How do you edit non-quantized midi events

I have been working with Cubase for more than a decade, however, I still find that I have not found an elegant way to edit non-quantized midi recordings. I mean when you want to copy a midi event in which the first note is not quantized.

For example that you play two piano bars, each one with four 1/4 note chords. Played realtime and non-quantized.

Imagine that in the second bar the first quarter note chord is a bit ahead of the first beat (so actually it is at the very end of the first bar).
Now, what if you want to copy this second bar?

If you try to use the scissors tool, depending on the preferences, you will either manage to split in bar no2 leaving the very first note in the previous bar or the scissors tool will split the notes into two so the same note will sound in the end of bar one and then again in the start of bar 2.

Right now the only workaround I do is taking more than I need e.g. cutting through the last beat of the first bar , and copying that in snap positions and then deleting the unwanted notes. Not so easy. Logic’s marquee tool seems to incorporate a smart thing when it takes the notes when you copy them and places them in the new position unquantized and on time.

Is there a way to do that in Cubase?


I am sure that a lot of people here use midi so I’ll bump this one.

Hello Bach,

isn’t ‘relative grid’ what you are looking for?
relative grid.JPG
Copies, made with held down Alt-key snap in relative to the grid then (steps depending on your quantize setting).

Yup this is a pain in the ass allright. Happens to me all the time, especially with notes that lie just before the beat where I’m cutting. I end up with doubles all over the shops. Notes that should be at the start of the event are now at the end of the previous event instead. The only way I can get round it is to do the event cutting with snap off, then put snap on again (grid relative of course) when I want to move / copy the MIDI event.

MarQs’s suggestion about Relative Grid is a good one :wink:

  1. From the Project window, open the track’s In-Place Editor.
  2. Select the desired notes, then drag/copy them to the desired position, with Grid Relative active.
    This will extend the length of the MIDI Part. Up to you whether or not you then wish to split it.

Thanks for the replies guys!

What MarQs said is really interesting and worth trying. I will give it a go and report back.

Sorry guys, this is helpful but only in the key editor.

The real problem is in the project editor. This is where you do most of your events editing. So I tried the Grid Relative option but it stil cuts the notes in half when you use it the result being either two notes repeated in both bars after the cut OR (depending on the preferences) the notes that should be in the very beginning of the second bar end up as last notes of the first bar ( a weird behavior if you ask me).

Any ideas would be really welcome, after all, someone might have found a workaround for that.

Please re-read my post. :wink: (the In-Place Editor is part of the Project window)

By the way, from the Operation Manual :

If you split a MIDI part so that the split position inter- sects one or several MIDI notes, the result depends on the “Split MIDI Events” option in the Preferences dialog (Edit- ing–MIDI page). If the option is activated, the intersected notes will be split (creating new notes at the beginning of the second part). If it is deactivated, the notes will remain in the first part, but “stick out” after the end of the part.

Both options are pretty useless if you want to copy/paste non quantized midi events, you will either get split double notes or notes sticking out of the previous part.

Thanks vic_france, I read your post really carefully. But the point of this posts is about midi events, I don’t want to have to select a bunch of notes each time. I just want to copy the whole event. Getting into the in-place editor can get really fussy if you work fast. Events are cleaner and can be containers of like 100 notes each. It wouldn’t be easy to select a big number of notes (midi drum part comes to mind) and try to drag ALL the notes .

It’s all about event handling.

Nevertheless, your suggestions is really helpful :slight_smile:

Hmmm, I’ve tried this:

  • created a midi event
  • made a selection with selection tool
  • copied it via drag (alt + pull) >> looks like the upper part of my picture - first notes are missing
  • extented the copied event to the left >>> missing notes appear (lower part of the picture)

Not sure if this helps. I’m not a midi guy and found midi event handling pretty strange myself often enough :neutral_face:

Yeah, I’d like to see some more programming effort going into midi handling. Years ago there was a big flurry towards VSTis and now it’s all audio pitch shifting and time-stretching. Midi is still being left behind. It needs to be handled in a musical way rather than just being considered as events.

The example of notes just before the bar gets me all the time. I personally freeze quantize them to the start of the bar just to avoid leaving them behind. But, really, they should be intelligently included behind the scenes I think. Or, I keep a bar of space before the barline (say for a broken chord into the bar), and use the lanes feature to overlap the midi (haha, lanes, Cb6, haha, I mostly still use Cb5!).

Also, sustain pedal on/offs should be considered as a single even too. Also, pitch bend needs a workover too.

Someone once suggested that you can use the score editor to move things too, and this allows non-quantized notes to be moved as if they were on the barline. I haven’t tested it, but it may work…




This is actually a good idea, and it reminds me of my workaround when I want to copy/paste unquantized midi events (I cut the event with snap off, then resize it to be aligned to the grid , then copy, then resize etc.).

However the problem is that once you have pasted the event and then resize it to allow the notes to be displayed, then you cannot copy it/paste it again as it will end up in whatever messy position as it is no longer to the grid. So our workarounds will work only for once, and then you have to perform all the steps again. :cry:

Like I said, there is still no elegant way of editing non-quantized events.

That’s the point where the relative grid mode comes in handy. You can copy the copied event and it will sit perfectly on the grid if you do so with alt + mouse/pull.

Is this what you mean or do I talk about a different scenario?