Join David Franz for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data, part of Pro Tools 10 Essential Training.
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When editing MIDI data, each edit tool assists in different functions. Let's look at what each edit tool can do. I will start with the Grabber. Just like with audio clips, the Grabber tool can select and move entire MIDI clips. You can just click and drag and that will move the entire clip over. I am going to undo that. If you press Option on a Mac or Alt on windows, then you can click and drag copies of a clip, like this. I will also undo that. If I switch over to Notes view, I can highlight particular notes just by clicking on them. (Music Playing) To select multiple notes, press Shift. (Music Playing) I can also click and drag to create a Marquee window that will select multiple notes inside of that window.
So if I click and drag, you will see these notes get highlighted. (Music Playing) Once some notes are selected, I can click and drag to move them forward or backward in time. (music playing) I can also change the pitch up or down by dragging them up or down. (Music Playing) I'll just go ahead and undo that. Now you notice when I am moving these notes around in this clip that the notes in this clip are also moving, and that's because I have this button activated up here, Mirrored MIDI Editing.
If you have multiple copies of a MIDI clip in your session, each version of that clip will be edited in the same way automatically if you have Mirrored MIDI Editing enabled. This is a great way to make global edits on loops, but you should turn it off if you only want to affect the current clip that you are working on. So I am actually 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 come down here and press Option on a Mac or Alt on windows and then click and drag the notes.
(Music Playing) This is an easy way to make one-note riffs into chord progressions or to add harmonies to melody lines. And to be sure that these notes stay in time with the original notes, you should press Shift when you are moving those notes. You should be aware that unlike when you select an entire MIDI clip, a selection of just a few notes that you make with the Grabber does not include any underlying controller or automation data on a MIDI track. For example, down here we have some modulation data.
If I select some notes up here and then move them, this modulation data doesn't move at all. However, if I go back to Clips view and highlight and move this clip, then you will see the modulation data move as well. It's all moved. I am going to undo that. Now let's talk about velocity. Velocity is how soft or how hard a MIDI note is played.
The possible values are 0 to 127; 0 is the softest, and 127 is the hardest. When you view the velocity on a track, like we are looking at here, Pro Tools displays each MIDI note's velocity value as a stock. The taller the stock, the higher the velocity value. Higher velocities happen when a note is played with more force, like when you strike a piano note very hard. With the Grabber tool, we can click and drag a stock to edit the dynamics of the recorded performance.
The notes will play louder or softer depending on the velocity level. Let's take a listen. I can actually click and drag all of these notes as we've got them highlighted, and you'll hear them get softer and louder as I move the Velocity values. (Music Playing) Let's move on to the Pencil tool. I am going to choose Pencil tool (Free Hand), and now, if I go onto this track in Notes view, I can add new notes. (Music Playing) The notes that I am adding here are conforming to what I've got set in the grid value up here.
We set it at quarter notes. If I set it to a whole note, now if go in here and add a note, you will see that it's set to one full whole note. As I move the Pencil tool closer to the edge of a note, you will see that it turns into the Trim tool, and now I can click and drag to adjust the length of this note, and it moves in increments of the grid because we are set to Grid mode up here. If I 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.
(Music Playing) If I press Option on a Mac or Alt on windows, the Pencil tool becomes an eraser, and I can erase any note just by clicking on it. Now one thing I should note: as we have been making all of these edits here, we are actually hearing all the notes and they are playing back as we move them around. This is because I have got this particular feature active, Play MIDI Notes When Editing.
I can actually click on this to turn it off, but I actually like having it on, so I am going to keep it on. Now let's got back to the Pencil tool, where we can edit velocity values. In Notes view I can come down to the velocity view and click and drag on any of these stocks and move them around. (Music Playing) If I switch this over to Clips view, now check out what happens. I can draw in lines or shapes with the Pencil tool for the velocities.
Let's move on to the Zoomer tool. With the Zoomer, we can click and drag and select over a certain area, like this. You can also simply just click and zoom in one level. If I press Option on a Mac or Alt on windows, the plus sign inside of the Zoomer tool will turn into a negative sign, and then we can zoom out. All of the zoom features work the same with MIDI as they do with audio. And let me just highlight one of my favorite zooming tools to use when editing MIDI data, the Continuous Zoom function.
With the Zimmer tool active, if you press the Start key in windows or Ctrl on a Mac and then drag in the track you can zoom vertically or horizontally. Check it out. If I switch this over to Notes view, you will be able to see the notes increase or decrease in height. And one last thing with the Zoomer. If I double-click on the Zoomer tool, you can zoom all the way out and see all the data in our session, to the complete length of the session.
Now let's move on to the Trim tool. When editing MIDI notes, the Trim tool is mostly used for changing the start and end points of a note. So I will zoom in a little bit on this particular note, and now we can start trimming. And the reason it's not trimming anything right now is because we are in Grid mode and our grid is set to one whole note. So let's go to Slip and now we will be able to trim this freely.
The Trim tool is also very useful for trimming MIDI clips. So if I go back to clips view, I can click and drag and edit that clip. You can also edit clip groups and looped clips with the Trimmer tool. And one other option is to use the Loop Trim tool. So I am going to zoom out and choose the Loop Trim tool. Now if I go towards the top half of this clip and then I click and drag, I will be able to make multiple loops of this clip. And you can see each loop indicated by this little Loop Indicator icon down here.
Now let's check out the Selector tool. With the selector we can select parts of clips, like this, or if we go into Notes view, we can select particular notes. So let me zoom in here, and let's take a closer look at what's going on here. When I have this selector and I click and drag while in the middle of a note, it won't actually highlight that note. But if you start selecting before or right at the beginning of a note, then that note will be selected. So I am clicking and dragging, and as it hits the beginning of the note, that's when it gets selected; however, these notes aren't selected because I started selected in the middle of them.
Let's move on to the scrubber. With the scrubber you can actually scrub MIDI notes. Basically just click and drag and you will hear these notes. (Music Playing) So you can go forward and backwards, and the scrubber is helpful for finding stray notes or for finding notes that are actually missing from a 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 also be applied to MIDI, and vice versa.
- Exploring the Pro Tools interface
- Selecting inputs, outputs, and busses
- Understanding signal paths and gain stages
- Setting up Pro Tools hardware and software properly
- Importing audio from multiple sources
- Recording and editing audio and MIDI
- Adjusting time, tempo, meter, key, and chord in arrangements
- Mixing and mastering a session
- Setting up an effects loop
- Importing and displaying video
- Adding music, Foley, ADR, and FX
- Archiving a session