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Editing MIDI events and continuous controllers (CC) ► Controllers, RPNs, NRPNs, and automation data

SONAR projects contain a lot more information than the notes and digital audio files that are at the heart of your work. Controllers, RPNs, and NRPNs (xRPNs, for short) are special types of events used by MIDI software and hardware to control the details of how MIDI music is played. Automation data are used to adjust volume, pan, and other parameters of MIDI and audio tracks on the fly while playback is in progress.
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Using the Insert > Series of Controllers command
Editing data in the Track view’s Clips pane or the Piano Roll view gives you great flexibility. You can examine the controllers in graphical form and edit them even while recording or playback is in progress. This means you can loop over a portion of your project and hear any change you make on the next loop.
Note: MIDI envelopes you create in the Piano Roll view and MIDI envelopes you create in the Track view Clips pane are actually separate envelopes, even if they control the same parameter. Both kinds of envelopes are visible in the Clips pane, and should generally not be used to control the same parameter. You can convert Piano Roll view envelopes to Track view envelopes by selecting the time range and tracks that the Piano Roll envelopes occupy, and using the Track view Clips > Convert MIDI Controllers to Envelopes command.
For more information about automation, see Automation and Mixing. For more information about the Event List view, see The Event List view.
Controllers are the MIDI events such as volume, sustain pedal, and pan that you use to change the sound while you're playing. You can enter controller data from within SONAR, or record them from external devices such as MIDI keyboards.
Controllers let you control the detail and character of your music. Say you’re playing a guitar sound on your synthesizer, but it sounds lifeless and dull. That’s partly because a guitar player doesn’t just play notes one after another—he often bends or slides on the strings to put emotion into his playing. You can use controllers in the same way, creating bends, volume swells, and other effects that make sounds more realistic and more fun to listen to.
Your computer can work the controllers on your electronic instrument by sending MIDI Controller messages. The MIDI specification allows for 128 different types of controllers, many of which are used for standard purposes. For example, controller 7 is normally used for volume events, and controller 10 is normally used for pan. Every controller can take on a value ranging from 0 to 127.
The Piano Roll contains several drop-down lists that let you choose the controller you want to see and edit. The contents of these lists depend on the output and channel settings and on the instrument assigned to that output and channel. Different instruments use controllers in different ways. See Instrument definitions.
Note: SONAR has automatic searchback for all continuous controller data to ensure that the correct controller values are in effect regardless of where you start playback. Suppose you start playback halfway through a project. SONAR searches back from that point to find any earlier controller values that should still apply.
RPNs (Registered Parameter Numbers) and NRPNs (Non-Registered Parameter Numbers) are similar to controllers, except that both the parameter number and data value can be any number between 0 and 16,383.
When RPNs and NRPNs are transmitted via MIDI or stored in a standard MIDI file, they are converted into four separate controller messages. SONAR detects incoming xRPN messages from MIDI inputs or files and reassembles them into a single RPN or NRPN event. This provides the convenience of single RPN or NRPN events in SONAR plus compatibility with existing files, equipment, and software. The following table shows the controller numbers SONAR uses for RPN and NRPN events.
Table 135.  
Parameter number MSB Controller
Parameter number LSB Controller
Data value MSB Controller
Data value LSB Controller
Remember that note velocity is an attribute of each note and not a completely separate event. You cannot add or remove velocity events in the Notes pane, but you can use the draw tool to adjust the velocity values for existing notes. You can also edit velocities with the Process > Scale Velocity command. For more information, see Adding crescendos and decrescendos. You can edit individual note velocities in the Note Properties dialog box, described in Changing note properties.

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