Your Voice is My Command

Edit 2021-03-11: Voice commands will no longer be available in future app releases. Please reach out to support if you have questions or need assistance.

When I use Chronotron to practice guitar licks, I find it cumbersome to operate the app while having my two hands lying on the instrument. For us guitarists dropping the pick to hit a button isn’t a big deal after all, but things get really bad when you’re playing violin or cello.

There are different ways to address this challenge. For example, the app could support footswitches (though guitarist already have too many of them) or implement a delayed playback command so you have time to get ready before the music begins.

I decided to go for a different solution, though: voice commands. Assistive technology has been around for quite some time and works really well, so why not controlling Chronotron with your voice? This is what Release 102 is about.

Configuration

Chronotron understands English, French and Spanish. The app will try to use the recognition language selected in your Windows’ Speech settings, which may or may not be your Windows display language, as shown below.

If the selected language isn’t supported by the app, then the app display language will be used, provided that the corresponding voice recognition Windows package is installed. You can add voice recognition languages to Windows through the Region & Language settings.

Hardware Setup

A rehearsal room is usually a noisy environment. I recommend wearing a headset mic so the computer doesn’t get confused by the sounds coming out of your instrument. In my own setup, though, I can talk directly though my laptop’s mic without any issues because – to my neighbors’ delight – my guitar rig is routed through my headphones.

Windows has a wizard that allows you to fine-tune voice recognition to best match your hardware configuration. Running that wizard isn’t compulsory, but it does improve recognition accuracy.

Talking to the App

By default, Chronotron won’t listen for commands. To talk to the app, press the Voice Commands button located inside the small command bar at the top left corner of the window.

You can use your voice to start and stop playback, play slower or faster and work with loops and markers, which are the things you will most likely want to do without touching the PC.

The complete list of supported commands, including their translation into all app languages, can be found in here. The command “what can I say?” – or its equivalent in the selected language – opens the documentation in your web browser.

Here is what the list looks like as of this writing:

Voice Command Action
What can I say? Open the documentation in your web browser
Stop listening Stop listening for voice commands
Start playing Play
Stop playing Pause
Play slower Decrease tempo by 5%
Play faster Increase tempo by 5%
Go to start Go to the beginning of the track
Go to loop Go to the loop start point
Enter loop Enter loop
Exit loop Exit loop
Go to marker 1 Go to marker number 1
Go to marker 2 Go to marker number 2
Go to marker 10 Go to marker number 10

Raise Your Voice

Does it work for you? Are there any other app commands that you would like to control with your voice? Let me know via the usual channels or by posting a comment.

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