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miércoles, 11 de junio de 2008

FL Studio Tutorial: The Basics Part III - Understanding and Using the Piano Roll


This tutorial will teach you how to use the Fruity Loop piano roll

Now that you know how to make a basic drum beat, you need to learn how to make melodies.

The piano roll shows you which notes are playing and how long they are playing. You can also view/change the velocity of the notes, the panning, and the volume.

To bring up the piano roll you can either right click a sample in your channel window and click piano roll, or just hit F7.

Piano roll can be used with any sample in the channel window - (it does not have to be a piano as the name might imply.)

There are many different methods to “making sounds” with the patches or samples

  1. You can connect a midi keyboard and play the notes from there
  2. You can use your computer keyboard to play the notes
  3. And clicking around the piano roll and “drawing” the notes

Recording with a Midi Keyboard or Qwerty Keyboard

To record the sounds you make with a midi keyboard or qwerty keyboard, all you have to do is hit the record button which is at the top right next to the stop button. It is highlighted in red below

Once you hit that, you might get a window showing asking you how you want to record. I usually select “Automation and Score” when I want to record to the piano roll.

The record button should be orange now, and that means that next time you hit play, Fruity Loops will record everything you play into the piano roll for the instrument you selected. If you hit play while you have pattern playback selected, the recording will stop at the end of the pattern - but if you hit play while you have song playback selected you can play indefinitely.

What you record is not permanent - you can always go back and edit what you have in the piano roll. This is explained below

“Drawing” and Editing Patterns

First I will talk about drawing patterns. This technique is extremely easy. First make sure you have the paintbrush or pencil selected. Now all you have to do is click somewhere in the piano roll, and a box will be made. The box represents a note. You can drag it anywhere, and also extend or shorten its length. You can also slice, select specific notes, zoom, playback or select snap settings - these options are all available at the top bar of the piano roll. You should be able to find each of these (if you put your mouse over any of them it will say what it is in the top left of the program) They are highlighted in blue below.


You can change the velocity of each note (how hard it hits/loudness) with the little bars at the bottom, they are highlighted in orange above.

Each line corresponds to a specific note (shortening a bar makes lowers the velocity and lengthening a bar increases velocity.) This can be useful when humanizing your drums, or making ghost hits. You can also use this to make a series of notes fade out.

Also Note: If the right click the area to the left, you can pick what you want the bars to represent. They can also be used to edit attributes such as panning, volume, and pitch.

Cool Piano Roll Features

Here are some interesting things in the piano roll you may not have known. There are definitely more, and I have limited this section to discuss only a few.

Piano Roll Slide

You can make notes slide from one note to another (like a guitar or bass in real life) by using the button highlighted in yellow below:

You have to have that selected, before you make the note to make that note slide.


Fruity Loops has a bunch of preset chords you can choose from. Just hit the upside down triangle button (highlighted in green in the images above), and then go to chord. You will see a list of chords you may choose from. Once you select one (for ex. Major), once you draw a note in the piano roll a chord will show up. If you want to make single notes again you would have to go back to the chord menu and hit “None”.


You can arpegiatte chords automatically with FL Studio as well. Arpegiatte means to play each note of a chord separately, or in sequence. To do this, select a chord (it will be in red once selected), and then hit the tools button (its the wrench left of the pencil tool). You could also just hit Alt + A when the chord has been selected.

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