The BankStep Tool Bar

The Toolbar is the control console for BankStep. While it contains some duplicated controls, such as the file controls, most controls are available nowhere else.

File Control Buttons

The first three buttons are file control operations, New, Open, and Save. New discards the current setup and reloads the last (default) Layout. Note that this may be different from the patch you may have been working with because it rebuilds from the Layout file, not the last saved patch file. If you want to revert to the last saved patch file, use the main menu command, File/Revert. Open is a standard file open, a duplicate of the one in the File menu. Save saves the currently opened BankStep (.bsp) file. If no .bsp file has been opened, it acts as Save As.

Help Button

Pops up this Help document. Help in BankStep is a standard web type htm document that you can read with most any web browser. BankStep uses your default web browser to access Help.

Composer Button

Brings up the Composer utility. This gives the ability to create and edit a playlist of Snapshots that can be made into a standard MIDI file. See the Composer utility page for details.

The Composer can be expanded to show the playlist, or collapsed to show only the transport controls. When collapsed (the default), clicking on the Composer button will start it playing, so it becomes a Player button for the whole composition, not just the currently displayed Snapshot.

If the Composer button appears not to be working, it is because the Composer button is set to Off when you set Snapshots (below) to respond to MIDI Program Change instead of the Composer play list. To turn the Composer Button back on, select Options from the main menu, and remove the check from the checkbox that says: ProgChg -> Snapshots.


BankStep's Snapshot, or Patch Save, system. As you make changes to BankStep, the changes are saved in the current Snapshot automatically. Snapshots are automatically numbered from 0 to a maximum of 127. You can rename a Snapshot anytime by just typing in the new name. The name "takes" and a number is added to it when the text box focus is lost, so to force the name update you can click on a blank part of the toolbar (or virtually anywhere else).

At any point, you can click on the camera button to create a copy of the current Snapshot, that will be placed at the end of the Snapshot list, and set the new copy as the active Snapshot.

To revisit a patch you have saved, select it from the list in the drop down menu. If you select the MIDI Program Change option in the Options pop up, you can change patches with a MIDI Program Change from an external MIDI device. You can have up to 128 Snapshots, numbered 0-127, per composition.

File Has Changed LED

When you have made a change in BankStep the LED graphic to the right of the Snapshot drop down will go "on," indicating there has been a file change; and you will be asked if you want to save the current file when you exit, open another file, or clear the workspace with New. You can manually turn the LED on or off, and thereby set or clear the file save warning, by clicking on the LED. If you find this file save warning message annoying you can disable it in the Options pop up by checking "No Change Warning."

 Tempo Controls

Use the Tempo slider bar to change system tempo. Range is from 20 to 240 beats per minute. The four "LED" indicators to the right of the bar indicate: tempo (lower left, green), timing errors (upper left, red), MIDI input (upper right, magenta), and MIDI output (lower right, blue). When BankStep is in Slave mode, synchronized to an external MIDI device (or another instance of BankStep), the Tempo control is disabled, as tempo would be controlled by the Master MIDI device. See the Options page for information on setting MIDI Sync.

All Notes Off

With MIDI, sometimes you get stuck notes. Press this button to send All Notes Off messages to all MIDI channels - almost always this will clear the stuck notes. BankStep is inhibited from sending MIDI while this button is depressed. Click it a 2nd time to resume normal operation. The MIDI data sent by this switch is configurable. See the Options page for details.


Sets the Run/Stop Control Flags so you can start and stop playing from the tool bar. Duplicates the transport controls in the Composer utility page.

The Run/Stop button does not of itself run the BankStep modules. It can not because BankStep modules are always running. Every MIDI tick, every module is processed. What the Run/Stop does is set a value that reports to BankStep modules what its state is, and it also sends out a message when the transition is from Stop to Run, that tells certain modules to reset themselves. It is very much up to the composer how the Run/Stop button affects the patch, and some patches do not use it at all.

When changing from Stop (button out) to Run (button in), a 1-tick trigger is sent that is readable as the TStart Logical module input; additionally some modules (such as Gates and MIDI) will reset upon this transition.

Ball Clock

Pops up or closes the Ball Clock window, which contains a ball that travels across the window, changing direction when it hits one of the 4 edges. Each time the ball hits an edge, a trigger pulse is generated, which is available as a Logical output. The Ball clock outputs are listed in the Logical Connection popup as Ball North, Ball South, Ball East and Ball West. Additionally there is a Ball All output that triggers when the ball hits any of the 4 walls. Although the Ball moves at a constant speed, you have great rhythmic flexibility by changing the size of the box the ball bounces around in. Ball Clocks are not synchronized with other clocks, except that it restarts from the upper left corner on the Stop to Run transition.


Pops up or closes a Notepad like text editor, where you can make notes on your patch. The text you enter will stay with your file when you save it. Right click on the text area to pop up a menu of editing controls such as cut & paste.

BankStep is Copyright © 2001-2004 by John Dunn and Algorithmic Arts. All Rights Reserved.