Controllers

Static controls
are set at the interface. They may also become dynamic once we start sending controllers but they always have a static setting.

  1. Pitch
    • Octave set
    • Coarse tuning
    • Fine tuning
    •  Microtuning scale definitions
  2. Timbre
    • Filter type – High Pass, Low pass, Band pass
    • Filter Slope – 6dB, 12dB, 24 db
    • Cutoff
    • Resonance
  3. Amplitude
    • Volume Set

One Shot – these are shaped controls that fire once when a key depressed. (Note-on message)

  1. Envelope Generators
    • Attack – time taken for the sound to rise to max. 0 is fast
    • Decay – time taken for the sound level to drop to the sustain if one is set or to silence if the Sustain is zero. 0 is fast
    • Sustain – the level the sound will continue to hold at until the key is released. 0 is silence.
    • Release – time taken for the sustaining sound to die away to silence after a key is released. 0 is fast.

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  1. Pitch Envelope Generator (PEG) – emulates the slight pitch changes when a note is struck
  2. Filter Envelope Generator (FEG)  – emulates the way that the timbre changes as a note progresses.
  3. Amplitude Envelope Generator (AEG) – the  overall loudness of a note from beginning to end.

Cyclic – Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO)

  1. Pitch LFO= Vibrato
  2. Timbre LFO = Tremala
  3. Amplitude LFO = Tremolo (Fender Champ)

Manual Controls 
In MIDI controllers are written as CC#1= 32 of CC#=76.
The CC# indicates the controll ID. The number indicates its value.

These controllers have a physical object attached to them. However in Logic they can be software objects. For example: if you don’t have a synth with a mod wheel  you can create a slider in Logic which sends CC# 1 and manipulate modulation from there. Not all synths have all or even many hardware objects attached to them. If you are working in the Score window  you can select the sustain icon with your pencil and Command Click on the score where you want it to be

  1. Keyboard – Note numbers 0 to 127
    • Pitch – the notes you play
    • Timbre – the Filter Cutoff tracks the keyboad
    • Amplitude – higher notes tend to be quieter than low notes
  2. Mod Wheel = CC#1 A free spin wheel which can send controller 1 (CC#1) with values from 0-127.
    • PItch LFO – vibrato,
    • TImbre LFO – Tremala
    • Amplitude  LFO – Tremolo.
  3.  Pitchbend Wheel – defined as a separate entity with 64k values
    • A spring loaded wheel with a center Detente for doing pitch bend (interacting with the pitch Coarse tune. This is commonly assigned to a minor third up and a minor third down but it is completely programmable.
  4. Aftertouch – like Pitchbend it is a separate entity
    • Pressing harder on a depressed key can send a value between 0-127.
    • Pitch to add vibrato.
    • Timbre to add tremala
    • Amplitude to add Tremolo
    • There are two types of After touch : Channel – where pressing any of  the keys sends a single value which affects all notes held down and Polyphonic where each note can send a unique value for the note pressed without affecting the ther notes held down.
  5. Breath Control
    • Only really supported by Yamaha- a tube you can blow into to generate values between (you guessed it!) 0 and 127.
    • Like all controllers can be assigned to do anything.

There are in all 127 controllers. Many have defined functions and many do not. Here is the whole list:

Complete list of MIDI Controllers

The ones you should be aware  of are the following:

  • CC# 1 = Modulation
  • CC# 2 = Breath Control
  • CC# 4 = Foot Controller (Swell Pedal on an Organ)
  • CC# 7 = Volume (Master Volume on your Amp)
  • CC# 10 = Pan Left and Right
  • CC#11 = Expression ( foot volume pedal )
  • CC#64= Sustain Pedal ( for piano for example !

NOTE:  Logic has a full implementation of MIDI however they also recognize that not all musicians like to deal with computer code. For example to change the volume if an instrument in a crescendo you could write:

CC#11 value 65
CC#11 value 67
CC#11 value 72
CC#11 value 81
CC#11 value 86
CC#11 value 90

OR you could draw a line on the automation for the track
OR you could set the track to write and drag the channel fader in real time. There is a blurring in Logic between Making  things easier but still staying true to MIDI code. Try recording some stuff and look at the List Editor. Sometimes you see MIDI sometimes you don’t. My philosophy is to do what is quickest but be prepared to edit at the nano scale.

Frank Zappa said that “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture”. I say that if  playing an acoustic instrument is like dancing, then using Logic is like sculpture.it doesn’t matter how you realize your vision as long as you realize it. The best results seem to come when you use all the tools at your service.

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