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Pro Tools 8 Essential Training unveils the inner workings of the industry-standard software for music and post-production. Musician, producer, and educator David Franz demonstrates all the concepts and techniques necessary for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in Pro Tools 8. He teaches how to create music with virtual instruments and plug-ins, edit with elastic audio for time and pitch manipulation, create a musical score, and mix with effects loops. This course can help any music producer, sound engineer, or hobbyist become proficient in Pro Tools 8. Exercise files accompany the course.
Pro Tools has a dedicated MIDI and instrument track editing window called the MIDI Editor Window. It's great for fine-tuning MIDI performance data. Fortunately, it shows a lot of common functionality with the regular Edit window. However, the MIDI Editor also offers up some unique features that you'll probably learn to love. Let's take a look at it. Down at the bottom-left here of the Edit window, we can see the docked version of the MIDI Editor. If we click this little button here, it will open this up, and click this button to close it.
We can also view the non-docked version, which is the one I want to look at here in this video, and there it is. We are looking at just the bass track here, all the notes, and we can see any of the automation lanes down below. Just to let you know there is a couple of other ways to open the MIDI Editor. We choose Setup > Preferences > MIDI page, double-clicking a MIDI region opens the MIDI Editor. We can choose that if we'd like, or you can simply right-click on a MIDI region and open this up.
Let's take a look at the Toolbar at the top of the MIDI Editor window. First, let's take a look at the menu over here on the right. This is where we can show all the different displays for the Toolbar, and I'm going to check off everything. So head over here to the left side and go left to right. So this track that we have shown right here, just the bass track, we can solo it. We can mute it. We can actually show the notation by clicking that or back to the Piano Roll.
Then we have our Edit tools, Standard Zoomer, Trimmer, Selector, and Grabber, and we can make this the smart tool by clicking above any of these three, the Scrubber and the Pencil tool. Here we have got the selected track for this MIDI Editor, and we have got the MIDI Note Duration, Velocity, and whether we want to play the MIDI notes while we are editing. We have got mirrored MIDI editing and the Link Timeline and Edit Selection as well as the Edit modes here. Also our standard Grid and Nudge values, our Cursor Position, and way over here, we have got our selection area. So if I were to make a selection, it would show up right here.
The Edit tools over here act just like you'd imagine they would, doing just the same things as they did in the Edit window for any MIDI operations. If you like to learn more about that, then you should check out the video about using the Edit tools for MIDI. Let's talk about the Tracks list over here. As you can see, right now, we have one track in here. However, if we click these little round buttons here, we can add tracks and you can see that they get superimposed here in this area. We will add all four tracks right here. Now, we can see that the piano, the trumpet, the bass, and the drums are all in this track area right here.
What's really great about this is that you can actually add notes to each individual instrument depending on where this little Pencil icon is. So right now if I use the Pencil to add notes, it will add into the bass line. (Music playing.) But if I switch this down to the trumpets, I can add some trumpet notes. (Music playing.) You will notice that each track is color coded. Scroll up here and you can see the piano part up here in red. If we go to this button right here, this is called the Color Coding by Track button, and if I click that, the tracks in the MIDI Editor are temporarily assigned 1 of 16 fixed colors in the order that they appear in the tracks list.
Now, why would we need to do that if we have already got these colored this way? Well, we don't really have to, and that's just a matter of how you setup your color coding for Pro Tools in general. If these are not colored, then using this button would be helpful. Below that, we have the Color by Velocity, and we can click that and it turns everything into this kind of pink color. Darker notes have higher velocities whereas lighter notes have lower velocities.
Personally, I don't really like this option because I have already got a preference active that shows me whether these notes have higher velocities or lower velocities. And that is right here, I'll show you that. In the Setup > Preferences > Display Page, we have MIDI Note Color Shows velocity. So if we have already got that checked off, then we don't really need to use this option. Let me just show you an example of using the velocity to show the color here. Let me grab this. (Music playing.) See how it gets lighter, this particular note? And it will get darker as I increase the velocity. (Music playing.) If we want to add multiple notes on multiple tracks, we can Shift-click here to add the Pencil to multiple tracks. So now I'll be able to add notes at the same time to both the trumpets and the piano if I want. Get the Pencil tool. (Music playing.) So you can hear that there is notes from both the trumpet and the piano in there when I'm adding these notes. If I want to add notes from two tracks that are discontiguous here, I have to press the Command key on a Mac or the Ctrl key on a PC, and I can get those two different tracks right there.
If I want to put notes on all the tracks all at the same time, I can hit the Option key in Mac or the Alt key in Windows, and click and add it to all the tracks there. (Music playing.) The MIDI Editor window also allows you to right-click notes, and has a huge menu offering of things that you can do. Check it out. We can change the tool. We can insert Key Signatures, Meters, Chord Symbols, Cut, and Paste. We can mute particular notes, we can switch over to some of these other options. We can open these particular tracks. In the Score Editor, we can look at them in the MIDI Event List, and we can change to show the notation.
Now, although we can see the notation here in the MIDI Editor, really, the best place to look at it is in the Score Editor. There is a number of videos on the Score Editor in this course. So check out the features of the scoring in those videos. The MIDI Editor in Notation View like this or in the Piano Roll View offers up a ton of MIDI editing features. I personally find that all the right-click options can be incredibly helpful, as well as the ability to add notes to any MIDI or instrument track all within this one window. If you write MIDI based music, I'm sure you are going to enjoy using the MIDI Editor.
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