In Part I of this article, guest contributor David Mood explained the Audio Editor and its most important features; now let’s have a look at the Music Editor in Studio One.
The Music Editor is used to edit or create notes and other musical-performance data on Instrument Tracks. In many other DAWs, this would be called the MIDI Editor; but Studio One does not use MIDI data internally (to avoid some of the limitations of the MIDI protocol); hence the different name.
You can access the Music Editor in exactly the same way as the Audio Editor: by selecting an Event and clicking on the Edit button, pressing [F2], or simply double-clicking on any Event on an Instrument Track. The latter method provides the advantage of the Music Editor automatically opening zoomed in horizontally and vertically on all the notes in that Event.
In the same way as the Audio Editor, the Music Editor can also be detached from the Arrange view, enabling us to place it on another monitor or maximize it to full-screen.
If you've ever worked in a DAW with any kind of MIDI editor, the Music Editor in Studio One will surely look familiar to you. We have the piano roll on the left and the notes represented by horizontal bars placed on white or grey lines - which stand for the white and black keys of a piano respectively. The notes can be moved up or down to change their pitch and left or right to change their timing – you can also select multiple notes to change their pitch and/or timing at once.
The color of the notes mirrors the color of the Instrument Track in the Arrange view - while selected notes are always displayed in orange.
Here is a useful tip which I think you will use a lot (I certainly do!): To select all notes of just a specific pitch, hold down Ctrl/Cmd and click on the desired pitch in the piano roll.
Below the Piano Roll is a lane for editing Velocity, Modulation, Pitch Bend and many other types of musical data – we will cover these in a separate article.
Now let’s have a look at the tools we have at our disposal in the Music Editor.
The Arrow Tool is certainly the one you will use the most. With it selected, you can click anywhere on a note and drag it up, down, left or right. If you move the mouse to the edges of the note, you can resize its beginning and end – you can also resize several notes at once if you have more than one selected.
Holding down Alt/Opt while dragging a note copies the note instead of moving it.
The Split Tool lets you chop up a note into two or more notes. If you hold down Alt/Opt, you can also split the whole Event on the Instrument Track.
The Paint Tool lets you draw in new notes, but also delete existing notes. Clicking once will create a new note, clicking on it again will delete it.
The length of the new note is determined by the Quantize settings at the top of the Music Editor. If you need longer or shorter notes, simply drag the mouse left or right while holding down the left mouse button. If you drag the mouse up or down at the same time, you can change the velocity of the new note immediately. This is a very cool feature, and enables working very rapidly!
The Eraser and Mute tool work just as you’d expect and their name implies.
The Listen Tool plays back the Instrument Track from anywhere you click, and soloes it at the same time. This can save a lot of soloing/muting in the Arrange view.
It’s important to note that you can access the Arrow Tool temporarily from any other tool by holding down Ctrl/Cmd. So you can e.g. draw in new notes with the Paint Tool selected, and by holding down Ctrl/Cmd you can quickly move or resize them afterwards, without having to change the tool completely. If you have the Arrow Tool selected, holding down Ctrl/Cmd will give you the Paint Tool temporarily.
These are all very clever and well-thought-out features, which if you embrace and use them, can speed up and lighten your workflow dramatically – which is what Studio One is all about!
Let’s have a look at the left side of the Music Editor.
The narrow button with the two arrows lets you link the Track selection in the Arrange view with the Track selection in the Editor – so that whatever Track you select in Arrange will be selected in the Editor as well.
The button next to it opens the Music Editor’s own Track List.
All Instrument Tracks in your Song will be listed here, so that you can immediately view and edit them without having to close the Editor once.
Studio One also lets you view and/or edit multiple Instrument Tracks at once!
By clicking on the small round buttons on the left of the Track names, you can show or hide the respective Tracks in the Editor; by clicking on the Pencil icon buttons on the right, you can include Tracks for editing.
In the screenshot below, we have selected two Tracks to view and at edit at once:
If you tick the checkbox at “Scale,” newly drawn notes will snap automatically to the scale you select in the drop-down menu below; as will existing notes if you drag them up or down. The notes of the selected scale get highlighted in blue on the piano roll.
The Velocity slider and the Quantize settings below determine the velocity and the length of new notes drawn in with the Paint Tool.
Finally, I would recommend ticking the checkbox “Audition Notes.” This enables you to hear the notes changing as you drag them around in the Editor.