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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.
Pro Tools has a dedicated window for editing MIDI and instrument tracks called the MIDI Editor window. It's great for fine-tuning MIDI performance data. Fortunately, it shares the 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. You can access the docked version by going down to this button right here and clicking on it, and that expands this whole window. This is the docked version of the MIDI Editor.
To close it you can just go back to this button and click it, and what I really want to show you is how to open up a separate window for this. So we can go up to Window > MIDI Editor and this opens up an entire MIDI Editor window, and you'll see that we have the full-screen version here. Before I show you more about it, I want to talk to you about some other ways that we can open up the MIDI Editor. If we go up to Setup > Preferences and on the MIDI page, you can say we can choose Double-Clicking a MIDI Clip Opens the MIDI Editor.
So anytime that you double-click a MIDI clip anywhere in Pro Tools, the MIDI Editor window will open up. I am going to click OK. You should also note that you can right-click on MIDI clip to access the MIDI Editor, and let me show you that really quick. If you go back to the Edit window and I right-click on this, you can scroll all the way down here and say Open in MIDI Editor. I'll go back to the MIDI Editor window. So let's take a look at what's going on in this MIDI Editor window.
We'll start at the top. We've got the Solo and Mute buttons, and here we have the Notation Display Enabled button, which if I click this, you'll see notes instead of the piano roll. So now we have our notation showing here instead of the regular piano roll. Next we have our edit tools, and you're familiar with these from previous movies. We've got the zoomer, the trim, selector, and grabber that are all part of the Smart tool here, the Scrubber and the Pencil tool.
Next, we have the track that's actually showing here, and it's the Pencil-Enabled track. The Pencil-Enabled track is the one shown here in the tracks list that has the pencil next to it, and we'll talk more about that in a minute. Next, we have the MIDI Note Duration and that's when we add a new note, that's the duration that it will be, and we can choose from any of these. If we wanted to add a quarter note, then we can choose quarter note here. Next we have the MIDI Note Velocity, and that's the velocity that you'll have when you create a new note in this window.
And next to that is the play MIDI Notes When Editing, so anytime that you edit or add a new note, it'll actually be played and you'll hear it. We can click this on or off. If it's off then you won't hear when it's edited. And now we have the Mirrored MIDI Editing and the Link Timeline and Edit Selection buttons, and you're familiar with these from previous movies. We have the edit modes. We have the Grid button, which we can show the gridlines or not have them shown, by clicking on that.
We got the Grid Size and we can change that. Maybe we want to see eighth notes. And finally, over in this area, this indicates the location of where the cursor is. So if I go down here into this track, it shows the timing and the pitch value, so we have the timing on the left and the pitch on the right. All the way over here on the right side we have the target button, and if we deactivate this, then we can actually open multiple MIDI Editor windows. And finally, we have the MIDI Editor toolbar menu, and we can change some certain things here, what we want to see in this window. And you'll see that we have the Tracks list shown here.
The Tracks list is over here on the left side, and this shows us which tracks are shown in the MIDI Editor. Right now, only one of them is shown, the piano track, and that's indicated by this circle here. If we want to add some additional tracks in here, we can; just click on the circles, so now we have the trumpets and the piano shown. The trumpet notes are shown in the color purple here, whereas the piano is in red. So as I mentioned before, the pencil icon shown here actually indicates what track we're going to be able to add notes to, in the MIDI Editor window.
So if I go down into the MIDI Editor and I want to add some notes, I can choose the Pencil tool here, and click and add a note, and that goes on to the piano track. If I change this and put that pencil icon on the trumpet track, now I've added a note onto the trumpet track. If I want to add notes to both tracks at once, I can Shift+Click and have the pencil icon on both tracks, and now when I create a note, it's going to be on both tracks. Let's take a look at these two buttons.
The top one here is the color coding by track button. If we activate that, the tracks in the MIDI Editor are temporarily assigned to one of 16 fixed colors, in the order that they appear on the Tracks list, and those colors are indicated right here in the Tracks list. Now why would we need to use this button if the tracks were already colored as they were previously? Well, it's just a matter of how you set up your color coding in Pro tools. If the tracks and notes are not already colored, then using this button would be helpful, but since the tracks that I was showing you here before were already colored, then I don't really need to use this button.
So I'm going to deactivate it. The next button down here is the color by velocity, and if I click that, you'll see that all of the MIDI notes are all the same color now, red, and the red on all of the tracks that are displayed. The notes with the lowest velocity are lighter in color, and the notes with the higher velocities are darker. So if I take this note right here-- I'll use the Grabber tool, in fact, choose that note and I'll grab the velocity, and turn it way down, you'll see that it's a lot lighter.
If I turn it way up, it'll get darker. So now it's a deep dark red. Now personally, I find this confusing if you've multiple tracks shown in this window, and I don't really see the point of using this button anyway, especially if we have our preference set to show velocity. So if we go up to Setup > Preferences and we look in the Display tab, we already have MIDI Note Color Shows Velocity. Because we already have this checked off, we don't really need to make use of this button, because all the velocities are actually shown on each of these notes.
So as you can see here, the MIDI Editor offers a ton of MIDI-editing features. I personally love the ability to add notes within multiple MIDI and instrument tracks all within this one window. If you write MIDI-based music, I'm sure you'll enjoy using this MIDI Editor.
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