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In this video, I'm going to explain some of the MIDI recording features that can make your MIDI life easier. The first one is Wait for Note and that's located down here on the Transport window, this little button right here. Click it. It will turn blue and that means it's on. When you enable it, Pro Tools won't begin recording until it receives MIDI data for when you play it on a MIDI controller. Use this function if you want the very first MIDI event that you play to be recorded at precisely where the playback cursor is located. Let me show you how this works.
Right here in this session, I've got these two bars highlighted, so the playback cursor is going to start right here at bar 3. However, when I press Record here, then Pro Tools is actually going to start up the Click Track. We're going to hear that in the background, but it won't start recording until I hit the very first note on my MIDI controller and it will drop that note in right here at bar 3. Check it out. (Music playing.) So there you go. That's Wait for Note, pretty cool feature. We're going to talk more about that a little bit later in this video. Let's move on.
When recording MIDI and Pro Tools, you can also record just normally like we just did, with the Wait for Note, we can punch in and we can loop record. We can also use Pre-roll, which I'm going to show you how to do here. I'm going to turn on the Pre-roll just by clicking this button here and we've got two measures of Pre-roll. If you need to change that amount, just click in the field, type the number and hit Enter and if we're going to use Pre-roll with Wait for Note, this is when it gets pretty cool.
So we have got this two bars still selected, but what happens is when I hit the first note, when I start recording, Pro Tools is going to activate the first two measures of Pre-roll and then it will start recording after that. So the Pre-roll will ignite the Wait for Note, and then we'll start recording two bars after the Pre-roll happens. And before I start this recording, I'm actually going to delete what we previously recorded over here and since it's already highlighted, I can just hit the Delete button and it will go away. And we still got our cursor at the same location. So let's start the recording process. (Music playing.) Not the clean as recording, but you get the idea. We activated the Pre-roll by hitting the first key and because it was on Wait for Note, we waited two bars until it actually started recorded at bar 3.
Another great feature of recording MIDI and Pro Tools is called Input Quantize, and we can choose that up here, if we go to Event > Event Operations > Input Quantize. Input Quantize automatically quantizes all incoming MIDI notes while you play them. What quantizing does is it aligns MIDI notes to a rhythmic grid, helping or forcing them to be more in time or simulating a particular rhythmic field.
Now I'm going to cover quantizing in more detail in other videos in this course, but let's take a look at Input Quantize just the basic features of quantizing here now. In this Event Operations > Input Quantize window, all we really need to do is check that Enable Input Quantize is checked off here so that it is enabled and we can check the Quantize Grid and I'm going to just keep that at 16th note. So let me record one more thing and we're going to see that it aligns with the grid. I'll turn of Pre-roll. (Music playing.) Let's zoom in on this and we can see that the notes are aligned with 16th notes and we're going to take a look at the grid in 16th notes now too and we can see that the notes fall right on the grid lines. I like to use Input Quantize to immediately make my performances adhere to the grid, and this is terrific for when you are trying to create beats that are in time and totally aligned to the Tempo grid.
Let's move on to another feature called MIDI Merge. That's down here in the Transport window. Let me click that button. What that means is if we start recording over top of this performance that we just recorded, these notes won't disappear; they will stay there and then whatever we record on top of it will also be in this region. So let's check it out. I'll zoom out just a little bit and I'm going to keep Wait for Note on and we've got MIDI Merge. So check this out.
(Music playing.) Let's listen to that. (Music playing.) Maybe not the best performance, but you see that these extra notes that I just added were added in with what we already had here and the two parts are combined. They're merged together. This is a really great feature, if you're trying to build drum loops, which I'm going to cover in another video, or if you're trying to create multi-note chords, because you can add one note at a time.
Another simple way to add notes onto a MIDI Track or an Instrument Track is to use the Pencil tool. And first I'm going to switch over to the notes view on this track and go up to the Pencil tool, and now we can just drop notes in by clicking anywhere we want. Wait for Note, MIDI Merge, Input Quantize, and inserting notes with the Pencil tool are all terrific features for creating MIDI tracks. Practice using them and you'll be able to create MIDI parts very quickly, which make song writing even more fun.
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