Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Support & discussion regarding DAWs and MIDI sequencers.

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programLyrique
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Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby programLyrique » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:12 pm

Hi, everyone.

I mainly compose orchestral music, and when using a sequencer, I find it much easier when I can edit several tracks in the same pianoroll view, that's to say, the notes of each tracks are visible (at least) and editable (better) in the same pianoroll.

I have used Ardour 3 for MIDI editing, but in that respect, it has been very cumbersome -- adjusting the size of a MIDI track takes too much time, and it can't be done for several tracks at the same time. And you can't edit several MIDI tracks at the same place.

For Qtractor, I can't even have several tracks (or clip, in in the same window (which is the case in Ardour, although it is eventually useless to see tens of MIDI parts at the same time).

I have read that OpenOctave Studio can do it, but OpenOctave Studio is not maintained any more (although the authors of that DAW seemt to reawake after a long period of silence.

Do you know a DAW, still alive, which could do that? (and if it can handle lv2 instruments, it would be perfect!).
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DepreTux
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby DepreTux » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:00 pm

Rosegarden is capable of showing many MIDI clips ("segments", in rosegarden's argot), if you select them and then open either the piano roll ("Matrix editor") or the score editor ("Notation editor").

Once you've got them opened, the selected segment shows its notes in orange and the rest in gray. You can move up and down between segments with alt+pgup and alt+pgdwn.

You can also sequence audio clips and there are "synth plugin" tracks that allow you to use dssi plugins but in my experience those last are unstable. No LV2, unfortunately.

If you work with orchestral music, the notation editor is good enough if you wan't to hear the music play correctly, but it won't produce perfectly readable scores automatically, and it's not so great when it comes to multiple voices. on the same staff (but you can do the multiple segments trick within a single track too and they will show on the same staff).
I haven't had luck using the linuxsampler dssi plugin within rosegarden. I use it standalone instead, along with the qsampler frontend.
The MIDI timing is good if you use the system timer and your kernel has CONFIG_HZ=1000 enabled. The high resolution timers hangs the thing, and the rtc is unusable, at least for me.

Overall, rosegarden is a really fine tool, and it takes a classic approach to sequencing. The program itself is very similar to atari's cubase.

Good luck,

Fede

pd.: The ugly dark theme can be disabled, leaving you with your default qt theme.

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programLyrique
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby programLyrique » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:40 pm

Yes, actually, I have also tested Rosegarden, and I like the notation editor (I have studied classical harmony, using a pen and a piece of paper, so I prefer scores to pianorolls), but the spacing between staves does not seem to be adjustable (same ratio when zooming) so it is a bit difficult to visualize a full orchestra at the same time.
It is also unfortunate that it can't handle lv2: I also used Linuxsampler standalone, but for an orchestra -- so with more than 16 instruments, which is very often the case especially when using multiple articulations for the same instrument (violin staccato, pizzacato, sustain, and so on) -- it becomes complicated, and even more with the fixed/automatic channel set up of Rosegarden. In Ardour, I use Linuxsampler lv2, an instance per track, and because, in a track, you can change the channel of some notes, it makes it possible to have a violin sustain and pizzicato in the same track, which makes more sense...
I also found automation in Rosegarden a bit complicated to set up...

I guess -- and that's why I like opensource so much- that I should code myself this functionalities in one of the Linux DAW...
But indeed, I ought to explore Rosegarden a bit more!
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stanlea
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby stanlea » Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:15 am

In my view, you might use a notation editor for composing and a daw for rendering. Try musescore or laborejo.

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programLyrique
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby programLyrique » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:50 am

Laborejo2 seems very interesting and what I am looking for (I like the prospect of being able to edit the MIDI parameters, duration, and automation in the staff)... but it is still in development. Still, it is worth waiting for it!
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bunyi
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby bunyi » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:20 pm

Bitwig has very convenient layered editing mode but it's propietary software.

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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby GraysonPeddie » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:44 pm

And for $400 at that. There needs to be a ton of improvements for MIDI in the open source front in order to compete with Bitwig, but I'm in for a MIDI sequencer that only focuses in MIDI. I'm unsure if OP has some skills in reading and writing notation (not me). I could pay $400 if I want layered editing. I have never used Bitwig before, but I'm wondering if Bitwig can let me see other tracks' cutoff filters or resonance, aka MIDI controllers. Sure, Bitwig does do per-MIDI note automation of filters or volume, but I once used MUSE sequencer to fake it as MIDI's capabilities are very limiting. In other words, if I want each and individual MIDI note to have it's own filter cutoff, resonance, volume, and whatever I want each note to sound, I will have to create let's say 3 MIDI channels dedicated to each note, but as a single instrument as a whole. To me, that's no big deal, but the problem is, I have to exit the piano roll in MIDI channel 3 and open channel 2 to see what the filter values are in the controller, and then close channel 2 and open channel 3 so I can draw whatever I want for a note to sound.

So yeah, as OP stated, being able to see MIDI notes in other MIDI channels in a single piano roll window would be an enormous help.
--Grayson Peddie

Music Interest: New Age w/ a mix of modern smooth jazz, light techno/trance & downtempo -- something Epcot Future World/Tomorrowland-flavored.

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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby witchspace » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:10 am

GraysonPeddie wrote:So yeah, as OP stated, being able to see MIDI notes in other MIDI channels in a single piano roll window would be an enormous help.

Agreed. This is what I'd like very much as well.

A long time ago (either in DOS or on the Atari) I remember having a piano roll editor which could display various tracks at the same time, it would show them in different colors. You could select a certain color and 'paint' with that to create notes. No idea what program that was, but I miss that approach. I may have a shot at trying to implement this in qtractor at some point.

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programLyrique
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby programLyrique » Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:27 pm

I read that implementing the viewing of several MIDI channel in the same pianoroll in Qtractor was very complicated by design and the developer of Qtractor seemed quite reluctant to work on that.
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby GraysonPeddie » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:16 pm

So why not make a DAW modular? For example:

daw
daw-midi-sequencer
daw-midi-sequencer-lv2-support
daw-midi-sequencer-notation
daw-midi-sequencer-arp
daw-midi-sequencer-pattern
daw-midi-sequencer-drum-machine
daw-audio-sequencer
daw-midi-sequencer-pianoroll
daw-midi-sequencer-pianoroll-multiview
daw-gtk2 or daw-gtk3 or daw-qt4 or daw-qt5
...and so on and so forth.

It's kind of like "what do you want in a DAW? Do you want audio or M8DI sequencer?" and that sort of thing. Maybe I want to build my own DAW but I don't have the knowledge to program in C or C++. A modular approach to DAW allows the open source community to build modules that plug right in to a DAW. You could take a portion of a code from ZynAddSubFX and build it as a module, for example. Want surround sound? Sure, no problem. Want to use an arp? Just take a code from QMidiArp and form it into a module for a MIDI sequencer. It's actually similar to building a Linux kernel.

Well, I did went too far off-topic, but I think going completely modular would be a much better approach compared to monolithic approach like MuSE, Rosegarden, Ardour, and QTractor.
--Grayson Peddie

Music Interest: New Age w/ a mix of modern smooth jazz, light techno/trance & downtempo -- something Epcot Future World/Tomorrowland-flavored.

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falkTX
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby falkTX » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:29 pm

Non-Timeline + Non-Mixer already gives a nice audio modular system.
Non-Sequencer works but it doesn't have that many MIDI features (it's very basic for me at least).

You can build a modular setup with NON + Carla + any midi sequencer.

NSM seems to be the right choice at the moment to handle session management (ie, saving all those apps and connections).

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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby GraysonPeddie » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:52 pm

falkTX wrote:Non-Timeline + Non-Mixer already gives a nice audio modular system.

Yeah, but in a same window (the mixer can be a separate window or it could be built-in below the same window as non-Timeline. A "timeline" would be part of a "daw" program. I don't want to ALT+Tab through all the "modules" just to get to one. Think of Steinberg Cubase or Cakewalk SONAR. Sure, these two programs are monolithic, but so are QTractor and MuSE sequencer. A DAW program can be modular from a developer standpoint, but look very monolithic from an end-user perspective. The two exceptions are Carla with multiple plugins and ZynAddSubFX.
falkTX wrote:Non-Sequencer works but it doesn't have that many MIDI features (it's very basic for me at least).

I had a look at Non-Sequencer, but the workflow is not for me. I prefer the workflow of MUSE I wish MUSE could be modular. I can uninstall audio, basic notation, and DSSI/VST/MESS support if I don't want it.
--Grayson Peddie

Music Interest: New Age w/ a mix of modern smooth jazz, light techno/trance & downtempo -- something Epcot Future World/Tomorrowland-flavored.

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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby witchspace » Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:22 am

programLyrique wrote:I read that implementing the viewing of several MIDI channel in the same pianoroll in Qtractor was very complicated by design and the developer of Qtractor seemed quite reluctant to work on that.

I don't really expect Qtractor's author to work on such a specific, sort of obscure feature, but it's sad to hear that it's complicated by design. *Conceptually* it doesn't seem too difficult to draw multiple 'event sets' but have one active for editing and provide a way to switch between them, but the devil is always in the details.

Edit: I looked at a few clips of bitwig and that approach is indeed what I'm thinking of.

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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby rncbc » Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:16 pm

witchspace wrote:
programLyrique wrote:I read that implementing the viewing of several MIDI channel in the same pianoroll in Qtractor was very complicated by design and the developer of Qtractor seemed quite reluctant to work on that.

I don't really expect Qtractor's author to work on such a specific, sort of obscure feature, but it's sad to hear that it's complicated by design. *Conceptually* it doesn't seem too difficult to draw multiple 'event sets' but have one active for editing and provide a way to switch between them, but the devil is always in the details.


i don't remember to say such a thing, like that it was "complicated by design" o.O i can can even say that it's NOT complicated at all, provided you have the skill (qt/c++ programming) and the motive. maybe i said something about the later or the lack of it :)

byee

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programLyrique
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Re: Editing several MIDI tracks at the same place

Postby programLyrique » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:21 am

I think I read in your website that you told that it would be difficult to implement because of the design 1 clip = 1 MIDI file and that the pianoroll displays one clip.
It may be on this topic or this one or another one but I can't remember in which one I read what I am speaking about.
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