Questions & Answers

Smart Tool for MIDI

+605 votes
asked Feb 28, 2016 in Completed Feature Requests by Funkybot (21,430 points)
recategorized Mar 11 by Fabian Kiesewetter

So 3.2 introduced a Smarter Tool for audio, but the same principal can be applied to MIDI editing in the PRV.

For the PRV, I'm imagining a Smarter Tool with functions like:

  1. Single click a note to select it (no change)
  2. Single click and drag to select one or more notes (no change)
  3. Single click to draw a note (if there is no note already in the area being clicked, if a note is clicked, see #1)
  4. Alt+Click and drag to paint a series of notes
  5. Ctrl+Click on a note to split it at that location
  6. Double click to delete a note
  7. Shift+Click to select non-consecutive notes
  8. Shift+Click and Drag to select non-consecutive ranges
  9. Click and drag the edge of a note or range to the right or left to change the start or end position (i.e. change note start or note length)
  10. Click and drag a note (or selection) up or down to change the pitch of that note(s)
  11. Alt+Click and drag a note or selection up/down to increase/decrease velocity
  12. Ctrl+Click an empty space to deselect

That covers 95% of my PRV use cases in a single Smarter PRV tool, similar to what they did for audio.


In response to chancekaye's post below...I just want to add that the idea of this post isn't to finalize a "design" for a MIDI Smart Tool (I'm sure the Studio One developers can design this feature much better than I can) but to point out how a Smart Tool might work in the PRV and the benefits it might offer. That said, I think this post provides a pretty good list about how a feature like this might work.

23 Answers

+3 votes
answered Jun 26, 2017 by AlexTinsley (916,740 points)
Best answer

Thank you for the feature request. 

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+70 votes
answered Feb 28, 2016 by niles (54,280 points)

May I add: Last note length memory (option)?

So the length of the last note is used for the next note.

+4 votes
answered Feb 28, 2016 by Funkybot (21,430 points)
Niles, I like that idea!
+3 votes
answered Feb 29, 2016 by samirelborno (7,670 points)
That's practically how logic works so yes to these features +1
+9 votes
answered Mar 1, 2016 by niles (54,280 points)
edited Mar 1, 2016 by niles

May I also add (for the record and as maintained current behavior): #3.1. Single click and hold LMB to draw a note while successively drag up or down, changes velocity of the current note.

And while we are at it, maybe also some love for a: Diagonal slice (split) tool for MIDI note pairs e.g. to quickly program strums.

And of course: Time Stretch selected Midi Notes In the Piano Roll

+5 votes
answered Mar 12, 2016 by chancekaye (3,280 points)
edited Oct 13, 2017 by chancekaye

Presonus is really going to need to innovate in order to give its customers a usable, fast workflow for MIDI editing. The list above simply won't work. If clicking an existing note is allocated to selection, clicking an empty space needs to deselect -- it can't create a new note. If alt drag paints a series of notes then the current Copy command is lost. And what about velocity? That's one of the most important MIDI editing functions and it's not addressed at all. You have to get into multiple keyboard modifiers because everything else is taken. What a pain.

More importantly, even if Presonus were to somehow cleverly jam every conceivable MIDI editing function onto one smart tool, there's going to be a lot of unhappy users with kludged up workflows. For example, click drag up/down to create a note and set velocity (instead of pitch!) will never be a good workflow for a lot of users. 

Presonus needs to look at creative solutions, in particular customizable tools. That way users can set up the MIDI smart tool to fit THEIR workflow, not a one-size-fits-all workflow dreamed up by someone at Presonus.

One other note: Please do NOT give us pixel-based note regions like in Sonar. That is a nightmare.

+9 votes
answered Jun 29, 2016 by Scoox (15,310 points)
edited Jun 29, 2016 by Scoox

If we add the right mouse button into the equation, we have many more options. In FL Studio right-click swipe deletes, This is much faster than selecting first then deleting, specifically because the selection tool selects a rectangle, whereas with the right button you can swipe around and like it's the Erase tool.

Combining this with modifier keys you can get pretty much everything under one tool.

FL Studio also recalls the last click note length and it's very handy. I use FL Studio and Studio One depending on what I'm doing, and I like things about both. I must say anything MIDI tends to be faster in FL. MIDI recording is, however, better in S1. I think S1 has a lot going for it and could incorporate some of those neat FL features.

This doesn't have to be limited to the Piano Roll though, the same could be used in the Arrange View. When painting clips in an audio track, the last clicked audio clip is painted; when painting instrument clips, the last clicked instrument clip is painted. In this case it would be shared copies. This is way better than the traditional copy-paste routine.


+2 votes
answered May 5, 2017 by gregdenson (7,880 points)
A keyboard command that would allow you to select every instance of a single note in a track would be a nice feature as well.

Example 1. I'd like to see how this passage would sound in a minor key. Select all the major 3rds and change them to minor.

Example 2. Drum track. I'd like to change all my rimshot snare drums to an open hit.
0 votes
answered May 10, 2017 by Funkybot (21,430 points)

That functionality already exists. Simply Ctrl+Click(if not, try Alt, if not, try Shift) the note/key in the PRV. All instances of that note will be selected. You can then transpose all versions, and otherwise edit them.
+2 votes
answered Sep 30, 2017 by Scoox (15,310 points)
edited Sep 30, 2017 by Scoox

The right mouse button is under-utilised in the Piano Roll. You may argue that "unfortunately the right-click is used to bring up the context menu". That's not a problem, and it is possible to have a smart tool that does it all. please see my proposed solution, and comment if there are loopholes or anything important was left out:

By the way,

Mouse pointer over empty piano roll space:

  • When no mouse buttons are being pressed, nothing happens, and the mouse pointer is an ARROW.
  • Left-click & release: Deselects previously selected notes. Mouse appearance: Pointer appearance: ARROW
  • Left-click-drag: Selection tool, translucent selection rectangle displayed, which is used for selecting multiple notes.
  • Shift + Left-click-drag: Same as previous item, but adds notes to selection (can only add, not remove). Pointer appearance: ARROW
  • Double-left-click: Draws a single note. The length and velocity of the note are always the length and velocity of the last painted note or the last selected note. Mouse pointer turns into a PEN temporarily until moue button is released, at which point it becomes and ARROW again.
  • Alt + Left-click-drag: Split note, pointer splits notes as it passes over them. Pointer appearance: KNIFE
  • Shift + Alt + Left-click-drag: Same as previous, but ignoring snap.
  • Shift + double-left-click: Same as previous item, but temporarily ignoring snap.
  • Double-left-click-drag: Draws a single note, drag up/down to adjust pitch, and left/right to adjust position in time, release mouse button to commit. Mouse pointer temporarily becomes a PEN until the mouse button is released.
  • Shift + Double-left-click-drag: Same as previous, but temporarily ignoring snap.
  • Right-click & release: Show empty area context menu. This requires that the mouse pointer doesn't move, or remains within N pixels of the click-down position. This context menu could list available tools at the top in a bi-dimensional fashion, rather than as a vertical list, for easier selection. Mouse pointer temporarily becomes an ERASER while the right mouse button is being held down, and returns to the default ARROW pointer as soon as the right moue button is released.
  • Right-click-drag: (see below Mouse pointer anywhere)

Mouse pointer over a an existing note:

  • Hover (no mouse buttons being pressed):
    • Centre of note: pointer appearance is ARROW.
    • Left edge: pointer appearance is RESIZE EVENT LEFT
    • Left edge: pointer appearance is RESIZE EVENT RIGHT
  • Left-click & release: Selects note, and deselects any previously selected notes. Pointer appearance: ARROW
  • Shift + Left-click & release: Add/remove note to/from selection. Pointer appearance: ARROW
  • Alt + Left-click & release: Split note. Pointer appearance: KNIFE
  • Shift + Alt + Left-click & release: Split note ignoring snap. Pointer appearance: KNIFE
  • Left-click-drag (These actions are applied to all selected notes. None of these actions de-selects the currently selected notes):
    • Centre of note: Moves the note vertically and horizontally in the piano roll. Pointer appearance: ARROW
    • Left edge of note (within N pixels of the edge): Resize note by the left edge. Pointer appearance: RESIZE EVENT LEFT.
    • Right edge of note (within N pixels of the edge): Resize note by the right edge. Pointer appearance: RESIZE EVENT RIGHT.
  • Shift + Left-click-drag: Same as previous, but ignoring snap.
  • Alt + Left-click-drag: Split note, pointer splits notes as it passes over them. Pointer appearance: KNIFE
  • Shift + Alt + Left-click-drag: Same as previous, but ignoring snap.
  • Ctrl + Left-click-drag: Adjust note velocity, release moues button to commit. Pointer appearance: ARROW. Note: When multiple notes are selected, note velocity is scaled proportionally for all selected notes. This action does not deselect previously selected notes.
  • Left-cliick + Ctrl + Drag on selected notes: Drags out a copy of the selected notes, this is already the way it works. Pointer appearance: ARROW. (note how the note(s) is clicked first then Ctrl is pressed.
  • Double-left-click: Toggle note mute. Pointer appearance: ARROW. This action selects deselects previously selected notes, and selects target note.
  • Double-left-click-drag: Same as previous, but mute tool continues to be engaged as long as the moues button is kept down after the second click, thus allowing users to swipe the moues over existing notes to toggle their mute state, that is, as the mouse pointer passes over an muted note, the note gets un-muted, and vice versa. Mouse pointer temporarily becomes MUTE until the mouse button is released.
  • Right-click & release (without moving the mouse): Show note context menu
  • Right-click-drag: (see below Mouse pointer anywhere)

Mouse pointer anywhere:

  • Middle-click & release: Show tool picker pop-up
  • Middle-click-drag: Pan piano roll up/down & left/right
  • Right-click-drag: The mouse pointer temporarily becomes an ERASER, until the moue button is released. Requires the moues to move by a certain amount or threshold (ideally user defined) to "kick in". Once the moues pointer is an ERASER, it can be swiped over existing notes to gracefully delete them. (see also what happens when directly right-clicking an existing note in the following section).
  • Alt + Right-click: Listen tool. As soon as the right moue button is pressed down, the mouse pointer becomes the LISTEN tool, but only temporarily until the right moues button is released.
  • Shift + Alt + Right-click: Listen tool again, same as previous, but ignoring snap.

I also notice that the Piano Roll provides a bunch of paint tools that don't actually work! Select the parabola paint tool, it still behaves exactly the same as the freehand pen, as do all the other paint tools. So basically, these appear to be useless. And, in honesty, even if they worked, they would be useless as the results they produce would be of limited musical use. Even painting a straight line of notes seems pretty useless, does anybody actually even use that? Those tools make sense for drawing automation envelopes, but not musical notes.

+3 votes
answered Nov 18, 2017 by uzgsgnnp (360 points)
edited Nov 18, 2017 by uzgsgnnp

Cakewalk SONAR's MIDI editing tool is far more comfortable than Studio One's IMHO.

That can draw, move and delete notes, change velocity, select multiple notes without a touch of keyboard or toolbar.

I hope Studio One will feature something like that.

See or Cakewalk's official videos.

Add: As above was not informative enough, below are basic implements on SONAR.

  • click and drag - draw note, drag horizontally to change note length and vertically to change pitch.
  • double click - place the note as same as previous.
  • click on note - select note. select other note +shift to select all notes between them, +ctrl to additional selection.
  • drag on left or right edge of note - change note length.
  • drag on center of note - move note.
  • drag on center-top edge of note - change velocity.
  • right click - context menu.
  • right click-drag - select multiple notes. shift+ to additional select and ctrl+ to inverse selection.
  • right click on note and drag - delete note(s).
  • ctrl+ click-drag on selected note(s) - copy note(s).
  • alt + click on note - split note.
  • alt + right click/drag on note - mute note(s)
  • double click on note - open note property.

For detail, read SONAR Online Documentation.

+2 votes
answered Dec 4, 2017 by michaelglus1 (3,080 points)

I want that feature. Check this out :)

+2 votes
answered Jan 6, 2018 by daniellesaux (2,300 points)

I already submitted this as a separate request but it fits in nicely in this thread regarding MIDI smart tools. In Sonar, you can select a note in the Piano Roll View (or Midi Editor as it's called in Studio One) and audition the note by clicking on the note. The note sustains as long as you keep the mouse click down. Studio One only plays a note for a predetermined short burst and the audition feature is a little unpredictable.

Similarly, in Sonar you can audition a chord by selecting the notes in the chord in the PRV and audition the chord by clicking on any of the  selected notes. You can select as many notes as desired and only those notes would sound. This is a great feature for us non keyboard musicians and allows us to work out parts, lines and chord progressions. Studio One doesn't allow chords to be auditioned.

0 votes
answered Feb 18, 2018 by petteriollila (200 points)
Also, something I have found in no DAW, a way to tilt starts and/or ends of a group of selected notes to create strums or arpeggios from chords
0 votes
answered Mar 25, 2018 by DrummaMan (2,970 points)
A keyboard command that would allow you to select every instance of a single note in a track would be a nice feature as well.

That functionality already exists. Simply Ctrl+Click(if not, try Alt, if not, try Shift) the note/key in the PRV. All instances of that note will be selected. You can then transpose all versions, and otherwise edit them."

Thank you for that Funkybot!!

Also - besides sounding a note in Sonar by clicking on it, if you did a click/drag on a note, the other samples would sound as you slid it up and down, making the new placement by ear much quicker and more intuitive. (Unless I'm missing that feature in SOP too?)
+1 vote
answered Dec 16, 2018 by monk_volcano (180 points)
Seriously, I'm on the verge of selling studio one and just using reaper from now on.  I want to be able to enter notes with left click, delete with right click.  Is that too much to ask? Also, I want to be able to move notes when i draw them, not alter their velocity (without having to switch tools).

Also, a way to midi scrub via a key modifier + rick click + drag.

check out all the stuff you can do with one "tool" in FL studio.  It is so much more efficient than S1
0 votes
answered Jan 3, 2019 by Michael1985 (9,600 points)
Please no double clicking to delete notes! It is so handy to delete notes with one click!
+2 votes
answered Jun 30, 2019 by inoueyoshihiro (240 points)
I just need a FL piano roll. I don't want to touch the any keys for note editing.

Why I need swap the pen tool and erasing tool and selecting tool for it? And why I need push the Alt, Ctrl and Shift key ? If I use the FL studio, I can edit the clip with only using a mouse. I don't drop my idea while editing the clip.
0 votes
answered Nov 10, 2019 by leonordmann (1,950 points)
Yes this would be a fantastic thing to have.
+1 vote
answered Feb 25, 2020 by iadaslan (520 points)
Please disable note audition while playback is running (as in FL Studio)

FL Studio generally has the smartest MIDI editor hands down. Left click draw, right click erase. Velocity and length are kept to whatever the most recent value was. Simple. Quick.

Crazy how different developers' vision of an "effective workflow" can be miles apart even in this day and age...
0 votes
answered Mar 18, 2020 by Michael1985 (9,600 points)
Isnt its behaviour exactly like you mentioned except sokme points?

Beside that you can access fast all the tools for midi editing with one click to change them fast.

And how the midi editing behaves should stay like this it is so good now, one reason why Im usijng Studio One.
0 votes
answered Feb 11 by Skaperverket (4,120 points)
Interesting discussion.

PreSonus seem to believe that they need to invent something like the (as of yet half-baked) Show Page to attract new users, but I think it's a lot simpler than that. The program has already got a lot going for it, and they just have to tweak what they've already got in terms of workflow and options. If PreSonus wants f.i. FL Studio users to switch over to Studio One, they'll have to look at what makes FL Studio so attractive to its users (from what I understand: the piano roll and its MIDI editing is a huge part of that; automation clips, sampling workflow, note bends and extremely fast to use pattern sequencer are other. Same with other DAWs, apparently: Bitwigs modulation capabilities, better MPE support and sandboxing; Live's looping, on-the-beat skipping option and the plug-in rack with macro controls and all plug-ins and controls visible simultaneously; Pro Tools' professional features like fade options, dual pan + it's addictive layout of inserts and sends in the track view; Cubase's MIDI power etc.)

I think Funkybot, the OP here, moved over to REAPER a couple of years ago, where he could just configure these things to behave like he wanted Studio One to behave. I don't blame him, you can only wait for a certain amount of time before you give up on your hope for something to come along. I think he really hoped to stick with Studio One, but at one point it's time to move on, I guess. Which is unfortunate for us. He was a great resource for the community. Just look up all his great feature requests, many of which eventually actually got implemented.