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Chapter 6. Recording and Playback > MIDI Track Recording and Playback

MIDI Track Recording and Playback

Believe it or not, you now have the knowledge you need to start recording in SONAR. Nothing is very complicated about the process, but you should follow a number of steps to make sure everything occurs smoothly. Here and in the following sections, I’ll show you step by step how to record MIDI tracks, audio tracks, and multiple tracks at once. First you’ll tackle MIDI tracks. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new project or open an existing one. If you use a template to create a new project, you might be able to skip some of the following steps, but you probably should run through them anyway, just in case.

  2. Set the meter and key signature for the project. The default settings are 4/4 and the key of C Major.

  3. Set the metronome and tempo parameters. The default tempo for a new project is 100 beats per minute.

  4. Set the timebase for the project. The default setting is 960 PPQ (pulses per quarter note). More often than not, you won’t have to change this setting.

  5. Set the recording mode. Unless you plan to record data to a track that already contains data, you can skip this step. The default recording mode is Sound on Sound.

  6. Add a new MIDI track to the Track view and adjust the track’s properties. For more information about track properties and how to set them, refer to Chapter 4.

  7. Arm the track for recording to let SONAR know that you want to record data on the track. Right after the name parameter in the Track view, you’ll see three buttons labeled M, S, and R. Click on the R button to arm the track for recording (see Figure 6.8).

    Figure 6.8. You arm a track for recording by clicking on its associated R button in the Track view.

  8. Set the Now time to the point in the project where you would like the recording to begin. Most of the time it will be the very beginning of the project, but SONAR provides flexibility to let you record data to a track starting at any measure, beat, or tick within a project.

  9. Select Transport > Record to start recording. (You can also press the R key on your computer keyboard or click on the Record button on the Transport toolbar.) If you set a Count-In, the metronome will first count the number of beats you entered, and then SONAR will begin recording.

  10. Perform the material you want to record.

  11. After you finish performing, select Transport > Stop to stop recording. (You also can press the spacebar on your computer keyboard or click on the Stop button in the Transport toolbar.) SONAR will create a new clip in the track containing the MIDI data you just recorded (see Figure 6.9).

    Figure 6.9. After you’ve finished recording, SONAR will create a new clip in the track representing the MIDI data.

  12. Listen to your performance by setting the Now time back to its original position and selecting Transport > Play. (Alternatively, you can press the spacebar on your computer keyboard or click on the Play button on the Transport toolbar.) If you don’t like the performance, you can erase it by selecting Edit > Undo Recording. Then go back to Step 8 and try recording again.



    SONAR provides an Undo feature that allows you to reverse any action you take while working on a project. You’re probably familiar with this feature because it is included in most applications that allow you to manipulate data, such as word processing software and so on. SONAR goes a bit further, however, by providing an Undo History feature. This feature logs every step you take while working on a project and allows you to undo each step all the way back to the beginning of your current session. The Undo History is not saved, though, so as soon as you close a project, you lose the ability to undo any changes.

    To access the Undo History feature, select Edit > History to open the Undo History dialog box (see Figure 6.10). You will see a list of all the tasks you’ve done during the current session. To go back to a certain point in the session, select a task in the list and click on OK. SONAR will undo any tasks performed after the task you selected. SONAR can keep track of as many as 2,147,483,647 tasks; this is the maximum number you can set in the Maximum Undo Levels parameter of the Undo History dialog box. Remember, though, the more tasks SONAR keeps track of, the more memory and hard disk space it needs.

    Using the Undo History dialog box, you can reverse your actions.



    If you find that your performance is good for the most part, except for a few trouble spots, you might want to try fixing the mistakes by editing the MIDI notes rather than using Undo and then performing the entire thing all over again. You’ll learn how to edit MIDI data in Chapter 7, “Editing Basics.”

  13. After you’ve recorded a performance you like, disarm the track by clicking on its R button again. By disarming the track, you won’t accidentally record over the data while you’re recording any additional tracks.

  14. Go back to Step 6, and record any additional tracks you want to add to the project. While you’re recording the new tracks, you will hear the previously recorded tracks being played back. Because you can hear these tracks, you might want to turn off the metronome and just follow the music of the previous tracks as you perform the material for the new ones.



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