Piano Rolls

How to use the Piano Roll.

Piano Rolls

This is a Piano Roll sequencer and is found in many instruments. For each MIDI note played on the keyboard it records when it was pressed, the velocity of that key press and when it was released. MIDI notes go up the y axis and time goes along the x axis.

There is a control strip across the top, the piano roll with its notes below this and their velocities at the bottom.

  1. Edit Menu - Common editing commands can be found in this menu.
    • Copy - copies the currently selected notes to the clipboard.
    • Paste - pastes the contents of the clipboard to the start of the Paste Marker.
    • Select All - Selected all the notes.
    • Quantise - Quantise the selected notes to the current step size.
    • Delete - Delete all the selected notes.
    • Fit to Window - Fit the entire sequence into the window.
    • Full Screen - Changes the Piano Roll to Full Screen mode.

  2. Snap to Grid - Snaps notes to the step size when moved.
  3. Record - Records the instrument keyboard or the MIDI In data to the piano roll. (The studio must be playing for this to work)
  4. [|<] - Moves the song position to the same place as the Paste Marker.
  5. Vertical zoom in & out - Zooms in or out on the vertical note axis.
  6. Paste marker - The start marker for pasting the clipboard.
  7. Selection tool - You can edit the piano roll with the following mouse and keyboard commands.
    • Single click on a note - Selects that note.
    • Single click in an empty space - Deselects all notes and moves the Paste Marker to this location.
    • Double click in an empty space - Adds a note.
    • Click & Drag on an empty space - Starts a new selection of notes captured within a dragging rectangle. With Alt key or right mouse button - Continues to add to a selection of notes already captured.
    • Click & Drag on selected notes - Moves the notes around the piano roll. Click on note tail - Changes the duration of the notes. With Alt key or right mouse button - Copies and moves notes around the piano roll.
    • Delete key - Deletes all the selected notes.
    • Ctrl A - Selected all the notes.

  8. Horizontal zoom in & out - Zooms in or out of the horizontal time axis.
  9. Speed up / down - a divider of the MIDI clock tempo. Speeds ups or slows down the entire piano roll.
  10. Bars size - the number of steps in a bar. Works as a visual aid for the size of a bar.
  11. Step size - the number of beats in a step. Works as a visual aid for the size of a step. Also used when quantising notes.
  12. Total length - The total duration of the piano roll in beats. For example a short 4x4 bar would be 16.
  13. Velocity - The velocity of each note can be adjusted in this narrow window along the bottom of the tab. If notes are selected then their velocities are highlighted in yellow and they can be modified simultaneously.

MIDI Files

You can drag and drop MIDI files into a Piano Roll. You will then be offered a list of channels that you can import. Once chosen any Note On or Note Off events will be added to the Piano Roll. You may need to change the Total length if it is a long piece of music.