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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.
When editing MIDI data, each edit tool assists in different functions. Let's look at what each edit tool can do. I'm going to choose grabber first. And just like with audio regions, the Grabber tool can select and move entire MIDI regions. So I can click on this and slide it over. I'm going to undo that. You can also press Option on a Mac or Alt in Windows and then click and drag copies of a region, like this.
If I go over to Notes view, I can click a note to select it. I can also Shift+Click multiple notes. I can also can also click and drag and create a marquee. So I'm going to click and drag here. That selects just those notes. Once some notes are selected, I can click and drag them to move them forward or backward in time.
I can also change the pitch up or down by dragging up or down. (Piano playing.) Now you'll notice that when I am moving these notes, the notes over in this region are also moving, and that's because I have this button activated, the Mirrored MIDI Editing. If you have multiple copies of a MIDI region in your session, each version of that region will be edited in the same way automatically if you have MIDI Mirrored Editing enabled.
This is a great way to make global edits to loops, but you should turn it off if you only want to affect the current region that you're working on. So I'm going to disable that right now. To transpose a copy of a note, or multiple notes, leaving the original notes where they are, you can press Option on a Mac or Alt on Windows and then click and drag the notes. This is an easy way to make one-note riffs into chord progressions or to add harmonies to melody lines.
(Piano playing.) So you see that all these notes are now harmonies to the original notes down here. You should note that any selection of notes that you make with the grabber does not include underlying controller and automation data on the MIDI track. For example, we've got modulation data down here, and if I select this note over here and bring it over somewhere else, you're not going to see the modulation data travel with it. So I'm going to click on this and drag it to a different location.
The Modulation data does not change. However, if you move a region, the controller and automation data do come along. Now let's talk about velocity. Velocity is how soft or how hard a MIDI note is played. The possible values are zero to 127. Zero is the softest, and 127 is the hardest. When you view the velocity on the track, Pro Tools displays each MIDI note's velocity value as a stock. You can see those right here.
The taller the stock, the higher the value. With the Grabber tool, we can click and drag a stock to edit the dynamics of the recorded MIDI performance. The notes will play how those sound at the velocity level. Let's listen. (Piano playing.) Let's move on to the Pencil tool. If I choose Pencil tool (Free Hand), I can insert new notes onto the track.
(Piano playing.) The notes that I am adding here are conforming to what I've got in the grid. So I am adding quarter notes. I could add a half note if choose a different grid value. If you move the Pencil tool towards the edge of a note, it becomes the trimmer. I can click and drag to adjust the length of this note. If you move the Pencil tool into the middle of the note, it becomes a pointer, or a grabber, where I can click and drag and move this note wherever I want.
If you press Option on a Mac or Alt in Windows, the Pencil tool becomes an eraser, and you can erase any note just by clicking on it. Now you'll notice that we're hearing these notes as I'm adding them. This is because I've got this checked off right here. This is the Play MIDI Notes When Editing. If for some reason we don't want to hear the notes when we're adding them or editing them, we can simply turn it off by clicking the button. With the Pencil tool, we can also edit velocity values.
So if I come down here and click and drag, I can draw in velocity values. I can also adjust automation data and controller data, like this mod wheel data down here. If I click and drag, I can draw in new data. Let's move on to the Zoomer tool. With the Zoomer, we can click and drag and select a certain area to zoom in on. We can also simply just click and zoom in one level.
If we press Option on a Mac or Alt in Windows, the Plus sign inside of the Zoomer tool will turn into a Negative sign, and then we can zoom out. We can also use this Zoom Toggle button. This is great for editing MIDI notes, in Notes view. I'm going to hit the Zoom Toggle button. That blows up the size of this track because I've set the Zoom toggle to a large track size. You can do that here: Setup > Preferences and down here on the Editing page, the Zoom toggle, I've got Track Height set to Extreme.
I'm going to undo the Zoom toggle. One of my favorite zooming tools to use when editing MIDI data is the continuous zoom function. With the Zoomer tool active, if you press Start in Windows or Ctrl on Mac and then drag in the track, you can zoom vertically or horizontally. Check this out. I'm going to press Ctrl, and I am clicking and dragging.
So we can do that horizontally, or if I mouse up and down while holding Ctrl on a Mac or Start in Windows, then you'll see the notes get bigger or smaller. Note that you can't zoom horizontally and vertically at the same time. One last thing with the Zoomer: if we double-click on the Zoomer tool, we can zoom all the way out and see all the data in our session. Let's move on to the trimmer.
When editing MIDI notes, the Trimmer tool is mostly used for changing the start and end points of notes. The trimmer is also very useful for trimming MIDI regions, region groups, and looped regions. So if we go into Regions view with the trimmer, you can just click and drag and trim that region right up. Another option is the loop trimmer. We could easily create a bunch of loops that are copies of this particular region simply by clicking and dragging.
You'll notice the trimmer icon has the loop arrow on it when I'm up here in the top-half of the region. If I go down to the bottom half, it turns into the standard Trimmer tool. Now I'm going to click and drag and pull this all the way out, and you'll see that I've created multiple looped regions of this particular MIDI 4-01 region. Now let's go to the Selector tool. I'm going to zoom in just a little bit here and switch over to Notes view.
With the Selector tool, you can select a bunch of notes. I'm going to click and drag here. I'm in Grid mode, so it's selecting everything within this region because everything is tight with the grid, but let me switch over to Slip mode, and you'll see something slightly different here. If I clicked right here and drag, you'll note that the notes that I started with in here are not highlighted. This is because the selector only selects notes that include the beginning of the note.
So that's why here at the end, even though I haven't selected the entire note, the beginning is selected, so this entire note is selected. Let's go to the scrubber. You can actually scrub MIDI notes with the Scrubber tool. Basically, you just click and drag, and you'll hear what these notes sound like. (Piano playing.) So as you can see, you can go forward and backwards with the acrubber.
The acrubber is helpful for finding notes that might be stray notes or the notes that are actually missing from the performance. So now we've gone through all the edit tools, and you can see that they each have their own ways of helping you edit MIDI data. What's great is that they function very similarly to how they function when editing audio. So most editing techniques you learn for audio can be applied to MIDI, and vice versa.
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