This article includes the following:
- Editing MIDI
- Working with clips on a MIDI track
- Resizing the MIDI track
- Showing MIDI notes
- Selecting MIDI notes
- Cutting, copying, and pasting MIDI notes
- Shift-editing MIDI clips
- Editing MIDI with the Editing Tool
- Transposing MIDI notes
- Quantizing MIDI notes
- Editing MIDI Continuous Controllers
MIDI has some special editing functions because you can work with MIDI both as clips and as individual notes. Clips can be edited, copied and moved as individual objects that contain groups of notes. In Notes view, there are additional note-level selection and editing features.
Working with clips on a MIDI track
The two main editing views on a MIDI (Instrument) track are Clips and Notes.
Note: For clip editing functions (except for making selections), Clips and Notes view behave the same, so Notes view is used for some examples in this section.
Selecting MIDI in Clips view
To select a clip, click near the vertical top or bottom of the clip.
Note: In Notes view, you can only select a MIDI clip from the top of the clip.
To select a range in a MIDI clip, hover your mouse above the vertical middle of the clip. The selection cursor appears. Click and drag to the left or right to make a selection.
Moving MIDI clips
To move a clip, hover at the top of the clip. The move tool appears. Click and drag the clip to a new location. You can drag a clip on the same track, or to another track, if it is the same type (audio or MIDI). If you have Snap enabled, the moved clip snaps to the grid. To move without snapping to the grid, press the Command key while you drag.
When you move a MIDI clip, it can overlap an existing clip. You can see the overlapping area when dragging the clip. The overlapping MIDI area is played, while any underlying notes are not. If you later move the clip again, any underlying clips that exist are revealed.
Trimming MIDI clips
Trim a MIDI clip to either make it smaller or to extend the MIDI clip. This is useful because if you want to add more MIDI notes before or after an existing passage, you must extend the MIDI clip to contain that data. Alternatively, you can shorten a MIDI clip to hide notes at the beginning or end of a clip. Those notes are still available if you later trim the MIDI clip out to show them.
To trim a MIDI clip:
- Hover near the bottom at the start or end of a MIDI clip. The Trim Editing Tool appears.
- Click and drag to shorten or lengthen the MIDI clip.
MIDI clip showing Trim Editing Tool
MIDI clip extended with Trim Editing Tool
Resizing the MIDI track
Before you add and edit MIDI notes, or cut, copy or paste MIDI data, you will likely want to resize the MIDI track. There are several ways to do this.
- At the top of the Edit workspace, click the Tracks icon, and choose a new track height size. This resizes all tracks to the new size.
- Drag up or down from the lower edge of the Track controls area to resize the track.This resizes just one track.
- To expand the track to the full available editing space, press the E key.
- To resize the track horizontally, click the plus and minus buttons at the bottom of the Edit workspace (or use the keyboard shortcuts Command+[ to zoom out, and Command+] to zoom in). With a mousewheel or trackpad, you can hold the Option key and scroll to zoom horizontally.
Showing MIDI notes
You can vertically resize the MIDI notes on an Instrument track to make them easier to edit and work with.
To do this, set the Instrument track to MIDI Notes view. On the Instrument track, click where it says Show, and from the View browser, choose Notes. The Show area on the Instrument track indicates that you are in Notes view, and the keyboard and piano roll appear to the right of the track controls.
At the left of the MIDI track is a scroll bar. You can use the scroll bar to move up and down in the piano roll, and to resize the notes in the piano roll vertically.
To resize the MIDI notes on the piano roll:
- Click and drag up or down at the top or bottom of the scroll bar.
- Drag up to make notes smaller vertically.
- Drag down to make notes larger vertically.
- Click Fold at the top of the Notes view keyboard to show only the notes used on the clip, with note names.
- Click Fit at the bottom the Note view keyboard to fit the range of notes on the piano roll to the height of the track.
Selecting MIDI notes
There are several ways to select multiple MIDI notes:
- Click and drag a selection rectangle around the notes (rubber banding).
- Shift+Click on multiple notes. You can select contiguous or non-contiguous notes.
- Click a note on the Notes view keyboard at the left edge of the track to select all instances of that note. This selects all notes on the track, not just in a clip.
- Shift+Click different notes on the Notes view keyboard at the left edge of the track to select all instances of multiple notes.
Select with a selection rectangle
Shift-click to select multiple contiguous or non-contiguous notes
Select from the Notes view keyboard
Cutting, copying, and pasting MIDI notes
Cutting, copying, and pasting MIDI works differently from editing audio, because you can select non-contiguous MIDI notes, and the paste operation respects the structure of the cut or copied data. If you paste in a clip, the MIDI notes are pasted on the timeline outside a MIDI clip, a MIDI clip is created. MIDI notes are selected, cut, copied, and pasted with the same time relationships and durations as the selection. MIDI selections conform to the grid if Snap is enabled.
To cut and paste MIDI notes:
- Select MIDI notes to cut. You can select a range with the Select Editing Tool, draw a selection with the selection rectangle, select contiguous or non-contiguous notes by shift-clicking individual notes, or select specific notes from the Notes View Keyboard.
- Press Command+X or X (if MIDI Keyboard Mode is not enabled) to cut notes. The MIDI notes are removed from the clip and copied to the clipboard.
- Place the playhead at a location in the Timeline or in another MIDI clip and paste the MIDI notes with Command+V or V (if MIDI Keyboard Mode is not enabled).
To copy and paste MIDI notes:
- Select MIDI notes to copy. You can select a range with the Select Editing Tool, draw a selection with the selection rectangle, select contiguous or non-contiguous notes by shift-clicking individual notes, or select specific notes from the Notes View Keyboard.
- Press Command+C or C (if MIDI Keyboard Mode is not enabled) to copy notes. The MIDI notes are copied to the clipboard.
- Place the playhead at a location in the Timeline or in another MIDI clip and paste the MIDI notes with Command+V or V (if MIDI Keyboard Mode is not enabled)
Shift-editing MIDI clips
The shift workflow allows you to edit MIDI and keep your arrangement flowing around your edits. For example, you can cut or paste MIDI, and have the MIDI clips on one or more tracks shift back or forward in time to accommodate the cut or paste.
Note: The Shift-editing workflow works only with a time selection on a clip (for example, a whole clip, or a selection made with the Select Editing Tool). You cannot Shift edit with single notes, rectangular selections, non-contiguous notes, or note selections made with the Notes View Keyboard.
Use Shift+X to cut the selection to the clipboard, and shift all the following MIDI data to fill the space that is removed. You can do this on a single track, multiple selected tracks, or all tracks.
Use Shift+V to paste a selection, and shift all the following MIDI data to accommodate the pasted data. You can do this on a single track, multiple selected tracks, or all tracks.
Use Shift+D to duplicate (copy and paste) the selection, and shift all the following MIDI data to fill the space that is removed. You can do this on a single track, multiple selected tracks, or all tracks.
Use Shift+I to insert space, and shift MIDI data following your selection by the length of the selection. You can do this on a single track, multiple selected tracks, or all tracks.
Shift+Delete deletes the selection, and shifts all the following MIDI data to fill the removed space.
Editing MIDI with the Editing Tool
You can record MIDI from a MIDI controller to an Instrument track, and you can add or edit MIDI notes and controller values with MIDI on an Instrument track manually, using the Editing Tool. Set the Grid settings to specify the default note length. When you add a MIDI note, the default note length is the Grid setting. Notes you add snap to the grid if Snap is enabled.
Adding and Editing MIDI notes on an Instrument track
To work with notes in a MIDI clip or on an Instrument track, click View on the track, and choose Notes in the Browser to set the track to MIDI Notes view.
To add a MIDI note to an Instrument track:
- Hover over a note location. The MIDI Note Editing Tool appears. Double-click on the location where you want to add the note. The note is added.
- To add multiple notes, press Control and click and drag from left to right across the track. The MIDI Pencil Editing Tool appears and draws notes across the track. MIDI notes of the duration determined by the Grid size are added, on the note where you release the click.
To delete a MIDI note, hover over the note. The MIDI Hand Editing Tool appears. Double-click the note to delete it.
To move a MIDI note:
- Hover over the note. The MIDI Hand Editing Tool appears. Click on the note and drag it up or down to change the MIDI note, and left or right to change the time location. As you move the note up and down, the different notes are triggered on the Instrument plug-in. MIDI notes will snap to the grid if Snap is enabled.
To trim a MIDI note:
- Hover near the edge of a MIDI note. The MIDI Trim Editing Tool appears. Click on the left or right edge of the note and drag to trim the note. MIDI note edges will snap to the grid if Snap is enabled. To ignore the Grid when trimming, press Command after you start to trim.
To change the velocity of a MIDI note, do one of the following:
- Press Command and hover over a note. The MIDI Velocity Editing Tool appears. Command+Click on the note and drag up or down to increase or decrease the note velocity. The relative transparency of the note indicates the velocity. Notes become less opaque and more transparent as velocity decreases, and more opaque and less transparent as velocity increases.
- Show the MIDI CC sliders (set to Velocity by default), and click and drag on a velocity stalk to edit velocity for a note. You can click the note to highlight the note’s velocity stalk. If you select multiple notes, Option+Click and drag to edit multiple velocity stalks. Shift-click to select multiple velocity stalks.
To show the MIDI CC track for an Instrument track:
Click the MIDI CC icon at the top of the track, next to the track name.
To edit the velocity of a MIDI note on the velocity track:
Click on the velocity stalk and drag it up or down.
To edit the velocity for multiple MIDI notes:
Select multiple notes on the timeline, or select multiple velocity stalks on the velocity track. Shift-click to select multiple non-contiguous velocity stalks.
Option+Click on a note velocity stalk and drag up or down. All selected note velocities are adjusted relative to each other.
To draw MIDI note velocities:
Press Control on the velocity track. The cursor changes to a pencil.
Draw velocities across the velocity track. Note that if you have made a selection, you can only draw velocities on selected notes.
Transposing MIDI notes
- To transpose one or more selected MIDI notes up one semitone, press ↑.
- To transpose one or more selected MIDI notes down one semitone, press ↓.
- To transpose one or more selected MIDI notes up an octave, press Shift+↑.
- To transpose one or more selected MIDI notes down an octave, press Shift+↓.
Quantizing MIDI notes
You can quantize MIDI notes, selections, or clips to any grid increment, and add swing.
The following parameters are supported.
Quantize notes to the selected Grid setting, from /1 (whole notes, to /64 (64th notes). You can also select Dotted values, Triplet values, or both.
Follow Snap Setting
Quantize notes to the Snap Grid setting.
Shifts every other Grid boundary by the percentage specified, from 0-100. Swing of 0% does not shift notes, while 100% swing shifts 2/3 of the way to the next grid line.
Set the strength at which the quantize settings are applied. At 50%, notes are quantized halfway from their position to the grid. At 100%, notes are fully quantized to the grid.
Auto Apply to adjust the quantize settings and see and hear the results in real time. If Auto Apply is not set, you must click Quantize to see and hear the quantize results.
To quantize MIDI notes:
- Select a MIDI note or notes, or a MIDI clip.
- Press the Q at the top of the track header to open the Quantize panel, or type Shift+Command+U.
- To preview your Quantize choices in real time, select Auto Apply.
- Choose a grid value to which to quantize notes. You can select from 64th notes to whole notes, and dotted or triplet modifiers.
- To follow the Snap grid setting, click Follow Snap Setting.
- To adjust the amount of swing from 0 to 100%, move the Swing slider.
- To adjust quantize strength, move the Strength slider from 0 to 100%.
- Click Quantize to apply your settings.
Editing MIDI Continuous Controllers
You can show MIDI Continuous Controller (CC) lanes and edit automation.
To show MIDI Continuous Controllers, click the MIDI CC button on a MIDI clip.
By default, MIDI CC view shows Velocity and the velocity sliders.
To show a MIDI CC controller lane:
- Click the MIDI CC button on the MIDI clip.
- Click on the Velocity button on the track control area to open the MIDI CC browser. The MIDI CC browser lists all the MIDI CCs.
- Choose a MIDI CC controller. The automation lane for the controller is displayed.
To write automation for a CC, see Automating a MIDI Continuous Controller.