Join Skye Lewin for an in-depth discussion in this video Editing MIDI data with the edit tools, part of Pro Tools 12 Essential Training.
- In this video we'll look at using the Edit Tools with MIDI. When editing MIDI data, the different Edit Tools perform different functions. Let's look at how each tool can help us edit MIDI. First let's select the grabber tool. With the grabber tool, I can click to select the note. (musical beat) I can also hold shift and click multiple times to select multiple notes. (musical beats) Or I can use the marquee tool (musical beats) and click and drag to make a selection of several notes. Once I have some notes selected I can click and drag backwards and forwards to move them later or earlier in time.
(musical beats) I can also click and drag up and down to change the pitch of the notes. (musical beats) I'm going to undo this to put them back where they were. If I want to transpose a copy of a note though and leave the original note where it is just press and hold option on a Mac or alt in windows and click and drag the note or notes. (musical beats) You can see that the originals were left untouched. This is an easy to make one note riffs into chord progressions or to add harmonies to melody lines.
One thing to note though is that any selection that you make with the grabber tool does not include the underlying controller and automation data on that track. For example any mod wheel data will not get moved when you move notes using the grabber tool. If you're moving notes and you want to constrain them to a single direction, you can just hold the shift key. By holding the shift key and clicking and dragging upwards I can move these notes up, but if my mouse happens to slip a little left or right they won't move left or right in time. Let's try it. (musical beats) You can see that they would only move up and down.
Likewise if I move left and write using the shift key and my mouse slips up or down they're only going to move left and write. (musical beat) It's really useful to be able to constrain the direction when you're moving MIDI notes. I'm going to undo to put these back where they were or rather to get rid of these copies. We can also use the grabber tool to snap MIDI notes to a specific location. First, select the selector tool and make a selection and switch back to the grabber tool.
If you hold the control key on a Mac or the start key in Windows and click the note with the grabber tool, you'll see that the tool icon changes. When we click the note it will snap to the current cursor location like this. (musical beat) Now let's talk about velocity. Velocity is how loudly or quiet a MIDI note is played. With MIDI, the possible value ranges from zero at the softest to 127 at the loudest. When you view the velocity on a track Pro Tools displays each MIDI note's velocity value as a stock with a diamond head.
The taller the stock is, the higher the velocity value. You can click and drag on these stocks with the grabber tool to edit the dynamics of your recorded MIDI performance. As you edit the velocity, the notes will play to indicate the current velocity level. (drumming beats) If we switch back to notes view we can also use the grabber tool here to edit the velocity of a note by holding the command key on a Mac or the control key in Windows. And then dragging up or down directly over the note itself.
This will temporarily turn the grabber tool into a trimmer tool. (drumming beats) With the pencil tool we can insert new notes. We can just click or click and drag to add notes of different lengths. If you want to change the length of a note, just change the grid value. If I want to make a new 16th note with the pencil tool, I can choose a 16th note, and then any new note that I create will be a 16th note.
Unless of course I click and drag. With the pencil tool I can also edit the length of a note. By positioning the pencil tool near the start or the end of a note, the pencil tool temporarily changes to a trimmer tool and I can resize my note. I can also position the pencil tool over an existing note and it temporarily changes to a grabber tool so I can click and drag to move the note. By pressing and holding option on a Mac or alt in Windows, the pencil will flip around and turn into an eraser.
With this I can click to delete notes. Notice that we've been hearing the sounds of notes as we're editing them and inserting them. That's because we have checked the play MIDI notes when editing button. It's right up here at the top of the edit window. If you don't want to hear notes while you're editing just click it to turn it off. I'm going to go ahead and leave it on though. With the pencil tool, let's switch to velocity and we can use the pencil tool to edit our velocity by just clicking and dragging or drawing. Likewise if we switch to any of our automation, we can click and drag just like with audio.
And this works for all of the other control data as well. Also, just like with audio, we can use any of the pencil sub tools. And remember that the grid size controls how big of a shape is drawn. The zoomer tool works exactly like it did with audio. The zoom toggle button which we can activate using the e key when commands keyboard focus is enabled is really great for editing MIDI in notes view. Let's say I'm usually working in notes view but every once in a while I want to switch to velocity view.
I can set up the zoom toggle to do this quickly. Normally I'm in notes view and when I switch the zoom toggle, now if I change the view with the zoom toggle enabled to velocity and I'm going to zoom in a little bit, I can now toggle back and forth by clicking the zoom toggle button. I'm in notes view with the disabled and velocity with it enabled. The continuous zoom function is also really handy with editing MIDI. With the zoom tool, hold control on a Mac or start in Windows and drag in a track.
This will continuously zoom in or out depending on the direction that you drag the mouse. And just like with audio, we can double click the zoomer tool button to zoom all the way out, or just use the key command option a on a Mac or alt a in windows. I'm going to switch back to notes view and I'm just going to do that by disabling the zoom toggle. When editing MIDI notes, the trimmer tool is most often used for changing the start and end points of notes. I'm going to zoom in a little bit so we can see better and select the trim tool, and we can just start and end our notes in different positions by clicking and dragging.
The trimmer is also really useful for trimming MIDI clips, clip groups and loops. I'm going to switch our view here clips and we can use it just like with audio to trim. If we have clip groups we can do the same thing and we can use the loop trim to make loops just like with audio. We can use the selector tool to make selections of sections of our performance. Note that when making selection with the selector tool, we're only going to be selecting notes that include the beginning of the note in the selection. If for example the note started right before the selection start, it would not be included in our selection.
We can use the scrubber tool just like with audio to scrub our MIDI. (musical beats) The scrubber is helpful for finding notes that might be stray notes or notes that you might be missing. You can scrub over a section and check out how the part sounds. Like with audio, the smart tool gives you the best functionality of all these tools all in one. Play around with this just to see how powerful it is. The Edit Tools each have their own ways of helping you edit MIDI data. It's great that they function so similarly to how they function when editing audio so most of the editing techniques that you learn for editing audio clips can be applied directly to editing MIDI and vice versa.
- Exploring the Pro Tools interface
- Connecting hardware
- Adjusting preferences and settings
- Selecting inputs, outputs, and busses
- Understanding signal paths and gain stages
- Defining input and output settings
- Importing audio
- Recording and editing audio and MIDI
- Composing with virtual instruments
- Adjusting time, tempo, meter, key, and chords in arrangements
- Using delay compensation
- Mixing and mastering
- Exporting to MP3
- Setting up an effects loop (sends and returns)
- Importing and working with video
- Working to picture with music, Foley, ADR, and FX
- Archiving a session
- Using cloud collaboration in Pro Tools 12.5
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 09/25/2015. What changed?
A: We updated seven videos for Pro Tools 12.2.
Q: This course was updated on 11/24/2015. What changed?
A: We added six new movies and updated three more to reflect changes in Pro Tools 12.3. This version of Pro Tools includes Track Commit, drag-and-drop MIDI Track Commit, batch fades, and many other enhancements.
Q: This course was updated on 04/29/2016. What changed?
A: We added three tutorials covering the cloud collaboration features in the Pro Tools 12.5 update, and updated one video to reflect the cloud-based options for creating a new session in Pro Tools 12.5.