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Editing MIDI In Studio One

PreSonus Studio One Tips & Techniques By Robin Vincent
Published July 2022

The Step Record feature is a quick and easy way to enter a melody as a regular series of notes.The Step Record feature is a quick and easy way to enter a melody as a regular series of notes.

We explore Studio One’s MIDI editing facilities.

We’ve previosuly tackled how to connect your MIDI gear to Studio One, and we’ve got stuck into recording MIDI. In this month’s workshop, we will be looking at Studio One’s powerful note‑editing functionality, and get crafting compositions with a mouse.

When working with MIDI tracks, pressing Studio One’s Edit button will bring up the Piano Roll view. You can also get there by double‑clicking the bottom half of the MIDI clip or Event you want to edit. It presents you with a vertical piano keyboard to represent pitch, and a timeline that reflects the main timeline in the Arrangement window.

If you selected a track into which you’ve recorded some MIDI notes, you’d see those notes displayed as little narrow rectangles on a grid. If you haven’t recorded anything yet, however, the editor will remain decidedly empty regardless of any attempts to mouse‑click notes in there. To do this, you must first create an Event clip in which the notes will reside. You can do so in the Arrangement timeline by double‑clicking on the track, or you can pick up the pen tool and drag out a space in the Editor. Events let you keep sections of music together and that’s where we must start.

You can resize the Piano Roll to take up as much or as little of the screen real estate as you wish. You can detach it and drag it onto another screen, or make it full‑screen for your undivided attention. Using your mouse wheel and a few keys, you can easily navigate your way around the notes and bars that you’ll be editing. The wheel will scroll the piano vertically or, if you hold the Shift key, horizontally along the timeline. Holding Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac) and moving the wheel zooms vertically, contracting and expanding the keyboard, whereas if you add Shift then scrolling will zoom horizontally in the timeline. If you ever get lost, you can always reselect the clip you want to edit in the Arrange window, and it will pop up on the editor. Alternatively, if you are editing within a looped section, the keyboard shortcut Shift+L will bring the loop back into focus.

Entering & Editing Notes

Let’s open a fresh MIDI Event that you’ve created in the Editor, on a track that’s running your favourite VST Instrument. To enter a note, simply double‑click anywhere in the grid, and the note will appear. The placement, colour, size and velocity of the note are all things we can change. The placement and size are usually adjustable with reference to the Quantize settings and the size of the grid.

As you add more notes, you’ll notice they are all the same size and velocity. These two things can be dealt with on the second click. If you double‑click to add a note but hold the mouse button down on the second click, you can control the note length by moving the mouse right and left, and the note’s velocity by dragging up and down. Velocity is shown...

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