13. Going Between Notes and Audio

The previous two chapters dealt extensively with audio events and note events, which you could think of as our primary states of musical matter. And those last two chapters are the longest in this document because there is quite a lot to do in Bitwig Studio with audio and note events.

Working with notes has inherent advantages, as does working with audio. Without trying to tell you how either of these types "should" be used, it is fair to say that notes allow for a greater level of flexibility and control, and audio is both highly portable and can be wonderfully mangled.

But occasionally, matter changes state. This happens in the physical world when water freezes, and it also happens when you use Bitwig Studio to bounce a note clip in place. And just as ice sometimes melts, even audio can be sliced into note events.

This chapter will explore ways of taking audio materials into the note domain, ways of transforming note events into audio ones, and places where both coexist. We may not be altering nature here, but these options will only afford you more opportunities to customize your workflow and sound.

Loading Audio into a New Sampler

We learned early on how to import media files from the Browser Panel as clips. We saw how to bring clips of any kind into the Arranger Timeline Panel (see Inserting Clips) and into the Clip Launcher Panel (see Getting Clips from the Browser Panel). In both cases, we also saw how to create a new track for that clip by dragging it to the space between any two existing tracks.

When importing an audio file, Bitwig Studio provides one additional option worth mentioning here.

To load an audio file into a new Sampler device on a new instrument track: click and drag the clip from the Browser Panel to the space between two existing track headers.

Once the mouse is released, a new instrument track will be inserted in that place, and the track will be selected.

With the track record enabled, you can now use notes to trigger the audio that was just loaded.

Rather than exploring the Sampler in any great detail, we'll look at just a few parameters that affect how the notes you play are interpreted by Sampler.

  • Keyboard Tracking: When disabled, any note triggers the sample at its original pitch. When enabled, each note's pitch setting will change the playback speed and pitch of the sample.

  • Root Note: The note which will play the sample at its original pitch. This setting takes effect only when Keyboard Tracking is enabled.

  • Fine Tuning: A small interval adjustment for the Root Note setting, in units of cents (hundredths of a semitone). This setting takes effect only when Keyboard Tracking is enabled.

  • Velocity Sensitivity: The amount that each note's velocity affects the loudness of the sample. At the lowest setting (+0.00 dB), velocity is ignored.


For detailed information about Sampler, see Sampler. (Descriptions for all Bitwig devices can be found in chapter 19: Device Descriptions.)

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