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jueves, 12 de junio de 2008

Piano roll tutorials fl studio tips & tricks


Piano roll This feature is available only in FruityLoops Edition and Producer Edition.

The Piano roll in FL Studio is one of the most powerful available in any software studio. It contains a number of tools that allow complex score manipulations with ease. The Piano roll represents note pitch on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis (it’s the same concept as ye-olde paper ‘ Piano rolls’ used to automate mechanical pianos in the distant past). The resolution of the grid is user-selectable (zoomable,8) and allows the composition of songs with unlimited complexity. The Piano roll is also the place where ‘live’ MIDI playing is recorded for playback and post-editing.

  1. Piano roll Menu and Quick Tool Menu : Quick legato (Ctrl+L); Articulate (Alt+L); Quick quantize (Ctrl+Q); Quantize (Alt+Q); Quick chop (Ctrl+U); Chop (Alt+U); Glue (Ctrl+G); Arpeggiate (Alt+A); Strum (Alt+S); Flam (Alt+F); Limit (Alt+K); Flip (Alt+Y); Randomize (Alt+R); Scale levels (Alt+X), and LFO (Alt+O).
  2. Tools Menu: Draw (P); Paint (B); Erase (D); Cut (C); Select (E); Zoom to selection (Z); Playback (scrub) (Y); Snap Selector.
  3. Target Channel - Change channels without leaving the Piano roll.
  4. Target Control - Selects the data to be displayed in the integrated event editor (9). This can include parameters such as note properties (Panning, Velocity, etc) or automation events.
  5. Slide Toggle (S) - Select this and any note entered will be a slide event, until deselected.
  6. Display Mode (M): Keyboard; Mini Keyboard; Text (Drum Names, Slice names etc.).
  7. Preview Keyboard - Click on the keyboard to preview notes. This does not work when play is active.
  8. Horizontal Zoom - Zoom/Snap resolution may be increased by changing the PPQ settings (F11) in the General Project settings. However, it is usually unnecessary to adjust the PPQ as the default provides adequate resolution for most situations.
  9. Integrated Event Editor - Edit Note Velocity, Pan, Pitch etc and automation events. Select events to edit from the Target Control selector (4).
  10. Color Group Selector - Create note groups for easy independent editing of overlapping notes, color grouped MIDI channels etc.
  11. Slide Event - Create glissando effects. Note: that this feature only works with native FL Studio generators and not VST instruments.
  12. Note Events - Drag, stretch, paint, clone, copy etc (see 'operating with notes' below).
  13. Right-click here - As an alternative way to open the Target Control menu (4).
  14. Resize - Left-click and drag the divider to resize the upper and lower windows. Right-click to return to the original positions.


Notes in Piano roll are displayed as horizontal bars (12) and slides are shown as horizontal bars with a small triangle drawn in the left side (11). You can preview tones by left-clicking the Preview Keyboard keys (7). Pitch is mapped from bottom to top. Horizontal dimension represents time and each number in Piano roll's ruler represents single bar.

The time segments the Piano roll is divided into are set by the window's "snap" parameter (). Selecting "Main" will use the global snap value as defined in the Recording panel instead.

Click channel's name in the title bar to select another channel to display in the Piano roll.

Operating with Notes

FL Studio has one of the most powerful Piano roll note editors available. Combined with the Piano roll menu you will find the possibilities are endless and (after practice) effortless. Please note: that most of the movement and draw commands are constrained by the snap setting . The snap setting determines how the notes will move relative to the grid on which the notes are placed. Note: Holding down the ( Alt) key will temporarily disable the snap setting.

  • Adding Notes - draw mode () allows you to draw, edit and delete notes. The paint mode () is similar, but allows you to draw multiple notes at once while dragging horizontally in the Piano roll. In draw or paint mode, left-click in the Piano roll's grid to draw a note.
  • Selecting/Deselecting groups of notes - You can select several notes, so you can move and resize them all at once. Press and hold ( Ctrl key) and either click a note to select it, or drag a rectangle to select all notes in enclosed area. Hold ( Ctrl+Shift) together while selecting to add notes to the existing selection. Holding ( Ctrl) and left-clicking selects the one note and deselects all the others. ( Ctrl+Shift) deselects individual notes from the existing selection of notes. Deselect all notes - While holding ( Ctrl key), click empty space in Piano roll's grid. Instead of holding ( Ctrl key), you can also switch Piano roll to select mode by clicking the select mode button ().
  • Copy & Paste - Make a selection (see above), hold the ( Shift) button THEN drag selection with the left-mouse button OR ( Ctrl+C), scroll to the new position/pattern and ( Ctrl+V).
  • Selecting time range or pitch range - ( Ctrl+Left-click) or double-click the time ruler (along the top of the Piano roll) and drag along it to select all notes in a specified time range, or ( Ctrl+Left-click) the Preview Keyboard (7) to select a range of notes with the same pitch.
  • Moving notes Select the note/sequence, left-click on the note and drag vertically or horizontally. Note: The snap setting
  • will affect the movement. Alternatively, horizontal note positions can be adjusted by mouse wheel by holding the cursor over a target note in the 'Note event window'.
  • Bumping notes - This allows you to move the note/s by either 'snap' or 'pixel' based units. Snap units: Select the sequence/note and hold the ( Shift key) and use the arrow keys on your keyboard. The snap setting
  • will affect the bump size. Pixel units: Hold the ( Alt) key and use the arrow keys on your keyboard. In this case the zoom setting will affect the bump size.
  • Change note length - Select the note/sequence, left-click on the right side and drag horizontally to change the note length. This can also be performed on a selection of notes. Note: The snap setting will affect the way in which the note changes length. If ( Caps Lock) is on and the note is selected by the left side, resizing notes will anchor the note end point, moving only the start position. If the note is selected by the right side the start point will be anchored.
  • Retime note sequences - Select the sequence, hold ( Shift) and drag the right edge of a note in the selection. This changes both note length and sequence duration.
  • Erase notes - Right-click a note to erase it (you may instead switch to erase mode to erase with left-clicks ()).
  • Quick chords - Draw complete chords in one step. Right-click the draw mode button () and from the menu select a chord type. When you draw in the Piano roll, FL Studio will automatically create a chord. To draw single notes again, right-click the draw mode button and select None (Shift+N).
  • Cut Tool - () allows you to split one or more notes in the manner you wish. To use the cut tool, make sure you're in cut mode (the Cut button is pressed), left-click in the grid area and drag to define the "cut line" direction and length. Release the mouse button to split all notes at their intersection point with the cut line.
  • Playback/Scrub tool - () enables you to preview the current sequence by dragging horizontally in the piano roll (thus enabling you to define the playback speed and order). Alternatively, hold ( Alt) + Right-Mouse button while in draw mode.
  • Tools Menu - () is a shortcut to the Piano roll tools submenu (see the Piano roll menu page, ), containing various commands for operating on patterns in the playlist.
  • Note properties - Note velocity, panning, filter-cutoff etc, are available from the Target control menu (4) and appear in the Integrated Event Editor (9). Note properties can be adjusted by mouse wheel ( Alt+Mouse Wheel) by holding the cursor over a target note in the 'Note event window'.

Piano roll keyboard shotrcuts

Piano roll action
Note: Some keyboard modifiers apply only to Draw mode ().
Alt Bypass snap (very useful when combined with other modifiers)
Alt+A Arpeggiator
Alt+Q Quantize
Alt+B View note helpers
Alt+V Switch ghost channels ON/OFF
Alt+C Change color of selected note/s (to selected color group)
Ctrlt+Q Quick quantize
Ctrl+M Import MIDI file
Ctrl+A Select All
Ctrl+Left-click Select
Ctrl+Shift+Left-click Add to selection
Ctrl+Right-click Zoom on selection/Drag to make zoom selection (zoom on release)
Double Left-click on note Open note properties
Double Right-click (on Piano roll) Popup menu
Left-shift+Left-click (on Piano roll) Add and resize notes (move mouse L/R after click and hold to resize)
Left-shift+Right-click Pan view
Middle mouse button Pan view (hold and drag left/right)
Right-click Delete Slected Note/s
Right-shift+Left-click Slice notes (click above/below note and drag vertical)
Right-shift+Right-click Slice notes & delete smallest part (click above/below note and drag vertical)
Shift+Left-click (on note) Clone (drag while holding note)
Shift(any)+Left-click (on note) Clone (drag while holding note)

Understanding Slides

The following applies only to native FL Studio instruments. To slide a VST instrument you will need to automate the channel pitch knob.

In the Piano roll you can make group of notes slide gradually from one pitch to another. For this purpose, you draw special slide events, which describe for FL Studio how notes should be slid. Slides look exactly as note events, but they have a small white rectangle drawn in their left side (11). To draw slides, click the slide toggle button (5). Then you can click it again to draw note events. Note that slides do NOT produce a sound themselves (although they preview when created/moved). Instead they make existing notes slide. When you draw a slide event, FL Studio will start sliding existing notes towards pitch where the slide is positioned. If several notes are slid simultaneously, the topmost is taken as a reference for the pitch offset (see picture below). At the end of the slide event, all notes are slid, so the topmost note has the pitch of the slide event. After the slide event ends, notes still remain offset from their original pitch.

This image shows how pitch changes with the slide event.

Note that the slide events have all usual properties of a note - velocity (note volume), panning, cutoff and resonance, so during pitch sliding, it also "slides" all properties from those of the playing notes to those of the slide.

Color Groups (Slides, MIDI, Editing)

You can draw notes and slides in 16 color shades based on green, cyan, pink and yellow. To select the note/slide color, click the appropriate button on the color group selector (10).

The color does not affect sound, it is used for independent processing of notes in the Piano roll, these include:
  • Sliding - Slides will apply only to notes of the same color as the slide event. For example, yellow slide will bend the pitch of yellow notes, but will ignore green notes. This way you can have up to 16 notes sliding simultaneously in different directions.

    Slide color groups are also used with the Mono mode in the polyphony settings (see Miscellaneous Channel Settings). Mono mode applies to each color group separately. So using all four colors actually can result in a polyphony of up to 4 voices at once.

  • MIDI Channels - Each color is locked to a particular MIDI channel. To see the relationships, hover the mouse over each color and look at the hint bar, the channel is displayed.
  • Editing - By creating color groups you can choose to edit the properties of only notes of the selected color. This can be handy when there are overlapping notes in the same Piano roll that you wish to manipulate independently.

Integrated Event Editor

The Piano roll includes an integrated event editor (9), which lets you quickly edit channel's volume, panning and pitch and recorded automation data. To change the data displayed use the Target control (4). When editing notes properties these behave similar to the normal events, and are displayed in the event editor as lines with a small square at the top. Using this extension you can edit a note's velocity (local note volume), panning, cutoff and resonance - these are exactly the same properties you can edit using the Graph Editor if you were entering notes in the Step Sequencer. Since note properties are part of the actual note, you can not move, delete or interpolate any of them. When you move a note horizontally (changing its start position), its properties also move with it. To choose what property or event type to edit, click the property/event selector (4) and choose property/event type from the menu that appears. The integrated editor also holds automation associated with the pattern.

NOTE: When several notes start at the same time you can not set the properties of each individual note (they are all set at once). To solve this issue, first select the notes you want to modify - editing this way alters only the properties of the selected notes. Another solution is to use the Note Properties Box (explained below).

Everything else in this integrated event editor works as in normal Event Editor window.

Note Properties Box

The Note Properties pop-up is an alternative way to set notes properties. It's particularly useful when you need to set different properties for notes that start simultaneously (so their properties appear as one in the integrated event editor). Double-click a note to display the properties pop-up box.

1. Levels

These controls allow changes to note - panning (PAN), note on velocity (VEL), release velocity (REL), channel filter cutoff (MODX) and channel filter resonance (MODY). The reset button next to 'Levels' title bar resets note properties to levels they had before launching the properties box.

Slide - Slide ON / Slide OFF. Determines if the note will respond to slide events.

Invert Porta - Inverts the portamento state for this note. If the global portamento (see Misc Channel Settings) for this channel is off, for this note it is on and vice versa.

Green box - Click on this to select the colour channel group the note is on. See (10).

NOTE: If the note you double-click is a part of a selection, then the properties you set apply to all notes in that selection. The Time section is not available in that case, because the selected notes might have different length or start point.

2. Time

Change the Start Time (note position) and Duration (note length) for the selected note. For each setting the LCD adjusts bar:step:tick. From the example image above the note starts on bar 1, step 8 tick 000 (no ticks). It is 2 steps in duration.

Piano roll Menu

This menu provides many important functions for working with the Piano roll, such as copying and pasting notes, converting color groups etc. You can access Piano roll's menu by clicking the Piano roll menu button (1).

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