Tracks screen

1. Track list


1.1 Track view switch

This is the most important button in the Tracks screen. It switches between the track editor and the bar editor. These two editing modes are the key to Music Studio’s fast and easy editing workflow.


The track editoris designed to edit whole tracks and mix the song by setting the volume, pan and the effect bus.

Use the bar editor for quick, bar-wise editing of the song. Select a range of bars (measures) and move, duplicate, repeat, transpose, quantize or delete it.

1.2 Scrolling and selecting

Analogous to the Keyboard screen, sliding and pinching on the menu bar scrolls and zooms the song.

Only one track can be selected at a time. The keyboard will play this track's instrument, the record button will record on this track, and all the changes you make in the Instrument screen will apply to it. You cannot delete the first track, the maximum number of tracks is 127. If you switch to two keyboard rows, a separate track for the lower row is created (more on this topic here).

1.3 What is a track?

Think of a track as one instrumentalist in a band or an orchestra. It holds recorded notes, one instrument and some parameters. There can be multiple tracks with the same instrument but different parameters (like volume, pan, attack and release time, effect bus, color).

Note: A recorded note places 2 events on a track: key-down and key-up (also called note-on and note-off). The position of an event is stored with a resolution of 48 ticks per beat, which equals to 192 ticks per bar at a signature of 4/4, meaning that the shortest note can be a 1/192th.

1.4 Track screen menu

The menu buttons to the left to the display, and the LCD featuring the playhead mode, are the same as in the Keyboard screen.

1.5 Zoom buttons

On the iPhone, the zoom button toggles the zoom mode, where the view can be scrolled and resized anywhere on the screen. Tap or slide on the map at the bottom to quickly position the view. The map also displays the markers as yellow lines.

On the iPad, there are 3 zoom buttons for zooming in, out and fully out with one tap.

1.6 Tempo button

The tempo button brings up the tempo popup where the song tempo and signature can be set.


Tap or hold the +/- buttons to change the tempo in the range of 40 to 240 bpm (beats per minute) with a precision of 0.1 bpm. A faster way to set the tempo is to tap and slide the value on the display. An alternative tempo input method is to tap the Tap Tempo button with the desired tempo at least two times. Hold down the Preview button to hear a metronome preview of the current tempo and signature. The signature can be set to a value between 2/4 and 7/4. Most songs have a signature of 4/4, meaning that 1 bar has 4 beats (i.e. the length of 4 quarter notes).

The tempo is also displayed to the left of the ruler. Double tap it to open the tempo popup.

1.7 Ruler

The numbers and the vertical lines on the ruler indicate the measures (bars). The short vertical lines are the beats within each bar. The ruler also holds the playhead (white vertical line) and the two markers. Slide anywhere on the ruler to position the playhead. As you scroll the playhead left/right, a preview of the current position of the playhead is played back.

1.8 Markers

The left and right song makers are located on the ruler and can be moved. The markers must always be positioned at least 1 bar apart from each other. An alternative method for positioning the markers is via the playhead mode.

There are several reasons why markers are handy:

  • Recording always starts at the left marker, which makes punch-in recording possible.
  • The loop button loops the section between the markers.
  • When you export a song into wav or AAC format , you can choose to only export the range between the markers.

1.9 Add bar button

The plus icon appears on the right side of the screen if the ruler is scrolled to the end of the song. Tap it to extend the song by one bar.

2. Track editor

Tap the left side of the track view switch or the Tracks tab to display the track editor. It is designed to edit whole tracks and mix the song by setting the volume, pan and the effect bus.


2.1 Track list icons


Each track contains a number of icons:

  • Volume bars
    The output gain sent to the left and right channels is indicated by the green volume bars, allowing you to see the volume and pan for each track at one glance. If the pan is centered, both bars have the same height.
  • Track number and instrument icon
  • Mute / Solo / FX bus icons (see below)
  • Keyboard row icon
    
The row icon is only visible if 2 keyboard rows are enabled, indicating which keyboard row the track is assigned to. If you switch to two keyboard rows, a separate track for the new row will be created. Selecting a track will always assign it to the upper row. However, the track assignment of the lower row cannot be changed. If you switch back to one row, the lower row's track will be deleted if nothing has been recorded on it.
  • Warning triangle
    The yellow warning sign indicates that some notes on the track are outside the instrument's note range. Tap it to see more information. Notes outside the range will be played back but may sound atypical for this instrument, since every real instrument has a limited range of playable notes.

2.2 Note area

Notes are displayed as white lines and dots in the note area of each track.

Tip: Double tap any region of a track to enter the piano roll editor.

2.2.1 Orange notes

Congruent notes, i.e. notes that are placed at the same position and have the same length, are drawn orange in the track list. In most cases they are unwanted and should be deleted because they result in the note being played back with increased volume.

2.3 Rearranging tracks and changing the color

Tap and hold a track’s instrument icon for 1 second. A box will appear, instructing you to slide vertically to move the track or horizontally to change the track’s color.

Note: The order of the tracks is especially important if a external MIDI hardware is connected and the MIDI IN or OUT channel is set to TRACKS.

2.4 Filters track

Filter tracks appear only if a filter effect is set as a track, send or global effect. To record filter automation, move the crosshair in the filter effect window during recording. The 2 lines represent the cutoff frequency and the resonance. Muting a filter track prohibits it from being played back, allowing you to experiment with new filter settings.

2.5 Add track button

The add MIDI track and add audio track buttons are located at the end of the track list:

  • A MIDI track is a track with an instrument assigned where notes can be recorded onto.
  • An audio track holds a wave form (a .wav file). Tapping this button takes you to the wave editor where you can record from microphone, import from the iPod library, AudioPaste, or open an audio (wav/mp3/ogg/AAC) file.

These buttons are not visible if the limit of 127 tracks is reached.

2.6 Mute button

The mute button mutes the selected track, thereby excluding it from playback. Muted tracks are darkened and are indicated by the mute icon.

2.7 Solo button

If one or more tracks are soloed, all the other tracks will be excluded from playback.

2.8 FX button

The FX button opens the effect panel for the selected track, where the track's effects, send effects and global effects can be configured. See the Effects chapter for more details.

2.9 Edit button

Tap the edit button with a MIDI track selected to enter the piano roll editor, or with an audio track selected to enter the wave editor.

Tip: Double tapping a track has the same effect as tapping the edit button. The piano roll editor will also zoom in on the area you double tapped.

2.10 Duplicate button

The duplicate button places a copy of the selected track directly beneath it, thereby copying its parameters and recorded notes. If an audio track is duplicated, the linked .wav file is also duplicated and renamed, e.g. RobotVoice.wav to RobotVoice 2.wav, so you can edit one track’s wave form without affecting the other one.

2.11 Delete button

The delete button shows a popup with the options to delete or clear a track.

  • Clear deletes all of the track’s content (notes or audio regions) but leave the track in the list.
    Note: Since an audio track must always have at least one audio region, the first one will remain even if you clear the track.
  • Delete removes the track from the list. If it contains pitch bended notes, a checkbox for clearing only the pitch bend data appears.

2.12 Pan knob/fader

The pan knob (or pan fader on the iPad) controls the track's stereo pan. Touch it and move your finger left or right to change the selected track's pan. The LCD displays the current value (left is -127, center is 0, right is +127). You can also inspect the changes by looking at the volume bars to the left of the track icon.

2.13 Volume fader

The volume fader displays and sets the track's volume. Its function is identical to the Instrument screen's volume fader. The LCD displays the current value, ranging from 0 to 100%.

3. Bar editor

Tap the right side of the track view switch to display the bar editor. It is designed for quick, bar-wise editing of the song. Select any number of bars (measures) and move, duplicate, repeat, transpose, quantize or delete them.

3.1 Selecting

In contrast to the track editor, tracks cannot be selected in the bar editor and the currently selected track is not highlighted. Tapping a track's instrument icon selects all bars of the track.

3.2 New selection button

The left of the two selection buttons clears the current selection and starts a new one. Tap it, then draw a rectangle on the note area in order to select bars. Selected bars are highlighted.

Tip: tap a track's instrument icon to select the whole track.

3.3 Change selection button

The second selection button adds or subtracts bars from the existing selection. Tap the button, then tap an unselected bar to add it to the selection, or a selected bar to deselect it. Tap a track's instrument icon to (de)select the whole track.

3.4 Clipboard (copy and paste)

The clipboard holds a selection of bars which is retained even if another project is loaded. To copy bars from one song into another, make a selection, then tap and hold until the copy button appears. Tap copy, load the other song and go to the bar editor again. Tap and hold where you want to paste the contents of the clipboard, then tap the paste button.

Note: the clipboard buttons won’t show up if an audio region is selected.

3.5 Move button

In the move mode, the selected bars can be dragged around. The song length will increase if you move bars past the end of the song.

The snap button, located to the left of the OK button, aligns the selection to bars if enabled, and allows free movement if disabled, which is especially handy for adjusting the position of audio regions.

3.6 Duplicate button

Tapping the duplicate button copies the selected bars and selects the new ones which can be moved around immediately. The copied notes will appear orange until they are moved, because they are congruent (identical) with the originals.

Note: Not moving the new notes will cause them to be played back with increased volume.

3.7 Repeat button

The repeat button copies the selected bars and automatically moves them to the right so that they start where the selection ended. The song length is automatically increased if the new notes reach past the song end.

3.8 Transpose button

The transposition menu contains semitone and octave buttons to de- and increase the selected note’s keys by one semitone or octave. An octave equals 12 semitones. The LCD displays the number of semitones currently transposed.

3.9 Volume button (iPad only)

On the iPad, the volume button’s function in the bar editor is identical to the one in the piano roll editor.

3.10 Quantize button

Tap the quantization button to bring up the quantization popup for aligning the selected notes on a grid.

3.11 Edit button

Tap the edit button with a MIDI track selected to enter the piano roll editor, or with an audio track selected to enter the wave editor. This button is disabled if the selection encompasses more than one track.

3.12 Delete button

The delete button deletes the notes in the selected bars.

3.13 Bar insert/cut button

In the bar insert/cut mode, whole bars can be inserted and cut across all the tracks. Tap anywhere in the note area to select a bar of the song, which is highlighted in red.

The cut button deletes all notes in the selected bar and cuts it out, i.e. shifts all later notes one bar to left and decreases the song length by 1 bar.

The insert button inserts an empty bar to the left of the red highlighted area. This means that the song length is increased by 1 bar and all notes to the right of the line are shifted one bar to the right.

4. Piano roll editor

Double tap on a MIDI track in the track editor, or tap the edit button in either the track or the bar editor to enter the piano roll editor.



4.1 Piano roll view

In contrast to the track and the bar editor, the piano roll editor displays only one track. The ruler is still the same, but the vertical axis now represents keys. The bright and dark stripes in the background make it easy to see if a note is on a white or a black key. White horizontal lines between the B and C keys mark the octaves. Notes are displayed as blocks, the color indicates the volume (velocity) from violet (silent) to green (default) to orange (loudest).

4.1.1 Vertical zoom

Slide and pinch on the mini keyboard to scroll and zoom vertically. Tap the zoom button (to the right of the LCD) to bring up vertical zoom buttons on top of the mini keyboard.

4.1.2 Red notes

Congruent notes, i.e. notes that are placed at the same position and have the same length, are displayed red in the piano roll editor. In most cases they are unwanted and should be deleted because they result in the note being played back with increased volume.

4.1.3 Pitch bend

Pitch bend is indicated by a line for each note block. Pitch bend can be recorded with the pitch bend wheel or the accelerometer. However, once recorded it cannot be edited. To re-record pitch bend for existing notes, select the overwrite recording mode in the pitch section of the Effects screen.

4.2 New selection button

By default, all notes are selected and every edit operation will modify all notes. Tap the left selection button and draw a rectangle over the notes to select a few of them. Selected notes are highlighted and the note range of the whole selection is displayed in the LCD.

4.3 Change selection button

Tap the second selection button and draw a rectangle over the notes to adds or subtracts notes from the existing selection.

4.4 Draw button

Tap the draw button to enter the draw mode where notes can be drawn by moving a crosshair and tapping OK.


The note beneath the crosshair is the one which will be created if you press the OK button. Move the crosshair to the desired location and tap OK (next to the crosshair) to create the note. The song length can be increased by dragging the crosshair past the song end. Press the rightmost button in the menu to exit the draw mode. The menu contains the following buttons:

  • The selected note button defines the length of the note to be drawn.
  • Tap the dotted note button to increase the note length by 50%.
  • The quantization button snaps the crosshair to a raster defined by the selected note button.

4.5 Move button

In the move mode the selected notes can be dragged around horizontally and vertically.

The menu contains the following buttons:

  • The selected note button defines the raster on which the movement is aligned or snapped to.
  • The OFF button disables quantization and allows for (almost continuous) movement with 1/192th precision.
  • Tap one of the the lock buttons to lock horizontal or vertical movement, which is very handy if you intend to transpose or position only.
  • iPad only: The octave down/up buttons move notes down or up by 12 semitones.

4.6 Duplicate button

The duplicate button copies the selected notes and selects the new ones which can be moved around immediately. The copied notes will appear red until they are moved, because they are congruent (identical) with the originals.

Note: Not moving the new notes will cause them to be played back with increased volume.

4.7 Repeat button (iPad only)

The repeat button copies the selected notes and automatically moves them to the right so that they start where the selection ended. The song length is automatically increased if the new notes reach past the song end.

4.8 Length button

The buttons in the note length menu have the same functions as in the draw mode. Either tap a note button to set the length of all selected notes, or move your finger horizontally in the note area to de- or increase the length.

4.9 Volume button

Tap the volume button and move your finger vertically in the note area (or move the fader below) to change the note’s velocity (meaning volume).

The menu contains buttons and faders for more precise velocity editing:

  • The average button on the left averages the velocities of all the selected notes and applies it to them.
  • The gradient button toggles the velocity gradient mode, in which the two faders set the first and the last note’s velocity.

The LCD displays the average velocity of the selected notes, or the velocity range in gradient mode, ranging from 0 to 127 (default is 100). The note color indicates the volume from violet (silent) to green (default) to orange (loudest).

4.10 Quantize button

Tap the quantization button to bring up the quantization popup for aligning the selected notes on a grid.

4.11 Delete button

Deletes the selected notes.

5. Quantize popup


Quantization is the most important step after recording because it corrects the timing. If the quantization raster (resolution) is one quarter note, every selected note is moved to the nearest raster point in a 1/4 note raster. Finding the right raster is crucial, therefore you might want to try out different settings and tap undo in between.

For example, if you played a fast melody and quantized it to 1/4, the timing will be ruined - in this case, just tap the undo button and try again with a higher resolution like 1/16. On the other hand, quantizing notes with a high resolution might not correct all timing errors you made when recording them.

5.1 Note buttons

Set the quantization raster (or resolution) by selecting a note. In practice, low resolutions like 1/4 are the right choice for slow notes. 1/16 fits most melodies, while at 1/32 you will only notice the difference if you recorded fast notes (like a fast drum pattern) or if the song tempo is very low.

5.2 Dotted button

The dotted note button increases the quantization raster by 50%. For example if the 1/8 note button and the dotted button are enabled, the quantization resolution is 1/6 of a bar.

5.3 Triplet button

The note triplet button treats the notes as triplets, meaning that the raster interval is multiplied by 2/3. This is good for swing and Jazz style melodies. Naturally, dotted and triplet cannot be enabled at the same time.

5.4 Quantize note lengths

Quantized note lengths means that that every note’s end point will be quantized too. This is especially handy if you want to achieve legato.

5.5 Soft (quantize 50%)

Soft quantization is good for keeping a human touch to the recording. It shifts every note by only 50%, keeping it slightly off the perfect timing.