The Logic Pros: Automate tedious MIDI edits into a single-click with Logic’s Transform feature

In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, we will be looking at ways to speed up our editing and song creation with LPX’s MIDI Transform feature. In many cases, manually working Logic’s Piano Roll editor will get the job done, but there are certainly times when editing MIDI performances/events can be a very tedious process. Getting those extended performances just right or zeroing in on problem areas for complex passages can’t take hours (or days) to get right in some cases. But with LPX’s MIDI Transform features we can get many of these types of arduous tasks done in just a few clicks:

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I think it’s safe to say we all run into situations where we would like to have some sort of automated or batch editing feature for our MIDI data/performances. It could be selective velocity moves that allow us to move entire groups of MIDI notes (or just a selected portion of a performance, for example) to a specific velocity value. Or maybe we want to quickly tidy up the tails of notes so they are all of a certain length (for example an 1/8th note). We might want to create a velocity crescendo, double/half the speed of a performance or even humanize it (explained below). All of these things can be cumbersome tasks, even if we aren’t talking about a massive epic song worth of notes and events.

With LPX’s MIDI Transformer we can automate all of these things and more into just a few mouse clicks. We can even can make incredibly granular editing moves, selecting just certain notes, of a certain velocity, at a particular pitch and transform them in what feels like an endless number of ways.

While MIDI Transform can get quite deep, offering a multitude of very advanced and complex MIDI shaping possibilities, today we will be outlining some of the most helpful and commonly applicable options to speed up our day-to-day workflows.

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros--Vel-pitch01

The window is essentially split int to two parts: The upper Conditions panel we use to tell Transform what notes/events we are looking to target up top…

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros--Vel-pitch01

…and then the bottom Operations panel where we tell it what we would like to do with them down below. To keep things simple and understandable for our purposes today, let’s take a look at a common example where Transform would come in handy: batch editing the velocity of notes in the Piano Roll. With this one example, we can learn the basics of MIDI Transform enabling us to put it to work in several different ways and for a series of different applications:

How to change an entire batch of notes to the same velocity in a couple clicks:

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros-Piano Roll

1. Open up the Piano Roll on a MIDI performance by double clicking it or highlighting it on the arrange page and push the P key.

2. Select the notes on the Piano Roll editor you would like to transform. From here we can hit command + 9 to open MIDI Transform.

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros-menu

Note: Or head up to the “Functions” menu along the top of the Piano Roll window and scroll dow to MIDI Transform. 

Note: We can opt to highlight the notes we would like now or later, but for those getting started with MIDI Transform it is generally recommended to do it now to ease confusion. The “Select Only”, “Operate Only” and “Select and Operate” functions from within the Transform UI will get the trick done as well.

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros-01

3. Hit the “Presets” menu along the top and select the “Fixed Velocity” option.

4. In the Conditions panel Logic has automatically selected MIDI notes for us in the Status panel and setup the fixed (“Fix”) velocity selector in the Operations panel. Now we can batch select the velocity of the notes we previously selected in the numerical pull down menu in the Operations panel.

5. Select a value and hit the “Operate Only” or “Select and Operate” option, and now all our desired notes are set to the same selected velocity.

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros--Vel-pitch-02

Tip: For example, you may want to only select the bass notes, or left hand in a certain performance in order to get them at a certain velocity. Add a “Pitch” selection “Condition” by setting the top pull down menu in the Pitch conditions section to “<=” and the desired note in pitch selection menu directly below, in our case D1. Now only notes below D1 will be effected by the batch velocity change.

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros-02

Note: In order to make all the options available to you, hit the “Hide unused parameters” checkbox in the bottom left corner. You’ll see the prompt above pop-up, go ahead and click-through.

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros-Note length-01

My synth lines don’t sound like a robot enough already. The same steps apply for trimming every selected note to the same length via the “Fixed Note Length” preset. Once the preset is loaded up simply type the desired length in the time pull down menu in the Operations panel. You’ll see a time divisions set at  0 0 1 0 by default, that represent bar, beat, division and tick. Typing in a length of 0 1 0 0, for example will set the length of every note to one bar. The division length is determined by your project settings, which can be set in transport bar, as seen here at 1/16th note:

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros-transport

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros-cres-01

You don’t honestly have to set every note in that crescendo manually. And again, the Crescendo preset will allow us to smoothly create velocity, pitch and more crescendos in our performances as seen here. Simply set the length (bars, beats, division, ticks) of the desired crescendo in the Position Condition panel and the range in the velocity Operation panel, as seen above.

MIDI Transform-The Logic Pros-human-01

Ok they are starting to sound too much like a robot. The Humanize preset can be used to randomize the position, velocity and pitch of our MIDI performance to create a more realistic or human feel to them. And the DoubleSpeed/Half-time presets can, well, lengthen or shorten our parts by a factor of two (be sure to provide enough empty space in your MIDI region for a performance that is about to be twice as long!). However, the new Time Handles feature in LPX might be an easier route. You can learn all about those in the 6 powerful new features you may have missed in Logic 10.1 episode of The Logic Pros.

Have any interesting edits you’re doing with Transform? Velocity limiting? Fancy key changes/Transposition? Let’s us know in the comments below:

The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

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  1. I have a suggestion for 9to5Mac: If you’re going to flood your articles with photo links, put them in a slideshow. Clicking to another page view just to click to see the asininely large photo is just that, asinine.

    • myke2241 - 8 years ago

      Marc i personally like the flat layout. I think this is a very well written article and it flows with the pictures.

      • aaronh - 8 years ago

        Exactly! I hate slide shows – especially for stuff like this. I mean, if you want to add a link to the slideshow at the bottom ALSO, fine. But DEFINITELY not in place of the current style.

    • David Henriksen - 8 years ago

      I also like it.. shows what to do when, according to the text.

  2. drtyrell969 - 8 years ago

    I really enjoy these articles. I think this site should continue in this direction. Apple doesn’t need any more fanboy worship articles about Apple’s demise. Helping individuals make magic with the products is a rational method of creating credible loyalty to the same end.

    • esaruoho - 7 years ago

      Yeah, I wouldn’t mind a Final Cut ProX’s series


Avatar for Justin Kahn Justin Kahn

Justin is a senior editor covering all things music for 9to5Mac, including our weekly Logic Pros series exploring music production on Mac and iOS devices. Justin is an audio engineer/producer with over 10 years experience in the music industry.