The Piano Roll Editor
All right, let's get started. Ah, so ah, Welcome to the Slam Academy. Online class music theory for electronic musicians. Ah, new reboot. So, um, what we're gonna do in this first chunk is talk about our first kind of Maine few things, Which is the keyboard layout. Ah, and finding octaves. So first, we're going to talk about the keyboard layout. So you've seen this before? This thing we're looking at here on the screen. Um, this is where we're gonna live for the majority of this class. Now, I I've promised you were not going to focus on reading notes, and we're not gonna focus on looking at, Ah, the piano, which is traditionally how music theory is taught, is on the piano. We're not gonna do that. Um, but we are going to spend all our time here in this thing that we call the piano roll editor. Um, so before we dive in, let's understand a little bit about where this thing comes from and what we're looking at here. So what we're looking at is basically, um, a piano on its side. Right. So...
we are kind of tied to a piano. Um, but don't let that freak you out. Let me explain. So here is the piano keyboard. Okay? Just roll with me for a second. Here. Here's the keyboard. Right. So when we look at the keyboard, we can see alterations of white notes and black notes. So I'm just gonna, like, really simplify this right when I don't care about what notes are what right now. So we see white notes and block notes right now, if we take that keyboard and we spend it on its side and then, um, we kind of crop the ah excess notes off, and then we extend all the notes out, Then we end up with exactly the piano roll editor, which you can see here. I'm looking at it here in able to life. So what we have is here's our white notes and I have a line extending from that note. And then here's another note, and I have a land extending from that note. So anytime I put a note here, it's on that note. If I put it over here, it's still on that note, right? It's just on a different spot in time, right? And now this concept. So here's a bunch of notes just going up through the white notes and black notes of the piano keyboard. Now we're gonna talk about the difference between these white notes and these black notes very shortly, so just hold on to that for a minute. But this concept, um, of the piano roll editor goes way, way, way back. Um, this is actually one of the oldest kinds of sequences we have. So brief sidebar for a tiny history lesson. Um, the piano roll editor I can't even remember when it comes about, but sometime probably around the 19 hundreds, it predates the ah photograph your record player by a little bit. I think, actually, it's like a crazy old piece of technology. And it's really interesting that a crazy, modern piece of technology, Um, like any, um, professional sequencer. Ah uses the same basic system. But what a piano roll editor was was it was a piano with this paper role in it, and you move the role by peddling the piano like a bike kind of that have these pedals that would push air through the role. And the role looks just like this. And each of these was a hole in the piece of paper. So, um, the pedals would also blow air into it. And whenever the air could get through one of these holes, it would trigger the note. And that would make the piano basically play on its own. All you had to do with pedal it and put So you would buy a piece of music in this piano roll. Ah, paper roll thing. That's like you could buy music that way and you put it into your piano and then you peddle it and then you you'd have you'd see the keys moving on the piano like an old like like a ghost is playing it. They use these in horror movies all the time for that exact reason that was called a player piano or another fancy word for it would be a piano ola. Um, and that's where this general concept is taken from that idea of all the notes, kind of spread out in a line to show time and putting little dots or holes or lines to show rhythm just worked out really well for sequencing, so that's why we use it. But all we're really looking at here is a piano just laid on its side and we don't care about the actual piano. It's just a really convenient way to show us where the notes are. So we have low notes down here and we have high notes up here. That's all we really care about. So that's what we're looking at when we see this up here, we're looking at a time we can see bars and beats. So here we're on the first bar of this particular clip. Here. We're on the first bar beat, too, B three and B four. So we're looking at a one bar pattern with four beats in it, right? That's what these four big chunks here are representing. Cool. So that's the basic concept of what we're looking at in the piano roll editor.