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Using Step Input Recording

Instead of recording a real-time performance, you can record notes one at a time. In Step Input mode, you position the playhead and play a note or chord on your MIDI keyboard. The note(s) are recorded, and the playhead moves one step ahead, waiting for the next note(s).

This mode is very useful for recording complex musical phrases that you can’t perform in real time, such as complicated chord patterns or really fast arpeggios (a great technique for dance music).

  1. Select the Suitcase V2 track and press Delete.

    All the regions on the track are deleted.

    You start by creating an empty MIDI region using the Pencil tool (as the Command-click tool). You will step-record notes inside that new region.

  2. Press Esc and Command-click the Pencil tool.
  3. Command-click the Suitcase V2 track between bars 1 and 2.

    The Pencil tool creates an empty one-bar MIDI region.

  4. Resize the region so it is four bars long.
  5. At the upper left of the Piano Roll Editor, click the In button.

    The button turns red and MIDI Step Input Recording is turned on.

  6. Go to the beginning of the project.
  7. Play a single note on your MIDI keyboard.

    A sixteenth note is recorded at the playhead position, and the playhead moves forward one sixteenth note. The recorded note has the pitch and velocity of the note you played.

    The length of a step is identified by the division setting in the Transport bar, below the time signature.

  8. In the Transport bar, click the division setting and drag down until it reads /8.

    In the Piano Roll Editor, the grid resolution is the same as the division setting. The vertical grid lines are now placed at eighth-note intervals.

  9. Play a chord.

    An eighth-note chord is recorded at the playhead position, and the playhead moves forward one eighth note.

    You can also use the Step Input Keyboard to exercise more control over your step input recordings.

  10. From the main menu bar, choose Options > Step Input Keyboard.

    The floating Step Input Keyboard appears. The selected note-length button overrides the division setting in the Transport bar.

  11. On the Step Input Keyboard, click the quarter-note button.
  12. Play a note.

    A quarter note is recorded at the playhead position, and the playhead moves forward one quarter note.

    If you were recording a quarter-note pattern and wanted to record a single half note, you could click the half-note button, record your half note, and click the quarter-note button again to record the next quarter note.

    An easier way is to use the Sustain Insert Note button.

  13. Play a note and hold down the key on your MIDI keyboard.

    A quarter note is recorded. You need to hold down the MIDI key for the next step, so that the note you are recording remains selected in the Piano Roll Editor.

  14. On the Step Input Keyboard, click the Sustain Inserted Notes button.

    The selected note is lengthened by a quarter note, so it is now a half note. You can click the Sustain Inserted Notes button several times to lengthen the selected notes by the current step length.

    You can now release the key on your MIDI keyboard.

    Now let’s record quarter notes starting on bar 2.

  15. With the pointer positioned over the lower half of the Bar ruler on bar 2, hold down the mouse button.

    The playhead snaps to bar 2.

  16. Play three notes, one at a time.

    Now you want to insert a quarter-note rest.

  17. On the Step Input Keyboard, click the Sustain Inserted Notes button.

    The playhead jumps forward one quarter note. When no notes are selected, the Sustain Inserted Notes button makes the playhead move one step ahead, and you can resume step input recording.

    Try using step input recording techniques to record fast sixteenth-note arpeggios or even crazy chord patterns. With a little experimentation, you will quickly end up with cool musical phrases that couldn’t possibly be performed live.

  18. Click the In button to turn off Step Input recording.
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