You are here

Pimp up Qtractor - just some thoughts


1. When exporting a song or a part of a song there's the play-locator running through the song, but not running through the thumbnail. Would it be nice to have it running through the thumbnail also? Hm, I think I recall it did in earlier versions?

2. Adding/subtracting velocity to MIDI events seems missing a real add/sub option inside the GUI

3. Selecting MIDI events in editor window.
Sometimes I need to resize the length of many events but not all events inside the editor.
What about an option to select all events with a specific length to define by bar/beat/divided-beat etc.?

How long will you publish compiled versions of Qtractor for Bionic?


1. Beyond the eye-candy, what practical information would this provide that's not already known to the end user?

2. As a former drummer, I'm very sensitive to how easily (or not) I can edit velocities and believe I have a work flow that would serve you well for both this issue and what you're mentioning in your 3rd point.

The trick is to bind a left-hand-only key binding to Edit/Select Mode/Edit Off inside of Piano Roll (Piano Roll -> Help -> Shortcuts). The reason I strongly suggest a left-hand-only (or reversed if you use the rodent with your left hand) is to avoid having to move your other hand back and forth between the rodent and keyboard. Using a DAW is quite different from normal computing best practices since we really do need to use the rodent in order to work most efficiently. Therefore, it makes sense to divide things up where that device is primarily used to "select" and the other hand (remaining on the keyboard) determines the action. Obviously, we can't always do this for every operation but it's a better place to start from.

Since Edit/Select Mode/Edit Off has the side effect of changing the cursor to what I can only refer to as "select mode", I bind it to 's' since it's easy to think "select" and intuitively strike the 's' key. Then, I'm free to select notes of my choosing (perhaps in combination with the ctrl key when selecting multiple notes).

There are also many times I want to select all notes within a clip I am editing. That's why I bind 'a' to Edit/Select/All

Of course, we need a way to easily change the cursor to Edit/Select Mode/Edit On. I personally bind 'w' to that action since it's very intuitive to think of 'write'.

So, with s, a, and w bound and easily smashable with a single key stroke, I can accomplish 99% of the work I tend to do inside of Piano Roll. Of course, there are some other areas and practices I make use of in order to help me work this efficiently. I'll just scribble a few that come to mind.

1. Most of the time, my arranger is set to select by cip (Edit/Select Mode). I've never felt the need to use any other mode other than automation. Since these are the only 2 modes I've found a need to use, one is bound to F5 and the other is bound to F6.

2. All common operations are bound to sensible single keys. When I say "common" I'm talking about the things we do inside Piano Roll all the time like closing the window (x), undo (z), quantizing (q), transposing (t), maximizing the piano roll window (f), deleting what has been selected (d), opening the events panel (e).. perhaps others, can't remember all of them at the moment.

3. Again, all common Arranger windows are also bound to easily smashable single keys. The fact that keys can be bound independently across both the arranger and piano roll is one of Qtractor's greatest super powers. For example, I merge selected clips with 'g' (think: group), delete (d), split (s), copy (c), paste (v), undo (z), unlink (t), loop set with 'r' (think "repeat"). Move transport backwards (b), move transport forward with 'f'...

Seriously, the left-handed single keybindings allow me to move and operate so much faster than if I were driving the DAW soely by clicking around everywhere with the rodent and having to depend on little utility tools/panels.

Of course, I also bake things in along the way in order to avoid having to need tools like what you're asking for in #3. For example, each drum (or reasonable group like toms), is on its own track. This allows me to tweak velocities so easily since I don't have to filter or hunt/peck. Hell, I'll even separate a snare drum track into 2 so just my ghost notes are on their own. This actually came up very recently while collaborating. The drum patch used during collaboration obviously sounded different and we wanted to raise the velocities of the ghost notes. Since they were all on their own track, this was easily done by selecting all and just sliding any of the lollipops up.

I could go on and on but you get my point. Qtractor is very good when it comes to providing a framework that allows someone to customize their work flow.

TAERSH's picture

1. I have lots of songs that won't fit into the main window, so some parts are constant invisible for my eyes.
The thumbnail shows the whole song, so if the play cursor moves through the thumbnail one can see the current position of exporting even if not sitting in front of the screen. The percentage info of current export of the song is too hard to see for my weak eyes as soon as I'm one step away from the screen. Also the percentage graphical bar switches to a very small bar immediately. The red play cursor makes it easier, as I don't want to sit for minutes in front of the screen while exporting, but sequentially observing the ongoing export.

My songs are created by templates which have mostly around 60 tracks ready to be used. Exporting a song usually takes around 60% to 70% of the play time. All songs I composed since October 2021 have a length greater than 30 minutes. Lots of them around 45 minutes.

2. Sometimes I have the need to add some velocity to different midi parts in different tracks. Selecting all those parts in main window and then just to add e.g. 4 points of velocity would be very cool AND useful addition. I haven't used Cubase for a long time but I recall add/sub velocity was standard already in Cubase on AtariST.

3. I have different keyboard shortcuts for lots of functions you mentioned. The thingy is if selecting all midi events to just to shorten the length of the majority of long events will shorten short events to a length of zero. So, if I would be able to just select those events, with a length of e.g. 3 beats to make them e.g. just 2 beats and two ticks inside that beat (raster of beat/4) this would save a lot of time deselecting unwanted events after selecting all.

I'm not a native English speaker, so I hope you get the point.

I'm also a drummer and still I'm drumming regularly. My drum tracks are split into different tracks
One track for each of listed lines:

All Other Cymbals

rncbc's picture

dunno if it falls in the use case

but, once you get a selection group (of notes or else), grabbing their right-most edge might well extend their length in whole (ie. in group)
or am I missing something?

TAERSH's picture

Yes, you are missing something.
I know already everything mentioned by both of you above.
The part is to exclude midi events with short duration to select and then expand only e.g. midi events with a duration of e.g. 3 beats. So, all events shorter than 3 beats are excluded from resizing/expanding its length/duration.

The part in real life is: I often use copies of midi parts, e.g. melodies of the Oboe to have this melody also played/sung by Chorus. After copying the midi part to the Chorus track, I split the part and immediately re-combine it to have a real Chorus part to be edited without to change anything on the Oboe part.

On my Chorus tracks I have mostly a longer reverb, so there's a need to shorten the longer events to have a break between the events. This to make sure the Chorus reverb is not too long or too loud available when the next Chorus event is playing. I like the Oboe often playing in legato but the long reverb on the Chorus track needs to have it more staccato than legato.

Damn, I'm not a good English writer/speaker.
Hope you get the point, though...

This has been an interesting thread and I do get the sense your suggestions are well founded based on your explanations. Curious to see where this thread goes...

Add new comment