0.4:Song Editor

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The Song Editor displays the structure of the song.

Song-editor.png

  • The left side of the window displays the instrument and beat/bassline tracks.
  • The right side of the window displays the activity of each track at each bar in the song.
  • The scroll bars at the right and bottom of the window allow you to move the segment view around. Use Shift+mouse-wheel to scroll horizontally.

Contents

Working with Elements

Anatomy of a track:

Each track's activity is divided into elements.
Pattern-pianoroll.png For Instrument Tracks, the display is a miniature piano roll.
Double-clicking on it will open the Piano Roll Editor window where you can add, delete, or modify individual notes.

Pattern-sampletrack.png For Sample Tracks, the display is a miniature waveform of the sample.
Double-clicking on it will open a File-Open dialog where you can choose a new sample for that element.

Pattern-beatbassline.png For Beat/Bassline Tracks, the display is simply a blue block showing that the beat/bassline is active.
Double-clicking on it will open the Beat + Bassline Editor window where you can add, delete, or modify individual notes (beats).

To create a new element, left-click in the track activity area within the bar where you want the block to start.
For instrument and sample tracks, this creates a blank area where you can put notes or samples.
For beat/bassline tracks, this creates 1 (or more) bars filled with that particular Beat/Bassline as configured.

To move an element, drag it by clicking and holding the block.
As it's dragged, the block will snap to the start of any bar, but you can free drag (with a 1/64th resolution) by holding down the Ctrl key after you begin dragging (Ctrl+drag before you begin dragging initiates the "copy" procedure).

To copy an element, hold the Ctrl key down before you begin dragging and then drag the copy to its new location.
You can also right-click on the block, select copy, left-click to create an empty block where you want the copy to go, right-click and select paste.
You can't copy blocks of one track type to tracks of a different type.
To copy again, the control key has to be released and re-pressed before the next drag operation.

To delete an element, click it using the middle mouse button or right-click on it and select delete.
Double-clicking on a block means to edit the element's contents.


Editing Tools

Draw Mode Tool

Despite their different content, the ways of working with elements are mostly similar.
Button-pencil.png Most of the work in the Song-Editor is done using the Draw Mode tool.

  • left-click in an empty bar to add a block
  • middle-click on a block to delete it
  • Ctrl+middle-click is a mute/unmute toggle for that block
  • right-click on a block to get a context menu
  • left-drag on a block to move it (block will snap to bar boundaries)
  • Ctrl key after left-drag begins on a block to move it freely (won't snap to bar boundaries)
  • Ctrl key before left-drag begins on a block to copy it
  • When you hover your mouse over the right end of a block, the mouse cursor becomes a double-headed arrow so you can drag the end of the block to make it extend over more or fewer bars--this does not work for instrument tracks!!
    • left-drag = the block extension/retraction snaps to bar boundaries
    • Ctrl+left-drag = the block extension/retraction is free (does not snap to bar boundaries)

Edit Mode Tool

Button-movetool.png The Edit Mode tool allows you to drag a rectangular selection box that selects multiple blocks. You can then move the selection as a group by dragging horizontally.

  • selected blocks change color to dark blue
  • Ctrl+left-click on any block you want to remove from the selection group
  • drag horizontally on any selected block to move the selection group:
    • left-drag = movement where blocks snap to bar boundaries
    • Alt+left-drag = free movement (blocks don't snap to bar boundaries)
  • click on any empty bar to clear the selection from the selected blocks

Insert & Delete Bars

Shift+Insert-key inserts a new, empty bar to the right of the playhead's current position into all the tracks. Much like inserting a word into a sentence using a word processor.
Shift+Delete-key deletes a bar to the right of the playhead's current position from all the tracks. Much like deleting a word in a sentence using a word processor; however, the rules it follows are a bit strange:

  • For each track, if there's an empty bar to the right of the playhead, that bar is deleted which moves all the downstream blocks in that track left by 1 bar.
  • For each track, if there's an occupied bar (i.e. a block is present) to the right of the playhead, the bar to the left of the playhead is deleted (whether occupied or not), which moves all the blocks to the right of the playhead in that track to the left by 1 bar. An exception to this rule occurs if the playhead is at the beginning of the song (i.e. bar #1 is the bar to the right of the playhead). In this case:
    • if the bar to the right contains the last block in the track, nothing happens.
    • if the bar to the right does not contain the last block in the track, the bar to the right is deleted which moves all the remaining blocks in that track to the left by 1 bar.


Song Editor Toolbar

Song-editor-toolbar.png

The Song Editor window has a toolbar that allows you to control playback of the song, add new tracks, choose edit tools, customise the method of playback, and control the view of the song.


Playback Controls

Button-play.png The Play button (or keyboard spacebar) starts playback at the current playhead position.

Button-pause.png During playback, the Pause button icon replaces the Play button icon. It will pause playback and leave the playhead at its current position. Strangely, during a pause, the Pause button icon should change back to the Play button icon, but it doesn't.

Button-stop.png The Stop button (or keyboard spacebar) stops playback (or a paused playback), and returns the playhead to the location defined by the Return Mode button (see below).

The Return Mode button is a 3-position toggle that controls where the playhead moves when you halt playback using the Stop button. There are 3 modes:
Button-settings.png To Start (the default mode): the playhead returns to the start of the song (bar #1).
songeditor-toolbar-playcontrol-return-tobefore.png To Before : the playhead returns to the position where this playback started.
songeditor-toolbar-playcontrol-return-cont.png Continue : the playhead remains where it was stopped (i.e. it doesn't move).

Between the Play button and the Stop button there are two other buttons:

  • "Record samples from Audio-device"
  • "Record samples from Audio-device while playing song or BB track"

Button-autoscroll.png The Auto-scroll button is on by default.
During playback, the view in the Song-Editor window will automatically scroll horizontally to display the current playhead position.
As the playhead moves past the right edge of the window, the window will scroll horizontally so the playhead continues at the left edge.
With Auto-scroll off, the playhead can disappear during playback.

Button-looppoints.png The Enable Loop-points button is off (disabled) by default.
When turned on, the loop-point icons become active (bright green) on the timeline. You can drag the loop-points along the timeline as follows:

  • end loop-point: Right-mouse-button+drag
  • start loop-point: Middle-mouse-button+drag

By default the loop-points are "magnetic" which means that, as you drag them, they snap to the nearest bar boundary; however, you can hold down the Ctrl key as you drag to position them with more precision. During Song-Editor playback, the playhead will loop continuously between the start and end loop-points.
This is useful for testing a particular section of your piece, but it only exists in playback mode. It is not a way to repeat a section a certain number of times within your composition--you'll have to use copy/paste for that.

Adding Tracks

There is no button for adding a new instrument track. You add a new instrument track by dragging the desired plugin or preset from the Side Bar to an empty area in the Song-Editor. Next, click on the instrument track's name to show/hide the Instrument Editor window for that plugin. This window is where you can make changes to the sound of the instrument.

Button-addbeatbassline.png To add a new Beat/Bassline track, click the Add beat/bassline button.
Right-click on the beat/bassline track's name to rename it to something more meaningful.

Button-addsampletrack.png To add a new sample track, click the Add sample-track button.

Zoom Control

Zoomsection.png This is the Zoom control.
You can zoom in to show fewer bars or zoom out to show more bars in the window. There are several ways to zoom:

  • hover your mouse over the Zoom number, and roll your mouse scroll wheel up/down to zoom in/out
  • hover your mouse anywhere else in the Song-Editor window, and Ctrl+mouse-scroll-wheel up/down to zoom in/out
  • left-click on the Zoom number to zoom in by 1 level; right-click on the Zoom number to zoom out by 1 level
  • use the Zoom drop-down arrow and select a zoom level

Changing track height: Anywhere in a track, use Shift-drag to change the height of a track. You can only make it taller than the default height, not shorter.

Track Settings Bar

The left side of the track, the Track Settings Bar, contains buttons and controls that allow you to work with the track as a whole.
Trackbar4-automation.png

Grabbar.png The stippled area at the left end of the track is the Grab Handle. In Draw mode, use it to drag a track up or down in the track stacking order. The track order has no effect on the sounds produced, it just helps you keep things organized. Ctrl+drag on the grab handle makes a copy of the track that will be placed at the bottom of the track list.

Button-tracksettings.png The Track Tools icon has a tooltip that says "Actions for this track." Click it to see a menu with 2 options:

  • Clone this track makes an exact copy of the track (including its contents) and pastes it at the bottom of the track list.
  • Remove this track deletes the track

Button-solomute.png The Mute/unmute toggle looks like a green LED light that you turn on and off by clicking on it. Use it to turn off the sounds from this track temporarily. For example, you may want to hear the track of an accompanying instrument without hearing the lead instrument. (??)Right clicking on the track gives you the option to automate the muting process on the track, although this is strongly discouraged in preference to automating the volume control.
The Solo/unsolo toggle looks like a red LED light that you turn on and off by clicking on it. Use it to turn off temporarily all the other tracks except this track.

The rest of the Track Settings Bar displays the sound source information.
This varies somewhat between instrument tracks, sample tracks and beat/bassline tracks.

Trackbar1-instrument.png
Instrument Tracks have:

  • a volume and a pan control (automatable),
  • a button that displays the instrument's plugin or preset name:
    • left-click opens the Instrument Editor
    • right-click opens a dialog to rename the track

The Activity light is a rectangular light which lights up whenever the instrument plays a note. You can also click it to preview the sound.

Trackbar2-sample.png
Sample Tracks have:

  • a volume control (automatable)
  • a button that displays the track name:
    • left-click opens the Effects Chain editor where you can choose effects to add
    • right-click opens a dialog to rename the track

Trackbar3-beatbassline.png
Beat/Bassline Tracks have:

  • a button that displays the track name:
    • left-click opens the Beat+Bassline Editor, if it's not already open
    • right-click opens a dialog to rename the track

Track Context Menu

The track context menu appears when you right-click on a block (active bar) in the track.
The options available vary by the type of track as follows:

Instrument Track Context Menu

The instrument track context menu looks like this:

Contextmenu-pianoroll.png

  • Open in piano-roll opens the clicked-on block in the Piano Roll Editor.
  • Delete deletes the clicked-on block.
  • Cut removes the clicked-on block and puts it in the clipboard.
  • Copy makes a copy of the clicked-on block and puts it in the clipboard.
  • Paste pastes the contents of the clipboard into this block, overwriting its previous contents. The block name is copied and pasted with the contents of the block which helps you see the original source of this block (see "Change name" below).
  • Mute/Unmute allows you to turn off the sound of the clicked-on block. It does not affect the volume of the other blocks in the track.
  • Clear all notes allows you to erase the contents of the clicked-on block without deleting the block itself.
  • Change name allows you to change a block's name. Blocks within a track can have their own names, and by default, the block name is the same as the track name. Reset name resets the block name to the name of the track.
  • Freeze allows you to freeze the sound of this track by creating a pre-rendered sample of the track alone. This reduces the computer workload involved in rendering this track, which may be useful on low-powered computer systems or on tracks with complex effects and melodies. You can edit the track's contents while the track is frozen, but the edits do not take effect until the track is thawed or refrozen.
  • Add steps and Remove Steps allow you to add or remove a number steps (equal to a 16th note) using a submenu to/from the end of a pattern. This is the same option as in the Beat + Bassline Editor; not really useful here.

Sample Track Context Menu

The sample track context menu looks like this:

Contextmenu-sampletrack.png

The actions of each option are essentially the same as those for the instrument track above.

Beat/Bassline Track Context Menu

The beat/bassline track context menu looks like this:

Contextmenu-bb-editor.png

The actions of each option are essentially the same as those for the instrument track above. The only addition is:

  • Change color allows you to change the color of the blocks in the bassline track. This helps you to distinguish the function or content of the tracks by their color, and helps you to quickly know which bassline you are dealing with in a complex rhythm section.

Navigation

Howto: Putting the song together

Prev: Instrument Editor Up: Manual Next: Beat + Bassline Editor
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