Working with the main tool

In this tour, you will learn how to work with Melodyne’s main tool: the tool with the arrow symbol. The main tool is context-sensitive and has different functions depending upon its position relative to the blob.

Modifying pitch and timing

Select the main tool from the toolbar. You’ll find this beneath the Help item in the menu or in the context menu that opens when you right-click in the editing area.

With the main tool, move the arrow to a point near the center of a blob and press and hold the mouse button as you drag it upwards or downwards (to alter its pitch) or left or right (to move it forwards or backwards in time). It is the initial movement (whether vertical or horizontal) that decides whether the pitch or timing of the note is altered. Before changing axis, you must first release the note. If you hold down the [Alt] key as you drag the note, the pitch or time grid, even if active, will temporarily be ignored, allowing you to position the note exactly where you want it.

While you are dragging a note up or down, you will hear the frozen sound of the note at the point where you clicked. If, whilst dragging, you move the mouse to the right or left, you can put other parts of the note under the acoustic microscope.

Modifying note lengths

In the View menu, check the option Show Blob Info. Zoom in on a few individual blobs, so that you can study them more closely. Now, as you move the mouse pointer over a blob, thin lines appear indicating the zones in which the main tool performs particular functions. For illustrative purposes, the lines here have been drawn more boldly than in the program itself. The central area you already know about. This has to be distinguished from the front, back and upper regions of the blob. As you move the mouse pointer from one of these regions to another, it changes its appearance to emulate whichever of the more specialized tools is most appropriate to that zone – adopting its functions at the same time.

Drag the front part of the note to the right or left. Hold down the [Alt] key as you do so if you wish to override an active time grid. Now only the beginning of the note moves; the end remains anchored, so the note is either being stretched or compressed.

In the same way, you can move only the rightmost part of the blob (corresponding to the end of the note).

Notice that as you move the beginning or end of a note in this way, the preceding or following note, if adjacent, is also either stretched or compressed by the same amount to avoid either the two notes overlapping or white space (silence) appearing between them. This happens whenever a pitch transition between two notes has been detected. By moving the adjacent note as well, Melodyne ensures that discontinuities are avoided and the musicality of the phrasing is preserved.

You can if you wish deactivate this pitch transition and, with it, the mutual interdependence of the two notes by cutting one of the notes and then pasting it back, for example, or by dragging either note to a new location. When you do this, a bracket is displayed at the point of rupture as illustrated below; this indicates that the two notes are now fully independent.

Editing note separations

If you move the mouse pointer to the upper part of a note (above the horizontal line), the main tool adopts the appearance, and emulates the functions, of the note separation tool. If you double-click now, you can create a note separation – i.e. slice the note in two.

Don’t be surprised if the two notes that result move apart in pitch: this is because a new tonal center is calculated for each of the newly created notes, and that may differ from the tonal center they shared when they were one note. In such cases, each therefore moves to a new vertical position based on its newly calculated pitch center.

You can move an existing note separation horizontally with the note separation tool. For this purpose, check Show Note Separations in the View menu.

You can double-click a note separation to remove it.

If you select several notes and move a note separation, the note separations of the other selected notes will also be moved. If you double-click one of the note separations to remove it, those of the other selected notes will also be removed.

If you have selected several notes that overlap, you can simultaneously insert a note separation at the same point in all of them, as well as move or remove one.