Get started with the Piano Roll Editor

The Piano Roll Editor shows the notes in MIDI regions on a software instrument track as colored bars in a time grid. On the grid, a note’s horizontal position indicates where the note starts playing, while its vertical position indicates its pitch. A keyboard graphic along the left edge of the Piano Roll Editor provides an easy guide to the pitches of notes.

Figure. The Piano Roll Editor showing a MIDI region with note events.

On the left are controls for quantizing the timing and pitch of MIDI notes, and editing their velocity. Along the top of the Piano Roll Editor, a ruler shows time divisions, based on the time format chosen in the LCD. The header shows the name of the selected region, or the number of regions (if more than one is selected), as well as the pitch and position of the pointer in the region.

Open the Piano Roll Editor

  • Select a software instrument (or external MIDI instrument) track, then click the Editors button .

Add a note

  • Select the Pencil tool from the Tool menu, then click a position in the Piano Roll Editor background.

    Figure. The Tool menu in the Piano Roll Editor, with the Pencil tool selected.

Note: You can change the note length as you add a note, by holding down the mouse button and dragging left or right.

Select a group of notes

  • Drag over the keys on the keyboard graphic for the notes you want to select.

Move notes

  • Select one or more notes, then drag left or right.

Copy notes

  • Hold down Option while dragging notes to a new position.

    Figure. Option-dragging a note to copy it in the Piano Roll Editor. The Help tag shows the notes position and pitch.

Resize notes

  • Position the pointer over the left or right edge of a note, then drag when the pointer changes to a length change icon.

    Figure. Dragging the lower-right edge of a MIDI note in the Piano Roll Editor. The Help tag shows the note length.

    While you drag, a help tag shows the precise end point and length of the note.

Tip: It might sometimes be difficult to grab the corner of very short notes. You can use the Finger tool, which allows you to grab notes anywhere to alter their length, or zoom in for a closer view.

Change the pitch of notes

  • Drag notes up or down to a new pitch.

Edit the velocity of notes

Do one of the following:

  • Select one or more notes, then drag the Velocity slider left or right.

  • Drag a note vertically with the Velocity tool.

    Figure. Editing the velocity of a MIDI note in the Piano Roll using the Velocity tool. The Help tag shows the Velocity value.

A help tag indicates the velocity value of the note you clicked, with the value changing as you drag. The color of the note event changes and the horizontal line inside the event either lengthens or shortens.

For more information about working in the Piano Roll Editor, see Piano Roll Editor overview.