just idly pushing the mouse around is not enough).  The "grace period" allowed varies with the complexity of the exercise.  Students can become quite incensed when they think the computer hasn't given them full credit for the time they've put in, but they're usually chagrined to learn that the software is smart enough to give them credit only for the time they're actually "on task," not for the time they're texting, surfing the web, talking to friends, taking a restroom break, or going outside for a smoke.

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Answers to questions about this and that:

Q:  How did you come up with the name MacGAMUT for your software?

A:  We've even had non-musicians ask if MacGAMUT is Ann's maiden name!  Actually, MacGAMUT is an acronym for Graded Aural MUsic Training on the Macintosh.  Figuring that musicians would appreciate the allusion to the work of that pioneer of aural-training, Guido d'Arrezo, Barbara Murphy (now on the faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville) came up with the GAMUT portion of the acronym when she was a graduate student at Ohio State, working with Ann on an earlier incarnation of what would eventually become MacGAMUT.  When Ann later switched her programming efforts to the Macintosh platform, she simply added the Mac prefix.  Of course, at that time  we had no idea how incomprehensible (and unpronounceable) "MacGAMUT" would be to the bookstore workers who phone to order the software.  Then, in 2000, Ann brought out the first cross-platform version of MacGAMUT which ran on both Macintosh and Windows computers, so the Mac prefix no longer seemed so appropriate, but see the next question and answer.

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Q:  I know MacGAMUT started out as Macintosh-only, but since there are a lot more MacGAMUT Windows users than MacGAMUT Macintosh users now, shouldn't you call it something more appropriate, like WinGAMUT?

A:  Well, that's the way the world is.  A lot more people use PCs than use Macs, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that MacGAMUT users follow that same pattern.  As for the name, Ann's students suggested she switch the name to WinGAMUT when they first started urging her to create a Windows version!  But we decided to stick with the old familiar MacGAMUT, partly because the name WinGAMUT wouldn't be any more appropriate than the name MacGAMUT since is available for both platforms.  Other people have suggested that we come up with a whole new name that is platform-neutral, which seems like a good idea too.  But if we changed the name of the software, we'd have to change the name of the company, and the name of the website, and redesign all our print materials, etc., etc.  Wouldn't you rather we spent our time creating ever-better software and providing the world's best customer service?!

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Q:  I've found apparent bugs in other music theory software which the publishers assure me will be fixed in the next release, but I've waited years, and there's still no new release and no fix.  Will I have to wait as long to get fixes for any problems in MacGAMUT?

A:  Since we began publishing MacGAMUT software in 1995, we (and our users, too) think we've done an excellent job of providing updates and new versions in a timely fashion.   Ann is constantly working to improve the software, and she doesn't want users to wait years until there's a "new edition" to have the latest enhancements.  By the same token, when MacGAMUT users find bugs, we try to provide fixes as quickly as possible.  With our MacGAMUT website, we can get fixes out fast, when needed, since we can post any revisions, updates, and UPGRADES to MacGAMUT software on our website for free download.  Instructors who have registered and received their own startMG6.mgs files from our website are notified whenever a significant update or UPGRADE is available.  We don't like the idea of our invading your computer periodically to see what version of MacGAMUT you're running, so we don't do the automatic update check you may be used to with some other software companies.  Instead, we urge everyone to check the Web Installers info on this website every month or so to download and install any new software versions posted there.

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