In today’s Musistic University recording tutorial, Curtis shows you how to use the Step Input feature in Logic.

In the early days of MIDI sequencing step recording was the only way to sequence MIDI data before real-time MIDI recording became available. This method treats MIDI information in a way closer to data entry instead of a performance. It allows for very intricate and precise sequencing that can go well beyond the skill of the performer.

We start by creating an instrument track and placing an instrument plugin in the instrument slot. Select or create your desired instrument patch.

Open the step input window by going to the Window menu, it is placed under this hierarchy:

Window > Show Step Input Keyboard

The keyboard shortcut for this is Option + Command + K

This brings up the Step Input Keyboard window.

In order to record notes step by step you need to create an empty MIDI region or use an existing MIDI region. Open the MIDI region you want to edit in the Piano Roll. Place your cursor on the timeline within a MIDI region and click your desired timeline insertion point. Click a note on the on-screen keyboard in the Step Input Window and the note will be placed at that point on the timeline and the timeline insertion point will be moved to just after the note.

Chords can be inserted by clicking the Chord button on the far left and clicking the notes that you want to be stacked to create a chord.

To the right of the Chord button is the Note Length selector. Note lengths range from a Whole Note (semibreve) to a 1/64th Note (hemidemisemiquaver). Selecting the different note lengths will change the length of the inserted notes.

To the right of the Note Length Selector are more advanced timing controls. The dot button places the next 2 notes into a dotted group, which makes the 1st note 150% it’s length and the next note 50% its length. The button with the 3 on it is the Triplet button, which fits 3 notes into the space of 2 notes as dictated by the Note Length Selector. The button with the line and arrow is the Sustain Inserted Note(s) button, which extends previously inserted (or highlighted) notes by the amount of the Note Length Selector.

To the right of the advanced timing tools lies the Velocity Controls. Represented by traditional dynamics indicators ranging from “ppp” (pianississimo, or a velocity of 16) to “fff” (fortississimo, or a velocity of 127), the Velocity Controls allow you to control the velocity of input from the on-screen Step Input Keyboard.

On the far right the Q button is the Quantize button which corrects the timing of the next inserted note, and the MIDI Channel selector which allows you to select the channel output of the Step Input Keyboard.

Your computer’s QWERTY keyboard provides a few additional controls. The Space Bar adds a rest the length of the selected Note Length. Pressing Command + Z will undo your last inserted note(s) and place the playhead at the beginning of the deleted note(s). You can undo as many note insertions as your Number of Undo Steps setting is set to in your Preferences under Preferences > General > Editing > Number of Undo Steps.

In order to enable note insertion from the MIDI keyboard, enable the MIDI In control on the Piano Roll toolbar. A few of these functions change when you are using an external MIDI keyboard. You don’t have to press the chord button to insert a chord, you can just play it on the keyboard and the played notes are stacked. However, after playing the chord the inserted notes are no longer selected so the Sustain Inserted Note(s) button creates a rest unless you select the notes you want to sustain. The velocity input from the external MIDI keyboard is also used, so the Velocity Controls are unused.

Happy data entry and sequencing!

ES2 Instrument > Synth Strings > Trance Poly (Modified for velocity sensitivity and resonance)

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