Logic Pro X Quick Tip: Note Labels & Velocity Editing

It goes without saying that Logic is so deep a program, that there are always new things to learn and workflows to discover. Here I want to share with you a nice little workflow I picked up in a discussion group. It involves MIDI editing, specifically velocity editing.

For those who may not already know, we can hold down the Control + Command key in either the Piano Roll Editor or Score Editor and edit a note’s velocity, without having to switch to a dedicated tool.

I love this feature and use it all the time.

In the Piano Roll Editor, we get an info tag that pops up as long as the mouse is held down, showing us the note pitch and current velocity as the value is being edited.

The info tag pop up in the Score Editor is slightly different. Here we get a read out of the current velocity value, plus the amount it is being offset from its original value.

These are both useful ways to work, but that’s not today’s tip.

I recently became aware of the Note Labels view available in the Piano Roll Editor. Enable this from under the local View menu, and each note now displays it’s pitch and velocity value.

Having this available all the time is great.

We can see at a glance what the velocities are numerically. This is particularly useful if the Set Note Color view option is set to anything other than “By Velocity.”

One thing to be aware of, however, is that the note and velocity info will not be displayed if the note is not beyond a certain required minimum length. So, it is to be expected that some shorter notes may not display this info.

Now the tip:

Enable the Note Labels view feature and use the Control+Command keyboard shortcut to edit velocity. You can now see the velocity value scrolling in the note’s display as you are editing it.

I think this is fantastic for several reasons.

First of all, having Note Labels enabled gives you an overview of multiple note velocities at a glance.

Secondly, it frees up the color to be used for other identification purposes. Like for example, if you are viewing multiple regions simultaneously and have note color set to display by region, you can now identify which region notes belong to at the same time as seeing their velocities.

Third reason: numerical display is much more accurate than viewing shades of color to identify velocity.

Fourth: you can select multiple notes and edit their velocities together while clearly seeing each of the individual values.

And lastly, I just like it!

I think it’s nice to not have to be distracted by an info tag and instead be able to keep my eyes directly on the notes. And having the note names is a nice bonus, I don’t have to keep shifting my gaze to the keyboard on the left to determine the pitch.

Try it, and I think you will find it a useful enhancement to your workflow.

Eli Krantzberg
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Eli Krantzberg

Apple Certified Pro Eli Krantzberg is an internationally known author and music software trainer for Groove3. His instructional videos have helped demystify music software such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Sonar, BFD, Melodyne, and Kontakt for thousands of users all over the world. Based in Montreal, Canada, Eli is involved in all aspects of audio production. In his studio he works with various artists, as well as on commercial jingles, corporate videos, and original music composition.
Eli Krantzberg
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  • Great tip!

    Is it possible to set the default vertical zoom in the piano roll? Logic always defaults to making the notes super skinny, but I’d like to be able to see the note name and velocity all the time by default. I’ve looked around for the option, but couldn’t find it. Thanks, in advance.

    • Hey Joe,

      Have you tried using the Save as Zoom 1–3 key commands? Search for “save zoom” and “recall zoon” in the Key Commands window.

      • I hadn’t! That command-shift-option-control 1 is a really finger twister. Is there some way to do it without giving myself a hand cramp? Or is that pretty much it?

        • Yeah it is! It uses all modifier keys. You can assign your own keyboard shortcut to it, the Key Commands Window will guide you through which ones are already taken. Alternatively, try the Collapse Mode button.

          • Eli Krantzberg

            Ive always used the first three F keys to recall the three preset zoom levels. And I add the shift key to each to store them.

  • René De Wael

    And what I use all the time when selecting velocity tool is pressing shift+alt as moving the mouse : when selecting a group of notes it allows to set the same absolute velocity to this group of notes.
    In opposite to relative velocity. Same thing for the length by the way .

  • Smilus

    Thanks!

  • Anti Phones

    This is a seriously great tip! I spend so much time in the piano roll, this is going to make my life a lot easier. Thanks!

  • Greg Lacy

    Nice one, Eli! I love finding out new features and tricks in Logic. Gonna try it out now.

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