Orinj Working with MIDI notes and controls

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Orinj version 3.0.0

A MIDI event is a piece of information carried by a MIDI file or a MIDI sequence. This piece of information tells the MIDI device to do something at a certain time. One MIDI event, for example, could tell the MIDI device to play a certain note at a certain time. Another MIDI event may tell the MIDI device to change one of its controls, such as its volume, at a certain time. See MIDI event for more information.

All MIDI events have a similar structure. They carry two pieces of information: 1) the time at which something must happen; and 2) a description of what exactly must happen. Although all events are similar, Orinj distinguishes between two types of MIDI events – notes and controls. In the Orinj MIDI roll view, notes are shown in the MIDI track (see Orinj MIDI roll view). There are two types of note events. One shows when a note should begin to play and one shows when a note should stop playing. A third event applies vibrato to the note. MIDI controls, on the other hand, are displayed in the MIDI control line above the MIDI track.

MIDI is extensive and Orinj does not support all MIDI controls. Orinj supports several types of controls – volume, pan (two MIDI controllers), instruments, pressure (i.e., vibrato), pitch shift, time signature, tempo, and key signature.

Add a note

To add a note, click on Event and then on Add Note in the Orinj menu or click on the draw mouse pointer (Draw pointer button) in the pointer toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. Then click on the screen where you want to add the note.

In both cases, you will get the following dialog.

MIDI note dialog

Specify the following in this dialog.

  • The note type. This can be a note on event, specifying that the note should start playing, a note off event, specifying that the note should stop playing, or a vibrato event, specifying that the note should be played with some sort of vibrato.
  • The track to which this note should belong. A MIDI file may contain one or more tracks and these tracks may be played simultaneously or not. Orinj does not support MIDI files in which the tracks are not played simultaneously. In general, in Ornj, you can use the tracks to simply organize your file.
  • The channel to which this note should be sent. Orinj supports the standard 16 MIDI channels, which allows polyphony in MIDI (i.e., the playing of more than one note at a time). Note that channel 9 (if counting from 0) is a percussion channel.
  • The time or tick at which the note will be played (from the beginning of the file). The time and tick specify the same information and if you change one of these, the other one will change accordingly. In MIDI sequences, a tick is a specific length of time. Note that in the MIDI protocol, a MIDI event carries the amount of ticks that should pass from the previous MIDI event, before the current event is used. In Orinj, however, the values displayed in the dialog above are the time and ticks from the beginning of the MIDI sequence.
  • The MIDI instrument. You cannot change the MIDI instrument in the dialog. The instrument that is played by a note is specified by some MIDI event that is in the same channel and is before the note. If you want to change the instrument, you have to use the MIDI control line.
  • The note.
  • The octave of the note (the octaves available are the ones shown in the piano roll to the left of the MIDI track).
  • The velocity of the note. For most MIDI devices, this is the volume of the note, when the note starts playing, or the speed with which the note decays, when the note stops playing. Other MIDI devices may interpret the velocity differently or may ignore it.

If you start with a blank file and add a single note on event, you will most likely not hear anything during playback. Since the event will be the last event in the MIDI sequence, playback will stop as soon as the note is started (the MIDI device will reach an end of track event, which typically stops all notes from playing). To ensure that the last notes in your MIDI files are being played, add note off events for each note on event where you want the note to stop playback.

If there are no instrument events in the current MIDI file, the dialog will not list the instrument that will play the note. It is recommended that you use the MIDI control line to add an instrument to the MIDI file before the note. Otherwise, the note may be played by a different instrument every time you play the file. If there are no instruments, the instrument that will play the note will depend on what instrument was played last on the relevant channel, even if that happened in some other MIDI file played previously.

Adding two notes or other events at the same time does not guarantee which one will be played first. If, for example, you add a note at 1 sec and then add an instrument change at 1 second, the note may be played before the instrument change, in which case the note will play with the instrument selected before. In general, events added to the MIDI file first will be played first, but if you want to be sure that the note follows instrument change, just move the instrument earlier or later by, say, 1 tick.

Change the properties of a note

To see or change the properties of a note, either double-click on the note in the MIDI track, or click on the note to select it and then click on Event and then on Note Properties in the Orinj menu. If you do so, you will see the same dialog shown above. Use this dialog to change the properties of the note and click OK when you are done. The note that is selected in the MIDI track will be lighter in color.

Move a note

To move a note, follow the steps above for changing the properties of the note and change the time at which the note should be played (to move the note in time, left or right on the screen) or change the note itself (to move the note up or down on the screen). Alternatively, click on the move mouse cursor (Move pointer button) in the pointer toolbar at the bottom of Orinj and then click on the note and drag it.

Remove a note

To remove a note, click on the note to select it and then click on Event and then on Remove Note in the Orinj menu. The selected note is the one that is lighter in color.

Add a control

A control is a MIDI controlling event other than a note or a vibrato: volume, pan, instrument, etc. All MIDI controls that Orinj can work with are shown in the MIDI control line at the top of Orinj.

First, decide which type of control you want to add. If, for example, you want to add a volume control, change the MIDI control line to show the volume controls – click on the label to the left of the MIDI control line until you get the type of control that you want.

To add a control, click on Event and the on Add Control in the Orinj menu or click on the draw mouse button (Draw pointer button) in the pointer toolbar at the bottom of Orinj and then click on the MIDI control line where you want to add the control.

You will see a dialog that allows you to specify the properties of the control. Which dialog you see will depend on which control you are adding. The following is the dialog that allows you to specify an instrument.

MIDI program change dialog

Specify the parameters of the control and click OK when you are done.

Change the properties of a control

To change a control, double-click on it or click on it once to select it and then click on Event and then on Control Properties in the Orinj menu. You will see a dialog that allows you to change the properties of the control. Click OK when you are done.

Remove a control

To remove a control, click on it to select it. Then click on Event and then on Remove Control in the Orinj menu.

Move a control

To move a control, follow the steps above for changing the properties of the control and change the time of the control. Alternatively, click on the move mouse cursor (Move pointer button) in the pointer toolbar at the bottom of Orinj and then click on the control and drag it.

It is always a good idea to leave certain controls at the beginning of the file – volume, pan, instrument, etc. If these controls are not there, the notes at the beginning of the file will be played with the current volume, pan, or instrument of the MIDI device, which may be controls set before, when another MIDI file was played.



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