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Music Player

CSDS 1.23.12 - this help page refers to a much older version of CSDS

The CSDS Music Player plays MP3 or other audio files.

Digital music files and CSDS

  • Music files (MP3, WAV, OGG, or other audio files) are loaded into the CSDS Music Player via the music database, a quick list, or the history list. Music files may also be loaded directly from a selected file on the computer's hard drive or CD-ROM.
  • MP3 files can be created from audio CDs or vinyl records, or can be purchased from the web.
    • From Audio CDs: A "CD ripper" (such as AudioGrabber) extracts tracks from an audio CD in the computer's CD drive, and creates a WAV (or MP3) file for each selected track.
    • From Vinyl Records: A "Music Editor" (such as Adobe Audition, Goldwave, Audacity, or Sound Forge) records music from an external source such as a turntable/amplifier and creates a WAV (or MP3) file. The "Music Editor" can also be used to remove blank space at the start and end of the recording, normalize the volume, perform noise reduction, remove pops and hisses, change the pitch and/or tempo, and apply other bells and whistles.
    • From the Web: New MP3 files may be purchased from vendors such as Hanhurst's Tape & Record Service.
  • Music files should be stored on your laptop, with appropriate information entered into the CSDS music database. The music can then be loaded from the database and played from your laptop at a dance. The primary advantage to using the music database, as opposed to just loading the music from a file each time, is that each music selection can have extra information associated with it. This information includes the following:
    • Title
    • Record label
    • Label name
    • Rating (how well you like the music)
    • Genre flags (e.g., singing call, round dance, patter, holiday, gospel, crowd exciter, special events, etc.)
    • Loop start and end markers (for automatic looping of patter records)
    • Beats per minute
    • Tempo and pitch deltas (amount to adjust tempo and pitch after loading music)
    • Recording artist(s)
    • Cue sheet file
    • Lyrics file
    • Comments
    • Rhythm
    • Phase (for round dance)
    • Key
    • Miscellaneous positional markers (up to eight markers may be set per music entry)
    • Date music was added to database
    • Date and time music was last played
  • Using the Music Database, a Music Quick List, or the Music History List, a desired music selection can be quickly selected from a sorted and filtered list.
  • Assuming you're within the Call from Screen section of CSDS, and that the Music Database has been properly configured, the cue sheet and/or lyrics for the loaded music selection automatically appear.

The CSDS Music Player window consists of several sections, described below:


The Toolbar allows quick access to selected commands. The letter shown in parentheses () indicates the single keystroke that can also be used to invoke the command.

  • (J) displays the Call from Screen window for the current dance. This is the recommended window from which to call or cue a dance.
  • allows modification of the CSDS music settings.
  • (D) loads an audio file from the Music Database, which is CSDS's primary source for music files. Database information includes the pathnames of the music file, cue sheet file, and lyrics file; the song title; the record label and number; a rating; miscellaneous flags (e.g., patter, singing call, round, line, patriotic, holiday, etc.); loop start and end times; duration of music; beats per minute; recording artist(s); rhythm and phase #; music key; date added to database; and comments.
  • (Q) loads an audio file from the Music Quick List, which is a pre-selected subset of music from the music database. Prior to a dance, music you intend to use at the dance can be placed into a quick list. The quick list is analogous to having a small handful of previously selected records residing next to your turntable. More than one quick list may be defined, but only one may be active at a given time.
  • (H) loads an audio file from the Music History List, which keeps track of the last N music files loaded into the CSDS Music Player. N is a user-configurable number, set via the CSDS Music Settings.
  • loads an audio file from disk. This feature is rarely used, since music files should reside in the Music Database.
  • edits the Music Database entry for the currently loaded music file.
  • displays the properties of the currently loaded music file.
  • adds the currently loaded music file to the current Music Quick List.
  • (C) displays the cue sheet associated with the currently loaded music file.
  • (V) displays the lyrics for the currently loaded music file.


timer is inactive   timer is active

A timer is displayed in the upper right-hand corner. The timer can keep time either for a tip or for a break. The display depends upon whether or not the timer is inactive or active.

  • When the timer is inactive:

    • allows modification of the timer settings. You can change the number of minutes and seconds for both the tip timer and the break timer. You can specify whether or not to beep and/or blink the screen when the timer elapses. Other options include automatically playing the current loaded music when the break timer elapses, and automatically starting the tip timer when the play button is pressed.
    • starts the Tip timer.
    • starts the Break timer.
  • When the timer is active:

    • allows you to modify the current timer value by subtracting or adding one or more minutes.
    • displays the timer value in minutes and seconds (MM:SS). This value indicates the time until the timer elapses. When positive, the value is displayed in black; when negative (the timer has elapsed), the value is displayed in red with a leading minus-sign.
    • stops the timer.


This section describes the 'Player' portion of the CSDS Music Player.

  • The icon of the current Player (e.g., Winamp) is displayed in the upper left-hand corner. When Winamp is the current player, this icon is a button which brings the Winamp player to the foreground.
  • If the loaded music is a Round Dance (i.e., the "Round (R)" genre flag is set) then the Rhythm and Phase is displayed immediately to the right of the player icon.
  • The record label and number (e.g., Chaparral 202) is displayed in the upper right-hand corner. The record label and number is only displayed if the music was loaded via the Database, Quick list, or History list.
  • The record title (e.g., Rockin' In Rosalie's Boat) is displayed near the top.
  • An optional comment is displayed immediately below the record title (e.g., "An all-time favorite"). The comment field can be used for anything extra you'd like to be reminded about when the music is loaded. For instance, "start cueing on beat 3", "key change", "too much fiddle", etc.
  • Immediately below the comment is a scroll bar showing the current position within the music. The mouse can be used to drag the bar to a new position within the music. Dragging left rewinds the music, and dragging right does a fast forward.
  • If the loaded music is a Singing Call (i.e., the "Singing call (S)" genre flag is set), then immediately below the scroll bar is an indicator line showing an approximation to the opener, figure I, figure II, middle, figure III, figure IV, and closer of the singing call.
  • The Automatic loop checkbox, when checked, causes the music to automatically reset to a pre-selected position (Loop Start) after reaching another pre-selected position (Loop End). When the Automatic loop is active, the loop start and loop end positions are indicated by bold blue tick marks; when inactive, the loop markers are indicated by grey tick marks. Automatic looping causes the music to play continuously. When patter music (i.e., the "Patter (P)" genre flag is set) is loaded from the Database, Quick list, or History list, the Automatic Loop checkbox is automatically set. When non-patter music is loaded, the Automatic Loop checkbox is automatically cleared. When the music selection is marked as both a patter and a singing call, the program prompts whether to activate the Automatic Loop. To toggle the Automatic Loop between 'on' and 'off', click on the checkbox or press the "A" key.
  • The effective Beats-per-Minute (bpm) for the currently loaded music selection (e.g., 130.4 bpm) if known, is displayed to the right of the Automatic loop checkbox. When the tempo is changed, this value automatically updates to reflect the change.
  • The player status field (displayed above in green) shows the status of the music player.
    • Red indicates that the player is stopped and positioned at the beginning of the music.
    • Yellow indicates that the player is paused.
    • Green indicates that the player is playing music.
    The word 'Stopped', 'Paused', or 'Playing' is displayed on the left-hand side of the player status field. The current time position within the music (e.g., 02:29.157) is shown on the right-hand side.
  • Buttons:

    Some buttons and controls have an associated letter (shown in dark blue on this page). This letter represents the single keystroke that invokes the function associated with the button or control. For example, pressing the 'W' key rewinds the music.

    • sets the music position to the start (00:00.000), and stops the music.
    • delays for the specified number of seconds and then starts playing the music. This feature is for Round Dance Cuers, so they can press this button, and then get to the middle of the dance floor before the music starts playing. This button is only displayed if enabled within the CSDS Settings dialog box. The number of seconds to delay can be set to any value from 1 to 15.
    • starts playing the music from the current position.
    • pauses the music.
    • gradually decreases the volume over a 5-second period and then stops playing. The music position is then set to start (00:00.000).
    • sets the position to 'Loop Start'. This is the manual way to reset the record.
  • The Flags indicator (e.g., 'Flags: Singer') shows the genre flags for the currently loaded music selection. Upon installation, CSDS has 5 flags: Patter (P), Singing call (S), Line (L), Round (R), Sing-Along (A). You may add more, of your own creation, for a total of 32. Each entry in the music database can have 0 or more flags associated with it. Flags can be added via 'Music | Edit Music Database | Edit | Genre Flags...'.
  • The Rating dropdown list displays your rating for the current music selection. Select from the following rating values:
    • 5 = excellent
    • 4 = good
    • 3 = average
    • 2 = below average
    • 1 = dislike
    • - = not rated

Load tab

The Load tab loads a music selection into the CSDS Music Player.

  • Database selects an audio file from the CSDS Music Database. The database can be sorted and filtered by specified fields (for example, you can select from a list of all Patter records with a rating of 5 sorted by Record Label). Several configurable buttons are available to save your favorite filters: for instance, one button can be set to be Patter with Rating of 5; another can be Singing calls on the Royal label; and yet another can be Round Dances; etc.
  • Quick List selects an audio file from the music quick list, a list that you have set up prior to the dance. Before the dance, determine which records you intend to use, and place them in the quick list. At the dance, select the next record from this smaller list (this is faster than trying to locate a specific music selection within the entire music database, which may contain several hundred entries). The quick list is analogous to pre-selecting a handful of records from your record case.
  • History List is a list of the last N music selections that were loaded into the CSDS Music Player. N is a user-configurable number that can be set via the CSDS Music Settings.
  • File browses for an audio file on your computer and then loads it into the music player.
  • Cue Sheet displays the cue sheet corresponding to the singing call or round dance. The pathname of the cue sheet file must have been specified within the Music Database.
  • Lyrics displays the lyrics associated with the song. The lyrics file pathname must have been specified within the Music Database.
  • Special Events displays the Special Events window, which is intended for music such as Happy Birthday, Fanfares, and special sound effects. Sound within the Special Events section is played via a separate process, and does not effect the currently loaded selection in the music player. Special events music can be played concurrently with music from the music player.
  • Music Properties displays a dialog box showing the properties of the current audio file.

Controls tab

The Controls tab controls the tempo, pitch, volume, and balance. The controls shown on this tab may vary depending upon the currently selected player.

  • The Tempo scroll bar changes the tempo of the music. Depending upon the music player, changing the tempo may also cause the pitch to change. The default value of 0.0 indicates the tempo at which the music was recorded. The tempo can be increased or decreased by units of 0.5%. When the scroll bar is moved, the bpm value changes accordingly. The Winamp 5.x player along with PaceMaker or Chronotron-II plug-in is recommended if you wish to change the tempo while the music is playing. Other players tend to 'burp' or skip when the tempo is changed. Winamp uses a buffer which eliminates the skip. In addition, the PaceMaker plug-in maintains the pitch when the tempo is changed, and vice-versa. The two buttons to the far right of the Tempo scroll bar modify the Tempo by -/+ 0.5% (also invoked by the single keystrokes '<' and '>').
  • The Pitch scroll bar changes the pitch of the music. At the present time, only the Winamp 5.x player along with the PaceMaker or Choronotron-II plug-in supports pitch control. When the pitch is changed, the tempo does not change. Pitch control is in units of 0.1 steps.
  • The Volume scroll bar adjusts the volume of the music player. Maximum volume is achieved by moving the control to the far right. When connected to an amplifier, the volume of the music player should usually be set to maximum, and the volume control on the amplifier should be used to adjust the volume. Note that the master volume is different, and can be set via the Mixer tab or via the Microsoft Volume Control.
  • The Balance scroll bar changes the balance (right speaker or left speaker) of the music.

Mixer tab

The Mixer tab accesses some functions of the Microsoft Volume Control.

  • The Master Volume slider bar adjusts the master volume level.
  • The Mute all check box turns the speaker on or off. When Mute all is checked, there is no sound from the speakers.
  • The Wave Volume slider bar adjusts the wave volume level.
  • The Wave Balance slider bar adjusts the wave balance level.
  • The Maximize Volume checkbox, when checked, maximizes the volume whenever a new selection is loaded into the music player.
  • The Overall Tempo Adjustment scroll bar allows you to set an overall tempo adjustment for all music loaded into the music player. For instance, if you are calling for an elderly group, you can set the overall tempo adjustment to a negative value; if you are calling for a young energetic group, you can set it to a positive value.
  • The Windows Mixer button invokes the Windows Volume Control.

Loop tab

The Loop tab sets and tests the automatic looping (record reset) for the current music selection.

  • Loop Start and Loop End specify the start and end time position used for automatic looping (record resetting).
  • The Set buttons set the Loop Start or Loop End values to the current position within the music.
  • The Jump to buttons reset the current music position to Loop Start or Loop End. Jumping to Loop Start is analogous to doing a record reset on your Hilton Turntable.
  • The Show position button displays a small dialog box with the time (in MM:SS.mmm format) of the current position within the music. Buttons within the dialog box may be used to set the Loop Start or Loop End time to the displayed time.
  • The Test loop button tests how well the loop markers are set. The music position is set to 5 seconds before Loop End and then the music starts playing. You can then listen to the music to see how well the loop is set.

    If the loop doesn't sound right, try re-setting either or both of the Loop Start or Loop End values via the Set buttons, use the up-down buttons to increment or decrement a digit, or you can edit the numeric values in the Loop Start or Loop End text boxes.

  • The Reset button restores the Loop Start and Loop End markers to their original values (when the music was loaded).
  • The Default button sets the Loop Start marker to 15 seconds after the start of the music, and sets the Loop End marker to 15 seconds from the start and end of the music. This is a quick way to set a patter loop if you don't have time to perfect it.
  • The Clear button sets the Loop Start marker to time 0 and the Loop End marker to the end of the music.
  • The two small buttons immediately to the left of the 'Show Position' button allow you to shift the loop by +/- 200 milliseconds. If you have music with a strong beat, setting a loop then shifting it by a few hundred milliseconds can significantly reduce the 'burp' sometimes incurred during the jump.

The best way to set loops is as follows:

  1. From the CSDS main menu, select Music | Edit Music Database.
  2. Highlight the desired music selection.
  3. Be sure that the 'Patter (P)' flag is set. If you intend to also use the music as a singing call, be sure that the 'Singing call (S)' flag is also set.
  4. Bring up the CSDS Music Player window. This can be accomplished several ways. The easiest is to press the left-most button on the bottom toolbar of the Edit Music Database window.
  5. Press the Play button on the Music Player, and click on the 'Loop' tab.
  6. Starting listening to the music, then, at the desired position (usually the downbeat of a 64-beat section) press the 'Set' button for Loop Start.
  7. Using the mouse, drag the music position scroll bar to the right, about 80% of the way.
  8. Listen to the music, then, at the desired position (once again, usually the downbeat of a 64-beat section) press the 'Set' button for Loop End.
  9. You've now set a loop. You should test it to be sure it sounds okay. Press the 'Test loop' button and listen. If the loop sounds bad, trying setting one or both of the Start/End markers. You can also modify the marker position by editing the value, or pressing one of the up/down controls.
  10. When the loop is set, go back to the Edit Music Database window, and select another piece of music.
  11. Upon closing the Edit Music Database window, be sure to answer 'Yes' when prompted whether to save changes.

Player tab

The Player tab selects the music player to be used by CSDS.

  • The Windows API Player is the default player used by CSDS.
  • Winamp is a popular (free) MP3 player. To use the Winamp player, download and install the player from Then configure the player pathname via CSDS Settings | Music. CSDS can control Winamp version 2.xx or version 5.xx. Do not try to use Winamp version 3.xx with CSDS, as it will not work.

    There are many plug-ins available for Winamp. In particular, you should download and install the PaceMaker plug-in, which allows CSDS to change the tempo without changing the pitch and vice-versa. CSDS can also control the Chronotron-II plug-in.

  • The Multimedia MCI player is not recommended at this time.

Each player has pros and cons.

  • The Windows API Player loads files more quickly, but sometimes jumps (skips) on record resets and tempo changes.
  • The Winamp player loads music much more slowly, but has smoother record resets, and has many available plug-ins to enhance its functionality.

The active player is indicated via two locations:

  1. In the Music Player's title bar within square brackets:
    • CSDS - Music Player  [Windows API]
    • CSDS - Music Player  [Winamp x.xx]  (where 'x.xx' is the WinAMP version number)
  2. An icon displayed to the immediate left of the song title:
    • The 3-letters, "API", with a wave-form underneath indicates the Windows API player.
    • A lightning bolt inside a diamond indicates the Winamp player.

Bpm tab

The Bpm tab allows you to calculate the beats per minute.

  • Play the music, then repeatedly press the 'K' key for the required number of consecutive beats, and the program will calculate and display the Beats per Minute.
  • The current value for the calculated BPM is shown in the upper right-hand corner.
  • The number of key presses required can be set via the dropdown list: 16, 24, 32, 48, or 64. The larger the value, the more precise the calculation but the longer it will take. 32 is a good value to use. Using a value of 16 only gives a rough approximation, and may be off by 2% or so.
  • As you repeatedly press the 'K' key, the scroll bar advances to indicate how much longer you have to continue pressing the key.
  • If you make a mistake while you are pressing 'K', press the 'Clear' button (or the Escape key), and start over.

As with settings loops, setting the Beats per Minute is best done when the Edit Music Database window is also active.

Markers tab

The Markers tab allows up to eight marker positions to be set. Round dance cuers can set positions within the music and easily jump to those locations.

  • The Set button sets the position of the currently highlighted marker (in the list) to the current music position.
  • The Clear button clears the position of the current marker by setting its time value to "00:00.000" and its name to "" (an empty text string).
  • The Clear All button clears the position and name for all markers, after confirmation from the user.
  • The Time and Name of the current marker can be edited within the 'Current item' frame.
  • The Play from button starts playing the music starting from the position of the current marker. If the N seconds before checkbox is checked, the play starts N seconds before the current marker. The number of seconds to delay can be set to any value from 1 to 15. Changing this value is done under 'CSDS Settings | Music'.
  • The Jump to button sets the music position to the position of the current marker. If the N seconds before checkbox is checked, the position is set to N seconds before the current marker.

Help tab

The Help tab allows access to help information.

  • The list of Single keystroke functions shows all shortcut (single keystroke) keys that the CSDS Music Player, and the Call from Screen window recognizes.

    • A = Automatic loop
    • B = Break timer start
    • C = Display cue sheet
    • D = Load from database
    • E = Special events
    • F = Fade out
    • H = Load from history list
    • J = Call from screen
    • L = Loop reset (jump to loop start)
    • M = Hide music player
    • N = Find Next -- Call from Screen only
    • O = Hide/show lower portion -- Music Player only
    • P = Pause or Play
    • Q = Load from quick list
    • R = Remove sequence
    • S = Stop timer
    • T = Tip timer start
    • U = Use sequence
    • V = Display lyrics
    • W = Rewind
    • X = Display document #1
    • Y = Display document #2
    • Z = Display document #3
  • The Help button displays the HTML help page that you are currently reading.

last modified: 16-May-2022   Unique ID: 453