Pitchbend waayyy to sensitive in midi automation


So I did a few searches without coming up with threads that touch on this in a way I could understand or relate to. The problem I am having is how to effectively utilize the pitch bend in Cubase 8 (64b) in the midi controller lane of the piano roll.

Whenever I try to use the pitch bend, I end up on values that aren’t exactly the pitch I want, because the pitch bend appears to range from -8192 all the way to +8191. This is horribly useless, as I am dealing with semitones only. I want -12 to +12, and I can’t get that from this, because if I aim for +7, I’ll end up with something like +6.8769857469857 or the like. There’s no snap to grid function either.

I can easily land at the top tone, which is fine I guess. But getting back to ±0? Good luck, it’s either gonna be +15, -21 -7, +9 etc.

Is there any use of this function? Am I missing something obvious? To me this appears to have been designed 25% through, implemented 50% through and then just “yeah let’s wing it, it’ll do”.

Please help, I am horribly frustrated at this having spent the better part of 2 hours with only trying to make this work.

The pitchbend values are not specific to Cubase.

Since the early days of midi pitchbend has always been a hi res 14 bit controller to ensure smooth transition between pitches. This gives you 16384 steps, or -8192 up to +8191 (odd number at top because you have to include 0 as a step)

As far as I know there isn’t really any way to translate this to semitone values unless you do the math and write them down. You could enter those values in a step fashion to sort out the melody and rhythm first and draw in glides afterwards.

Another approach would be to use portamento and automate the glide time to taste between notes. Quicker for wide gaps and slower for narrow.

The return to zero in the controller lane is always a bit tedious. You’ll have to select the last entry and enter the zero value in the info lane.

The range of the pitch bend is set in the instrument globally or per patch, depending on the instrument/VST. So if you have a range of say 12 semitones or more, it will indeed seem to feel very sensitive because the usable range -8192 to +8192 will always stay the same. If you set it to 2 semitones it will respond less sensitive because you’ll have less range to control. So it’s a good idea to set the range at the maximum range you will ever use for this patch. You can also actively change the range using CC #100 and #101. But it depends if the instrument/VST is able to recognize his.

You can have ‘marker points’ for each semitone in a chromatic scale with pitch bend range set to 12 semi-tones (octave). This would be basically 8192 divided by 12; which is 682.6666666666666. So if you drew in steps at -8192, -7509, -6827, -6144, -5461, -4779, -4096, -3413, -2730, -2048, -1365, -683, 0 (no pitch-bend), 683, 1365, 2048, 2730, 3414, 4096, 4779, 5461, 6144, 6827, 7509, 8192 you will have the marker of each semitone over the range of 2 octaves.

If you have a range of only 2 semitones it will be 8192 divided by 2. So this will be -8192 -4096, 0, +4096 +8192. Obviously this will feel a lot less sensitive. So the p;itch bend scale is always linear.