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fartheststar

Q: composition editor - midi piano roll step write mouse input?

4 posts in this topic

Hi all,  I have a question about a midi editors for composition and thought I'd post this question here since it may be most applicable to users in this forum.  I've posted a similar question in other places but I think so few people match my situation that they either don't understand what I'm asking or simply don't use software the way I want to.  I'm hoping someone here may work similarly and can give advice/direction.

 

So here's the situation.  I'm primarily a guitarist.  I'm a bad keyboard player.  So when I do compositions in midi I find I often need to edit heavily by clicking in notes and edits with a mouse in piano roll.  I enjoy composing little things this way on a small scale, but as track counts expand I find most DAWS clumsy to work in this way. 

 

Is there a midi composition tool that allows:

1) one big piano roll view, with multiple parts shown on one midi piano roll?  (like green notes being instrument A, blue notes being instrument B, etc).  I'd like this because matching up parts across several separate tracks can be difficult to envision.  I'd like to see them all in one big piano roll if I can.  (I'd like to not have to open up a separate track to see part for instrument A, or click another track and expand it to see part B, etc)  Just one great big view of a keyboard with all the notes arrayed in time - but with different colors (or shapes, or whatever) indicating which instrument is playing which part.

 

2) ability to simply click on a timeline and hear the chord I'm building out in midi?  There was an old software I think called Voyetra Orchestrator that I used ages ago that allowed this.  I could simply drag across the timeline and notes would play as they were encountered.  I wouldn't have to click start/stop/rewind, none-of that - I'd just click do something like right click on the timeline and as I drug my cursor (fast or slow) the music would play as notes were encountered.  This would be great for composition and changing chord voicings, and then click drag again to hear what I just did.  I've more recently been working in Acid, Ableton Live, Tracktion, and a few other tools but can't figure out how to make any of them do this.  I'd love to just be able to click with the mouse on the piano roll and "hear" the chord (or all the notes at that point in time) to make sure it sounds like I want.

 

I realize this isn't going to allow for great sounding performances, but I'm such a terrible keyboard player I'm never going to have that, but for composition I find the step write/piano roll / click things in w/ a mouse method to be fun - and I generally don't even know what I'm doing except for "that note sounds pretty cool there" and I have to stop and look at all the notes sometimes to understand what chord or combination of notes I'm even using, but I haven't found software that works very well this way (or at least I don't know how to do it if I have).  I don't really want to do this on a musical staff - I'd much prefer piano roll if possible.

 

If anybody works this way - I'd appreciate any pointers.  If Acid, Ableton, or Tracktion will do it maybe I just need to dig deeper - but I can't figure out how to do #1 or #2 on any of them. 

 

thanks in advance for any replies.  appreciated.

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#1 (partially) and #2 are covered by FLStudio's very powerful Piano Roll. The feature you want is called (by the makers of FL no less) 'Ghost Notes'.

 

When you're placing notes on your piano roll, you can toggle the ghost note feature (either from the menu or with ALT+V) and see transparent notes in your piano roll that belong to the other instruments of the same 'pattern' (FL's way of structuring music - you can compose an entire piece in a single pattern or use several). That's #1 for you - it's partially covered because all ghost notes are the same 'transparent gray' tone, so you can't tell which instruments the notes belongs to, but rest assured it displays all notes of all instruments for that pattern (i.e this could mean an entire orchestral palette).

 

If you use the 'Playback' (scrub) tool, you'll be able to audition all notes in a vertical line (yes, including all ghost ones). So with all instruments playing their piano roll notes as you slide the mouse, that's #2 covered.

The cool thing is, if you double right-click a ghost note, you start editing that instrument's notes (and the notes of the instrument you were previously editing become ghosted).

 

Look at number 2 and number 15 in this diagram: http://www.image-line.com/support/FLHelp/html/pianoroll.htm

 

The great thing is that you don't need to ditch your Ableton. You can get the most basic version of FL ("Fruity"), which includes this piano roll, and it can be used in host software like Ableton through ReWire: https://www.ableton.com/en/pages/rewire/fruityloops_studio_6/

 

Further reading:

http://www.image-line.com/documents/editions.html

https://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=169668

Edited by Kryzon
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#1 (partially) and #2 are covered by FLStudio's very powerful Piano Roll. The feature you want is called (by the makers of FL no less) 'Ghost Notes'.

 

Kryzon,  thanks for your comment and explanation.  It sounds like FL is may be the way to go for this type of functionality.  I honestly hate the thought of dealing with yet another DAW - I find it hard to even keep track of what I have now - but it sounds like this is almost exactly what I'm looking for.  I will definitely have to check it out - especially if the basic version has the features.

 

thank you again for responding. it is appreciated.  sounds like it could make midi composition fun again!

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I'm primarily a guitarist.

 

I worked with a guitarist that had MIDI pick ups set up on his guitar. He said it wasn't perfect but since he wasn't a pianist, it worked much better and faster for him. Just a thought. I also have an guitar with MIDI ports. Here's a video of the one I have: 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbQjy20zDvg

Edited by nsmadsen
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I worked with a guitarist that had MIDI pick ups set up on his guitar. He said it wasn't perfect but since he wasn't a pianist, it worked much better and faster for him. Just a thought. I also have an guitar with MIDI ports.

 

I have a You Rock guitar and if I concentrate it's actually pretty good for midi input.  It's not fun like playing a regular guitar - really have to concentrate - but it's way better than my keyboarding skills.   The people that use the midi guitars like the You Rock or the Yamaha in the demos make them look easier to play than they are imho.  It's a different animal to learn to play. 

 

My problem up to now has been a midi software that I can get anything useful done in that doesn't grind me down.  I'm a little technologically challenged - alot of the tech and software baffles me.   I don't understand why some of this stuff is so hard to learn to use / or get to work as it should.

Edited by fartheststar
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