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Recording MIDI clips

MIDI clips are recorded in the same way as audio clips.

  • Turn on the metronome to keep you in time, make sure the track is armed, then click the record button in one of the empty clip slots and use the keyboard or your MIDI controller to play a melody or chord sequence.
  • When you are finished, click the track stop button.
  • Click the launch button on your new clip to hear the recording.
  • It may need some editing, so stop playback then double click the clip to see its contents in Clip View at the bottom of the screen. The red and pink bars represent MIDI notes in the clip, with pitch on the vertical axis of the grid and rhythm, or time, on the horizontal axis. So the higher up you go on the grid, the higher the note, and the longer the red bar, the longer the note will be held. The same goes for the silences, or rests, between notes.
  • Each vertical step in the grid represents a semitone, while each horizontal division represents a rhythmic division whose value is specified by the user, but we won’t be dealing with that just yet.
  • The velocity, or volume, of the note is indicated by its colour. Darker notes are louder, and lighter notes are softer.
  • Turn on cue listening for notes by clicking the headphone symbol above the grid so it’s lit up blue, then whenever you click on an existing note it will be sounded.

Editing your performance

  • If you made any mistakes while you were recording you can correct them by dragging the middle of the note vertically to correct the pitch or horizontally to correct the timing.
  • Notes can also be shortened or lengthened by moving the mouse over the start or end of the note so that the cursor changes to the Resize symbol, then dragging the note start and end points.

Notes can also be drawn directly onto the grid without the need to record them in real time.

  • Turn on draw mode by clicking the pencil symbol at the top of the screen (or by hitting command B on a Mac, Control B on a PC) then click to place notes on the grid.
  • Clicking an existing note with the pencil tool removes it.
  • Alternatively, to place a note when draw mode is turned off, simply double click in the grid. Again, double clicking existing notes deletes them.
  • Above the grid is the timeline which displays the bar numbers, with the beat numbers shown with a decimal point after the bar number, and smaller rhythmic divisions shown with further decimal points after the beat number.
  • Clicking and dragging up and down over a beat or bar number zooms in and out on the clip view, allowing you to see further rhythmic divisions on the grid.
  • Just beneath the timeline are the clip and loop start and end markers. The clip start and end markers determine where the clip begins and ends, while the loop markers determine what portion of the clip, if any, will be looped.
  • If the loop button to the left of the note grid is lit yellow, loop mode will be engaged, meaning that whatever lies between the loop markers will be looped indefinitely until the user hits the stop button.
  • Usually, when you record a clip there will be a count-in period at the start, before you began playing notes, and a period at the end between when you finished playing and when you hit the stop button. You can use the clip and loop markers to crop the parts of the clip you don’t need, so that the notes begin to play back as soon as the clip is launched.

Adding a Bassline

We’re going to add a bassline to play under the synth lead.

  • In the device browser go to Instruments/Analog/Synth Bass/Analog Squeeze. Drag the preset onto the “Drop Files and Devices Here” space. A new MIDI track will be created for your bass synth.
  • Record a bassline into a clip slot on the new track in the same way as we’ve done before, ensuring the Track Arm button is lit red, clicking record in an empty clip slot, playing the MIDI notes and hitting Stop when you’re done.
  • Double click the new clip to see its contents and tighten up the loop start and end markers if necessary.

Working with Scenes

Each clip has its own launch button so that different clips can be played independently of each other. However, if you want to launch more than one clip at the same time, hitting their individual launch buttons that quickly could be tricky, so we get around this problem by using Scenes.

  • Each horizontal row in the session view constitutes a scene, with a scene number and scene launch button in the master column on the right hand side.
  • Pressing the scene launch button launches every clip in that row simultaneously.
  • If you need to move a clip to a different scene, or even to a different track, you can grab the middle of the clip and drag it wherever it needs to be. Note that MIDI clips cannot be placed on Audio tracks, and likewise that audio clips can not be placed on MIDI tracks.
  • Make sure your clips are in the same scene then hit the scene launch button to hear how they sound together.
  • Try playing and stopping them with their launch buttons and track stop buttons. If you stop one track, the others will continue to play until you hit their stop buttons. However, if you want to stop every clip simultaneously, press the master stop button in the master column.
  • You can also try using the pan pots and volume faders on each track to balance the instruments with each other.