Another useful tool for getting MIDI notes into Pro Tools is Step Input. This feature enables you to enter MIDI notes individually from the MIDI controller one step at a time. This is particularly useful for creating parts that are difficult to play, like cool and complex arpeggiated parts. To use Step Input choose Event > Event Operations > Step Input. Click the Enable button to make sure that Step Input is enabled and then choose the Destination track.
In this particular case, I want to use the Step track. In the Step Increment section, you can choose the note value for the steps. I'm going to keep this at 16th notes, and I'm not going to choose the Tuplet. I'm also going to keep the note length equal to exactly 100% of the 16th note value. In the Options section, you can choose how you want the velocity to be recorded-- that is, Pro Tools will use the velocity that you input yourself on your keyboard controller if you choose 'Use input velocity,' or you can set the velocity of each note to a particular value, and you can use this slider to choose the value.
You can also enable numeric keypad shortcuts, and I'm going to show you how to use that later in this video. So let's get this going on. I'm going to move this window out of the way. Now note, you don't have to record-enable this track to actually import the notes. So I'm not going to record-enable it, and I'm going to have the cursor where I want it to start with the steps, which is right at the beginning. As soon as I play my first note on the MIDI controller, it will create a note on the track, and then I'll play the rest of the notes for the pattern that I want to create.
(Music playing.) You can see here on this track that Pro Tools automatically created all the notes to go into that section. And I was able to play it very slowly, but now you'll hear, at a tempo, of 140 what this sounds like. I hit Return, back to the beginning of the song and Play. (Music playing.) In that part that I just made, all the notes were 16th notes, but you're not limited to only putting notes of the same length on a track with Step Input.
If you want to change the length of a note while using Step Input, there are a few ways to do it. Let me open back up the Step Input dialog. I'm going to place the cursor at bar 3 and create some new notes. So now if I hit a note and I hold it down, I can choose a new length for that note. To really exaggerate this, I'm going to hit the whole note, and then I'm going to hit the Increment button, and you'll see that the note is actually created for that full length, plus our 16th note, and there it is.
You can also add rests in the same way. If I hit Next Step, then that moves the cursor ahead by the same amount of time as our previous step, and you can see where the cursor is at now. It's at 5, 1, 240. So it moved ahead a whole note from where it finished on this previous note, and so that added a whole note rest. Undo Step removes the last note entered. I'm going to do that for both of those. It takes us back two steps. And the Redo Step will actually put the note back.
So it's like undoing and redoing, all within the Step Input dialog. If you want to get really fancy, you can use the numeric keypad on your computer keyboard to enter note values and control almost all other commands in the Step Input page. Step input is a handy feature for inputting MIDI parts that might be hard to play, or are very repetitive and rhythmic. Although I don't use it that often, I definitely can see the advantages of utilizing this feature--not to mention that it's kind of fun to use as well.
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