Figured I’d follow Eva’s example and put this training here on the blog, especially since I keep telling her she needs it. I of course am not as good at this as she is but I will put what I have here.
I am not paid by Google or Troff. I do not profess to know everything there is to know about this program since I really only use it to create my PD notecard.
Download Troff at
So let’s get started:
TROFF is a program designed to help musicians with their music. It is a Music player that plays mp3s and mp4s and lets you loop a song or video, slow it down, and create markers with notes on the song timeline. It is a good tool to use if you need to practice something to music; if you are a dancer working on choreography; or a musician learning to play a song on an instrument.
Troff also lets you zoom in the time line, color the markers, and write notes for each marker.
Troff does NOT edit music. Troff is not connected to GoogleDrive or the internet, it plays your songs from your local hard-drive, however it is a Google app and needs to be downloaded as such. This way it works as well offline as online!
There are seven (7) sections on the Troff program dashboard when you first open it up.
Song lists are special lists you make to work from sort of like play lists. Personally I usually ignore this section and turn it off by clicking on its tab in the top row green tabs. Click on Song lists and the column will not show up, click on it again to see it.
This is true for any column you do not want to see. Personally I turn off all the columns I don’t need.
Songs is the next column where all your songs you have in a ‘selected folder’ are listed.
If you do not have songs in the list you must add a folder that contains music. To do this you click on ‘Select Folders’ to add your music directory.
Choose a song from the list by clicking on it and you can play the song using the orange round play button in the top center of the screen.
Troff defaults to starting a song in three seconds, as designated by the very large 3 on the right side of the screen, however you can click the number buttons in the settings section and start it at any number of seconds you want.
States defaults to remember state which I like because any time I pull up that song all my markers are there saved for me any time I need them. You can also click to hide this column once your preference is set to remember state or not. I highly recommend you leave it at the default of remembering the state of the song.
Settings is the important section as it holds all your menu items you need to configure the song to play how you want it. We will be going through this as we progress.
The untitled column is the Timeline. This is where the song itself is shown from beginning to end. The purple bar along the left side shows what is being played. You can change this by clicking on the marker names which we will cover later. And your markers will appear here after you have set them.
Info holds the information about the entire song or movie, yes it does movies too, and it also holds more in depth information on the marker that is selected. I usually for the purpose of choreographing songs in SL remove this from my view as well.
And finally there is the Countdown. The top number shows how many seconds until the song plays, you can set this to any number using the pause before number in the Settings column. The lower number shows how many times it will play which can be set from 1 to infinity using the number pad in the Settings column. We will cover this more later.
You play the song you have selected from the songs section by clicking the round orange circle at the top of the screen next to the purple countdown bar.
You’ll find information about the song at the top of the screen along with the countdown and the number of times to play it such as the name of the song, information on the Author and Album although these are pulled from your music list, which means if they are blank it is because you do not have those fields filled in your directory. You will also find the quick notes on countdown to start, number of times played and the start/end time.
The best function of Troff are the markers. These let you set information about the song where you want it along the timeline.
When you click the orange Add Marker block in the Settings column, a box will pop up and you can add information about that mark in the song. As you listen to the song you can add markers where you want your animations to change and where you want particles to initiate or scenes to change etc. You can also just hit “m” while the song is playing and quickly type in a Name and hit enter, it will create the marker as the song continues to play and you can come back later to add more information.
Marker information can be as simple as just placing a marker with all it’s default information to naming it and giving more detailed information about it. You can see the information in the marker shows the seconds that this marker is pointing to and the color chooser at the bottom of the small marker window to color the marker for easier grouping. The name of the marker appears in the timeline the information about the marker is for your personal notes.
Do not worry if you do not get all your note information in the marker the first time through the song. You can go back and make more detailed notes in the marker when you need to, by clicking on the ‘E’ for Edit, next to the marker.
You can see that the markers are marked in minutes on the timeline itself, but when you go into the marker information, it is marked in seconds. You can also change the seconds in the marker to move it to a different time for example a chorus starts and you hit the marker 3 seconds into the chorus, just subtract 3 seconds from the seconds section in the marker box, hit enter and the marker will adjust to that time.
You can also use these markers to start a song from where the marker is at by clicking the marker title or name. The purple bar on the side of the timeline will jump down to that marker and the song will start from there. Which leads us into looping.
The markers make it easy to loop parts of the song. This is good for when you want to find a perfect animation for a specific section of the music or want to practice that guitar riff 80 times. You can set the loop to play anywhere from 1 to an infinite number of times by selecting the number from the Setting column number pad. To choose the start of the loop you click the name of the marker and you choose the end of the loop by clicking the Stop on the last marker you want in your loop. The purple line will adjust to show what will play when you hit the play button.
You can also loop the song to do this as well. I loop the song while I go through and order animations against the music. Then I sit down and match up my markers with my animations or my animations with my markers and write my HUD (PD/Barre/Huddles/Atiste/etc.) timing notecard. This is great because I can then write up my PD anywhere.
Let’s look a little closer at the Settings column. Along with your Marker box you also have other options.
In the Settings column you have options for how to play your song. The I/E button is for importing and exporting song information to share with someone else. You can look this one up in the Help for Troff which is very comprehensive and well written. But I have never had a need to use it.
Add Marker adds a marker where you hit it at in the timeline of the song as it plays as we have gone over already how to do this. See how the M is underlined it shows you can just hit that letter while in the program to do the same action. Each option has it’s own letter underlined for this purpose.
Move markers is a way of moving all the markers in the song, say if you edited out the first 8 seconds and needed to move them all back by 8 seconds. I have never used this since I usually edit the song in Audacity first. If I need to move a marker I just change the seconds in the marker edit box and it moves to that location in the timeline.
Play full song is basically a reset for when you have your song looped and need to go back to playing the entire song again. You can just click this and the loop will be removed to include the whole song.
Zoom out and Zoom are just what they say they are. If you have a reason to (and I have yet to find one) zoom into a smaller minute amount than the entire song. This is mostly used if you were for example looking at a soundtrack and only wanted to focus on one song in the soundtrack, or trying to get the exact second timing on when that certain sound happens in the back ground.
Start before tells the timeline that even though you have a loop created starting at 1:26 minutes the start before number when activated will start the song however many seconds appear here before 86 seconds. You type your own numbers into this section.
Stop after does the same thing as Start before but at the end of the loop, stopping the loop however many seconds you’ve stated after the end of the loop.
Pause before is the large number on the farthest right column telling the song or loop to start however many seconds you designate prior to playing (In this case it is 3, the song will start 3 seconds after you press start) I like using this and not watching it so I can time my hearing the music with the start of the song which we know a lot of times plays a lot into the timing since our reaction time to push start is a second or three off at times. It helps give me are more realistic timeline in a lag situation.
Wait between tells the timeline to wait the number of seconds you specify before starting the song or loop over again (in this example it is 1 second). This can give you time to reset your PD and start over. You type your own numbers into this section.
The number pad gives you the ability to tell Troff to play your song more than one time up to infinity. This is the lower number of the two large numbers on the far right of the screen.
And at the bottom of Settings you have the ability to adjust the volume and the speed of the song. REMEMBER though… Troff does NOT edit songs. This is just for listening and will not affect your mp3/mp4 and will not save your song at a slower or faster speed except for within the Troff program settings.
Tying Troff into your PD or Dance Hud notecard. As you can see you now have all your markers where you want things to occur such as animation changes, poses, particle emissions, etc. And each marker has the seconds already shown inside the information for each one. You can now go through your markers and write your dance card.
When you play the dance through on the Dance HUD it will be very close to ‘Spot On’ (lil joke there) and only a few minor adjustments need to be made to start an animation one second before or after a point in the song depending on how you want it to flow.
Well hopefully this is clear as mud and you now know how to use the Troff – Training with music program to help you with your choreography needs.
Any suggestion on improvements on Troff can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, submitted at the Chrome App Store or at GitHub.
Troff is open source; you are welcome to make any changes to the program.
The source code can be found at https://github.com/SlimSim/Troff