Old 01-23-2008, 09:35 PM   #1
patristo
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Default MIDI Split is poorly conceived

I just downloaded Reaper this weekend to give it a try. I've used Cakewalk/Sonar for many years, and Tracktion for the past couple of years. I like Tracktion's UI quite a bit, but I need to switch because I've been burned too many times by it's bugginess.

Anyway, my overall impression of Reaper so far is positive. However, it's pretty obvious that the MIDI features aren't nearly as complete and well thought out as the audio features.

In particular, I'd like to call everyone's attention to the crazy behavior when you split a MIDI clip. When you split a MIDI clip in the middle of a MIDI note, the note is destructively split into two notes. So unlike audio, the split clip actually sounds differently than before it was split (you hear two notes intead of one). Furthermore, this destructive behavior is incompatible with Reaper's philosophy, and is a bad idea.

This strange split functionality rears its ugly head whenever you use the default MIDI recording at a point where the cursor overlaps an existing track (as with audio, the clip is split so that the portion to the right of the cursor becomes a take alongside the newly recorded clip).

So what is a good way to implement split? Well, as with audio, the golden rule should be that the track sounds the same before and after the split. Typically, when editing MIDI you want the clip to split into two clips depending on whether the START times of the notes fall to the left or right of the cursor. But if a note is allocated to the left clip of the split, the full duration of the note should be included in that clip. In other words, after invoking split, you may very well end up with two slightly overlapping clips (because the end times of the notes in the left clip may extend beyond the start times of some of the notes in the right clip). This provides a nice, clean, non-destructive split.
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:43 PM   #2
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I agree this drives me nutz.
I too believe that midi split should be non-destructive like the audio split.

Hopefully that will make it back onto the coding block soon!

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Old 01-23-2008, 11:07 PM   #3
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Very interesting observation. I believe that in order for the note to span two MIDI items (so that it sounds the same whether split or not), the note-off event would have to be in the item after the split. The issue I see with that, is that note-off is represented by the length of the note. In other words, there really isn't any way to show the note-off event in the second part. So while it might be technically possible, I think this would be a GUI nightmare.
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallisman View Post
I agree this drives me nutz.
I too believe that midi split should be non-destructive like the audio split.

Hopefully that will make it back onto the coding block soon!

.t
Agreed! +1
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:40 AM   #5
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splitting actually used to not trim the items, I'll bring this back as an option...

however keep in mind that the new way is better.

and yeah even if it doesnt trim, splitting will still cause there to be a noteoff/noteon, as notes are turned off at the end of items etc...

Last edited by Tallisman; 01-24-2008 at 02:01 PM. Reason: fuck I hit edit instead of quote... must have been up too late last night sorry :|
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:48 AM   #6
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"preserve length of truncated items" does make sense a lot of times, as does "don't preserve length of truncated items"
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:48 AM   #7
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Now that was interesting...and I'm completely confused!?!?! I'm not sure if I should post this jabber because I don't understand yet what "Justin's way" is here. (Meh! )

In fact I struggled a bit with that behavior, without even knowing why. I.e. I got strange double triggers on "soft quantized" drum tracks (on the original track!) when I copied items / song parts in the Cubase way...select, split and CTRL-drag. (Now I know why!) Then I learned that I don't have to split MIDI parts so much in Reaper. But copying larger items and song passages from the middle of a song to the end is what I'm talking about here.

Non-splitting ALT-drag-selection and region copy inhere the same problem - all note-off events "hanging into the selection" are copied too, resembling the split behavior. This is particularily unwanted if i.e. legato chords are slightly overlapping into the selection (making new short notes in the copy) or can be a problem with all synth patches that need the key pressed all the time to run through their envelopes. I.e. I have some cymbal patches that are envelope sensitive, playing the full sample length only when the note-off is far away enough (otherwise the release part of the envelope starts - great for stopped cymbals). So if I have a crash on the "4+" of the previous bar and I want to copy the following chorus to the end of the project, I'm getting a new crash on the "1" there.

If I copy two un-/odd- quantized drum tracks/items at different times to a consecutive position, I'm also getting the double triggers again, this time only on the copies of course. So while this behavior is very convenient for "not 100%" quantized notes on a single copy, copying a part in between can be bad later. However, split and copy is also a problem i.e. in cubase where it results in missing notes, which needs to be edited then either.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My idea
is to keep the current behavior and to modify it a bit so that it takes the note length at the selection start and -end into consideration. (Preferably as "song passage copy mode" or something) It doesn't split events or generates new note-ons, it makes "musical decisions" on what belongs into the selection and what not instead. The goal of this set of rules is to avoid any after-copy editing efforts by keeping the event/item's most likely musical meaning in mind. :

Selection start:
-----------------------
- A note-off event near the start of the selection which has a "far" (more than 1/32 maybe) note-on event "in the past" should not belong into the selection and not be copied. It most likely belongs to the previous musical section.

- A note-on event slightly "outside" in the past that has a note-off far enough beyond the selection start (aka "early notes") belongs to the selection and should be copied


Selection end
--------------------
- A note-on very close (close beyond musical meaning, clearly recognizable as unquantized/early) to the end of the selection should not be copied regardless of its length

- Note-offs exceeding the selection can be treated as they are now, this matches the rule not to copy them at the start.

Other MIDI events:
------------------
- CC64 seems a bit complicated - sustain pedal is coupled to the note length and should be treated like the notes at the selection start, whereas they should be allowed to reach outside of the selection (pianist letting ring a chord into the new part) at the end. So notes with underlying pedal information should be kept with the selection, regardless of their length - if pedal-on is within the selection or slightly before it and the last pedal-off should all be kept as a part of the selection. Maybe I'm wrong here!

- Bank/Program change events in the past, outside of the selection probably belong to the part to be copied. They may have been set deliberately early to allow synths to switch patches, so this may be hard to tell. But they are probably not wanted to be copied at the selection end.


Maybe this should be invoked in a flexible way that lets you decide whether you want these rules at the start or the end or both in a selection. This could be controlled or indicated by "flags" in the timeline.

Does this make any sense?
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
splitting actually used to not trim the items, I'll bring this back as an option...

however keep in mind that the new way is better.

and yeah even if it doesnt trim, splitting will still cause there to be a noteoff/noteon, as notes are turned off at the end of items etc...
I have argued about your way in the past, only to have eaten humble pie on many occasions. Nevertheless, I'd like to do it the crappier way until I Head-Wrap the logic behind the new/better way

thanks for accommodating that.
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edit: crap Sorry Justin... I hit edit rather than quote... inadvertently edited your post... should have went to bed before 5:30 this morning.
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stringycheesey View Post
Very interesting observation. I believe that in order for the note to span two MIDI items (so that it sounds the same whether split or not), the note-off event would have to be in the item after the split. The issue I see with that, is that note-off is represented by the length of the note. In other words, there really isn't any way to show the note-off event in the second part. So while it might be technically possible, I think this would be a GUI nightmare.
No, as I mentioned in my original post, if a note-on message is to the left of the split point, the note-off message should also be made part of the left clip, even if the note-off message actually falls to the right of the cursor. You may end up with two slightly overlapping clips after the split, but that actually makes the resulting clips much easier to work with, and your MIDI hasn't been destroyed. If you really want to shorten the left clip so that the right edge of the clip does not extend beyond the split point, you can easily modify that as a second step (or even assign a macro to do this if this is the behavior you prefer in all cases).

Another way to visualize the behavior I'm proposing is to imagine you're doing the split in the MIDI event view. The event view logs things in terms of note-on times and durations (because this is a logical way to think of MIDI even though it's actually transmitted to the instrument as a series of note on and note off messages). Imagine what a split should do in this view. That's what you want.

Justin, you say that the existing way is better, but I don't see how that could possibly be the case. This destructive behavior is very difficult to alter, whereas my proposal can more easily be converted into yours with extension macros, should anyone desire to do so. Furthermore, the existing behavior makes it very difficult to use the default MIDI record mode in situations where the beginning of the new clip will slightly overlap with the old clip. If this has been debated in another thread, can you please point me to that thread?

Thanks.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:04 AM   #10
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Default smart split

when splitting a midi item at a location where notes are sustaining, the tails of the notes should be (by preference) muted in the later item. so:

(item)
|_______0000000000_______ |

(after split)
|_______000000|XXXXX______|

where O is a midinote and X is a (muted) midinote

one almost never wants a new note to trigger at the split, right?
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:03 AM   #11
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OK better idea from Lawrence:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
I have to disagree here, but only with the proposed result above which would be just as problematic I think. I'm trying to stay out of the midi discussions in general but this one thing is a biggie for me, what happens when clips get split and there are notes playing across the soon to be split point. My preference is below. The lower split clip sounds just like the upper clip.

Not having that happen (when you go to split and arrange) plays havoc with things like (for example) piano / strings / pads that are supposed to play a little over the next bar line. The option is typically "Cut at part end" or not. If optioned not to do that, notes play all the way through. In no case would I personally ever want one note turned into two notes on a clip split... mmv.

That note in the lower clip will play all the way through when /if that option is off...





Hope that helps.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:15 AM   #12
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I like the idea of both preserving, yet muting, a MIDI note on the right of a split. Very clever.

How about these options in Prefs > Editing Behavior:

When splitting a MIDI Item:

1.) Split note

2.) Split note, mute right note
3.) Split note, delete right note

4.) Split note, mute left note
5.) Split note, delete left note

6.) Split note, mute both left & right notes

7.) Delete note under split
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:27 AM   #13
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Look at how Pro Tools handles this. The note will hang past the item split, but there is no item overlapping.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
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OK better idea from Lawrence:
Not my idea at all. It's a decades old method. It's been done that way (by default) for years. Splitting notes on clip split is an option, not the default. Here it is in Cubase, always been that way I think...
Its the only logical way to approach that unless all the music you do is four on the floor, to the grid. You see the notes plays through the event split like in the other example, so this is one case where re-inventing the wheel doesn't work all that well, especially where some of these things have been worked out years ago... just saying... split the clips, never the notes, unless you specifically option that to happen for some reason.

The only questions is... will Reaper's clip based midi events actually allow placing a note off event past the clip border to make the same thing happen? No clue... but being track based, it's not an issue here or in the other example.

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Old 03-20-2012, 10:02 AM   #15
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*sigh*
It would make everything MIDI so much simpler quicker and smoother if we could just treat all MIDI tracks as one big MIDI item which can be selected and then copied, cut or pasted at will without the need to cut 'n shut all the time.
Makes NO sense at all.
Equally, a decent arranger would show tracks all together with each bar showing as a building block. You select which bits you want to move delete copy etc and just grab & move them. Simples! In BPP it takes me around one minute to generate the whole of a song once I have the minimum number of bars of each section sequenced. How many verses ya want? How many choruses? Where ya want the bridge? Changed your mind? EASY.

But as usual I appear to be a lone voice crying in the wilderness on this one, same as with hybrid stave editing....
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:08 AM   #16
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I didn't want to get back into all this midi stuff again but the point had to be made (imo) that - some - of this stuff has already been through years of "trial and error" processes and has pretty much reached a "maybe close to best case" result.

It's not good methodology (imo, mmv) to try to kinda guess at the best case for something that's already been through that process. Especially if the persons guessing aren't heavy users of those tools.

It's usually better (imo) to just kinda copy the current best method ... and/or then improve on them, if possible.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:30 AM   #17
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I think three possible results should be an option

a) split the note. What Reaper does now. Create a note-off in the left item at the split point. In the item on the right side of the split is a new note-on (and the original note off).

b) don't split the note. Note-on as well as note-off are part of the left item after the split. The note off needs to be outside of the left item border, but still be sent (at the original time). The note rings out full original length and sounds just as if there is no split (even if you decide to delete/move/mute the item on the right).

c) trim the note. A note-off is created in the left item at the split point. The original note-off gets deleted.

Logic had (has, I guess) these three options and all three are useful in their own right. But clearly b) is what works best in most situations.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:32 AM   #18
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my suggestion is a sub-option of a) then where the note is split but a muted tail is present in the next clip.

the advantage is that you might decide you want to open the clip up to the left in which case you would want the option of turning that note back on.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:59 AM   #19
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My curiosity is really getting the better of me so I'll just ask ...

Under what circumstances would you want a note you played during a midi recording to be split into two distinct notes (in that case anyway, splitting clips on the timeline) and triggered twice, as opposed to just playing it twice if you actually wanted that?

Not saying that situation doesn't exist, just that I haven't ran into it so I don't (yet) know when or why anyone would want that.

Thanks.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:14 PM   #20
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that's funny Lawrence - the default behavior in REAPER is the ONE option that no-one ever wants!
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:00 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semiquaver View Post
my suggestion is a sub-option of a) then where the note is split but a muted tail is present in the next clip.

the advantage is that you might decide you want to open the clip up to the left in which case you would want the option of turning that note back on.
Are you proposing that notes from the original item should be revealed when extending the edges of slit item? I think that is not currently possible in Reaper. Or is it? I think you have actually included another feature request into your split behaviour proposal.

EDIT: Answering to my own question. It is possible. Disable "Allow trim of MIDI items when splitting" in Preferences/Media/MIDI.

And maybe it is not necessary to show the muted tails of notes in the beginnig of split item. Or presenting muted items could be just a display option, not necessarily related to splitting. Because the same "problem" exists also in trimmed/resized MIDI items. I.e. when shortening MIDI item by moving left edge right, there are at least three alternative behaviours:
1. Hide and don't play notes that start outside item edge.
2. Mute notes that start outside item edge and display the muted "partial" notes inside item.
3. Create new note-on at item start for all notes that start outside item and end inside item. (current behaviour)

jnif

Last edited by jnif; 03-20-2012 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:19 PM   #22
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You're onto something there. Actually I never thought about it. In Logic 5 you couldn't get back stuff in MIDI "items" after a split by dragging the edges, not unlike Reaper does when the preference you mentioned is enabled.

I think I'd go with 2. The note should probably get automatically unmuted as soon as the note-on gets inside the item's active section.
Actually this would be also good with drum MIDI. I am always concerned that dragging a left item edge inward moves the audible note start time. I would prefer notes get muted as soon as I move an item edge so that the note-on gets to be outside.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:45 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stringycheesey View Post
[...] In other words, there really isn't any way to show the note-off event in the second part. So while it might be technically possible, I think this would be a GUI nightmare.
The GUI for note-offs will have to be changed somehow anyway, with note-off more explicitly shown than they currently are. How else are we going to be able to edit note-off velocity?
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:14 PM   #24
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Nobody wants to comment on the methodology I have been using for years (as outlined in my earlier post)

Blinkers off, Cubendo/PT/Logic, etc., users.
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:16 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
*sigh*
It would make everything MIDI so much simpler quicker and smoother if we could just treat all MIDI tracks as one big MIDI item which can be selected and then copied, cut or pasted at will without the need to cut 'n shut all the time.
Makes NO sense at all.
I've cried about this on the forum as well, even ED has an FR that would accomplish this in essence, I think, maybe in a very simple way though.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:31 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
My curiosity is really getting the better of me so I'll just ask ...

Under what circumstances would you want a note you played during a midi recording to be split into two distinct notes (in that case anyway, splitting clips on the timeline) and triggered twice, as opposed to just playing it twice if you actually wanted that?

Not saying that situation doesn't exist, just that I haven't ran into it so I don't (yet) know when or why anyone would want that.

Thanks.
Ok, the most common situation where I want this is when splitting an item and then moving one part somewhere else for another use. That I have happened to come in a bit early with some notes doesn't necessarily mean I would want to lose them from the start of my newly created/moved item which was most probably split at the grid. So for me it's not about wanting to trigger the same note twice, but not wanting to lose the note(s) supposed to be carried over.

In these cases I would usually prefer to lose those split notes from the end of the previous item, but not always. Kinda moot point for me since disabling "Allow trim of MIDI items when splitting" like Jnif mentioned earlier makes it possible to adjust the edges of items as needed.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:58 PM   #27
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I typically use MIDI that is not hard quantized. Still, it’s MIDI, and it would sure be nice to be able to split logically (on a measure, or a beat) and yet have notes near the boundary remain with the measure (beat) to which they belong musically.

So, if I have a couple note-ons a few ticks before the downbeat, I want those notes to stick with the item after the split (and continue to play at the same relative location when I move or copy and paste that item).

Likewise, if some notes go off a little after the downbeat, those should stick with the earlier item. So what I’m saying is that the logical boundaries of the items can be on beats (and don’t overlap after a split), but the effective boundaries move outward as necessary, and can overlap after a split. It would mean MIDI items always have logical (or “quantized” or “notational” or “nominal”) boundaries as well as effective (or “actual” or “forced”) boundaries. The logical boundaries would be the ones used to align the item against the timeline and other items in the track view, but both should be visible in the MIDI editor.

What if a note begins well before the split point and ends well after it? In that case, I suggest a “soft note-off” on the split point in (at the end of) the first item and a “soft note-on” on the split point in (at the beginning of) the second item. When a soft note-on and a soft note-off occur at the same time on the same note and channel (as would be the case just after doing a split), neither is sent; otherwise, they behave as normal note-ons and note-offs. This also means that pasting one of the items next to a different split item that had the same notes sustaining across the beat would also merge those notes, which is probably just what you would want to happen; but if you paste next to a item without those notes, they strike or end, as the case may be, to keep musical sense in both items.

It’s not immediately obvious to me how to handle continuous controllers; but ignoring them entirely can (and currently does) make a mess of CC64, especially when there’s repedaling near the split point, so something intelligent probably ought to be done.
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Old 01-28-2020, 02:05 PM   #28
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This is an old post but still relevant to discuss (even if it's in the wrong place!)

I agree with the below:





Quote:
Originally Posted by patristo View Post
No, as I mentioned in my original post, if a note-on message is to the left of the split point, the note-off message should also be made part of the left clip, even if the note-off message actually falls to the right of the cursor. You may end up with two slightly overlapping clips after the split, but that actually makes the resulting clips much easier to work with, and your MIDI hasn't been destroyed. If you really want to shorten the left clip so that the right edge of the clip does not extend beyond the split point, you can easily modify that as a second step (or even assign a macro to do this if this is the behavior you prefer in all cases).

Another way to visualize the behavior I'm proposing is to imagine you're doing the split in the MIDI event view. The event view logs things in terms of note-on times and durations (because this is a logical way to think of MIDI even though it's actually transmitted to the instrument as a series of note on and note off messages). Imagine what a split should do in this view. That's what you want.

Justin, you say that the existing way is better, but I don't see how that could possibly be the case. This destructive behavior is very difficult to alter, whereas my proposal can more easily be converted into yours with extension macros, should anyone desire to do so. Furthermore, the existing behavior makes it very difficult to use the default MIDI record mode in situations where the beginning of the new clip will slightly overlap with the old clip. If this has been debated in another thread, can you please point me to that thread?

Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:11 AM   #29
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agree.

this is the "dangle" request, where noteoffs can extend beyond the item. this is common in midi hardware sequencers like the MPC series.

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Old 01-31-2020, 06:13 AM   #30
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notes are turned off at the end of items etc...
i really wish this weren't the case. notes should turn off when their specified duration is met.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:42 AM   #31
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Location: So Florida
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Hi,
Or just do it like logic does,or has done since the last century.
There is a box on the left that has items parameters. One of them is called ..clip length...end of problem. As for splitting items you are presented with a set of options when the split occurs on a note. Again end of problem.
Jeez, my patience with reapers midi use is growing thin. But I hate apple more:-) at least for now.

Last edited by LugNut; 02-19-2020 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 07-22-2020, 01:14 PM   #32
Jeff Learman
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Join Date: Apr 2020
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Has this been fixed? I'm using 5.99 and it works this way. I recorded several takes of piano and now want to comp. Sadly, any note playing during a split has a new attack at the split point!

This is a dealbreaker for me. It's the worst possible way for MIDI splits to work when comping, at least, for piano parts. If it's fixed in the latest version, I would upgrade. If it's not, then it's time to find a new DAW, sadly. A shame because I just learned how to do comping in Reaper (thanks to a Gioia video) and it's fantastic.

mccrabney's drawing captures exactly what I need, though (as always with these things) it's not that simple, because there may be events for that same note in the next item. I would add that a note-off in the next item should be honored, and a note-on should cause the old note to turned off immediately before the new note on.

BTW I also need the ability to move the split point without it erasing MIDI events (which is possible as an option.) It should work as much like audio as possible.

[Edit] Ah I just noticed the last few posts are recent. Sigh. Oh well. Have fun guys. I need to move on because not only is this totally unacceptable, I don't understand how anyone doing piano-like parts could tolerate it. It makes the fantastic comping features completely useless for MIDI instruments with attack/sustain notes. Drum parts? Fine only don't use the cymbals!

Last edited by Jeff Learman; 07-22-2020 at 01:24 PM.
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