Old 05-25-2020, 07:10 AM   #1
Phazma
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Default Midi Editor Improvement Thread

In this thread I want to share all of my ideas how the behaviour of the Midi editor could be improved to make editing Midi notes a very fast and smooth experience.

I would love to see many people not only agreeing, disagreeing and discussing single or multiple of these points, but also adding their own points. As the ideas I write about are obviously biased towards my own workflow preferences and don't account for some needs other people might have, it would surely help the developers a lot if all people posted their ideas about how the midi editor should work in this single thread, so when they feel like working on the Midi Editor they can keep coming back here and see which ideas generate a lot of buzz and perhaps implement them.

Here I will start with mine:

1) Snap follows grid visibility:
In the arrange view it is possible to have Reaper snap to the visible grid.
In the Midi editor such a feature is needed as well.
It slows the workflow down a lot if you are zoomed out and want to edit just in 1/16 and you have to change the grid setting for it to not snap to smaller values and when you zoom in to edit 1/32 or 1/64 you have to set the grid accordingly once again.
Please make it possible to keep the grid at 1/128 and snap to only 1/16 if that is what the grid lines show.

2) Higher grid line density (or define pixels between gridlines):
This is connected to request 1 and even more important in case request 1 will not be implemented.
Right now when zooming out there are too few grid lines visible.
It is already pretty problematic when 1/32 is enabled, you need to very carefully move a note to place it exactly on beat and not offbeat by 1/32 or similar. Again, to avoid this you need to set the grid to a value like 1/8 or 1/16 for it to snap to the visible grid lines, but sometimes you want to make finer adjustments without having to zoom in and in that case having more grid lines would help tremendously to see what you are doing.

3) Option: note selection only exists when selecting multiple notes:
This may sound like a nitpick but the fact that a note always remains selected after an operation leads to problems far more often than one might think (at least in my workflow).
An example would be when moving a note and afterwards alt-dragging another note to copy it.
If the first note remains selected it is unintentionally copied as well.
In my opinion the concept of a "selected note" should only exist when using marquee-selection (or a mouse modifier to add notes to a selection) in order to be able to move, copy or modify multiple notes. I see no point in having a single note selected and it only leads to issues in my case.
If someone else however has any benefit in having single notes selected it makes sense to include this in form of an option.

4) Option: note selection follows edits:
In case request 3 can not be implemented, this would be another non-intuitive thing to change.
If one has one or more notes selected and does an edit to an unselected note (like dragging edge, adjusting velocity) it would make sense that the selection updates to the note that he is currently working on. Otherwise while editing, the user might forget that other notes are currently selected and afterwards do something accidentally to them (like copying) as well.
Of course to accomodate other workflows this should be optional too.

5) Change default midi editor velocity:
By default the velocity of notes in the midi editor is set to 96. I don't know where this value comes from, however different vstis react differently to this value so it might suit a bunch and not most others. It would be great if a default value between 0 and 127 could be set by the user in the preferences so that the user doesn't need to set it whenever opening the midi editor for the first time.
If no value is set in the preferences by the user, I would suggest a default value of 127 instead of 96 (which is what I would use) because that allows to immediately get an idea how loud a vsti can get and make gain staging easier (and also shows how full and bright it can sound). Also, imo, just scaling velocities down to the wanted value is more intuitive than having to boost some notes and attenuate others.

6) Illuminate Midi editor background of notes played by midi controller:
The Midi editor background color for selected pitches should also be active while playing a midi note on the midi keyboard (and switched off when releasing the keys). This would help when using the workflow of finding the wanted pitches by playing on a midi keyboard and than program melodies/chords with the mouse to match those pitches.

7) Improve modifier behaviour: Delete notes/CC immediately (suppress right-click context menu):
Probably would suit more the bug-fix forum but when quickly mousing over notes to delete them with this setting active, sometimes the notes are not deleted. It requires slow movements for Reaper to recognise that the mouse curser has passed a note. Would be nice if this could be improved.
Also I would suggest to add unselecting all notes to it, as it can be handy when using it as default right drag action when default left drag in piano roll is set to "Insert note, drag to move" to have a possibility to quickly unselect notes by right-clicking somewhere in the editor.

P.S.: I probably haven't remembered everything so other points might be added in future.

Last edited by Phazma; 06-02-2020 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:25 AM   #2
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8. With MPE becoming more of a thing, multi-channel CC editing needs some serious love. Things like "Set active channel to last touched note's channel" when editing CCs. Currently it's a mess - you have to right click the note, find out what channel it belongs to, change to that channel, make your edits...or use the MIDI Filter in awkward ways.

9. Ability to save MIDI CC Lane height as part of a Screenset. Currently cannot. A screenset with specific CC lanes already open, already at a large specific height, would be very welcomed.

10. If selecting 2 overlapping notes, the ability to Trim End of First Note and Beginning of Second Note together. Currently this only exists if the two notes exactly touch one another - you get the double-ended Trim tool. If you try to trim two notes together it either trims the beginnings together or the ends.

11. Lane-definable Vertical Snap for CCs. Just a tiny box that will let you define snappable subdivisions, ie if you're doing Pitch CC and your Pitchbend is set to 12, enter 12 and it would create 12 snap points above and below 0. Perfect semitone pitchbends. Currently impossible without taking out a calculator and doing math involving the number 8192, and still there's no snap so it's a finnicky process.
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:50 AM   #3
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Good points ferropop, Nr. 11 would be very useful for me as well.

Anybody else who thinks the Midi Editor could benefit from some updates?
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Old 05-28-2020, 12:08 AM   #4
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To start:
1. Marquee zoom
2. Smart quantize
3. The same attention the arrange view gets (like in the Actions list)
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Old 05-28-2020, 12:42 AM   #5
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+1 from me on editor improvements. In fdact MIDI improvements in general. Julian Assander (sp?) started the MIDI bugs thread ages ago & it is still as valid today as when it started.
Whilst I have been living with how the MIDI implementation works now I would love to see it working as well as the audio side does. Right now it does`nt.
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myfeltgood View Post
Marquee zoom
This always catches me out. I use marquee zoom all the time in TCP, and always instinctively try to do it in the MIDI editor and wonder for a second what the hell is going on!
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:54 AM   #7
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This always catches me out. I use marquee zoom all the time in TCP, and always instinctively try to do it in the MIDI editor and wonder for a second what the hell is going on!
Exactly. Even if I don't use marquee zoom myself, it is those little consistency issues that break the workflow. The Midi Editor is a very important environment for everybody who uses Reaper to compose music and as said by myfeltgood, what is possible in the Main window should also work in the midi editor. For me the biggest gripes with the editor are points 1 & 2 which I mentioned. I'd like it the grid to work like in the arrange view and yet there are not the same options available. And the same holds true about many other options that would be useful for the midi editor but as of now don't exist.
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Phazma View Post
Exactly. Even if I don't use marquee zoom myself, it is those little consistency issues that break the workflow. The Midi Editor is a very important environment for everybody who uses Reaper to compose music and as said by myfeltgood, what is possible in the Main window should also work in the midi editor. For me the biggest gripes with the editor are points 1 & 2 which I mentioned. I'd like it the grid to work like in the arrange view and yet there are not the same options available. And the same holds true about many other options that would be useful for the midi editor but as of now don't exist.
Yes, it absolutely makes sense to have the MIDI editor be consistent with the TCP.
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:05 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Judders View Post
Yes, it absolutely makes sense to have the MIDI editor be consistent with the TCP.
The lack of consistency throughout shows that REAPER lacks that “polish” that the bigger DAWs have.
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:38 AM   #10
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You can however make it do so many things the bigger DAWs can't do.
The devs can not anticipate every kind of workflow and sometimes something happens to be forgot.
For this reason it is important that we users point those inconsistencies out and that the devs check out these threads and make things work consistently all over Reaper.
Due to all the options it takes much more time to make it consistent than other DAWs however I am confident that one day we will arrive there and that working with all of Reapers features and options becomes a breeze.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Phazma View Post
You can however make it do so many things the bigger DAWs can't do.
The devs can not anticipate every kind of workflow and sometimes something happens to be forgot.
For this reason it is important that we users point those inconsistencies out and that the devs check out these threads and make things work consistently all over Reaper.
Due to all the options it takes much more time to make it consistent than other DAWs however I am confident that one day we will arrive there and that working with all of Reapers features and options becomes a breeze.
It feels bleak though when you have all these features requests threads asking about MIDI, just to only get a bunch of metadata updates.
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Old 05-29-2020, 11:49 AM   #12
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True. But as far as I can say the just work in cycles with shifting focus. Recently they felt like they want to work on metadata and went all in on that, now however its all about area selection which countless users kept requesting. Im am confident that there will come a release cycle that is all about the midi editor and we will be allowed to litter the prerelease threads with all of our ideas.
Only recently they have improved the behaviour when it comes to hanging notes so I think the needs of the midi composer are still stored somewhere in the back of their heads.
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:40 AM   #13
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Recently started a similar thread as I missed this one - so here are the things I'd really like to see (many of which have been mentioned already).

1. Top of the list for me is probably marquee zoom and being able to adaptively divide the grid vertically by measures like we can in the arrange page. This would make navigating the midi editor much more user friendly.

2. All the actions that don't work on all editable takes while in the midi editor. As documented here -
https://forums.cockos.com/showthread.php?p=2125800
and here -
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=179206
I run into this issue every day, it's so frustrating because it's impossible to memorise which ones from the long list of midi actions actually WORK on all editable takes, and which don't.

3. This midi tick issue that allows midi items to have a midi tick independent of the global project tick - https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....24#post2225324
(The only reason that one is low on the list is because I've now made an extremely long and over complicated custom action that realigns an item to the global midi tick and quantizes it to the grid, the disadvantage is that it needs to be glued, so you lose any other takes in the items)

4. Intelligent zooming when a midi item is opened for editing for the first time (from then on it should remember previous zoom level). This might be a HiDPI issue - My secondary screen is 1080 and my main one is 4k, and when I move the main window onto the 1080 screen and open a midi item it is intelligently zoomed to a reasonable size, on the 4k screen it's always vertically zoomed out SO far.

5. More of a bug than a FR, but when 'correct overlapping notes' is on, muted midi notes often seem to take precedence over unmuted ones (I often see this when duplicated a set of notes, and one of them falls on the same note but it's muted, the unmuted one gets 'corrected' and removed and the muted one remains).
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:58 AM   #14
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Phazma - a couple of thoughts on your initial post -

1. I'm surprised you say the adaptive grid doesn't work correctly in the arrange view, as it does for me. It's not an SWS function (AFAIK), it's native and it's in grid/snap settings 'grid snap settings follow grid visibility'. Bear in mind you need to play with the pixel amount for the minimum grid line spacing to get it where you you're comfortable, I have mine at 28 and it works perfectly, just wish we could have the same in the midi editor view. A little tip to help with having to constantly adjust grid size in midi editor is to do it with your mousewheel- I use a script attached to modifier+mousewheel for changing grid size (and another modifier for swing amount too), and modifier+mousewheel click to switch between straight/swing/triplet grids. Once you get used to it's very quick and intuitive. Adaptive grid would be better though, I agree.

3 . I don't see this behaviour, I can alt drag a note to copy it with a different one selected, and only the note I'm dragging gets copied. In mouse modifiers I have midi note (left click) set to No-Op. Maybe that will help.

4. Not sure I agree on that one, I think it's nice that I can establish a selection, realise I need to stretch a different note outside that selection, and do it without losing that initial selection. In fact, this seems like it would cause the problem you just described previously in your third point?

Everything else I agree with, especially Ferro's point about the CC lane height. That's another the one that seems to be exacerbated by using a 4K display.
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:20 AM   #15
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Phazma - a couple of thoughts on your initial post -
1. Maybe I didn't word it clearly, in the arrange view it works perfectly. It is in the Midi Editor that I wish it worked the same way as in the arrange. Also the option you are saying, when I search it in the main action list it comes out as "SWS/BR Options - Toggle "Grid snap settings follow grid visibility", so I think it is offered by SWS. And I have it ON, hence why it works well in the arrange and not so well in the Editor as there is no such option in the latter.
Also I know about the minimum grid line spacing setting in the arrange window, hence why I request an equivalent for the Midi Editor in point 2.

3. The No-Op setting doesn't help.. it's strange that you don't encounter it. Are you sure you tested it correctly? Here is how to make it happen:
- create one note
- create another note (now that one is selected)
- alt-drag (or whatever modifier) the previous note to copy it.
- if you didn't previously unselect the first note Reaper will now drag a copy of both notes instead of just the one you are actually dragging
If notes were automatically unselected after inserting/dragging this wouldn't happen.

4. That obviously makes sense. Which is why I requested it as an option.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:11 AM   #16
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3. The No-Op setting doesn't help.. it's strange that you don't encounter it. Are you sure you tested it correctly? Here is how to make it happen:
- create one note
- create another note (now that one is selected)
- alt-drag (or whatever modifier) the previous note to copy it.
- if you didn't previously unselect the first note Reaper will now drag a copy of both notes instead of just the one you are actually dragging
If notes were automatically unselected after inserting/dragging this wouldn't happen.
Yes definitely working as I'd expect here. The difference here seems to be when I create a note, only that note is selected, it doesn't retain selection of a previously selected/created note, anything I then do to that note (like a drag copy) only affects that note, as I'd expect it to. I have ctrl+left click assigned to 'insert note', if that helps.

However - whilst experimenting with this, I've just realised if I have a note selected and then PAINT notes, the previous selection remains like you've described. Perhaps that's what your doing? If that's the case then that behaviour could be improved I agree... it should behave more like when you 'insert note'. Perhaps all the notes that have just been painted should be auto-selected, or at the very least, previous note selection should probably be cleared.

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Originally Posted by Phazma View Post
Maybe I didn't word it clearly, in the arrange view it works perfectly. It is in the Midi Editor that I wish it worked the same way as in the arrange. Also the option you are saying, when I search it in the main action list it comes out as "SWS/BR Options - Toggle "Grid snap settings follow grid visibility", so I think it is offered by SWS
Ah OK - I didn't realise it was an SWS action as I've always accessed it via the grid/snap menu, and I've always had SWS installed. Amazing how much functionality SWS adds really! And yes I did misunderstand your first point, it seemed like you were saying things weren't snapping properly even in arrange view so I thought I'd offer a solution, glad to hear that's not an issue for you.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:02 PM   #17
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Yes definitely working as I'd expect here. The difference here seems to be when I create a note, only that note is selected, it doesn't retain selection of a previously selected/created note, anything I then do to that note (like a drag copy) only affects that note, as I'd expect it to. I have ctrl+left click assigned to 'insert note', if that helps.
No I am not talking about drag copying the new note, that works fine. I am talking about drag copying the old note after having created a new note. The new note doesn't get unselected unless you click the old note to change selection and that can get pretty annoying (at least in my workflow as I happen to do a lot of copy-dragging). Here a gif that shows what I mean:

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Old 06-02-2020, 01:21 PM   #18
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No I am not talking about drag copying the new note, that works fine. I am talking about drag copying the old note after having created a new note. The new note doesn't get unselected unless you click the old note to change selection and that can get pretty annoying (at least in my workflow as I happen to do a lot of copy-dragging). Here a gif that shows what I mean:

It's not doing this if I'm just click-dragging. But I can make it do that if I hold the Ctrl key before clicking on the old note again. So, click first, then press the Ctrl key, then drag a copy.

If you hold the Ctrl key before selecting a note, Reaper doesn't know if you are attempting multiple selections or making a copy by dragging.
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Old 06-02-2020, 01:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phazma View Post
No I am not talking about drag copying the new note, that works fine. I am talking about drag copying the old note after having created a new note. The new note doesn't get unselected unless you click the old note to change selection and that can get pretty annoying (at least in my workflow as I happen to do a lot of copy-dragging). Here a gif that shows what I mean:
This can be solved. Make a custom action as shown in the pic and add it to the modifier you want at piano roll context - Left click.

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Old 06-02-2020, 02:27 PM   #20
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@Pando: yes that is what I am saying. You have to first click on the note before you can copy-drag it. When you are copy-dragging a lot this feels slow.
My request is that whenever you insert, move or copy a note, afterwards no note remains selected. You can still adjust pitch, duration and velocity that way.
Note selection should only exist when you click on an existing note so you can do things like muting it or adding it to a selection. Also when you lasso multiple notes (to edit them together) selection should obviously exist. But when doing basic operations, like moving single notes around, selection serves no purpose.
It is difficult to explain and I know that it sounds confusing but I hope you understand what I mean. It also does not just come from my imagination. I have used another DAWs which is most praised for its Midi Editor and in that DAW it works the way I am suggesting.

@Vagelis: This doesn't solve the problem as it only works when clicking to insert. As soon as you move a note, it remains selected afterwards and you are stuck with the same problem again that when you want to copy another note you need to first click it to unselect the previously move one.

I know I sound like a fool and you guys will think what is the big deal in just clicking a note before editing it, but believe me that it really slows me down. I constantly copy around notes and still very often forget to click a note before copy-dragging it, so I very often have to hit undo because of unwanted edits.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:48 PM   #21
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@Pando: yes that is what I am saying. You have to first click on the note before you can copy-drag it. When you are copy-dragging a lot this feels slow.
My request is that whenever you insert, move or copy a note, afterwards no note remains selected. You can still adjust pitch, duration and velocity that way.
Note selection should only exist when you click on an existing note so you can do things like muting it or adding it to a selection. Also when you lasso multiple notes (to edit them together) selection should obviously exist. But when doing basic operations, like moving single notes around, selection serves no purpose.
It is difficult to explain and I know that it sounds confusing but I hope you understand what I mean. It also does not just come from my imagination. I have used another DAWs which is most praised for its Midi Editor and in that DAW it works the way I am suggesting.

@Vagelis: This doesn't solve the problem as it only works when clicking to insert. As soon as you move a note, it remains selected afterwards and you are stuck with the same problem again that when you want to copy another note you need to first click it to unselect the previously move one.

I know I sound like a fool and you guys will think what is the big deal in just clicking a note before editing it, but believe me that it really slows me down. I constantly copy around notes and still very often forget to click a note before copy-dragging it, so I very often have to hit undo because of unwanted edits.
You're not a fool whatsoever. I live in the MIDI editor and find this same behaviour repugnant. I've assigned Alt-click to Unselect All Notes and have become quick at hitting that...it's a workaround but I guess it works.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:05 AM   #22
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@Vagelis: This doesn't solve the problem as it only works when clicking to insert. As soon as you move a note, it remains selected afterwards and you are stuck with the same problem again that when you want to copy another note you need to first click it to unselect the previously move one.
It's also possible to prevent this, you have to go to midi note context left-click and change the key modifier.
So for example if you have ctrl- "left drag" to copy your note, go to left-click midi note context and change ctrl- "left click" to no action.
This probably happens because you have the same key modifer to toggle/select the note (Ctrl)left-click and the same to copy it (Ctrl)left-drag.

Last edited by Vagelis; 06-03-2020 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:50 AM   #23
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3) Option: note selection only exists when selecting multiple notes:
+1
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:02 PM   #24
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+1

snap to grid not working relatively to visual grids ?
for some reason, the relative snap won't work, if I zoom out a lot and the gridlines change, the notes should snap to the grid relatively but they don't :X

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Old 06-05-2020, 10:04 AM   #25
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No I am not talking about drag copying the new note, that works fine. I am talking about drag copying the old note after having created a new note. The new note doesn't get unselected unless you click the old note to change selection and that can get pretty annoying (at least in my workflow as I happen to do a lot of copy-dragging). Here a gif that shows what I mean:

Works as expected here, don't know what's going on with you and Ferro's set up.



EDIT: I'd bet money that Vagelis is right, and both you and Ferro have your toggle/select note modifier for left click set to the same modifier as your copy modifier and they are interfering with each other.

Last edited by Joe90; 06-05-2020 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 06-05-2020, 10:42 AM   #26
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EDIT: I'd bet money that Vagelis is right, and both you and Ferro have your toggle/select note modifier for left click set to the same modifier as your copy modifier and they are interfering with each other.
And you would win money! Leftdrag+Alt was set to copy and Leftclick+Alt was set to toggle note selection. I have set Leftclick+Alt to no action and it works as it should.
I will see for a few days when working on projects if note selection causes any other hindrances in my workflow and if it doesn't I will edit the original post and remove the FR to not destract from the other requests (the most important being 1 + 2 for me).
And btw thanks a lot to you and Vagelis for helping troubleshoot this, will save me quite some annoyance when working in the editor.
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