How to use one midi part with several VST instruments

I have a simple bassline and melody in one of my midi parts and this midi data is going to my piano rack VST instrument. I would like to try changing the bassline sound to a bass guitar or to another instrument however. Would I need to have the bass and melody in two seperate midi parts on two separate mid tracks to be able to use two different sounds or can I use one midi part and use the midi channels somehow to send one channel to my piano VST while sending the bassline in the same mid part to another bass VST? What is the best way to achieve this in Cubase?

Easiest way would probably be to use a MIDI-track (not instrument) and use the 4 MIDI-Sends to forward to your 2 (up to 4) instrument tracks.

Thanks for the answer. I am trying that but could you please help me set it up. Right now I am getting a duplicate. So basically here is what is happening

you will see my sends and I have one going to Halion SE and the other going to addictive keys and it is working but the bass synth and piano are both playing the bassline

How does your MIDI track know what is bass line and what is melody? If the bass is a separate instrument it should be on a different MIDI channel and I note you are sending ANY rather than a specific channel.

Somewhere you have to split the MIDI data and Cubase can’t know what is bass line and melody. If you have not got that split in the original when it was created, you can go through and assign a channel to the notes (then you can manipulate which tracks respond to which notes, e.g. using group selection to do it speedily). In principle you could use the logical editor, but without knowing how the music is written, that may or may not work - e.g. assign any note under middle C to another channel, or choosing the lowest note of a chord.

One alternative to using a MIDI track + AUX MIDI Sends is to use Shared Copies of Repeating Events on multiple Instrument Tracks.

  1. Click an event in the main project view.

  2. Top Cubase menu: Edit > Functions > Repeat

  3. Enter the number of copies you want and tick the “Shared Copies” option. The repeats will be tacked onto the end of the same track.

  4. Drag them to new instrument tracks at the time/position desired, that point to the plugin you want.

Now if you edit any of these ‘shared copies’, the change will be duplicated in all of them.

Is everything on the track using the same MIDI channel, or is the bass line using a different MIDI channel than the rest of the notes?

I.E. If the bass line is on a different channel than the other stuff…you have ‘options’.

Depending on the plugins you’re using, it might be as simple as changing the MIDI channel for the track to “Any” instead of hard routing to a specific channel, and making sure your plugins are set to only play notes meant for respective channels. (Assuming the bass line is on an independent MIDI channel, and the two plugins are set-up to only receive from a single channel).

  1. You could dissolve the track before you begin working with it. (Sort it into multiple tracks by MIDI channel).

  2. If working with MIDI Tracks, You can apply Realtime filters using a MIDI Transformer Insert on a MIDI Send set to ‘post’.

If the bass line isn’t on an independent channel, It’s not too difficult to open the Piano Roll style MIDI editor, hold ctrl, and click through the bass line until all of those notes are ‘selected’. From there, simply set a new MIDI channel for the selected notes up at the top of the editor in the status bar. From there it’s easy to ‘dissolve’ it into separate tracks or lanes (by channels).

Really…there are many ways one can approach situations like this. Personally, I use LOTS of ‘MIDI’ tracks early on.

Don’t be afraid of spreading things out over lots of tracks during compositional and experimentation stages. Later on, you’ll discover that you can group things in folders. It’s possible to select multiple project events and work with them in the same MIDI editors at once. Using lots of tracks can simplify using MIDI Logic Editors (mass/batch edits based on simple booleen style ‘conditions’). It can make it quite easy to ‘double parts’ at will. Want to borrow that sax part and double it for french horn but drop it a 3rd? No problem if you’re not afraid to ‘use lots of tracks’.

It can also be helpful to use different MIDI channels for different musical ideas (but hard route them to play back over a single channel). Of course, it’s easy to ‘freeze’ everything in a track (including MIDI modifiers) to a given MIDI channel at will. But why? Just one example…counterpoint. Each melody and counter melody could be on its own ‘channel’. Thus, it’d be simple to do something like: Use a Logic Editor to lower the attack velocity of all notes on channel 4 by 10%. Set the velocity of all notes on channel 1 to the same value as the note-number (so it gets louder for higher notes, and softer for lower notes). Etc, etc, etc.

You’ll also discover that it’s not very difficult to ‘freeze/merge/dissolve’ tracks at will. So condensing things to fewer tracks, and exploding to many is pretty simple.

Towards the end of a project I might go through and condense a lot of stuff into fewer tracks.

My MIDI track has two melodies in the midi part and I have these set for polyphonic voicing in my score editor so I am using channel 4 on the bass and channel 1 for the melody

Here is a visual

So having it set it this way, I wanted to have my top line played by one instrument and the bass by another instrument. Do you understand now?

Thank you. I know it is easy to dissolve tracks and I am not afraid to do it but the reason I wanted everything in the same part is so I could have it together in my score editor and on the same staff.

Currently my bass line is set to channel 4 and my melody to channel 1 Please see here

In Halion I am able to choose channels but on my piano vst I don’t believe I can do this. Could you help me set it up now that you can see exactly what I want to do? I need my bass instrument in Halion to play the bassline and I need anoth piano VST to play the melody and I need these on the same staff in my score editor.

So that should be easy. Use a Midi channel for your source, use MIDI sends, and on the MIDI send, send it to another track with your instruments, selecting the correct channel on the send rather than Any, so it only sends the notes that match. The receiving instrument can be set to any, but if it is not responding, check the MIDI section of the instrument and there should be a MIDI channel somewhere. If it is fussy, you can always use a MIDI modifier to change channels on the receiving track, but that shouldn’t be necessary.

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I would have thought that the MIDI plugin “Context Gate” can be used for this application. However, I didn’t get any sound on the instruments (but they receive some data from the gate).

In case my idea is good but my execution is poor and somebody else can take it from here I leave the screenshot of the settings (in this case MIDI channel 2):

Thank you for your reply. Is this what you asked me to do?

I still get my piano VST playing all the notes and don’t hear the bass synth in Halion at all. Here is what my halion plugin looks like. You can see I have set channel 4 next to my bass synth

I’m thinking you could set up a MIDI Transformer on an Aux Send with the logic:
if(channel is not equal to the channel you want playing, delete the event).

In that case, you’d not direct the main output of the track to either plugin. Instead, you’d use Aux Sends on a MIDI track. Each with MIDI Transforming logic to filter out the ‘unwanted channel’.

Load your plugins as ‘rack instruments’ instead of ‘track instruments’.

Track MIDI 01, Channel Any - Track output > unassigned.
Track Aux Send 1 > MIDI Transformer (filtering a channel) > Piano
Track Aux Send 2> MIDI Transformer (filtering a channel) > Bass

Not sure if this is of interest to you, but over the years I’ve developed some personal workflows and ‘best practices’ when building ‘scores’.

For ‘score tracks’ it’s pretty rare that I connect them to instruments at all. Instead, I’ll compose freely for the best ‘sound’, and later clone and perfectly quantize that stuff to special ‘score tracks’.

I’ll keep the ‘score’ and ‘parts’ in folders of their own. It’s pretty common in my projects that score tracks are never connected to any instrument(s) at all! Their only purpose is for building scores and parts. Sound…unimportant…I do whatever I need to them to get the best looking score and/or parts.

Why? Well, scoring stuff works best when it’s all perfectly quantized. Sometimes symbols we draw on a score doesn’t have the best auto-translation going on (provided we bothered to go in and teach Cubase to interpret them in the first place. I.E. Staccato, Legato, Accents, Slurs, Lines, Pins, and so forth. Plus the myriad of scoring options on things like flag styles, note heads, spacing, and more.

Mockup tracks are a very different beast. To get them to be ‘expressive’, it’s common to have notes that are far from perfect quantification. It’s common to have notes ‘overlapping’. Loads of dynamic tweaks on individual notes. Continuous controller stuff, and a whole lot more.

Of course one exception to my rule is if I’ll be setting up basic expression maps for the score editor, and ‘composing’ in the score editor in the first place. (Step Entry, or via Mouse and QWERTY keys).

It can be helpful to eventually create score translation expression maps for quickly poking in scores and getting a somewhat decent translation (math OK, even ‘perfect’, but not very musical or expressive). It’ll take some time to figure it all out, and build these things to your own tastes (and plugin/instrument choices) though.

In that case, I’ll do just the opposite, and keep all parts on individual staves/tracks that are connected to the simplest and most ‘basic’ general MIDI style instruments I can find (you can work yourself to death trying to train it all to use fancy/expensive sample libraries, and still never be satisfied with the end mock-up, so keep it simple, use it as a compositional tool/sketch pad).

If I want some things compressed onto a single stave, I’ll save that until last and just merge some stuff (I.E. 4 horn parts on 4 tracks merged into a single stave for a condensed score. I’ll still keep the uncompressed tracks around, as you can have as many ‘configurations’ of a score layout as you like! Print out both compressed and uncompressed versions!).

Once my ‘score’ is roughed in, I’ll clone those tracks, and go to work tuning those copies of the tracks to the ultimate ‘playback’ properties. That includes fiddling with the groove, sliding notes around in time, overlapping some, injecting pedal effects and continuous controllers, fine control over dynamic and crescendo/decrescendo/vibrato/tremolo/etc.

Also, when it comes to expressive ‘play back’ tracks, it’s not uncommon to end up with many variations of instruments to simulate different ‘articulations’. I.E. For strings…a different track for the many different styles of bowing and plucking. For brass, different tracks for different timbers or attack/release styles, and so on.

Another thing about doing more realistic sounding score mock-ups is that you’ll do things with sample or synthesized instruments that you’d never try to do with ‘real instruments in the real world’. Psycho acoustical ‘tricks’ to get the balance better. Things to ‘cover up’ flaws with the computerized sounds. Striking ‘compromises’ between what ‘sounds good with what you have to work with in terms of virtual instruments’ vs ‘what you might try to do in the real world with real instruments/musicians’.

A good mockup is always a ‘compromise’. You’ll end up doing a lot of weird stuff that you’d never want to show up on the score! I.E. You might ‘double’ some parts that you would not need on a real stage to bring out a passage. You might remove some parts or notes. You might cue off some parts to different instruments that you don’t really want to suggest to a target performing group looking at your score (because it’d sound bad on a real stage, but works for your computer model). You might layer in some ‘overlays’ and such. You might even just have a track of ‘white/room noise’ to add some realism and warmth to it all when playing back and rendering.

All these reasons and more, are why I tend to more or less keep ‘score tracks’ and ‘play back tracks’ in their own little worlds.

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Thank for the tips and sharing your workflow. I will keep what you say in mind for sure but I kind of get the feeling that what I want to do is not really possible the way I am trying to do it. Did you see my images, is this not how I should go about this. I have no idea what a MIDI transformer even is so is this the only way to do what I need? Did you see my channels on my midi sends panel? I have one sending on channel 4 and one sending on channel 1, isnt this the right way to do this?

It should work. but you’ll want to set the Aux Send channels to “Any”, and you’ll need a MIDI transformer to ‘filter out’ the unwanted channel(s).

Just be sure that the main track output is set to channel “Any”, and that it is NOT connected to any instrument or MIDI port.

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Ok I will try this thank you