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MIDI Track Controls

A typical MIDI track header looks like this:

A MIDI track header
A MIDI track header

To show the full set of MIDI track controls, the track height must be increased beyond the default. MIDI tracks show only a few of the control elements when there is insufficient vertical space.

A MIDI track has the same basic controls as an audio track, with the addition of three extra elements:

  1. Some meters for the track's outputs (MIDI in red, Audio in green)
  2. The Scroomer, a zoom and scroll controller for the midi notes range
  3. When the track is tall enough, the External MIDI Device selection dropdown appears.

The Scroomer

The Scroomer performs a couple of functions:

  • The scrollbar controls the range of pitches that are visible on the track, as visualized by the piano keyboard. Dragging the body of the scrollbar up and down displays higher or lower pitches.
  • Dragging the scrollbar handles zooms in and out and increases or decreases the range of visible pitches.
  • Double clicking the scrollbar auto-adjusts the zooms to make the range of visible pitches fit the actual content of the track.
  • Clicking on the piano plays the corresponding MIDI note for reference.

Channel and patch selection

The Channel Selector

The MIDI channel control window
The MIDI channel control window

A MIDI track's data may span any number of the 16 available MIDI channels, and sometimes it is useful to view only a subset of those channels; different instruments may, for example, be put on different channels. In the context menu (right click), the Channel Selector allows to control the MIDI channel(s) that will be visible in the editor.

This window also gives control over which channel(s) will be recorded, and which will be played back, choosing between:

  • All channels
  • Only selected channels —Ardour then proposes to choose amongst the 16 channels which are to be recorded/played
  • Force all to one channel —Ardour then 'routes' all the channels to one user selectable channel.

The Patch Selector

The Patch Selector window
The Patch Selector window

The Patch Selector window is an easy way to set which instrument will be used on any of the MIDI channels. Although patches can be changed at any time using a patch change, this dialog provides an easy and convenient way to preview patches in software and hardware instruments. It integrates fully with Ardour's support for MIDNAM (patch definition files), so Ardour can display named programs/patches for both General MIDI synths and those with MIDNAM files.

The window itself makes it easy to choose a channel, a bank number, optionally choosing a bank number through its MSB and LSB numbers (CC#00 and CC#32) for large banks, then choosing an instrument.

The keyboard at the bottom of the window allows for a quick preview of the selected instrument, either automatically (using the buttons on top of the keyboard) or manually by either clicking a note or using the computer keyboard as a piano keyboard.

To edit the contents of a MIDI track see MIDI Editing.