Working with Midi

alekz49 edited this page Oct 11, 2011 · 6 revisions

OOM, unlike many other programs, has a multi-part Performer framework. Users can open multiple parts in one instance of the Performer, compared to many commercial and opensource DAWs that require you to open a separate PianoRoll or matrix style instance for each part, or equivalent of a part. We've taken this a big step further, and built tools that enable the user to work entirely in the Performer, without referring to the Composer at all. The pianoroll interface has been around for quite some time now, and many users "read" pianoroll as easily, for example, as they read notation. We've concentrated on making it as easy as possible to work this way.

The Performer has, in harmony with the powerful patch sequencer, an essential tool called the TrackList. This feature is a list of your tracks, and parts, in an easy to see and use format, that enables you to build any profile of tracks and parts you want to work with in the Performer, in any combination, at any time. You can find the Tracklist in the Performer Orchestra Pit, as a tab. The Tracklist contains every midi track you've added to your project, and if parts are already added to tracks, will list them as well. At the bottom of the Tracklist is a checkbox called Working View. Like the working view in the Composer, when checked, it only shows those tracks which have existing parts, so if you're working, for example, in 6 tracks, then when the Working View box is checked, you'll only see 6 tracks, and the parts listed for each track. Uncheck the box to view all your existing midi tracks.

For more detailed information, where appropriate, links are provided to specific wiki pages.

This page contains the following sections:

  • Instrument Sets
  • Tempo and Key Signature
  • Recording and editing Midi in the Composer
  • Recording and editing Midi in the Performer
  • Grid and Snap Values
  • Controller Lanes
  • Punch Loop Marker
  • Epic Recording and Editing
  • Midi Import and Export
  • List Editor

Instrument Sets

Instrument Sets have a wiki page of their own:

Instrument Sets

Tempo and Key Signature

To set Tempo and Key Signature values for your project, see the wiki page

Tempo and Key Signature

Recording and editing Midi in the Composer

For every midi and audio track in OOM, there's a common requirement. The track must be record-armed before it will accept any input.

Once a track is record armed, the user can input midi data either live, in both the Composer and Performer and input as you go while playback is running, or by step-input in the Performer.

The record live process is fairly simple. The track is record armed, the user presses the Record button in the global transport toolbar, or the toolbar icon set, and then presses Space to commence recording. Once the desired recording is done, the user presses Space again, to stop recording. The global record will then disarm. A part will appear in the track, containing the mid data you've recorded. To delete a recording, highlight the part and press delete, or press the shortcut CTRL + Z to "undo" the recording.

Recording starts from the current position of the playback cursor.

Direct midi editing in the Composer is limited to removing the part, and recording again. More sophisticated midi editing takes place in the Performer, where we've built a comprehensive set of midi editing tools.

Recording and editing Midi in the Performer

Like the Composer record live process described above, recording in the Performer is the same. The Performer Transport toolbar shows the same icons, including the Metronome, which can be toggled on and off using the icon, or by using the global toggle shortcut C.

Where editing in the Composer is limited to fast midi input, and part deletion as an "edit", as is its design, the Performer is luxuriously appointed as a professional midi editor's workplace, replete with a wealth of tools to do the job, in an efficient and comprehensive workflow.

In OOM, you can open the Performer from one single part added to a new empty project, and then build an entire project from inside the Performer, without having to go back to the Composer, if you don't want to. The Performer, once opened, is completely self-contained.

Highlight the part in the Composer and press Enter. The Performer will open, with the part visible, and you can commence live recording from there.

This is the simplest Performer record live method.

User Tip. Working entirely in the Performer is appealing as a workflow process, and if you want to open a project, and do away with the manual step of creating a part to get the Performer open, and work in it fulltime, then create an empty part somewhere in your template, highlight it, and save the template. Next time you open it and press *Enter*, you can step right into the Performer, without waiting.

We've taken this one step further however, and enabled live recording directly inside the Performer, when it's already open with another part, even if the track and track position you want to record at doesn't yet have a part to "record midi data into".

With the Performer already open, select and check the track you want to record into, and rightclick. In the track menu, select add part and select. This will create a new part for the track, from inside the Performer, at the current playback cursor position. Select the newly created part in the tracklist, and check the entry in the checkbox. The new empty part will be visible in the canvas, with the size of the part determined by 2 thick vertical lines indicating the start, and end, of the part.

Don't worry if you think the part will be too short for your intended recording, as the part will automatically re-size to accommodate the recording, until you press stop, and cease recording.

Recording by Step Input

Step Inputting For any serious midi user's toolbox, Step Inputting is an essential addition. When confronted with a phrase you wish to write that is beyond effective or physical input from a midi keyboard when live recording, Step Inputting takes over, and enables you the chance to bring any phrase or complex set of notes to life.

Press the Step Input toggle button (shortcut is CTRL + F8 ) to enable it, and then set your grid size with the numerical keys, 1-7, either above the qwerty keys, or on the numpad.

Notes are entered at the playback cursor, and when you enter a note, the playback cursor will advance to the end of the newly entered note, ready for the next entry.

To insert a space or "rest", that will move the playback cursor one current grid size forward without inserting a note, use the + key on the numpad.

Using the grid size integers to determine the length of the note about to be inputted, the user can, with a little practice, enter notes at speed, and quickly build up a song, entirely within the Performer, using step input note entry, and manipulate CC data in the controller lanes to make that masterpiece sound more real.

There's no chord step input function in OOM at the moment. We're aware of the importance...

Editing existing midi events

Once you've added midi events, you can edit and remove them, or move them, directly in the Performer canvas, either with the mouse, or using shortcuts.

Select a note, using the mouse, or the Left and Right arrows on your qwerty. The shortcuts will select the note, left or right, nearest to the playback cursor. You can continue to navigate notes using the same keys, and highlight each note in turn, left or right.

If you wish to select multiple notes at once using shortcuts, then press SHIFT, and hold it down, then use the arrows to add notes to the selection. If you add one too many, let got of SHIFT, and press the arrow key again, in the direction you were going to "release" the selected notes, then repeat the multiple note section process.

Velocity. Using the Up and Down arrows, you can increase or decrease the velocity of the selected note. This also applies to multiple selected notes.

Quantize Quantize has its own wiki page, which can be found here:


Note that Quantize is applied to all notes in a part, whether they're selected or not.

Moving notes. You can move notes with the mouse by clicking and holding the note, (or marquee multiple notes), then moving it where you want, or by using the following shortcuts:

  • Alt + Left/Right arrows. These action will move the selected note, or notes, left or right by 1 grid cell.
  • Alt +Up/Down arrows These actions will move the selected note, or notes, up and down by 1 grid cell.
  • SHIFT + Up arrow. This action will move the selected note, or notes, up 1 octave.
  • SHIFT + Down arrow. This action will move the selected note, or notes, down 1 octave.

Re-sizing notes You can re-size a selected note, or notes, by click dragging with the mouse, or by using the following shortcuts:

  • CTRL + Alt + Left arrow This action will reduce the length of the note by 1 grid cell.
  • CTRL + Alt + Right arrow This action will increase the length of the note by 1 grid cell.

If you wish to re-size notes a "little" bit, then select a finer grid size, and use the above commands.

The Conductor

As well as inputting notes at speed, you can also input program changes quickly, using The Conductor. For a more detailed explanation, go to the wiki page:

The Conductor

Note. The descriptions above relate to a single part with notes. In OOM, you can also edit notes in the same way across multiple parts that are visible in the canvas, using the Epic Pointer and Epic Pencil, from the Epic toolbar. For more about the Epic tools, go to the the section further down on this page, called *Epic Recording and Editing*.

Grid and Snap Values

Grid and snap values in the Performer are set with the number keys on your qwerty, with additional keys to set, in notational terms, triplets and dotted note values.

In the Performer, the grid values are as follows:

  • 1 = 1 bar (1/1)
  • 2 = minim, or Half note (1/2)
  • 3 = crotchet, or Quarter note (1/4)
  • 4 = quaver, or Eighth note (1/8)
  • 5 = semiquaver, or Sixteenth note (1/16)
  • 6 = demisemiquaver, or Thirtysecond note (1/32)
  • 7 = hemidemisemiquaver, or Sixtyfourth note (1/64)

The shortcut T applies a triplet value, and matches the values above, so when the grid value is set to 4, and T is pressed, there will be 3 (1/8) notes, where you would normally have 2.

The shortcut , when pressed, increases any grid value by half again, so it is 1 and 1/2 times the grid value. If you press 2 as the grid setting, you will get 2 and a 1/2.

The Utilities window is in clear view on the left of the screen, and any values you set are constantly displayed. Both T and , are toggles, so you'll need to manually turn them off if you wish to return to normal grid values, and display in the canvas.

Controller Lanes

Any Controller (CC) can be displayed as a lane in the Performer. The OOM defaults are Volume, Velocity, and Modulation, and these will appear each time you open the Performer. In our experience, these are the lanes used frequently, and the process of adding them to each Performer instance is time consuming. You can add additional lanes, by going to the lane ctrl Icon, and pressing it. It will add a new lane, which is Velocity by default. Press the + icon, and a list of Controllers you configured in the instrument set for the track will appear. Select the one you want, and the lane will change to that CC. To delete the lane from view, press the x icon for the selected lane.

Note. If you've drawn events in a lane, then remove it, the events still exist, even though the lane is no longer in view.

There are 2 tools you can use in the CC lanes to draw events, which are the pointer (shortcut D ), and the line tool. (shortcut F )

The pencil tool will draw events at a frequency determined by the grid value for the canvas, so for example, if you've pressed 3 on your numpad, which is crotchets, or quarter notes, then there will be 4 events per bar drawn in the lane. You can change the grid to something finer, like 6, and draw smooth lines and curves in the lane. (7 is the finest setting)

The Line tool does as the name implies, which is draw lines of events, or can be used to edit existing events. Select the point you wish to start the line, and left click your mouse. Then select the point you wish to finish the line and click again. A straight line of events will appear, and any existing events will be adjusted to the line position.

The number of events that are drawn with either the Pencil or Line tools, is determined by the grid value.

Punch Loop Marker

In the same way you can record audio in a specified range, using punch in and out indicators, you can also record Midi.

Set the indicators to specify the timeline region you want to record in, then follow the record live process. Midi will only be recorded in the range you've set.

To learn more about punch in and out and its functions, see the wiki page

Punch Loop Marker

Epic Recording and Editing

Epic Recording

It is possible in OOM to synchronize recording across multiple tracks in one pass. The user can do this manually, arming multiple tracks, then pressing play, but we've also built a feature called Epic Recording to take this to the next level.

To use Epic Recording, the user creates a custom view, comprising multiple tracks, with additional settings for defining patches and transposing certain tracks in the custom view.

The definition of OOM's powerful Epic Recording feature could be considered as:

The user can play in one line, phrase, or chords, in a single recording event, and have that line automatically recorded into multiple tracks, complete with transposition where desired, in a single pass.

For more detailed information about building an Epic view, see the wiki page:

Track Views

When an Epic view is created, the user treats the view as one track, and commences recording into all the tracks in the view at once. Simply open the view, and all tracks in the view will appear, already record armed, and ready for input. In addition to this, tracks within an Epic view can be transposed as required, so for example, the user could build a Horns and Trombones Epic view with instruments in unison, and another Epic view with trombones transposed an octave below the horns.

A track can belong in more than one view at once. The user can record normally in multiple tracks in a view, one at a time, then change to an Epic View, and record in the same tracks all at once, complete with correct transposition. A good example of this is Strings. In a normal view you might have 5 strings tracks representing the 5 strings sections in an orchestra. In an Epic View, with the same String sections, your violins might be transposed up the Octave, and the Basses down an octave. you could then create a new Epic view combining Violas and Horns, where this Epic view would enable 1 pass recording for these 2 instrument types.

Once you've recorded something for an Epic View, in the Performer, and stopped recording, you can record arm enable all tracks again, using the Epic Global Record icon in the Global Toolbar, and create another epic recording using the same tracks.

The Global Record function enables record-arm for all tracks currently visible in the Performer canvas.

Epic Editing

The Epic functions can also be put to good use editing across multiple parts in the Performer canvas.

When the Epic multipart icon is pressed, multiple selected parts are visible in the canvas, with the selected part in full colour, and unselected parts in a shaded, or more transparent version of their own colour.

Note.Epic Multiparts will show all track/parts for tracks selected (checked) in the tracklist. Please ensure you've only checked the tracks, and their parts, that you want to Epic edit.

Using the Epic Pointer, you can select, and move notes on all parts at once.

Using the Epic Pencil, you can draw in notes on all visible parts at once.

In the gif above we've used the epic pencil to draw a note that is unison for violins and violas, which is done once, across all 3 parts. The gif shows the note being drawn, then the 3 parts, each with a new note.

Epic drawing works in the canvas, and does not apply in the CC lanes.

The parts don't have to be aligned when you Epic draw. The gif shows the 1st-violins (red) with a note at its part end, but the 2nd-violins, and violas are not in view, as those parts continue on.

The final frame of the gif shows the multipart icon being clicked off, and just one part visible. Any part that's checked in the Tracklist will show it's part in the canvas when mutipart is on.

To delete notes in all the parts at once, select them with the Epic pointer, and press delete.

Note. For the modern day film composer interested in emulating or defining instrument blending, and multiple section chordal work, OOM's exclusive Epic Recording feature enables fast, multiple track input recording of complementary harmonies, and phrases. Much of today's "Epic" and film trailer composition is based on sections as instruments, with block Strings, block Brass, and so on. Strings and Choirs, Horns and Trombones, any combination you want to create is possible with OOM's Epic Recording.

Truly, erm.......Epic.

Midi Import and Export

Midi import and export opens a dialog to set the parameters for the import, or export. Midi Import/Export can be as a single file, with all tracks in the midifile as one track, or split the midifile's individual tracks into separate OOM parts.

The export panel contains functions the user will use to export a midifile, as either individual midi files, 1 per track, or a combined midifile, with all tracks exported as one midifile. Extras parameters can be seen in the pic above, including a text box for Copyright, and drop down menus for midifile type, and division setting.

List Editor

The List Editor is a text based view of all the midi events for a selected part, in time sequence. from the earliest time midi event down to the last.

Events can be added, edited and removed in the List Editor as they can in the Performer. To edit Controller based events, double click on the entry, and a new dialog will open:

You can edit any data for the event, and set new parameters, including a different start point in the timeline. Be sure to press OK before closing the dialog, if you wish to save any changes, or Cancel to ignore any changes.

Work in progress....