Join Evan Sutton for an in-depth discussion in this video Transport and navigation, part of Learning Bitwig Studio.
- Alright now let's take a look at some of the tools that we have at the top of the Bitwig window. We've looked at the audio activation button, but just to the right of that we have the transport functions. The transport functions are going to allow us to play and stop the action here in Bitwig, it's gonna allow us to get the music going, and to stop it, as well as to record. We have the play button, which can be activated with the space bar. So if we hit play, the play head will move. If we hit the play head one more time it will pause in place. If we hit stop, we can bring it back to the very beginning. Now, if I hit the record button because I want to record something, and we'll go more in depth with this in a moment, all it's gonna do is arm recording.
So it's gonna wait for me to hit play, or the space bar, then it's gonna record instead of just playback what I have. [metronome sound plays] Now what you're hearing, when I hit play there, is called the preroll. You'll notice that it actually went into negative territory. What that means, is that I have preroll set up right here, it's in this little drop-down menu and what this is going to do is essentially give us a count off. Some of you may have used other DAWs and you may be familiar with a count off. So what that's gonna do is it's gonna count off the amount of time that I select here, the one bar is chosen, so it's gonna do four beats and it's gonna automatically play the metronome during that time, if I have this checked.
Then we can activate the metronome generally, so that it plays all the time, using this button over here. But, activating it during the preroll can be very handy for counting off certain parts especially if you don't have other music that's playing leading up to the section you want to record. We'll talk about these other functions later on. This is the activate automation button, we'll talk about that later on as well. Over here we have our loop button, so we can move our loop section right here. And if we hit the loop, it's gonna loop playback within that section once it gets to it.
These buttons right here are the punch in and punch out buttons. What those are gonna allow us to do is set where Bitwig starts to record. So if I just hit record, and I hit play, [metronome sound plays] it's just gonna start recording after the preroll there, or the count off as I may refer to it in some instances. But, if we use our punch in here, it's actually going to start recording where I have this little loop indicator. So this loop indicator represents a number of things, most immediately where the loop point is when we activate looping up here.
But it's also our punch in and punch out points. So if I activate punch in, and I simply hit play, it's gonna start recording where that punch in point is, where that loop indicator starts. And by the way, if you ever see something disappear, like this, it's because I hit Command-Z, that's undo. So I'm just getting rid of what I just recorded. On a PC, it's CTRL-Z. So I'm gonna go ahead and activate the punch out point and what that's gonna do is it's gonna make it so that it stops recording right at this section.
So this is very useful if you have a very specific section of notes or music that you wanna record. And it feels more natural to play the entire phrase as opposed to just plunking in the specific notes that you need. So I can play through the phrase, and it will only record the ones that I tell it to. So I'm gonna turn punch in and punch out, off. And I'm gonna go ahead and get rid of that. Now we have overdub turned on, what that means is that midi notes are not gonna be deleted when I record something new on top of them. They're gonna be combined into a new region and I'm gonna have everything all together as opposed to erasing what I previously had.
Here's my metronome, we have a drop-down menu for that. I can turn the volume up and down. I can have it play ticks, which will be a smaller subdivision. Here's my global groove engine. Now what this is gonna do is allow me to set up shuffle and accent for all of the midi that's playing back. I can activate and deactivate this global groove on a clip-by-clip basis if I want to. But when we first start out, and we have this activated, it's going to be activated on all clips by default. Now, we have our display over here, this is gonna tell us the BPM, this is gonna tell us the amount of DSP usage that we're using, our system CPU.
This is our IO, these are some meters for our ins and outs, in terms of audio. We also have the time signature, which you can change, you can get as crazy as you want, like 15/4. Then over here to the right we have our clock, we have our bars, we have our beats, we have our ticks, and then below we have real world time. So this is musical time, this is real world time down here, as I play. So you can see, three, four... Remember, musical time starts at one, real world time starts at zero. This is our return to automation button, so if I move something that's automated, this is to go back to that, we'll explain this a little bit more later.
This button right here, this is automation following clips. Whenever I move a group of notes, or a clip of audio, it means that whatever control information we've included there is going to move along with it, just by default. Many of you Logic users may remember getting repeated dialog boxes that come up over and over again, this let's us set the record straight once and for all. To the right of that we have our different tools. Now the tools are very basic in Bitwig and really easy to understand. The most useful tool, and the one that you're gonna be on almost all the time is just the pointer tool. We can use this to click and move things around, it turns into this crosshairs here which Logic users may know as a marquee.
It allows us to select instances of time. If I double-click, it's gonna create a clip and I can just use my arrow tool to move things around and to select different things. It's the default tool we're gonna use when we're editing things as well. I also have my time selection tool. So let me create a little region, this is just empty, I just double-clicked, and I'm gonna grab my time selection tool, this is for selecting finite lengths of time. So for example I could select this area, and then drag it over here. Undo that real quick. To the right of that we have the pen tool.
And what the pen allows us to do is draw in regions, if we click right here. If we're editing midi we can draw in midi notes. If we're editing automation, we can draw in automation curves. It's very simple, very easy to use. We have the eraser tool, which will allow us to erase anything that we select with it. It's really cool because we can select lengths of time to erase. Very easy to use. Then we have our knife tool. The knife tool allows us to cut things up, split them in half, we can use it with midi notes, we can use it with regions. It's really cool, really simple. Now these different tools can actually be selected using your computer keyboard.
So if I hit the number one it's gonna give me the arrow. Two is the time selection. Three is the pen. Four, eraser. Five is the knife. Okay, this button right here that we have engaged is going to tell Bitwig that we want its view to follow the playback head. So it's gonna automatically scroll along with the playback head as we go forward in time. Now once again if I hit stop, it will take us back to the beginning. Above that we have all of our File, Edit, View, Create options. With Create we can create audio tracks, instrument tracks, effects, et cetera.
One thing I do want to point out in the Help section that's a little bit special, is the commander. The commander is where you can find all of the shortcut keys in Bitwig. You can search things very, very easily such as Create, or if I hit the word Tool, I can remember how to select my various tools. If I hit X, I can go back to the main page and I can click to the right to get out of it.
- 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