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In Logic Pro 9 Essential Training, Scott Hirsch explains how to harness the power and flexibility of Logic Pro, Apple’s popular songwriting software, to record, edit, and mix music. The course includes instruction on how to compose in Logic Pro, and spend more time being creative and less time dealing with technical uncertainties. Scott focuses on setting up a workspace, recording with both live performers and digital instruments, editing and arranging, and mixing and mastering a composition. Exercise files accompany the course.
Step Input MIDI recording gives you another way to compose MIDI events. This mode literally allows you to step in each event one at a time without recording in real-time. It's useful for a more methodical approach to building parts or chords. It can also be used to make very fast and intricate parts that would be impossible to play in real time. Step Input can be performed with or without an external MIDI keyboard. In fact, Logic has a special pop-up window called, you guessed it, the Step Input Keyboard. Let's open it by going to the Options menu and choosing Step Input Keyboard.
Then we get a pop-up window here that we can use to manage our step inputting. Across the top of the keyboard, we have note length represented. To the right, we have note velocities represented with musical notations from pianissimo to fortissimo. The ppp is our lowest velocity and the fff is our highest velocity. Of course, we have the corresponding keys below that we'll use to write in our Step Input as we record. We're going to use Step Input to compose a synth sound in our Lead Synth track. To give ourselves space to work in, we first need to draw an empty MIDI region in this track.
Make sure you have a Pencil tool from your toolbox by hitting Escape and click once in the Lead synth track to draw an empty region. With this empty region still selected, we're going to hit Command+6 to open the Piano Roll window. This way we'll see the MIDI event as we make them. In the Piano Roll window, we want to make sure that the In button at the top left is selected. Currently, it's deselected. When we select it, it turns red. This will allow this window to receive incoming MIDI messages as we use Step Input to record. Okay, now we're going to start step inputting.
First, we want to select a note length. We're going to record some quarter notes first. So click on the Quarter Note button and up around the fourth octave we're going to play three notes, G, A and G. (Music playing.) As you can see, they come in one at a time and they're a quarter note in length. Mow we're going to change the duration of the next note. Let's select the Whole Note and let's play the note E. (Music playing.) Cool! We have G, A, G, E. Let's hear how that sounds. Hit Return to get back to the beginning and you hear it along with tracks above in the Arrange window.
(Music playing.) Sounds good. For the next part of our Step Inputting, we're going to try out the MIDI keyboard instead of using notes on the Step Input Keyboard. You can do this too. Deselect the last note by clicking on the gray area of the Piano Roll window. Now let's make a rest. Select Half Note and click on the Rest once. Your play cursor should move ahead a half note. As you see, it's a little bit off the grid. So we're going to move it over a teeny bit, so it gets back on the grid. Perfect, we'll start from there.
Let's go back to choosing quarter notes and on my MIDI keyboard, I'm going to play the notes C and D. (Music playing.) Recording with the MIDI keyboard is a little different because it listens to the incoming velocity from the MIDI keyboard. In that case, you don't select your velocity here. The velocity is set by how hard you hit the notes in your MIDI keyboard. That's why these are different colors. I'm going to play two more notes. Let's go back to Half Note and let's play the notes F and E. (Music playing.) You can also use a Step Input Mode to build chords one at a time.
Let's use the Caps Lock Keyboard to do this one. Open the Caps Lock Keyboard by hitting Caps Lock. I'll decrease the transparency by moving the slider to the right, so we can see it a little better. Then we're going to click the Chord button on the left hand side of the Step Input Keyboard. This will allows us to play more than one note at a time and have them come in together. With the Chord button selected, I'm going to play about four keys at the same time on my Caps Lock Keyboard. (Music playing.) There, I've recorded a chord of half notes. It let me put in more than one at a time.
Step Input can be a valuable tool for composers who prefer to write in their melodies and build complex harmonic chords one note at a time. It's kind of like composing with sheet music except that you get to hear each note as you write it. We used the Piano Roll here to demonstrate Step Input, but you can use any of the MIDI Editors as you work with it, including the Score Editor.
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