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Changing track settings

A question to which I strongly suspect the answer is "no", but I'd love to be proved wrong:

 Is is possible to change track settings - specifically the chosen MIDI instrument - part of the way through a track?

For instance, if I specify "Flute" for a track, is it possible to use part of that same track with "Piccolo" as the instrument? Or must I always have 2 separate tracks, even though the 2 instruments are never required to sound at the same time?

rncbc's picture


although you may import s MIDI file that features more than one interleaved PC (program-change) messages, the qtractor will enforce this one-track, one-channel, one-instrument rule sooner or later; while you may render on playback such a track, the said rule will byte you in the a** as soon you modify the MIDI clip and save the session: there can only be one instrument (MIDI bank_select+program_change) per track and channel, period.

hyu. cheers

ps. lest to say, this is not a limitation and it's rather a convention (that qtractor follows tout coeur:))

I had a hard time understanding Rui's response as it may indicate Qtractor doesn't support Program Change messages, which, back in day was the way we all worked around the 16 MIDI channel limitation. My expectation would be that Qtractor would honor such messages at any point should they exist within a track. That said, I've never needed to use them and again, Rui may have just said something indicating more than one message in a given track won't work? As a plan b, there's always the SYSEX approach?

I think the one instrument one track approach is much more organized.
For the limit of 16 instruments, Qtractor gives us the midi bus tool.
If we didn't have midi buses, we would say please implement them, it is chaos to have several instruments on a track.
(I think sometimes we don't even know what we want :) )

On the other hand, I don't understand Rui's answer either.
Because apparently Qtractor does support "Program Change".
But it is not done from the track properties, but from the midi editor, which is its place since it is a midi event.

@DavidJS I mention it in case you want to experiment with this.
I also tell you that I have never used it, and if Rui says that Qtractor ends up discarding that data, there has to be a reason.
But if so, it is logical that this option would not be available.
Someone could use it and find that their "Program" edits are lost afterwards.

I already told you, it was not clear to me.
If Rui can explain it better, just out of curiosity.

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You can leave a MIDI track without an instrument, bank and program setting. Then it's up to you to do the program changes.

rncbc's picture

ok, let me explain the pitfalls to this rule, in case you didn't understand already...

suppose you have a MIDI file that you grabbed from the intertubes somewhere and have these interleaved PC events on the same track or channel.

you may import this very file into qtractor alright, it's a perfect valid SMF no matter it breaks the aforementioned rule or convention though; it might even play well to MIDI instruments for which it was designed for, so those PC's will match their purpose as originally intended--no problem so far...

now imagine you want to edit the MIDI clip under qtractor's piano-roll, change anything to your liking in the original sequence; you're happy with the changes and duly save the clip or session--it is now that the said rule roars its ugly head: it might come to your surprise that all PC events have disappeared from the original sequence, which now resides on a brand new MIDI file that goes for the changed clip.

TL;DR when writing to a MIDI file, qtractor always discards bank_select or program_change's but the ones set up in track properties.

do you understand it now?


ps. as @GEN-es shows above, you can enter those PC events in the MIDI clip editor, but truth be told, they won't survive the next save operation; they just won't be there the next time you open the session.

Thanks for clarifying it
I still think that then the most logical thing would be to remove Progam Change and CC Select Bank from the editor options. (Only the editor, logically in the rest it still makes sense to be able to send "learn midi" events from external controllers.)

Someone could use it, perhaps with the intention of automating (or otherwise), and be surprised. It would be perceived as a bug, when really it's just not the way Qtractor works. And if it's not the way, the option shouldn't exist.

The other option is to allow these events to remain saved. But if it is not so, you must have reasons why it is not so.

On the other hand, it would be good to indicate this way of working "one instrument > one track" in the manual. When I have a space I will study how to write it if it seems correct to you.

On second thought, everything is fine as it is.
If anyone has questions regarding this, they have already been resolved here.

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