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Can I control MIDI expression on an existing Logic MIDI track?


David MacNeill
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Can I control MIDI expression and velocity on an existing Logic MIDI track? I have some great string and brass parts that I created in the MIDI editor but no MIDI controller to add that little extra bit of expression or velocity on the fly. How do I do this and would a basic M-Audio controller (or similar) do the trick? I don't really even need a keyboard (can't play piano at all) I just need the controllers. Can I do this after the fact?

Edited by David MacNeill
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MIDI expression could be modulated via automation.

For MIDI velocity, you would need to use a MIDI FX plugin such as the Modifier. You would set both its Input Event and Re-Assign To as "Velocity". Then use its Add fader to modulate the velocity playback of the prerecorded notes. That Add fader could also be automated.

You could use the M-Audio's modwheel to remotely control in realtime the selected automation parameter after assigning that modwheel as the AQA.

HTH

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12 minutes ago, Atlas007 said:

MIDI expression could be modulated via automation.

For MIDI velocity, you would need to use a MIDI FX plugin such as the Modifier. You would set both its Input Event and Re-Assign To as "Velocity". Then use its Add fader to modulate the velocity playback of the prerecorded notes. That Add fader could also be automated.

You could use the M-Audio's modwheel to remotely control in realtime the selected automation parameter after assigning that modwheel as the AQA.

HTH

This is very helpful. I'll try applying expression automation to a cello track. I understand how to change velocity manually using Logic's MIDI editor, but Expression control has eluded me until now.

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MIDI Expression is CC#11 events stream.

Pretty much all MIDI controllers (like M-Audio) are equipped with a modwheel. A modwheel by default produces CC#1 events stream.

Some MIDI controllers permit to change the Modwheel to produce other CC events types (other than CC#1).

In case yours don't, you could use a Modifier MIDI Fx plugin (as mentioned in my previous post) but set its Input Event as "Modwheel CC#1" and the Re-Assign To as "Expression CC#11". Setting the Scale fader to "100%" and the Add fader to "0" should yield an appropriate direct conversion (from CC#1 to CC#11).

That setup up would allow you to modulate the Expression in realtime, which could also be recorded / merged in the prerecorded region (along with the already present notes events). (that would account for RBA, aka region base automation).

 

 

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1 hour ago, Atlas007 said:

MIDI Expression is CC#11 events stream.

Pretty much all MIDI controllers (like M-Audio) are equipped with a modwheel. A modwheel by default produces CC#1 events stream.

Some MIDI controllers permit to change the Modwheel to produce other CC events types (other than CC#1).

In case yours don't, you could use a Modifier MIDI Fx plugin (as mentioned in my previous post) but set its Input Event as "Modwheel CC#1" and the Re-Assign To as "Expression CC#11". Setting the Scale fader to "100%" and the Add fader to "0" should yield an appropriate direct conversion (from CC#1 to CC#11).

That setup up would allow you to modulate the Expression in realtime, which could also be recorded / merged in the prerecorded region (along with the already present notes events). (that would account for RBA, aka region base automation).

Extremely helpful, thank you! I shall do just as you describe.

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I ordered an Alesis V25 controller I saw in a YouTube video that has two actual wheels instead of buttons, four assignable knob controllers, and a minimum of other pads and buttons that I don't need, all set to the side so the thing will sit comfortably above my keyboard on my rather minimalist desk. Full-size keys too — not that I'd know what to do with them. 🙃
 

 

ALE-V25_1_1024x1024.jpg

Edited by David MacNeill
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Got the Alesis V25 and with some fiddling with UVI Orchestral Suite settings, found that I could achieve exactly what I wanted using the V25's mod wheel to both increase the frequency of the vibrato and also intensify the timbre of the part, in this case a solo cello part. I just ride along with the track and "play" it with MIDI recording on, as you guys told me to do. It's really satisfying for a frustrated cellist like me to finally be able to play what I hear!

I did find Logic's Modifier MIDI FX plugin and played with it, then found buried in the UVI manual that if I set the instrument suite to Velocity mode, the mod wheel turned into a vibrato/tremolo/timbre controller, an effect I had been referring to as "expression" in my ignorance.

I thank you all for your patience with this dumbass guitar slinger as he finally begins to get a grip on MIDI all its possibilities. @Atlas007, you're my new best friend!

PS: I found the now discontinued V25 online at Musician's Friend for $86, and they sent me one that had definitely been a floor model, a demo, or a return from some meth lab, as it was filthy and quite dusty in a battered box — including a mysterious white powder all over the thing. Pretty shitty of them to advertise a product as new, then send me a used one. When I called them, they apologized and told me it was the last one they had, so I tested it out and cleaned it up and decided to keep it. Will I order anything from Musician's Friend ever again? No freakin' way!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi There!  I also recently bought an Alesis V25 and I'm trying to set up the MOD wheel to increase vibrato.  I tried some of the suggestions above, but they aren't working.  I downloaded the Alesis V Series MK11 Editor and can change the CC values there.  I tried 11, but that basically changes the MOD wheel into a volume controller.  Like the user above, I'm trying to add vibrato to instruments such as Cello, Flute, etc.  I am very new to the MOD wheel, CC etc.  So any help would be appreciated.  Just looking for a simple vibrato

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The mod wheel should send MIDI CC #1 (mod wheel) data by default, and any instruments that respond to the mod wheel, should just work, without changing any settings on the controller. Can you give a specific example of an instrument that you want to control that's not working?

Edited by des99
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1 hour ago, John Bigler said:

I am very new to the MOD wheel, CC etc.  So any help would be appreciated.  Just looking for a simple vibrato

The MOD(ulation) wheel is a device that, when actuated, sends messages (CC=continuous controls) to a synth. In order for a CC to reach/control/modulate as intended, the CC and its targeted synth (parameter), both have to be set on the same MIDI channel.

A CC message consist of values ranging from 1 to 127 sent by the MOD wheel on a specified MIDI channel.

There are also 127 type of those CCs. CC#1 to CC#127. Some of those CC are named according to their commonly use. I.e.,  CC#11 is named Expression, after it is commonly used to modulate the loudness of the instrument. But that is something that could be customized. For instance, if you set the synth’s vibrato intensity parameter to react to CC#11, actuating your MODwheel (also set to send CC#11) will modulate the synth vibrato.

A synth has many parameters. Each of those parameters could be MOD(ulated) by a specified continuous control. More than one synth parameter could modulated by the same CC. I.e., CC#11 could be modulating the loudness instrument and the vibrato at the same time.

HTH

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47 minutes ago, John Bigler said:

I’ve tried a few of the stock Logic Pro sounds including Organ B3

The B3 responds to the mod wheel for it's leslie control, but you have to set it to do that - it's set to the sustain pedal by default for this, generally.

In the Rotor Cabinet tab, change the Speed Control from whatever it is (usually the sustain pedal by default), to "Mod wheel". On the Options tab, you may also have to disable mod wheel set up for morphing, so set Morph -> MIDI Control to none.

Now the mod wheel will control the leslie.

(An organ is not a synth, so it doesn't have "vibrato" to control like a synth has, which is why the modulation control doesn't do anything by default.)

I haven't looked at the others, but a flute doesn't really have vibrato either (at least, when I took flute lessons there wasn't a proper way to bend pitch), so neither would there be in sampled recreations either. The solo flute already has a bit of tremelo built in, with nothing mapped to the mod wheel as expected, but it's a Sampler instrument, so if you wanted to make the mod wheel control something - say, tremelo depth, you can add a modulator to do that.

So what the mod wheel does, or doesn't do, by default in any given sound will vary according the the instrument and the sound, or what you want to make it control if it's not doing what you want by default.

Edited by des99
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Well, a real organ often does have a "vibrato" switch.  The Hammond M-3 that I grew up even had a second switch to make the vibrato sound faster ... well, different anyway.  But it's strictly an on/off thing and not terribly convincing.  You might use it on hymns but not much else.  Leslies, if you were lucky enough to have one, also had two speed settings.

Edited by MikeRobinson
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11 hours ago, MikeRobinson said:

Well, a real organ often does have a "vibrato" switch.

Yes, and so does Logic's plugin, but as you say, it's a switch, not a way of expressing vibrato like a human voice or violin etc, which is what the pitch mod wheel is doing on synths much of the time - that was what I meant.

Switching the speed settings using the mod wheel is likely what the OP wants to do, as that's the money expressive tool on those kinds of organs, imo, and Logic is set up to use the sustain pedal for that by default, and the mod wheel doesn't do much of any consequence.

Guitars also have a *tremelo* arm for this (that bends pitch). Guitarists are a strange bunch..! 😉 

Edited by des99
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🙂 hi everyone!  Thanks for all the comments.  I think we’re all using different (and perhaps technically accurate) terms for the same end result.  Yes, like a violinist can add expression by quickly moving his fingers on the strings, or a vocalist can add vibrato at the end of a note,  I am trying to achieve that same effect on some of these sounds.  For the B3, I was hoping to go from a “straight”-sounding note and add some Leslie on the sustain with the mod wheel.  On the flute, adding a vocal-like vibrato on the note I’m holding out.  Etc etc. 

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1 minute ago, John Bigler said:

For the B3, I was hoping to go from a “straight”-sounding note and add some Leslie on the sustain with the mod wheel.

Great, then I've already given the instructions for how to do that above. Let me know if you're struggling with any of that, but it's fairly self-explanatory.

Same for adding a pitch LFO to the flute, which although unrealistic, you can do in Sampler - let me if you're stuck. But the reason these instruments are doing this by default is because there's no expectation that they should - but you can easily modify these things for your own needs, once you know how.

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