Tips & Tricks - Programming MIDI Using Step Input

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Step input or step recording allows you to enter midi notes or chords one at a time. This is great when your piano chops aren't quite up to par or you're dealing with latency so if you are playing parts and getting delayed responses (Which can be very distracting).


Programming Difficult Parts Easier

First thing you want to do is find the step input function in your DAW and engage it. In Cubase sometimes it might not be visible, so make sure you right click and add it to your midi tools. Something to note is this will make everything quantized to the grid which will make it sound a bit more robotic.


Velocity Sensitivity For Added Dynamics


One of the great things about step inputting your midi notes is that it will respond to how hard you play your piano or midi keyboard. So you can play in the notes as soft or hard as you want and then after then adjust the velocities to your liking.


Using The Quantize Panel For Humanization


After that its time to make your midi sound a bit more realistic. there's a few ways to do this in Cubase through the use of the Logical Editor or through the Quantize Panel. First highlight the midi notes you want to humanize then open up the quantize panel (CMD+Q) is the key command I have setup for this. Then under randomize adjust the number of ticks, The higher you go the more the midi notes will be shifted off the grid. Play around with this to find what settings work best for you!


Programming Percussion


Not only is this good for programming virtuoso musical passages it is also a great way to program intricate and epic percussion. This allows you to focus on writing super tight percussion with out having to stress about not playing it in properly or then having to re-quantize what you tried to play in. Step Inputting definitely has many advantages!




So we've seen how using step inputting for programming is a powerful tool for getting MIDI data into your DAW easier and more effectively. But this should never be a substitute for practicing your instrument! So remember to keep practicing, but now you'll have another way of composing in your back pocket!


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