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Pro Tools 9 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz demonstrates concepts and techniques necessary for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in the industry-standard software for music and post-production. The course covers creating music with virtual instruments and plugins, editing with elastic audio for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing with effects loops. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this video, I am 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 in the Transport window, right here. If you click that button, make it blue, that means it's on. When you enabled the Wait for Note button, Pro Tools won't begin to record until it receives MIDI data, like when you press a key on your MIDI controller. Use this function if you want the first MIDI event you play to be recorded at precisely where the playback cursor is currently located.
So let me record, and I will show you an example. First I am going to record enable this track. (Music playing.) The very first note that I played is exactly at the beginning of this bar, where the cursor was placed, and Pro Tools waited for me until I pressed that first note.
If you want to use pre-roll when recording MIDI with Wait for Note enabled, the pre-roll will engage after the first MIDI event is received, then enter record mode after the pre-roll time passes, which is a pretty handy feature. Let me show you how. First, I am going to undo that recording, and I am going to activate pre-roll. I've got two bars of pre-roll, and now, we now I record enable and get Pro Tools recording, it's going to go through two bars after I press the first key, and then it will start recording.
(Music playing.) You can actually tell here that I didn't play this note exactly on bar 3. It's a little bit early. You can see it here, and you can tell because the region starts at the previous bar line. To help tighten up your performances, you can use Input Quantize; we can choose that here in the Event menu.
You go to Event Operations and choose Input Quantize. Now Input Quantize automatically quantizes all incoming MIDI notes while you play them, and what quantizing does is that it actually aligns your MIDI notes to the rhythmic grid, helping, or forcing them to be more in time, or simulating a particular rhythmic feel. I will be covering quantization in much more detail in other videos in this course, so let's just take a quick look at some of the basic features of quantizing here.
To enable Input Quantize, we need to check off the button to do so. You also need to select the parameters that you want to use, and in this case I do actually want to quantize to the 16th note grid. So I am going to keep that, and I am not going to touch any of these others yet. So let's try our recording again. I am going to undo this, and we will get to recording. (Music playing.) Well, I flubbed the first note, but at least it's in time.
Let's zoom in and see how we are doing. I want to make our grid 16th notes. Now we can see the lines through here. You can see that the notes are lining up exactly with the grid. Now I like to use Input Quantize to immediately make my performances adhere to the grid, and this is terrific for when you're 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. Down in the Transpose window, we have the MIDI Merge button, and it's right here.
Click it to activate it and turn it blue. The MIDI Merge function means that if we start recording over top of this performance here, these notes won't be erased as they normally would be if we did record over them. Instead, with MIDI Merge engaged, these notes will still be there and the new notes that we are playing on top of it will also be there-- that is, they will be merged together. So let's try it out. I am going to zoom back out, and we will record some more notes. (Music playing.) So as you can see here, the new notes that I just played are added to this MIDI region, and the old notes from the previous take are still here.
The notes have all been merged together, and this is a really great feature, especially when you are building drum loops--which I am going to cover in another video--or if you're trying to create multi-note chords, because you can just add one note at a time, building your chords as you go along. Another simple way to add notes to your MIDI track or to an instrument track is to use the Pencil tool. And first, I am going to switch over to Notes view on this track and go to the Pencil tool, click on that, and now I can just go o to the track and click in add notes.
The 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 will be able to create MIDI parts very quickly, which makes song writing even more fun.
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