I have a song that has some complex notes in it that are difficult to play. I have the sheet music written out as a MIDI sequence. Now I need to apply velocity to the notes.

Is there a program that can take incoming MIDI velocity input from a keyboard, and apply that to prewritten notes for humanization purposes?

Edit: After doing some more research, it looks like I'm looking for some sort of step sequencer. Anyone know of a sequencer with this function?

  • 1
    I know that FL Studio has a way to record input which can be applied as a mute track that manipulates velocity. But as far as how to do it, I'm a bit lost on that subject. It might also not fit with what you're attempting to do.
    – psosuna
    Jul 20, 2017 at 0:38
  • That sounds promising... Could you elaborate and/or point me in the right direction? I'm not very familiar with FL Studio, and Google isn't helping.
    – Aaa
    Jul 20, 2017 at 0:59
  • It's certainly an advanced topic. If I recall, the procedure goes something like recording input onto the track. If an instrument is applied you then remove the instrument from the track and leave the track as a blank "sample" track with the MIDI input still saved to it. Then, you map the output of this track to manipulate the velocity value (there's a "knob") via a controller that can be applied to the track that is the one you want as an "effect". But as for the specifics, I've forgotten most of that. I haven't done FL Studio in years!
    – psosuna
    Jul 20, 2017 at 17:16
  • I should add that if your aim is to do it real-time, once you complete the setup, you can just start from a blank input and do it again
    – psosuna
    Jul 20, 2017 at 17:18
  • 1
    Interesting -- I'll keep that approach in mind! One pitfall I predict from your description is that I'll have to play it more or less in time with the prewritten notes, to get the notes in sync before the velocity kicks in.
    – Aaa
    Jul 20, 2017 at 22:20

2 Answers 2


A reverse approach can be more rewarding. Play the piece into a sequencer, aiming for feel rather than the right notes! Play ANY notes, but with the right phrasing.

Now, start editing. It's easy to correct the wrong notes. When you've 'fluffed' at a more basic level, take a passage that DID go well as your model, copy the note positions and velocities. This will be easiest in a 'piano roll' editing page. This shows the Cubase one. Pitch, position and length is shown in the main display. Velocity for a selected note is shown both numerically (at the top of the page) and graphically (at the bottom). All the good MIDI sequencer programs have something similar. Even the ones much cheaper than Cubase!

enter image description here

  • Not a bad idea, and also you'll get rhythmic nuance too. What you would really want I suppose would be something that would map any note you play on a midi controller to the notes in the piece. That way you could play whatever, and it would come out sounding like the song, and you could actually "interpret" the music in real time (rather than playing atonally with the correct rhythm and dynamics and just imagining the piece.
    – Some_Guy
    Jul 20, 2017 at 15:41
  • This is basically what I've been doing so far. Record the track in MIDI, then copy the velocity information manually to the preexisting notes. Tedious, but it works. @Some_Guy, that's exactly what I need. If anyone has any recommendations, please contribute!
    – Aaa
    Jul 20, 2017 at 22:24
  • The technique is most useful for tidying up a piece of music that you can ALMOST play correctly! Beyond that, I suggest you put your energy into improving your playing skills, rather than into covering up the lack of them.
    – Laurence
    Jul 21, 2017 at 11:54

As far as I know, most DAW software allows for track automation, and I believe that track automation can be applied to MIDI tracks as well, though I have only ever used it for audio tracks.

For audio, I usually record my guitar clean signal as the track; and any MIDI footpedal presses/midi expression pedal movement on an automation roll attached to the track. The automation then gets passed to the the VST sims to manipulate VST parameters.

Automation can be armed and recorded after the fact as well, and can be adjusted manually via mouse. In fact you can "draw pictures" with the mouse if that suits you or even copy image histograms etc.

  • Yeah, I've used automation for MIDI velocities before. The problem is translating the MIDI information coming from the physical keyboard into a velocity automation roll. I have yet to find any software with this feature. Someone mentioned FL studio might be able to do something along those lines -- I'll examine further.
    – Aaa
    Jul 20, 2017 at 22:28
  • I think most DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software will support it. Looks like Reaper also has a MIDI velocity automation: ( reddit.com/r/Reaper/comments/3yzkn8/automating_midi_velocities ) It is (or used to be at least) fully functional 60 day trial-ware that did not deactivate after the trial, so you can take your time learning it.
    – Yorik
    Jul 21, 2017 at 14:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.