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Why is "Force Legato" not connecting selected notes completely but is instead leaving a gap between them?

D.D. Jackson

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The subject says it all. When I select the notes as in the attached screenshot and then hit my key command for "Trim Note End for Selected (Force Legato)", my expected result was that the right side of the left-most highlighted note would have no gap before encountering the left-most side of the right-most highlighted note. Why is this not happening?:




Thanks for any help!

- rj

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  • 1 year later...

This is by design; I vaguely remember a discussion about this and the reason was to avoid having a bunch of note off events sent at the same time as a bunch of note on events.


I find that for most sounds you're triggering with those MIDI sequences you have to readjust the length slightly, sometimes shorter, sometimes even overlapping the next notes, in order to get the resulting sound you're going for, so I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

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I have an answer, yet it may not apply to how you wish things to be. Force L sets a 16th note adjacent to another note at 232 ticks, meaning since a 16th note is 240 ticks long, this creates a 8-tick gap.


My best guess is this is a creative choice by whoever determined the size of this gap. I do agree there should typically be a gap. If there isn't, it will dull the attack of the following note. Depending on the track, you may want to preserve that attack by placing a gap there.


For instance, the normal gap I set for acoustic piano is 80 ticks (note length for a 16th then being 160 ticks, and if swung by 20 ticks, 140). This seems to work best for most situations, yet there are moments when I want the note length to be as short as 80-120 ticks to provide a stacatto feel, and there are moments when I wish to do a 'slide' from a grace note up a semitone or two, and it works better then if there is no gap. Sometimes the 8-tick gap works best. But if all your notes end at the same length (all 16ths being 232 ticks long, for instance), then your song will not have as dynamic a feel to it, so managing note length is very important, as it creates expressive dynamics as well as manages the attack of adjacent notes.


Typical bass notes (for me) are 180-190 ticks, and typical Rhodes notes are 160-180 ticks, depending on the song and the amount of sustain. String patches seem to have a delay at the beginning of a note, so to make them sync I typically slide all string notes back about 115 ticks, then extend them an extra 16th so they overlap (using a note length of 160 ticks). That way, a string pad sounds solid and natural and authentic yet the notes don't blend over each other. Other instruments may use a longer or shorter gap, but I set these fairly precisely and the end result is a tight, precise, accurate track.


This applies to BPMs of about 90-115, and you may need to alter it a bit for other BPMs.


Not buying it? Create a drum track and add a bass track and use Force Legato on all bass notes. Then do the same thing except drag all notes on the bass track (use the event window) back to 180 ticks instead of 232 ticks. Your bass track will now sound magically much tighter and more percussive, and will sit much better in a mix. The snare and kick will also be much more noticeable, without changing any levels.


But the goal here is either to manipulate the the attack of the following notes, or to make the notes end at a point that sounds best (such as to get out of the way of a snare hit on 2 or 4), and this can be used to preserve or accentuate attack or to dull the attack, depending on the situation. Another method to dull the attack of comp chords on a piano is to use MIDI Transform > Humanize. Randomly setting start times of the notes in a chord within a 15-tick window arpeggiates it just a bit, enough to remove some of the attack but not affect the sustain.


Of course, none of this changes the actual volume or velocity of the attack of following notes, but it does change the perceived attack, based on the way human hearing works. Google 'audio masking effect' and this can shed a bit more light on what I mean.


So bottom line, I think the goal of whoever designed this was to preserve the attack of following notes. 232 ticks does that to a degree, but I sure do wish it was something that we could set on a slider per track, as that would make my life a whole lot easier.

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