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Creating musical lines in MIDI with stacatto and legato notes.

Q: “Do you have any suggestions for how I might create staccato notes in MIDI? How about legato notes?”

A: Creating musical MIDI lines can be a challenge unless you understand a few basic fundamentals that will open up the wonderful world of editing MIDI. Both legato and staccato notes can be created by proper use of, and the blending of, velocity and length (or duration) of notes. As you probably know, a staccato note is shorter in duration than a legato note, and is known to have a stronger and faster attack. So, edit or cut the note short, roughly equal to the length of an eighth note, and increase the velocity to no less than a value of 90. If you want to create a legato note, make sure that it is just short of the next note, or (depending upon the release values of the voice you’re using) make the note overlap the next note by a few ticks. As for velocity, a legato note is known to have a lighter touch, and so (again, depending on the voice you’re using) a velocity value of 64-80 should suffice. Keep in mind that the overall message here is to experiment with velocity and duration and you’ll be able to create musical lines with a staccato and legato feel. The proper setting of parameters is greatly influenced by the envelope of the sound you are working with.

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