I picked up an interesting tip in a recent online discussion involving the use of Time Handles and the Repeat function in Logic Pro X's Piano Roll Editor that’d I’d like to share.
The Pencil tool in the Piano Roll Editor is used to create new notes. The length of the newly created notes is based on the length of the last note that was edited. In other words, it remembers the last note length that was either created or edited.
Repeat and Repeat Multiple
There are various ways to repeat existing notes. There is, of course, the standard copy/paste function to place copies wherever you want by moving the Playhead position. And the Brush Tool is useful for automatically generating long strings of repeated grid based notes of the same length. But there are two functions under the local Edit Menu that offer more flexible options. I am referring to the Repeat and Repeat Multiple functions.
The repeat rate of the Repeat Multiple function is, at first glance, determined by the value set in the Adjustment field. I use the term “at first glance” because there is some interesting hidden flexibility available there that we will explore below.
But what about the Auto setting? What determines its value?
With Auto, the placement of the repeated notes is initially determined, very loosely, on the length of the source note being copied. And I say “very loosely” because there’s generally not much more nuance in the placement of the repeated notes than successive quarter notes, half notes, or whole notes.
Time Handles and Auto mode
So, what if we want to generate repeated notes at irregular intervals? Enter the Time Handles and Auto mode. We usually think of the Time Handles function for stretching or compressing the timing of groups of notes in the Piano Roll Editor. But it can also be used to establish a time range used for the placement of repeated notes generated with either the Repeat or Repeat Multiple functions.
Enable Time Handles from the local Functions menu. Drag across the desired time range to establish the distance for the notes to be repeated. Make sure to include the source note in your selection. At first, the Time Handles will snap based on your grid settings. But, as with any selection or movement in Logic Pro X, hold down the Control key once you begin dragging to override the snap value. And add the Shift key for tick-accurate resolution.
Now when you invoke either the Repeat or Repeat Multiple function (set to Auto mode), the placement of the generated repeated notes will be based on the established time range.
By placing repeated notes at irregular distances, interesting rhythmic offsets, or long evolving patterns can be established.
Freedom from the tyranny of the grid for all!