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Studio One: Music Editor Tricks

PreSonus Studio One Tips & Techniques By Robin Vincent

In the Music Editor, note velocity is represented by the vertical bars at the bottom of the piano roll.In the Music Editor, note velocity is represented by the vertical bars at the bottom of the piano roll.

Studio One's Music Editor is more than just a piano roll.

This month I'm going to take a look at the humble piano-roll editor, one of the longest-serving computer-based MIDI tools and perhaps the least celebrated. In Studio One, it goes under the name of the Music Editor. I'll highlight some of the tools and functions that make this an awesome place to compose and edit your music, and along the way we might hit upon something you haven't seen before.

First, a quick explanation. The basic premise is that any MIDI notes that you've recorded into a track can be displayed on a grid that represents time going from left to right, with pitch on the vertical axis. This vertical axis isn't just labelled with note names: it shows a piano keyboard displayed on its side. As it plays, it looks like a paper roll from a player piano, hence 'piano roll'. It's a remarkably useful alternative to a written score, and can convey similar information plus more besides.

The beauty of having this data on a computer is that it can be edited. Notes can be altered in pitch, time and length, and new ones added on-screen with the stroke of a mouse. So, let's see what's in Studio One's Music Editor toolbox...

Tool's Gold

The Arrow tool is your starting point: it lets you select notes and move them about. Click and drag a single note to change its position in time or pitch, or draw a box around some notes to use commands such as copy, cut and paste, and drag them about as with a single note. A shortcut to the copy/paste action is to hold the Alt key (Mac: Opt), drag out a duplicate of the currently selected notes, and drop them where you want.

As you place the Arrow at the front or back of a note the pointer changes to the Sizing tool, and you can click and drag to extend a note either backwards or forward in time. Perhaps a lesser-know Sizing option is the ability to automatically resize adjacent notes so that you don't overlap them and they maintain their closeness. For this to work, the notes must be...

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Published August 2020