Use keyboard mod wheel for automation

Hi, I’m using the mod wheel and several sliders of my midi keyboard to change expression, volume, vibrato etc. Now I’d like to record the plain notes first and work on, for example, “expression” afterwards, using the smooth mod wheel of my keyboard. I can get the corresponding automation lane to show, but there’s no Write mode. I can only choose between Play and Off so there’s no way for me to alter any values with the mod wheel during playback.

It’s there a way to get Write (or Touch) mode for this lane?

Thank you very much!

Hi again,

No reply usually means either the question is so dumb and the solution so obvious, or there is no solution. Which one is it? I still couldn’t figure out how to get the “write” option in the automation lane the modulation wheel of my Oxygen 49 keyboard generates in the midi track.

Thanks very much in advance.

No. It is conceptually not possible.

MIDI CCs are discrete events. They are recorded along with Note events into a MIDI region.

Thanks for the clarification.

Maybe I misunderstand, but I just recorded a MIDI line just pressing notes on my keyboard. I went back to the start, hit record, left the keys alone but moved my expression pedal and that too was recorded in the automation lane. Playback gave me my notes with my expression. Looks to me like two separate midi tracks, one holding notes, one holding expression, but they work together. Does that suffice?

Yes, you can simply record the CC or pitch-bend on top of existing MIDI region. It will show up as new MIDI region holding the information and playback will merge the events.

This is however different compared to “touch”. Many control-surfaces are touch sensitive, usually in combination with motorized faders. This allows to automatically switches between “write” and “play” depending on the fader or knob being touched. While touching the controls, previous existing automation will be overwritten. In the GUI this can be emulated to some extent with a user keeping the mouse button pressed on a slider.

However MIDI keyboard mod-wheel and pitch-bend controls are not touch sensitive. There are no dedicated MIDI messages that indicate if a player’s finger are currently touching the wheel or not.

Ah, I see the difference. Well outside of my typical usage or understanding. Thanks.

That’s interesting. Off the top of my head, whenever I record over an existing track, I can’t hear that track. How do you go about actually hearing the track you want to add the expression data to?

Thanks very much!


First make sure you are on an up to date Ardour, this was added in the 6.x series IIRC, can’t remember exactly which one.

See the section labeled Recording Options, in your case specifically the IN and DISK buttons.

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As long as both “In” and “Disk” are lit, I would think it would work. Sorry
that’s not much of an answer. Honestly, it was the first time I had tried

Even though the automation lane says “Play”, it does record my pedal as
“In” the second time through while I can hear the midi notes coming from

[image: image.png]

Thanks again, befloibent and Seablade. I’m currently using the Ardour version that comes with Ubuntu repositories. I shall upgrade to 6.5 then. Will do so later this week.

It worked! Thank you very much, again.

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