Midi Editing in Cubase is For the Stone Ages...

I have reached a point of utter frustration… I find midi editing in Cubase so frustrating – being very limited and very behind compared to the competition.

Making bulk note edits is a nightmare… For example, it took me a whole hour setting the articulations of a melody to a track, and I’d like to copy these articulations to a different track, which has a slightly different melody, but I can’t copy/paste because selecting articulations, selects the notes too.

Midi editing in Cubase needs a complete overhaul. I honestly hope Steinberg puts a major focus on this in the next version of Cubase. Otherwise, I see myself switching to a different DAW.

I agree with your criticism about articulations but in general midi editing is very good in Cubase.

When I compose, I don’t use a keyboard, but I write directly on the midi editor. When you do that, bulk note editing can be a real pain.

I’d have to agree with this. I too do a bit of midi editing manually and it can be cumbersome in Cubase.

What is it that you are finding cumbersome exactly? Is it possible that it’s a matter of gaining more familiarity with the way things work in Cubase?

Like Steve asked, what do you specifically find cumbersome? I enter almost all of my midi data manually in the Key Editor and can work pretty fast. You may need to adjust your workflow when moving between DAWs. If we knew specifically what you are trying to do then we could offer suggestions on how to optionally do that task in Cubase.

  1. Articulations editing cumbersome.
  2. Would like midi draw tools to limit to only notes in scale or chords.
  3. Follow chords is destructive.
  4. Would like easier way for repeating melodic patterns to be created throughout a track. Imagine a repeating pattern moving up the scale.
  5. Would be nice to copy articulations without copying the midi note, so I can paste it to a different melody.
  6. Bulk midi note edits. Sometimes I need to make adjustments to a bassline in the entire track. So I adjust the first bar, but the same adjustments need to be made in all bars.

I am starting to make use more of the Logical Editor, which does help… I wish I knew about this earlier. More presets would be great.

Presets are the way I use it because some of the features are difficult to understand. I can modify presets. I recommend chaining them together as macros.

Another time saving feature would be to be able to specify a midi track that acts as a master channel and any other midi channels that are connected to it would get the same notes as they are being put in the master channel.

I need this because I write melodies for an orchestra, and when I have 14 violin channels, I end up doing a lot of manual melody duplication. Very tedious! I use the Vienna Symphonic Library Dimension Strings product. To add to this, I have to add a bit of humanization for each violion channel that is different from the rest.

This would be awesome if Steinberg could provide this. This could be extended to any notes added to the master midi channel so the child track could add transposed notes. So a C4 in the main becomes C3 in the child. Would make orchestration so much easier.

You can do this several ways.

If you use MIDI Tracks with Rack Instruments (as opposed to Instrument Tracks) as your source track you have access to MIDI Sends. In the source track activate a MIDI Send in the source track’s Inspector. In the lower send field select the VSTi you want to play the part. In the upper send field select MIDI Modifiers. In MIDI Modifiers set the transpose value. You might also want to randomize the velocity & position a bit while you are at it.

If you have a MIDI part and ALT-drag it you’ll get a copy of that part. But if you Shift-ALT-drag you’ll get a shared copy. The difference is plain copies can be edited independently, but for shared copies any edit made to one occurs in all of them. So make a shared copy of the part on a new track (either a MIDI or Instrument Track will work). Then in this new track’s Inspector open the MIDI Modifiers tab and set your transposition. Alternatively you can skip using MIDI Modifiers and select the copied part in the Project Window. Then on the Info Line (near the top, you might need to set it to be visible) in the Transpose field set the desired value. This will only transpose that specific shared copy and not the others. This method is useful if you want to play a part twice (i.e. 2 back-to-back copies) the second time an octave higher. Transposing via the Inspector affects the entire track, while using the Info Line only changes the selected part.

Thanks! Damn, I got lost here. Gotta read this very carefully. Maybe they can simplify some of the complexity. At end of the day, I am more of a composer. They can make it simple and powerful.

If you use shared copies to create all the different parts, at the end once all the global changes are made you can convert the parts into regular copies (Ops manual pg186). Then you can tweak each one separately to humanize them. For this the MIDI Logical Editor is your friend. Make and save your own presets - I only use a few of the presets that come with Cubase but have dozens of my own. As CubeDAW pointed out stringing them together in macros is very useful. I’d also recommend assigning Key Commands to the presets you use the most.

Wow! Thanks for that! Will give it a shot! If I understand correctly, as I add/delete notes on the main channel, those changes of notes will reflect immediatly to the shared copies, or do I have to play back?

It’s actually more complicated to describe than it is to actually do. FYI, if it was me, I’d go with the shared copy approach. Often in Cubase there are several ways to get the same results, each with their own advantages. Also you’ll find that if you ask a specific question the folks on the forum will be glad to offer advice.

That’s it exactly. The changes happen right away - although you still have to play it back to hear them. :wink: You might want to set aside some time to just play with the different capabilities independent of any projects you have going. It’s a good idea to skim parts of the manual every so often. You’ll find stuff that 6 months ago didn’t look useful suddenly becoming an important part of your workflow.

A big thank you! I had absolutely no idea… This will surely expidite my workflow!

to name but one example, editing pitchbend data for me is much more cumbersome than in any other daw i work with. one reason being the inability to quickly snap a point to ‘zero crossings’ (=to the value that represents no pitch change). another the whole concept of representing the automation in sets of discrete values and the way that this slows down editing if you want to, say, extend or shrink a pitch ramp. indeed it can be done – but if the automation were represented by just the initial and end values (hiding the in-between events), things would get much faster imo.

better yet, allow the automation data to be drawn using a formula akin to FL studio (which has the most advanced automation features on the market at the moment).

  1. Can’t do that. But in the Key Editor you can set it to color code the notes based on scale and chords. Select “Chord Track” from the color menu in the upper right - the default is velocity. And who doesn’t want to stick the occasional accidental in every so often anyway.

  2. True. Right click on a track to copy it if you want to retain the original. You could also use Track Versions, but you’d need to take care to turn off following the chord track when changing versions. Versions are very useful for trying out different melodic and harmonic options.

  3. Shared copies.

  4. Attribute Articulations are attached to specific notes but Direction Articulations are not and can be freely copied. Read this section of the manual several times - it’s tricky and could be improved.

  5. Again shared copies.

Perhaps we’ve made it to the bronze age? :astonished: