FL Studio's Piano roll has the well deserved reputation as the best Piano roll in the business (with good reason). The Piano roll's purpose is to send note and automation data to plugin instruments loaded on the Piano roll's Channel. This is known as 'sequencing'. There are a number of useful tools that aid complex score editing and other manipulations as described below. Note pitch is displayed on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. This is the exact principle as paper 'Piano rolls' used to automate player-pianos in former times. The resolution of the grid is user-selectable (zoomable) and allows the composition of songs with unlimited complexity. Note data can be entered manually with the editing tools or recorded in from 'live' MIDI controllers, then edited to fix mistakes or make changes.
NOTES: Beware the 'F10 > General Settings > Click-and-hold functions in piano roll' option on the General settings tab. It's functions include: Copy note: Hold on an existing note to copy it. Cycle slide/porta: Click and hold when adding a note to cycle through slide & porta event modes. Glue notes: Place the cursor between 2 neighbor notes, so the resize cursor appears, then click and hold to glue them. Mouse wheel velocity: Use mouse wheel while holding notes to change velocity. Mouse wheel tools: Change tools by holding right click and rolling the wheel. Time Markers - When set to type Pattern length (Right-click a marker) Time Markers will define the length of the currently selected Pattern.
|Main Menu - Includes: Edit, Tools, View, Snap, Select, Group, Zoom, Time Marker, Clip Source, Performance Mode, playhead and Detach options.|
|Tools menu - Riff machine (Alt+E); Quick legato (Ctrl+L); Articulate (Alt+L); Quick quantize (Ctrl+Q); Quick quantize start times (Shift+Q); Quantize (Alt+Q); Quick chop (Ctrl+U); Chop (Alt+U); Glue (Ctrl+G); Arpeggiate (Alt+A); Strum (Alt+S); Flam (Alt+F); Claw machine(Alt+W); Limit (Alt+K); Flip (Alt+Y); Randomize (Alt+R); Scale levels (Alt+X), LFO (Alt+O)|
|Piano roll Snap - Snap determines how Notes will move and quantization aligns events relative to the background grid (Hold Alt to temporarily set snap to 'none'). NOTE: There is a Global Snap selector on the Recording Panel.|
|Stamp tool - Add predefined chords selected from the menu that opens when this tool is clicked. NOTE: Deselect 'Only one' at the top of the menu to avoid the tool reverting to single note mode after the first stamp.|
|Draw mode (P) - Left-click to add a note. Left-click-and-drag to reposition the note before releasing it. Right-click to delete notes. Right-click and drag to delete multiple notes. Right-click and hold on the background to open the slice tool (F10 > General settings > Click and hold functions on). Modifier keys: (Shift) add in stretch mode. (Ctrl) to make a selection. (Alt) to add in pencil mode with snap set to 'none'.|
|Monophonic paint mode (B) - Brushes paint multiple notes as you drag. The monophonic action replaces existing notes to create a monophonic score (one note at a time). Left-click to add a single note. Click-and-drag to paint multiple notes. Right-click on notes to delete them. Right-click near notes to mute/unmute them. Right-click and drag on/near notes to delete/mute multiple notes. Modifier keys: (Shift) paint in polyphonic mode. (Ctrl) to make a selection.|
|Polyphonic paint mode (N) - Brushes paint multiple notes as you drag. Polyphonic mode paints lines of notes snapped to the starting pitch. Release to paint additional lines of notes above or below the original score. Use for drum scores and percussion samples where repeated hits are needed. Snap sets the note length. Left-click to add a note. Click-and-drag to paint a line of notes. Left-click on notes to mute/unmute them. Right-click to delete notes. Right-click and drag to delete multiple notes. Right-click and hold on the background to open the slice tool (F10 > General settings > Click and hold functions on). Modifier keys: (Ctrl) to make a selection. (Alt) paint at half the selected snap setting.|
|Delete (D) - Click or Click-and-drag to delete notes. Right-click and hold on the background to open the slice tool (F10 > General settings > Click and hold functions on). Modifier keys: Hold (Ctrl) to make a selection, then press (Delete).|
|Mute (T) - Left-click on notes to mute them. Left-click and drag to mute multiple notes. Right-click to delete notes. Right-click and hold on the background to open the slice tool (F10 > General settings > Click and hold functions on). Modifier keys: (Ctrl) to make a selection.|
|Slice (C) - Left-click and drag vertically to slice through notes. Glue notes by making a selection of touching notes and using the (Ctrl+G) shortcut. Modifier keys: (Shift) slice without dragging. (Ctrl) to make a selection. (Shift+Alt) Slice without dragging and with snap set to 'none'.|
|Select (E) - Click notes or Click and drag to make group selections. Modifier keys: (Shift) add to or remove notes from the selection.|
| Zoom to selection (Z) - Left-click and drag to zoom to selection. Left-click on background to zoom out. When in other modes use (Ctrl+Right-click) and drag to make a zoom-to selection. Right-click again to swap between zoom and unzoomed modes. Right-click the icon to open a menu of quick zoom options:
|Play selected (Y) - Click the notes you want to play. Click and drag to 'scrub' play notes. Modifier keys: (Alt) make a selection.|
|Play / Pause - Left-click to start/pauses playback. Right-click (while playing) to stop and return to the last set start position. Right-click (while stopped) to return the playhead to the start of the Piano roll. NOTE: There is an option on the Right-click main transport Stop button Remember seek time for the start position to be remembered.|
FL Studio has, arguably, the most powerful Piano roll editor available. Combined with the Piano roll menu you will find the possibilities are endless and (after practice) effortless.
NOTE: Many of the movement and draw commands are constrained by the snap setting that controls how notes move relative to the Piano roll grid. Hold the (Alt) key to temporarily bypass snap. Important also, the Global snap setting can be used for MIDI input quantizing.
After making a selection the Stretch Handle appears. You can click and drag this to stretch the selected notes. Hold the (Alt) key to apply snap settings. Alternatively, hold (Right-Shift) key then click on the right-side of a note in the group and drag.
Hold your mouse over the note and hold (Alt+Mouse Wheel) to change the currently selected note property. To see the property being adjusted maximize the vertical zoom.
The note properties editor gives you access to a number of per-note properties and event data velocity, pan, release, Mod X & Y (where supported), pitch etc. Select the data to be edited with the Target control, as shown below.
Note properties - are displayed as vertical lines with a small circle at the top. The right-facing tail allows you to see the independent values of notes with the same start time. Note properties move with the notes they belong to. The editor can also display standard Event Automation associated with the pattern. NOTE: To edit the properties of a note when it has the same start time as others, make a selection first, then edit the property for the note (as shown above in red).
Note events - When editing Automation Events the editor works in the same way as the Event Editor.
Sometimes it is useful to closely align notes with an audio waveform. For example when using Fruity Vocoder or Pitcher. To show the waveform drag from a waveform preview and drop on the Piano roll. To switch the view on and off after this, use (Alt+N).
The following ONLY applies to native FL Studio instruments. To slide a VST instrument automate the channel pitch knob. The Piano roll can slide notes from one pitch to another using slide notes above or below the notes to be affected. Slide notes have a small triangle drawn at the start of the note.
NOTE: The General settings Click-and-hold & special gesture functions activate cycle slide/porta. Click and hold when adding a note to cycle through slide & porta event modes.
When the slide note is reached the pitch of any overlapping notes will start sliding toward the slide note, reaching the same pitch at the end of the slide note event. The length of the slide note controls the duration of the slide. Chords - If notes are overlapping so they form part of a chord, the topmost note is used as the reference for the pitch offset (see picture below). The chord slides so the topmost note reaches the same pitch as the slide note. After the slide event ends, notes still remain offset from their original pitch.
NOTE: Slide events have all the usual note properties (velocity, panning, cutoff and resonance, etc). During slides all note properties move toward those set in the slide note. Slides themselves do NOT produce sound, although they allow preview when created/moved.
The Portamento command applies only to the transition from one note to the next. That is, causes a quick slide at the transition between notes. The effect is most audible when large tone intervals are made between the notes. The Portamento indicator should be set on the note to receive the portamento effect.
You can draw notes and slides in 16 color shades based on green, cyan, pink and yellow. To select the note/slide color, click the appropriate button on the color group selector. The color does not affect sound, it is used for independent processing of notes in the Piano roll, these include:
Slide color groups are also used with the Mono mode in the polyphony settings (see Miscellaneous Channel Settings). Mono mode applies to each color group separately. So using all four colors actually can result in a polyphony of up to 4 voices at once.
NOTE: Some plugins use note colors for special functions. For example Harmless, Harmor and Slicex.
The Note Properties pop-up is an alternative way to set notes properties. It's particularly useful when you need to set different properties for notes that start simultaneously (so their properties appear as one in the integrated event editor). Double-click a note to display the properties pop-up box.
NOTE: If the note you double-click is a part of a selection, then the properties you set apply to all notes in that selection. The Time section is not available in that case, because the selected notes might have different length or start point.
This menu provides many important functions for working with the Piano roll, such as copying and pasting notes, converting color groups, etc. You can access Piano roll's menu by clicking the Piano roll menu button. For more information, see the Piano Roll menu page.
See FL Studio User Interface > Multi-touch support
|Piano roll action|
|NOTE:||Some keyboard modifiers apply only to Draw mode ().|
|F||Show next property in the Piano roll event lane (lower section)|
|M||Toggle Keyboard view mode|
|Alt||Bypass snap (very useful when combined with other modifiers)|
|Alt+B||View note helpers|
|Alt+C||Change color of selected note/s (to selected color group)|
|Alt+G||Ungroup selected notes|
|Alt+K||Open Limit tool|
|Alt+L||Open Articulate tool|
|Alt+N||Switch waveform helper view (when available).|
|Alt+O||Open LFO tool when in lower Event Editor area|
|Alt+R||Open Randomize tool|
|Alt+S||Open Strum tool|
|Alt+U||Open Chop tool|
|Alt+V||Toggle Ghost channels ON/OFF|
|Alt+W||Open Claw Machine tool|
|Alt+X||Open Scale Levels tool|
|Alt+Y||Open Score Flipper tool|
|Alt+Mouse wheel||Change the selected note property of the note the mouse pointer is near or on.||Ctrl+A||Select All|
|Ctrl+B||Duplicate selection, or all notes in zoom range if nothing is selected, to the right. Works also with time-line selections.|
|Ctrl+G||Glue selected and touching notes|
|Ctrl+I||Insert current controller value|
|Ctrl+M||Import MIDI file|
|Ctrl+Alt+Home||Toggle allow resizing from left|
|Ctrl+Delete||Delete space equal to selection|
|Ctrl+Enter||Select time around selection|
|Ctrl+Insert||Insert space equal to the current time-line selection|
|Ctrl+Up-Arrow/Down-Arrow||Transpose selection UP/Down 1 Octave|
|Ctrl+Left-Arrow/Right-Arrow||Select time before (left) or after (right) current selection|
|Ctrl+Shift+Left-click||Add to selection|
|Ctrl+Right-click||Zoom on selection/Drag to make zoom selection (zoom on release)|
|2 x Left-click note||Open note properties|
|2 x Right-click or X1 button on Ghost note||Swap to Ghost channel to edit the note.|
|Left-Shift+Left-click (on Piano roll)||Add and resize notes (move mouse L/R after click and hold to resize)|
|Middle mouse button on background||Pan view (hold and drag left/right). Hold to swap between this and last zoom.|
|Middle mouse button preview keyboard||Vertical zoom|
|PgUp / PgDown||Zoom in / Zoom out|
|Pencil tool + Shift||Swap to Brush|
|Right-click||Delete Selected Note/s|
|Right-Shift+Left-click||Slice notes (click above/below note and drag vertical)|
|Right-Shift+Right-click||Slice notes & delete smallest part (click above/below note and drag vertical)|
|Shift+G||Group selected notes|
|Shift+Ctrl+V||Paste from MIDI clipboard|
|Shift+C||Select by color|
|Shift+D||Discard selected note lengths|
|Shift+N||Deselect stamp/chord mode|
|Shift+R||Select at random (multiple presses will select more notes)|
|Shift+Ctrl+V||Paste from MIDI Keyboard|
|Shift+Left-Arrow/Right-Arrow||Move selection Left/Right|
|Shift+Up-Arrow/Down-Arrow||Move selection Up/Down|
|Shift+Alt+Left-Arrow/Right-Arrow||Nudge selection Left/Right|
|Shift+Alt+Up-Arrow/Down-Arrow||Nudge selection Up/Down|
|Shift+Left-click||Clone (drag while holding clip/pattern), release Shift after dragging to unlock vertical movement|
|Shift+mouse-wheel (on notes)||Nudge Clip position|
|Shift + 0 (zero)||Center Playlist to play-head position (numbers above typing keys)|
|Shift + 1 to 3||Horizontal Zoom levels 1 (zoom out) to 3 (zoom in), (numbers above typing keys)|
|Shift + 4||Horizontal Zoom, show all (numbers above typing keys)|
|Shift + 5||Zoom to selection (numbers above typing keys)|
|Shift + 6||Zoom to stepsequencer mode|