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Use the Piano Roll Editor’s Brush tool

Here’s how to use one of Logic’s significant new features – the Brush tool

In one form or another, the Piano Roll concept has been around since the early 1900s when the first mechanical Pianola pianos used a system of punched paper rolls to record and play back performances. It’s a firm favourite among Logic users, easily the most commonly used of the edit windows, and now version 10.1 has brought some cool new features to the Piano Roll table, such as Collapse View and Time Handles. Chief among these additions, though, is a new tool – the Brush tool – which enables you to literally paint notes into the grid as if wielding a MIDI paintbrush.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can do with it – all the files needed to follow this tutorial can be downloaded from FileSilo.

LPX Brush Tool 01

1. Create track

Create an empty MIDI region on a software instrument track loaded with a suitable sound. We’ve gone for Synthesizer>Classics>Moving Fuzz in this example.

LPX Brush Tool 02

2. Select Brush tool

Open the Piano Roll Editor either by doubleclicking the MIDI region or by clicking the scissors button in Logic’s toolbar. Select the Brush tool from the bottom of the tool menu.

LPX Brush Tool 03

3. Scale quantize

The Brush tool works with the Scale Quantize function, over to the left of the vertical keyboard. This restricts any notes you paint to a particular scale, or set of notes.

LPX Brush Tool 04

4. Choose scale

Select a suitable root note and scale or mode from the pop-up menus – we’ve gone for C Major here. This means that only notes found in the C major scale will be inserted.

LPX Brush Tool 05

5. Paint notes

Using the Brush tool, click in the edit area and drag a shape like the one shown above, to paint notes into the region at the current quantize resolution.

LPX Brush Tool 06

6. Change resolution

Shorten the notes if required using the Pointer tool. To change the note resolution, select a new value from the Time Quantize menu. Here we’ve inserted a small cluster of 32nd notes.