Advanced Midi Control

Advanced MIDI messages in NoteAbilityPro

There are situations when you may want to add specific MIDI messages to your score in order to alter the playback characteristics through MIDI, DLS synthesizers or Audio Unit synthesizers. Most of these audio components are designed to respond to MIDI messages in a uniform manner.

Patch Changes

To add patch changes at any time in your score, use the command p# (where # is the desired patch number) and click near the staff at the beat location you want the patch change to occur. The patch change appears on the score as a small number in a circle. These patch numbers can be moved freely around the score, but they will always apply to the staff they are closest to at the beat location they appear. Patch changes are useful for switching between pizzicato and arco in DLS instruments as in the example below.

Normally, patch changes are not printed with your score, but you can elect to include the patch change images in your print by checking the Print Patch Changes item in the Other pane of the NoteAbilityPro Preferences.

Bank Changes

To add bank changes at any time in your score, use the command b# (where # is the desired bank number) and click near the staff at the beat location you want the bank change to occur. The bank change appears on the score as a small number in a rectangle and it will cause a bank change to occur at that location of the score during playback. Bank changes are used by some synthesizers to shift between different playing methods of the same instrument. For example, some software synthesizers use bank changes to switch between violin arco, pizzicato, tremolo etc. As in the case of patch changes, bank changes are not normally printed as part of the score. The example below shows bank changes between bank 0 and bank 2 and back to bank 0.

The bank for each staff can be set and stored in the Track Setup panel. Unless otherwise indicated, bank 0 is used for all staves.

Key Switches

Key Switches are essentially MIDI note messages (a note on followed very quickly by a note off) that are inserted in the score at any location. Software samplers can be configured to switch patches when a key switch is received. To enter a key switch in the score, use the command: [ followed by the midi key number either in decimal (0-127) or as a note name followed by and octave (c1, f#2, ab7). The number (expressed as a decimal value) is displayed in red at the base of the clef. In the example below the commands [c1 and [d1 were entered and the numbers 24 and 26 (their decimal equivalents) were added to the score. During playback these key switches will be sent between the notes in the score.

MIDI Controller Messages

MIDI Controller messages involve two components - a controller number and a value. Some MIDI controller numbers default to Volume (7) Panning (10) Sustain Pedal (64) while others are dependent on the receiving synthesizer or sampler. Controller messages can be used in some Software Samplers (such as the Vienna Symphonic Library) to switch between instruments on a single channel. In some cases you may want to include controller messages for other purposes (eg to alter the panning position of the playback). To enter a Controller Message in use the command: ] followed by the controller number, a dash, and the controller value. For example, ]1-64 will set controller number 1 to 64, ]10-80 will set controller 10 to 80. MIDI Controller messages appear in green below the staff and will be sent to the instrument at its location in the score. In the example below, values of 64 then 0 are sent to controller number 1.

Pedal Up and Pedal Down

Sustain pedals markings (both for pedal down and pedal up) can also be included in your score and will affect the score playback of the staff they are associated with. The command '~' is used to enter these symbols. Clicking on the score adds a pedal down symbol below the closest staff. To add a pedal release symbol, hold the Shift key down while you click the mouse button. Pedal performance symbols appear as a grey arrow inside a circle pointing either down (pedal down) or up (pedal release). During score playback these pedal performance symbols will simulate the sustain pedal being depressed and released. Normally these symbols are not printed, but there is a setting in the Other pane of NoteAbilityPro Preferences which allow these symbols to be printed if desired.

Note that pedal markings will affect all notes in the channel to which they are applied. If you want to simulate a piano pedal down, make sure you have both staves of the piano on the same Midi channel, otherwise the notes on only one of the staves will be held for the duration of the pedal.

See also

© Keith A. Hamel 1998-2008 - All Rights Reserved