Manimpulation MIDI Note Velocities - with a special lane

Since all CC-MIDI data is accessible through automation lanes for MIDI tracks I thought that it would be quite fitting ito allow the user to open a Velocity Lane, where there would be a lollipop graph with data points for each note that can be manipulated to easily change note velocity. Right now the only obvious way I know is by using the mouse wheel while hovering above a note, which is a bit clunky. One can also hit the V key to set a velocity manually to a selection without scrolling, but I have only learned that very recently by accident.

What do you think?

This is discussed every 3 weeks on IRC. When someone explains how to use this model to deal with chords, I’ll start paying more attention.

Paul: Chords are simple, they’re on the same horizontal space, but not necessarily on the same vertical space depending in the note velocity. If they’re on the exact same spot in the graph, simply select a note in the sequencer, and then the velocity lane draw should only affect that note.

I also agree this would be an excellent addition, velocity is super clunky at the moment due to the lack of the velocity lane.

FL Studio does it the way I described, for example, and it works very well indeed. It also gives you tools to scale the velocity of groups of notes in various ways while not changing their relative velocities, but I can live without that.


There is quite some discussion and some mock-ups of this feature in the bug tracker, but there hasn’t been any comment from the developers in some time. I would like to see more discussion there.

I’m not sure whether the problem with chords is presentation or manipulation behaviour, but I think both are reasonably addressed in that feature request.

Ok, let say something, ARDOUR is a very professional DAW and in my opinion, first we need to learn how to use all the features that ARDOUR has, and then discuss about them, we need to stop comparing ARDOUR with X-DAW, or any other DAW because ARDOUR is ARDOUR and isn’t a copycat of any other, and it has it own software philosophy, Is like a soldier, one soldier can use a M16 riffle and kill 50 enemies, and other soldier can kill 5 with the same M16, the problem is not the riffle, the problem is the shooter, so stick with the DAW of preference and get the most with it. ARDOUR is a very good DAW even having its own flavor, it makes everything like any other DAW and more in the three mayor platforms(WIN-MAC-LIN).

mobi7: thanks for that sentiment. Truth is though … velocity manipulation in Ardour sucks! I say that as the lead/original developer. We do need to work on it, and we will.


I personally don’t like the lollipop approach (as the only way to edit midi note velocity).

I would like to see more ‘in editor’ midi editing, especially as the future implementation of MPE(1) (as other software achieves) is heavily based on a single editing window (such that the MIDI notes themselves have parameters that are shown as overlays- on top of the MIDI note bar.)

In logic (although there is also a separate velocity lane) there is also a bar across the MIDI note that shows (along with colour) the velocity:

Also it is good to have this as another tool, so that one does not need to use the scroll wheel, and could activate velocity editing via a key command, or possibly right-click menu.

One strong aspect of current MIDI editing in Ardour is its ‘in track’ approach, which I believe is very easy, as it puts the MIDI events into the context of the material worked on.

NOTES: (1) I understand that currently MPE may / may not be in 6.0 or 6.x - but as MPE as been adopted as a standard by the MMA it may be good to look at MIDI editing approaches that point in the same direction.

Another example of using a ‘velocity’ specific tool:

It may also be interesting to be able to edit ‘note-off’ velocity as well, considering that Pianoteq uses that information. (I’m not aware of any way to edit this currently.)

A nice addition to the ‘MIDI list editor’ would be to have a toggle to show note-off velocity, and to also highlight in the MIDI track view the currently selected MIDI event.


I’ve posted a couple of examples ages ago in the bug report showing how chords can be handled in Reaper (Native Linux version) and EnergyXT, usually the selected note appears as editable while the other chord notes on the same grid position will be greyed out allowing you to select each not of the chord individually (Energy-XT) or will be a different color (Reaper). I’ve also tried Tracktion Waveform and it has the ‘lollipops’ and the skinny filament sized velocity lines and tiny lollipops are extremely difficult to catch with a mouse so I would voice a strong NO! to the lollipop idea.

I love Ardour big time… it’s my Jam but I can’t stand programming drums in it as it is, I personally use EnergyXT for drum work and import the MIDI tracks into Ardour. EnergyXT is old and almost forgotten but it’s ‘in-track’ MIDI features are still a great example and would scale nicely to Ardour, just my 2 cents…

So it is also done in Qtractor.

I've also tried Tracktion Waveform and it has the 'lollipops' and the skinny filament sized velocity lines and tiny lollipops are extremely difficult to catch with a mouse so I would voice a strong NO! to the lollipop idea.
I see that point, but if clicking anywhere in that lane snaps the lollipops vertically to that point, then there is little need to catch them specifically. To me, any detailed, refined adjustments are much better done with the mousewheel. I only want this alternative interface to allow quick "drawing" of the shape of the dynamics. Quick mouse drags in the velocity editor for crescendo etc.

Basically in my mind we are trying to describe a destructive automation lane (of multiple parameters and events!). If you want to only adjust certain notes, select those notes in the region then edit their velocities with mouse clicks or horizontal drags in the velocity editing lane below. If none are selected it will snap the highest velocity note of a chord to that level and scale the other notes in the chords accordingly (it could have various other modes like snap all to that velocity, shift without scale etc.). An obvious drawback is that this does require a good definition of a chord as midi events rarely all come in right in time and inevitably the window will be too large or too small for somebody’s workflow.


Hi, I see your point about scrollwheel, but call me kooky I like to drag the mouse across the velocity ‘lines’ to draw both individual note velocities and draw curves or crescendo/decrescendo ramps. In the case of Tracktion whether you draw or scroll the pixel area of mouse actuation to modify the velocity line is too small a value and its hard to select the velocity line if you want to make further changes… BTW as you know Ardour is already geared to working with the scrollwheel and that absolutely has some merits so I think Ardour should retain all the functionality it already has for ‘scrollers’ and add facilities that work for ‘draw-ers’…

I like to drag the mouse across the velocity 'lines' to draw both individual note velocities and draw curves or crescendo/decrescendo ramps
But I think the proposal allows that exact method. Dragging the mouse anywhere in the velocity editing track would "snap" the note onset (lollipop handle) to that velocity. So you can surely work entirely without the mousewheel.

I know that Paul, and i know your team can do that improvement, but it cost time, sacrifice and money, and all my wishes is Ardour’s musicians and users make bigger knowledge contributions and bigger donation also.

There is another way to scale note velocities in Ardour: MIDI notes passing through the channel fader will have their velocities adjusted according to the fader value. It’s very easy to insert or drag a synth plugin to after the fader, and in that case the fader automation lane can function a bit like a non-destructive velocity editor. The track audio output can then be routed via an audio bus to allow control of the audio level too.


Great! #colinf

Is a solution any closer? I think MIDI editing in Ardour has come a really long way, being able to see and edit velocity quickly would really be a great addition.

Do you ever do development bounties? If so this is one I would definitely contribute to.

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