[Ardour-Dev] let's talk about MIDI regions

Thorsten Wilms t_w_ at freenet.de
Mon Mar 6 00:31:13 PST 2017

On 05.03.2017 21:45, Lorenzo Sutton wrote:

> With the default theme and the Draw tool it is very confusing if you are
> going to input a note or create a new region by clicking on an empty
> note space. When I tried *composing* (i.e. not recording from a MIDI
> instrument) in Ardour I easily found myself accidentally creating
> multiple empty MIDI regions ending up with not knowing where I could
> actually input notes in.

It has been a while sine I used Ardour at all, but I got many hours of 
editing MIDI down and cannot relate to that at all. Sounds like a "first 
few minutes with a new feature" issue to me.

> One idea would be to have the main window as an "arranger" only for
> MIDI, where regions become big 'blobs' which one just arranges like
> audio ones. Then actual editing of the events happens in a separate
> context (different window or space, e.g. down below on the bottom of the
> screen).
> I am aware that Ardour developers have strong feelings *against* a
> separate MIDI editing window (piano roll, aka matrix), but the fact is
> that midi is completely different from audio, and there is a very good
> reason for having the option for several midi editing windows for a
> region, potentially many in parallel.

I see 2 hard issues with inline editing:

1) Additional track height changes and zooming, because comfortable MIDI 
editing has to happen on a different scale than much of the arrangement 

2) Difficulty in comparing regions that are far apart in time.

Advantages are:

A) Editing happens in context, making it easy to see other MIDI and 
audio tracks at the same time and lining things up. This is gold!

B) No duplication of means of navigation.

C) No additional window or panel management.

I worked with Cubase VST and MusE for quite a while and wouldn't want to 
do without inline editing ever again.

> Now, personally I think that if Ardour stands still in not wanting to
> provide a dedicated MIDI editing environment like many sequencers do,
> and stick to only 'inline' editing, it *shouòd* indeed remove MIDI
> regions, just for the sake of making MIDI editing a bit more sane.

Without regions, there would be nothing to support linked copies and not 
even a way to represent repeated sequences. How is that more sane?
Furthermore, sequencers with separate MIDI editing windows tend to tie 
those windows to regions. If all structure you have is a track of 
events, any separate editor would have to look even more like what 
happens inline now, thus leading to needless duplication of interface 

Thorsten Wilms

thorwil's design for free software:

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