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Introduction To Cubase, Part 2: Recording; Key, Drum & List Editors

Tips & Techniques By Simon Millward
Published October 1995

Simon Millward continues his fundamental guide to Steinberg's flagship MIDI recording software package.

In Part 1 we looked at Cubase from a global perspective and also explored the Arrange window. This issue, we'll be using some of the features and keystrokes explained last month first to record, and then to view and manipulate what you've recorded in minute detail in the Key, List and Drum Editors. If you get a bit lost with some of the keystrokes, I'd advise you check out Figure 4 in this article, as well as the 'Keyboard Shortcuts' table (see third page).

Recording Setup

After all the theory in the first part of this series, it's time to actually record some music! Well, almost. Most readers will have Cubase connected to some kind of MIDI‑equipped synthesizer or piano keyboard as well as a network of MIDI devices such as rackmount synth modules, drum machines or effects units. It is usually desirable for the MIDI data received at the MIDI In of the computer (from the synth/piano keyboard) to be echoed to the MIDI Out. So, open up the 'MIDI Setup' dialogue box of the Options menu and ensure that MIDI Thru is selected (ticked). Ensure also that System Exclusive (SysEx) and Aftertouch are filtered in the record section of the MIDI Filter feature, also found in the Options menu. This will avoid recording any unnecessary data in your first attempt. It is also desirable, if possible, to set your keyboard to Local Off. It should then be possible to play any of the devices in your MIDI network by changing the MIDI channel in the Channel column of the currently selected Track with the left and right mouse buttons. Begin (for the purposes of this example) by recording a simple drum part on Track 2.

You select the appropriate MIDI channel for the drum or percussion unit in your system by double‑clicking on the Track name, or hitting [Alternate] and 'N' together on the computer keyboard, and then entering an appropriate name into the pop‑up box. You can also program a guide click from the computer speaker, or set up the Cubase metronome to output a MIDI click to an appropriate sound, such as a rimshot; this is done from the Metronome window of the Options menu. The count‑in before recording commences is also adjustable. When back in the Arrange window, you turn the click on by ticking the 'click' box or simply pressing 'C' on the computer keyboard. You can then test the click and the selected tempo of Cubase by selecting the transport Play button with the mouse, or by using the Enter key on the numeric keypad. The tempo can be adjusted 'on the fly' if necessary, by clicking the left and right mouse buttons in the tempo box of the transport bar, or by clicking the '+' and '‑' keys of the Numeric Keypad.

When you are ready to record, return to Bar 1.1.0 of the Arrange window, set the left and right locators by clicking with the left and right mouse buttons on the bar line above the arrangement area, and select 'Cycle' in the transport bar using the mouse or the '/' key.

Some readers may consider all this far too much trouble just to put what is essentially a machine into the correct configuration to record music. After all, recording onto a multitrack tape recorder is comparatively instantaneous. However, it's important to bear in mind that most of the steps described here are actually already sensibly set in the Definition files supplied with Cubase, so they are invariably set up only once, according to the preferences of each user. In addition, a sequencer as powerful as Cubase has a capacity to fine‑tune and reprocess recorded data way beyond that of any multitrack tape recorder.

Making A Recording

You start recording by clicking on the record button on the transport bar, or selecting '*' on the numeric keypad. You should hear a precount (as set in the Metronome window), and then the Song Position pointer should start to move. Anything you play on you keyboard will now be recorded into Cubase. The pointer will cycle between the left and right locators, and you can add to the recording on each pass if the 'Cycle Record Mode' at the top right of the screen is set to 'MIX'. Stop the sequencer when you have finished recording, and a new Part will appear on the screen between the Locators. Note that we are recording the Part as a normal 'MIDI Track' (as indicated in the Track Class column) and not a 'Drum Track' (of which more later). Also note that a newly recorded Part will always appear in black, ready for further processing.

If you are a very good player, your drum part may not need any further attention, but a large number of users will want to quantise their work (see the box on quantisation elsewhere in this article). You can do this using Over or Iterative Quantise until it sounds musically correct. You can 'undo' the quantisation at any time using 'Undo Quantise' in the Functions menu, or by pressing 'U' on the Typewriter Keyboard. Remember, however, that it is not desirable to have all the notes in all parts occurring exactly on the beat; this can result in music which is robotic and lifeless. Getting the right feel can make or break any piece of music.

Rename And Copy

You can rename the parts you record by holding down [Alternate] and clicking over them; you can then type names onto them. Parts are copied by clicking and also holding the left mouse button on the part while holding down [Alternate] on the keyboard. A small hand will appear, and you can drag the resulting outlined part along the same Track to let go of it next to the original. Using the same manoeuvre without holding down [Alternate] would have simply moved the part itself to the new position. This new copy can then be repeated as many times as you like with the 'Repeat' function in the Structure menu ( [Control] and 'K' on the keyboard); you simply enter a count of (say) 2 and tick 'Ghost Copies'. Two ghost parts will then appear on the Arrange display immediately after the original. Any changes you make to the contents of the second copy will be replicated in the ghost parts you've created from it. The original part you recorded, however, remains a separate entity.

When you've finished, you use the all‑important 'Save' command (situated in the File menu) to store your work on disk. Song files are stored with a '.ALL' extension. The file can now, of course, be recalled back into Cubase at any time using the 'Open' command.

Key Edit

You can carry out a large number of editing functions on the parts you record from within the Arrange window, but to examine and edit the contents in fine detail, you really have to go into one of the main Editors. We'll start with a look at Key Edit. To go into the Editor from the Arrange window, simply select 'Key Edit' from the Edit menu, or select [Control] and 'E' on the keyboard. If you have one or more parts selected, these will automatically be available for editing, but if nothing is selected, all parts in the current track will be available. Parts from up to 31 different tracks can be edited, but most of the time, users will edit single parts. Before you leave the Arrange window, it is a good idea to hit [Alternate] and 'P'; this sets the left and right locators to the start and end points of any selected part. Then select 'Cycle' on the transport bar (or press '/' on the numeric keypad). Cubase will now cycle continuously on the selected part, and when you go into Key Edit, you'll be able to manage the song position more efficiently with the various numeric keypad cue points. For example, hitting '1' sends you to the left locator, and '2' sends you to the right locator. Keys '3' to '8' may be programmed at any time by pressing the relevant key while holding [Shift]; the current Song Position is then stored.

The Key Edit window (see Figure 1) appears on the screen as a grid; the horizontal axis represents time and the vertical axis represents pitch (depicted as a piano keyboard). Directly above the grid, there is a position bar showing bars and beats, while below it is the controller display, where various non‑note events such as pitch bend and modulation may be represented.

Key Edit has a toolbox (opened by clicking on the grid with the Right mouse button) similar to the one in the Arrange window, but featuring four additional tools for specific use in the Editor. The new tools incude the Kickers (for jogging notes backwards or forwards according to the value set in the 'SNAP' box), the Compasses (for changing values, usually controller data, according to a straight line drawn on the controller display), and the Brush (for pasting notes onto the grid). As in the Arrange window, the Pointer is a general purpose tool for selecting and moving notes and editing anywhere in the window, the Eraser is for deleting events, and the Pencil is for inserting and changing the length of notes or events on the display. Notes inserted or moved will be shifted onto the nearest fraction of a beat according to the Snap box value, while the length of inserted notes will be governed by the 'QUANT' (Quantise) box value. For insertion purposes, regard 'SNAP' as the Position and 'QUANT' as the Length. Notes can be monitored using the magnifying glass tool.

Notes are displayed as graphic strips on the Key Edit grid. Once a note has been selected by clicking on it with the Pointer tool (the note will turn black), its characteristics can be seen on the Information Line. These include the start time, length, pitch, velocity on and off values, and the MIDI channel. This line can be hidden or shown using the 'Info' button on the top panel of the window. Similarly, the Controller display can be concealed or revealed by using the 'Control' button.

There are several other icons in the top panel governing the set up of loops, the reception of MIDI data and the recording of data in step time. In addition, there are three local menus: 'Goto', for moving the Song Position pointer to various positions in the track or part, an unnamed menu (usually referred to as the 'Select' menu) dictating which data will be targeted by any chosen functions, and a useful local 'Functions' menu containing items specific to Key Edit. A further display box above the menus shows the current position of the mouse when it is moved into the grid area. Clicking in this box with the left mouse button changes the display to SMPTE time. Remember that the usual main Cubase menus are still available while in Key Edit, so any of the normal functions (like the different kinds of quantise, and repeat, cut, copy, paste etc) may be used on the chosen data.

But how do you put all these obviously powerful Key Edit features to good use? Here are some examples from a typical Cubase session.

1. You have just recorded a perfect bassline with a great feel, but some notes are too long and some overlap. Key Edit is the perfect facility to remedy the situation. Using the Pencil tool, the offending notes on the grid may have their lengths changed by clicking and holding on each, and dragging them to the desired duration. The current status can be clearly seen graphically on the screen. The new length will be set to the nearest Snap value (as set in the 'SNAP' box).

2. The note entry time of the chords you just played are jumbled and misplaced. The simple answer is to go into Key Edit and move the notes to the desired position using the Pointer tool. Once again, click and hold on the note. The pointer will change to a hand. This time, the whole note will be seen to move as you drag the mouse. For this kind of operation, you could set the Snap value to 'Off' to facilitate the placing of notes with maximum subtlety on the grid. If you are dealing with very subtle changes in position, try clicking on the notes with the Kicker tools to shift the start time backwards or forwards one tick at a time.

3. The repeated melody on one of your tracks is great on the first and fourth bars, but the other two bars are not quite right. One answer is to go into Key Edit and repair the 4‑bar part using a 'stretch box and drag' process. Firstly, set Key Edit to an appropriate size to see all four bars. With the Pointer tool selected, click and drag the mouse in white space on the grid. A box will appear which can be sized around the appropriate group of notes. Begin by selecting the unwanted notes of the second and third bars. The notes within the box will turn black. Delete the notes using the [Delete] key on the keyboard or 'Delete Events' from the Edit menu. Next, select the appropriate replacement group of notes from the first bar. If you now select and hold any one of the blacked notes while pressing [Alternate] on the keyboard, a box will appear around the selected notes. You can then drag this, and a copy of all the blacked notes within it, to the appropriate position in the second bar. Remember that the notes will be dropped onto the nearest fraction of a beat according to the current Snap setting. The same procedure can be applied to copy the repeated melody into the third bar.

4. The synth sound you are using produces an unwanted percussive attack on certain notes which were played with a higher velocity. Select the part and go into Key Edit. Select Velocity in the controller display by clicking on the Controller icon to the left of the display. The velocities of all notes should now be visible in the display as vertical strips. The offending velocities can be singled out and adjusted using the Pencil tool.

5. Following on from the last example, if you require any crescendos or diminuendos after the notes have been recorded, then the controller display of Key Edit is one of the best places to create them. Once again, select Velocity and then click and drag using the Compasses tool to draw in a line at the appropriate angle for the desired effect. This technique could be used for similar operations on other controller data.

That's a start in using some of the principal techniques of Key Edit. As a general guide to moving around the note data on the grid, the user may find the following useful; once one note has been selected, try using the left and right arrow keys to scroll through consecutive notes. This is often easier than using the mouse. It is also useful to actually hear each event as it is selected; this can be achieved by selecting the MIDI monitor loudspeaker icon in the top right icon panel. Also useful is the MIDI In icon, which along with the Note and the Velocity On and Off icons, allows the user to target data for updating via MIDI. For example, if the MIDI In and Velocity On buttons are selected, you can change the Velocity On value of the currently selected note simply by playing any note on the Master Keyboard. Another useful aspect to Key Edit is that you can view data while it is being quantised. This provides excellent visual feedback of how the notes are actually being shifted in time.

Remember that any changes made in Key Edit (or any other Editor) need not be retained; leaving Key Edit using the [Escape] key will return the part to its state before entering the Editor. Leaving Key Edit using [Return] will keep all changes. Note also that many of the important editing commands outlined above are common to Key, List and Drum Edit.

List Edit

List Edit differs from the other Editors in that all kinds of MIDI data and special Cubase events may be accessed and updated, including SysEx data. Go into List Edit using the Edit Menu or select [Control] and 'G' on the keyboard. Similar to Key Edit, List Edit is shown as a grid (see Figure 2), but of far greater importance are the columns hidden behind the grid, which can be revealed by moving the split point to the right of the screen. The columns contain information about each MIDI event including its start position, length, status (MIDI event type) and MIDI channel. There are also the Value columns (VAL 1, VAL 2 and VAL3), which will be active or not according to the event type. For example, ordinary Note events will feature their Pitch in the Value 1 column followed by their Velocity On and Off values in the Value 2 and Value 3 columns. However, a Controller event will be active in the Value 1 and Value 2 columns only. Most events will have no entry in the Comment column, but a System Exclusive comment will be the SysEx message itself.

Functions unique to List Edit include the Mask menu, an Insert Bar ('Ins') and the Display Filter. The Mask menu may be used to force a display of all data of the same event type as the currently selected event, or all data with the same event type and the same values as the currently selected event. All other events will then be hidden from view.

The Insert Bar contains a pop‑up menu for the selection of event types. Any chosen type of data may be inserted into the list using the Pencil tool on the grid. The Display filters comprise six boxes containing letters representing different event types. 'NO' is for Note, 'PP' is for Polyphonic Pressure, 'CT' is for Controller, 'PC' is for Program Change, 'AT' is for Aftertouch and 'PB' is for Pitch Bend. When the letters are in upper case, the event type is displayed in the event list, but if you click on the box, the letters change to lower case, and the event type will no longer be displayed. In this way, users can target certain types of data they are interested in by hiding the rest.

The Display filters and the Mask functions are among the most useful features of List Edit, but they should not be confused. The Display filters hide the chosen data from view, but unlike Mask, they do not hide the data from editing. With the filters, any global editing operation, such as Quantise, will still affect all events regardless of what is currently displayed. Mask, however, completely hides the chosen data from the editing operation.

In List Edit, the events themselves may be edited by clicking and holding on any of the changeable values of the chosen event with the left or right mouse button . For example, it is a simple matter to change the velocity value of a note by clicking and holding in the Value 2 column of the chosen event. The right mouse button will then increase the value and the left mouse button will decrease it. All values in the columns are changeable using the mouse buttons — except that you may not change one event type to another in the Status column. Note also the graphic display to the right of the grid. When the mouse pointer is moved into this area, it automatically changes into the pencil tool. The horizontal bars in the display represent the velocities of notes or the Value 2 settings of most other MIDI event types. Here, events may be changed in much the same way as in the Controller display of Key Edit. Also, List Edit's toolbox is the same as that found in Key Edit, and is used similarly to move, copy and manipulate data.

As you can see, there is one essential difference between List and Key Edit. Whereas Key Edit is optimised for graphic editing of note data on the grid and controller data in the Controller display, List Edit is designed to handle somewhat more detailed editing of any type of MIDI Event and its various values from the display list. As a general rule, List Edit is probably most useful for the editing of non‑note events, and, with the addition of the SysEx Editor module in the latest Atari version of Cubase Score, it is an essential tool for viewing and changing SysEx data. And there are, of course, those types of data which cannot be viewed and edited anywhere else, such as Track Mute, Text and MIDI Mixer events. Let's look at some specific examples which may prove useful to a number of users:

1. To edit SysEx messages, simply select the SysEx event (which will appear in the list and on the grid as a single block), and click once in the Comment column. The message itself will then appear in a pop‑up box on screen as hexadecimal code. If you do not have the SysEx Editor module loaded, only short messages will be accessible. With the Module loaded, a message of any length can be looked at and edited. However, a good knowledge of SysEx is required to make any meaningful changes.

2. At some time in their lives, most Cubase users will suffer from the problem of an unwanted or incorrect Program Change (or some other data, such as a volume controller) embedded somewhere among the rest of the data. This is not always easy to find for deletion or editing. With the filters, the task is easy. Simply click on the filter boxes of all those event types you do not wish to see, and you should be able to find the offending event more easily.

3. Most users will have their master keyboard set to Local Off for use with Cubase. One problem is that some synths used as master keyboards power up with Local On. This means that the user must manually set the keyboard to Local Off at the start of each session. However, by using List Edit, a Local Off controller event may be inserted into a part. This could be included in the DEF file loaded into Cubase when the system is booted up. To insert the appropriate event, select 'Controller' in the 'Ins' box. Select the Pencil tool in the grid, and click with the left mouse button (at the beginning of the part, for example). A new controller event with various default values will be inserted into the list. Click and hold in the Value 1 column to change the controller number to 122, the Local On/Off controller. The controller needs to be set to 0 in the the Value 2 column, which is the Off setting (the On setting is 127). When the part is played, the target keyboard will be set to Local Off. This is, of course, assuming that the keyboard responds to this controller, although most modern synths do. This technique could be used for the input of similar controllers or any other event types.

4. Sometimes it is appropriate to change all the settings in one column of List Edit to the same value. Simply hold [Alternate] while clicking and holding with the left or right mouse buttons on any value in the chosen column. Increase or decrease the value appropriately, and when you release the mouse button, all values in that column will change to the same setting simultaneously.

A further column may be added to List Edit by clicking in the mouse position indicator bar. This will change the position indicator to SMPTE time, and instead of the length column, the list will now feature two columns indicating the SMPTE start and the SMPTE end times of each event. This is useful for circumstances when the precise timing of events is crucial. It's also worth remembering that quantise works on notes alone, so other kinds of events will remain at their original positions. And as in Key Edit, parts from up to 31 different tracks may be selected for editing.

Drum Edit

As the name implies, Drum Edit is designed for the editing of drum or percussion data. Users should be aware , however, that they don't have to view these tracks in Drum Edit; this data can be viewed in any of the other editors. But if you convert a 'MIDI Track' into a 'Drum Track' the data will be adapted for specific uses in Drum Edit, as we shall see.

The Drum Edit window (Figure 3) is made up of a grid with time on the horizontal axis and the drum or percussion instruments on the vertical axis. Pulling the split point to the right reveals a number of columns, most of which are unique to Drum Edit. If the track to be edited is classed as a 'Drum Track', the columns will feature the following: the Mute column (used to mute individual drum instruments), the Sound column (for naming each drum sound), the Quantise column (where each sound may have an individual Quantise value), the Input Note column (for defining the Note value controlling each sound), and the Output Note column (for defining the target note departing from the MIDI Out of Cubase). There is also the Length column (for defining a fixed length for each sound), the Channel column, (where you select the MIDI channel for each sound), the Output column (for the selection of the MIDI device output for each sound), and the Instrument column (for the naming of combinations of the Channel and Output columns). Finally, there are the four level columns, where four preset velocity levels may be set for each sound when events are inserted using the mouse on the grid, or in step time. If the track you're editing is a MIDI Track, the Output Note (ONOTE), Instrument and Output columns are omitted. For more on INOTE and ONOTE, see the separate box elsewhere in this article.

Use of the grid is pretty much as in the other Editors. However, knowing how to manage the columns is probably the most important requirement for using Drum Edit successfully. Before recording any drum data, it is a good idea to set up the Drum Map first. The Drum Map is simply a set of 64 drum sound names, each with their corresponding values in the columns. It is not possible to have more than one Drum Map in Cubase at the same time. Here, we'll consider the procedure for a 'Drum Track'. This shows Drum Edit in its most adaptable mode.

First, create an empty part on a track in the Arrange window, and change the track class to 'Drum Track'. A small drumstick symbol will appear in the Class column. Go into Drum Edit via the Edit menu, or by hitting [Control] and 'D' on the keyboard. You can update the 'INOTE' (Input) and 'ONOTE' (Output) columns to the desired settings via MIDI, and enter an appropriate name in the Sound column. To do this, ensure that the master keyboard (or whatever is used as the master instrument in the system) is playing the target drum or percussion sounds through Cubase. These could be, for example, the sounds of a drum machine. Select the MIDI In and Note icons from the Functions bar in the top right of the window. Go to the first sound in the sound list by clicking on it once with the left mouse button, and then select the 'INOTE' column. Play the first sound on the keyboard, and this note value will be automatically entered into the 'INOTE' column for the currently selected sound. Do exactly the same thing for the 'ONOTE' column so that the input and output notes match. Either hit [Alternate] and 'N', or double‑click on the sound, and enter an appropriate name into the box that appears. Continue similarly for the other sounds until you have a complete set of drum or percussion instruments.

The Channel column can be changed if you are targeting sounds on more than one MIDI channel. However, for multi‑channel operation, 'Any' must be selected on the track's Channel column in the Arrange window.

You may already have noticed that Drum Edit's toolbox differs slightly from the one in the other editors, in that the Pencil has been replaced by a Drumstick. The Drumstick cannot be held and dragged to adjust the length of a note as it is being inserted on the grid; instead, the length of each Drum Edit event is governed by the duration set in the Length column. However, if you click, hold and drag the drumstick horizontally along the grid, events will be written in at the resolution set by the 'Qnt' column for that sound. This could be useful for quickly writing in some closed hi‑hats at sixteenth note intervals. In addition, if clicked over an already existing event, the drumstick will delete that event.

When inserting notes with the drumstick, velocity values can be managed using the Level columns 1 to 4 . Each of the Level columns can be separately adjusted for each sound, and the choice of level is selected by holding various keys on the computer keyboard. Holding no key when inserting an event selects Level 1, holding [Shift] selects Level 2, holding [Control] selects Level 3 and holding [Control] and [Shift] selects Level 4.

As in Key Edit, Drum Edit features an Info Line where existing events can be updated in terms of their note, velocity and length values (amongst others). Drum Edit also has a controller display, but it differs from Key Edit in that it only shows the Controller data for the currently selected sound (the sound displayed in black). Also new is the 'Solo' button which, as expected, mutes all other sounds other than the currently selected one. Other mute configurations can be set up by clicking directly in the Mute column.

Off With Your Edit!

That's it for Part 2. It's now up to you to experiment until the main editing moves become second nature. To help you out, Figure 4 shows some principal mouse and keyboard moves which are usable in all three Editors. Remember that as well as going from the Arrange Window to any Editor, you can also go directly from one Editor to another, which is often handy for detailed work. In addition, by holding [Alternate] while opening each Editor, several Editors may be opened at the same time and tiled onto the screen. Unfortunately, the other two main Editors of Cubase, Score and Logical Edit, are beyond the scope of this guide, but if you have the time, they are well worth exploring. See you next month!

[For some help on getting the best out of Logical Edit, take a look at Simon's previous series, The Logical Solution, which ran in SOS from March to May this year — Ed].


The features described in this series are those found on the latest Atari version of Cubase Score, but most of what is mentioned is also available on the latest PC and Mac versions. However, please note that there will be superficial variations in the examples given in this series for users of the PC and Mac versions.

* Record
[Enter] Play / Continue
0 or [Spacebar]<font face="arial,helvetica">1st time — Stop,

2nd time — Go to Left Locator,

3rd time — Go to bar 1.1.0</font>

( Rewind
) Fast Forward
1 Go to Left Locator
2 Go to Right Locator
/ Cycle On/Off
+ Increase Tempo
Decrease Tempo
[Control] and O Open
[Control] and S Save
[Control] and Q Quit
[Control] and G List Edit
[Control] and D Drum Edit
[Control] and E Key Edit or Open the Editor corresponding to the current Track type
[Control] and R Score Edit
[Control] and F MIDI Mixer
[Control] and L Logical Edit
[Control] and B Notebook
[Control] and Transpose/Velocity
[Control] and I Open/Close the Inspector
[Control] and M Open/Close the Master Track
[Control] and T Create a new Track
[Control] and P Create a new Part
[Control] and K Repeat
[Control] and X Cut
[Control] and C Copy
[Control] and V Paste
[Alternate] and P Move Locators to start and end points of the selected Part
[Alternate] and N Open name entry box of the currently selected Track
G Horizontal Zoom In
Horizontal Zoom Out
[Shift] and G Vertical Zoom In
[Shift] and Vertical Zoom Out
C Click On/Off
M Master Track On/Off
S Solo On/Off
[Clr/Home] Move Song Pos. Pointer to the Leftmost position of the current window
[Esc] Cancel (or Leave a Dialogue Box)

Onote And Inote: A Commonly Asked Question

What's the point of having an 'INOTE' (Input) and an 'ONOTE' (Output) column in Drum Edit? The idea is to facilitate the user's quick selection of drum and percussion sources while maintaining the kit in a standard position on the keyboard. In other words, if you are used to having your bass drum on C1 (note 36) but the bass drum in the target unit is on C2 (note 48), then you could set your 'INOTE' column to C1 (36) and your 'ONOTE' column to D2 (48). It makes things clearer to view the 'INOTE' column as a representation of where you are playing the sounds on the keyboard, and the 'ONOTE' column as a representation of where the sounds are found in the target unit. The note positions in the 'ONOTE' column could be literally anywhere in the MIDI range, and by keeping the 'INOTE' column notes static, you can avoid some of the complex mapping and transposition problems often associated with building a MIDI kit.

For example, imagine you have set up a map to play your Roland TR808 drum machine, but later decide that you want to replace the snare with a sampled sound on your Akai S1000. All you need to do is change the appropriate snare sound 'ONOTE' column to the position of the replacement sound, and the MIDI Channel column to that of the S1000. Any music you have already programmed will begin playing the new sound immediately, and no more awkward rearranging and transposition is necessary. The features are also excellent for quickly seeking and trying out alternative sounds for any drum or percussion setup. As time goes on, you will probably end up with a number of Drum Maps specifically tailored to the units in your system.

Don't Panic!

If you're a newcomer to the world not only of Cubase, but also MIDI in general, and you find some of the terminology in this article a bit baffling, check out Paul White's series on MIDI Basics, which started in SOS August 1995 and continues on page 82 of this month's issue.

Tighten Up: Quantisation

Quantisation is a form of timing correction and exists in Cubase in various forms in the Functions Menu. Selecting 'Over Quantise' (or 'Q' on the Typewriter Keyboard) will hard‑shift all notes to the nearest fraction of a beat, as set in the Quantise box above the Arrangement display. For example, if you selected 16 in the Quantise box, 'Over Quantise' will shift each note in the part onto the nearest 1/16 division of the bar. If you need a Quantise with more feel, try 'Iterative Quantise' ('E' on the Typewriter Keyboard). This shifts notes towards the nearest chosen beat, according to a 'strength percentage', which can be set in 'Edit Quantise'. 'Iterative Quantise' essentially tightens up Parts that were loosely played, but retains the feel of the playing. You will notice that there are several other Quantise items in the Functions menu, but we'll be looking at these in a later part of the series.