Join Evan Sutton for an in-depth discussion in this video MIDI note effects, part of Up and Running with Bitwig Studio.
- Okay now I've added another instrument here, it's playing chords. I'm not so sure I'm crazy about the chords but we'll adjust them as we go. What I want to talk about now are MIDI effects. We've been working with MIDI on the Timeline in creating clips but what we can actually do is use some of Bitwig's built-in objects to change that MIDI information and how the instruments interpret that information once it comes out of the sequencer. What I'm going to do is I'm going to look at this dirty brass instrument. This is just another Polysynth preset. Let me go ahead and loop that there.
(musical sounds) Okay, so what we have if we go into our note effects area and I call them MIDI effects because they are effecting MIDI, that's a little bit more universal but in Bitwig we call them note effects because they're effecting notes. We're going to go over and we're going to take a look at some of these. Let's take a look at the Arpeggiator. I love arpeggiators. They're fun, they're what my dad thinks all electronic music sounds like, it's great.
Now, you're going to notice that I dropped the note effects object before my instrument. Whereas audio effects are going to go after the instrument. Just remember that with software synthesizers, notes go in, audio comes out. So where the notes go in, that's where we want the note effects and where the audio comes out, that's where we want the audio effects. It truly is a left to right signal chain. Now, I've got my Arpeggiator here. What the Arpeggiator is going to do is take the incoming note information and spit them out rhythmically one at a time generally, according to the timing information I have setup.
So right now, we're going to go up and down, we're going to go one octave and it's at 1/16 note. Actually, let me just play it with one key to start out with. (musical note played) Right now it's going by the global groove up at the top but I can turn that off if I want to. (musical note played) Okay so it's playing it at 16th notes based on the grid. I can change that speed by turning it up and down. I can change the division if I want to to dotted or triplets.
So for example if I want dotted eighth notes, which is the dance music rhythm, I can change it to a dotted eight note. (musical notes played) Now if I play more than one note at a time, what it's actually going to do is only give us one of those notes at a time but it's going to play them each at the given rhythmic interval. So I'm going to set this back to 16th notes and let's listen to the chord I was playing. (music notes played) All right, now if I put it up to two octaves, it's going to go two octaves.
(musical notes played) And I can change it to 16 steps if I want so it doesn't start over when it get to the end of eight. (musical notes played) And this is going to come in handy because we actually have a Step Sequencer here. So for example, this sound is not particularly sensitive to velocity until we turn it up like this but what we can do, is we can change the velocity of each step.
So I'm going to turn this up to 100 percent so that when any of these steps is all the way up, it's 100 percent velocity but I can turn down every first one. Give it a little bit of a curve. Give it some variation. (musical notes played) Let's grab velocity. (musical notes played) So using that velocity there we've created a nice new rhythm, boom bah-bah, boom bah.
(musical notes played) And we've got all these other notes happening in the background. What we can also do with this gate guy down here is change the length of each note. So this is 100 percent. It means it's 100 percent of a 16th note. The value we have set down here. Let's pull these way down or some of them way down. (musical notes played) All right, that's working for me.
I like it a lot. Let's try it with the group. Let's see what happens. (musical notes played) That might be a little much but let's listen to it with the other boys in the band. (musical notes played) Now, remember when I said that we were going to adjust some of the notes? Now's that time. Let's go ahead and grab a couple of these and I'm going to pull them down so that they represent one of the notes in the melody. (musical notes played) Let's play that up against the Polysynth and the Acido.
(musical notes played) It's a little funny but I think I like it because you know what? I think I want to use this in this gap over here. So let's lay down the Arpeggiator part in the breakdown that we have, we'll go back and we'll listen from like bar five and we'll hear at the end of that section, we'll go into the breakdown and then we'll listen to it as it goes back in with the full drum pattern and the Arpeggiator.
And I think I might perhaps want some baseline and some clapping, okay. (musical notes played) All right so you get the idea with that.
It's a lot of fun. There are other things that we can do with our note effects. There are some very simple ones that are actually a lot of fun to work with. We've got a Transposer so we can say, hey we only want it to play this particular scale. We've got a Note Filter. We can get rid of certain incoming note messages from our MIDI keyboard. That comes in handy sometimes. We've got a Pitch Shifter. So let's say for example, I want to move everything on a given track up or down by a certain amount, I can use that. It's just going to shift over all of the incoming pitch information. And then the Transposition Map is going to transpose notes according to a map of pitch classes which means it's sort of an advanced transposer on a note by note basis which is a lot of fun to work with.
I highly encourage you to explore these as compositional tools. And I'm a guitar player, I love playing every note and having musical ideas but part of the fun of electronic music is these happy accidents, these surprises that comes from using objects in new ways that create music that maybe you never would have thought of or never would have played certainly. So have fun with these.
- Setting up
- Recording and overdubbing MIDI
- Editing MIDI
- Sampler and synth programming
- Editing audio
- Making songs out of loops
- Adjusting volume and panning
- Basic mix techniques using EQ and compression
- Creating scenes for live performance