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Step Entry

Editing MIDI can be a tedious task. Ardour allows using a connected MIDI device like a music keyboard or pad controller, or use the mouse. A third option, providing fine-grain control, precision and speed of entry comes from using a custom note entry dialog.

The step entry dialog is accessed via a right click context menu on the rec-enable button, because step entry is related to recording MIDI data. Step editing and recording MIDI via the track's MIDI port cannot happen simultaneously, so the track should not be rec-armed.

Ardour's Step Entry dialog
Ardour's Step Entry dialog

The dialog (quite closely modelled on Logic's) contains:

  • Chord entry switch (successive notes are stacked in a chord until it is released)
  • Note length selectors
  • Triplet toggle
  • Normal, single, double and triple dotted note selectors
  • Sustain button
  • Buttons to:
    • Insert a rest of the current selected note duration
    • Insert a rest of the current grid step size
    • Move back to the last inserted note
    • Move forward to the next beat, or bar
    • Move forward to the edit point
  • Dynamics controls from pianississimo to fortississimo
  • Channel selector
  • Explicit numerical velocity selector, for more precise control than the dynamics selectors offer
  • Octave selector
  • Buttons to add bank or program change events
  • a full 10 octave virtual keyboard

More or less all actions in the step entry dialog can be driven directly from the keyboard, so that moving back and forth from the keyboard to the mouse is not necessary even for complex data insertion.

The default key bindings for this (configured in step_editing.bindings) are:

graveoctave 0
1 to 9octave 1 to 9
0octave 10
F1note length whole
F2note length half
F3note length third
F4 to F8note length quarter to sixtyfourth
ainsert C
winsert C ♯
sinsert D
einsert D ♯
dinsert E
finsert F
tinsert F ♯
ginsert G
yinsert G ♯
hinsert A
uinsert A ♯
jinsert B
Tabinsert rest
Primary Tabinsert snap rest
znote velocity 𝆏𝆏𝆏
xnote velocity 𝆏𝆏
cnote velocity 𝆏
vnote velocity 𝆐𝆏
bnote velocity 𝆐𝆑
nnote velocity 𝆑
mnote velocity 𝆑𝆑
commanote velocity 𝆑𝆑𝆑
Upnext note velocity
Downprev note velocity
Primary Upnext note length
Primary Downprev note length
apostrophetoggle triplet
periodtoggle dotted
Primary periodno dotted
bartoggle chord