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Pro Tools 10 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz illuminates the process of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in Avid Pro Tools, the industry-standard software for music and postproduction. The course covers recording live audio and adding effects on the fly, creating music with virtual instruments and plug-ins, editing for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing and mastering a track.
While the edit tools and MIDI Event List enable you to edit specific notes or groups of notes, the editing possibilities found in the Event Operations window can have even more impact on your MIDI and instrument tracks. Let's go up to Event > Event Operations. The operations in the Event Operations window enable you to enter and alter the pitch, dynamics, timing, and phrasing of any MIDI performance. And we've already covered Input Quantize and Step Input here, but now I'll give explanations of the others, and then I'll dedicate a separate video to the most enigmatic of these operations, quantization.
Let's start with Change Velocity. The Change Velocity function adjusts the attack and release velocities for selected MIDI notes. It's useful for creating dynamic changes that weren't recorded with the original MIDI data. So, if I were to select these notes right here on the trumpet track, I can choose to change the velocity of the note on or the note off. I can set them all to a particular value, and I could use this slider or I can type in a value.
Now, I just hit Return and that changed all of these to 100. Let's open that back up and look at some of the other options. We can add an amount or subtract an amount from the velocity, we can scale it, and we can change the velocity smoothly by percentages or from certain values. We can also randomize. If I hit Randomize and hit Apply, you'll see that the velocities are kind of all over the place now.
Let's undo that. Let's move on to the Change Duration window. The Change Duration function is good for making a MIDI or instrument track more staccato for shorter notes or more legato for longer smoother phrasing. You can also use it to remove overlapping notes and transform sustain pedal data into duration data, which can be helpful if a piano player is too heavy on the sustain pedal while recording MIDI data. In this case, I'm going to change this short staccato trumpet part into a more legato performance.
First, let's listen to it once as it is. (Music Playing) Now, I'm going to change this to Legato and keep all of this the same and hit Apply. Now, you see that these notes have become much longer, and let's listen to this. (Music Playing) Changing the durations here can affect the whole feel of this track. Next, let's move on to Transpose.
The Transpose function moves selected notes up or down in pitch. This is what you want to use if you want to change the key of a part without rerecording the part, or to move the MIDI part up or down an octave to make it sound in a better range, or to change a triggered sample on a repeated note. So, we could use this to change the sound of a high hat to a ride cymbal. Now, let's take a listen to this track before we transpose anything. So I'm going to close this window first and unsolo that track and then hit Return to go back to the beginning of the song.
(Music Playing) So that's the original key. If we go up here to Transpose, open that up, you'll see that we've got the transposition set here at three semitones, and I'm going to apply that to all of these notes here in the bass, trumpets and piano. And you saw all the notes move here, and now let's press Play and hear this.
(Music Playing) That's an easy way to try out a different key for your song. I'm going to undo that now. Now, you note that I did not transpose the drumbeat, because if you transpose the drum tracks, they'll move the pitches away from the actual drums that you wanted. They won't actually change the pitch of the drums; they'll change the samples, and we don't want that here.
Let's move on to the Select/Split Notes. The Select/Split Notes function allows you to select notes based on pitch, velocity, duration, and position, whether you're a selecting a single note or a range. And this is particularly useful for altering a single note for the entire length of a clip or track. Let's go back down to the trumpet here, and in this example, we're going to change an A major chord to an A minor by selecting the C sharp note and moving it down to C, which creates a minor third instead of a major third.
So, first I'm going to select this note area that I want, and I want to say notes between C#3 and C#3, so that only selects this one particular note, and the Action is going to be Select notes. If I hit Apply, then Pro Tools selects only the notes that are chosen in here in the Pitch criteria. Now, if I triple-click in this track to select all the notes and then hit Apply again, you'll see that it'll select all of the notes on this track just for the C#3.
Now, I can take the Grabber tool and move all of these notes down by a half step. (Music Playing) Now, I've just change this chord from an A major to an A minor by changing this pitch from C# to C. More advanced than the Select Notes function, the Split Notes function helps you to divide notes into ranges, and this is very useful for splitting up parts that were played on a single track into multiple tracks. Some examples include splitting chords into individual notes for horn charts or for splitting up a full drum kit into individual tracks, and let me show you how to do that.
I'm going to scroll up to the drum track here and triple-click in here to select all the notes. Then I'm going to go over to the Action in the Split/Select Notes function and choose Split notes. I'm also going to choose All notes in the Pitch Criteria. Then I'm going to choose Copy, and a new track per pitch. When I hit Apply, you'll see that Pro Tools automatically splits this track into three new tracks, with one pitch per track.
So now I have the kick, snare, and cymbal separated onto three separate tracks. Let's move on to the Restore Performance function. The Restore Performance function enables you to undo any timing, pitch, duration, and velocity edits that you made using the MIDI-editing functions in the Event Operations window--even after the session has been saved. It can also be used to remove quantization that was applied using Input Quantize. However, when you manually move a MIDI note, the Restore Performance function does not undo the move, and this includes cutting, copying, pasting, and trimming.
Also note that the Restore Performance command cannot be undone. In this window here, we can choose what attributes to restore: Timing, Duration, Velocity, and Pitch. Hit the Apply button to restore the original performance data. Let's move on to Flatten Performance. Once you finalize some or all of the edits on a MIDI or instrument track, you can choose Flatten Performance and save the edits permanently. I recommend making a duplicate playlist of the edited track before flattening it, and I personally don't really see the need for doing this operation, so I don't really use it-- I guess because I always like to have the option to go back to previous edits if necessary.
However, some people might like to lock in their edits with this function. Here in this video you've seen many powerful editing features that are part of the Event Operations window, and we haven't even touched quantization yet. Get to know these features; they can make potentially cumbersome data manipulation into quick and easy edits.
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