Use step input recording techniques

Step input allows you to insert MIDI notes when you’re not in a real-time recording mode. You can use step input to create note runs that may be too fast for you to play, or to replicate sheet music that’s too difficult for you to play.

You can use one or more of the following for step input:

  • Musical Typing keyboard

  • Step Input keyboard

  • MIDI keyboard

The Step Input Keyboard is only available when Show Advanced Tools is selected in the Advanced preferences pane.

Insert notes using musical typing

  1. Choose Window > Show Musical Typing.

    The Musical Typing window appears, showing the layout of keys used for playing notes and changing controller information.

  2. Select the software instrument track you want to play.

  3. Play the software instrument using the keys on your computer keyboard. Use the other keys shown in the window to perform the following actions:

    • To move down or up by octaves: Press Y or X.

    • To lower or raise the velocity: Press C or V.

    • To change the modulation (mod wheel) value: Press 4 through 8, or 3 to turn off modulation.

    • To bend the pitch down or up: Press 1 or 2 (the pitch is bent for as long as you press the key).

    • To turn sustain on or off (similar to using a sustain pedal): Press Tab.

Insert notes using the Step Input keyboard

  1. Open the MIDI region in the editor you want to work in.

  2. Move the playhead to the point where you want to insert notes.

  3. Choose Window > Show Step Input Keyboard.

  4. Do one or more of the following:

    • To insert a note of the key’s pitch: Click a key.

    • To set the length of the inserted note: Click the Note Length buttons.

    • To set the velocity of the inserted note: Click the Velocity buttons.

      There are eight velocity values—represented by the traditional volume indicators ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, and fff. These correspond to MIDI velocity values 16, 32, 48, 64, 80, 96, 112, and 127, respectively.

    • To make the next three notes you enter a triplet group: Click the Triplet button.

      The rhythmic value of the triplets is based on the currently selected note value.

    • To insert a pair of complementary notes: Click the Dot button.

    • To lengthen the selected note by the selected note length value: Click the Sustain Inserted Notes button.

    • To correct the timing of the start of the next inserted note to the nearest bar or beat line: Click the Quantize button.

      The positioning of the playhead is critical when you use this option.

    • To choose the MIDI channel of an inserted note: Open the Channel pop-up menu.

      The channel settings of individual notes usually have no effect on the playback channel, and therefore the sound, of the MIDI region. The channel settings of individual notes are mainly used for polyphonic score display.

    • To insert notes of different pitches and lengths: Click the Chord button.

      The notes are “stacked” at the same position, resulting in a chord. The playhead does not advance until the Chord button is clicked again (turned off). Chord mode prevents the playhead from moving after the insertion of a note, allowing you to insert as many notes as you like at the same bar position. Before you insert the last note into the chord, click the Chord button again to turn off Chord mode, and the playhead will advance as usual after a note is inserted.

Insert notes using a MIDI keyboard

  • You do this in much the same way as input via the Step Input keyboard. Instead, you press keys on your real-world MIDI keyboard, rather than clicking onscreen keyboard notes.