Editing pitch modulation and drift

In this tour, you will learn how to use the sub-tools or assistants of the pitch tool to edit pitch modulation and pitch drift.

The term ‘pitch modulation’ covers rapid and usually intentional variations in pitch such as trills or vibrato. ‘Pitch drift’ is our term for slow fluctuations in pitch of the kind that are usually unintentional and symptomatic of poor technique.

The tools

Select from the toolbox or the context menu in the editing area either the pitch modulation or the pitch drift tool. The pitch modulation tool is the one in the middle and the pitch drift tool the one at the bottom.

With the tool selected, click on a note and – without releasing the mouse button – drag up or down. The note edited could be part of a multiple selection, in which case you will be editing all the selected notes simultaneously. Watch as the pitch curve changes shape.

Drag far enough downwards and the modulation or drift are reduced to zero and then inverted.

If you double-click a note with the pitch modulation or pitch drift tool, you will restore the pitch modulation or drift of the original recording, assuming you’ve changed it, otherwise eliminate it altogether. Subsequent double-clicking toggles between the original modulation or drift and none. If you eliminate altogether both the modulation and the drift, you will get an unnaturally flat monotone that can be suitable for effects.

The inspector

As an alternative to editing selected notes with these tools, you can enter the desired values in the inspector beneath the toolbar. Drag the existing value to change it or double-click on it and type in the value desired.

With the pitch modulation or pitch drift tools selected, the inspector displays values in percentage terms. 100% represents in this case the original modulation or drift, 0% a straight line, and -100% the same curve inverted with its axis unchanged. If you have selected several notes with different values, three hyphens are displayed in the box – followed, as you click in the box and drag, by values describing the extent of the relative change.

The Reset commands

In the Edit > Reset Specific Edits > Pitch cascading menu, you will find a variety of commands that can be used to reverse the effects of particular types of pitch editing, thereby restoring the notes selected in specific respects to their original state. These commands relate always to the current selection and are grayed out if no editing of the type in question has been applied to the selected notes. Note that these commands operate independently of the normal undo function!