Chapter 14: Music Notation and REAPER's Notation Editor

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14 Music Notation and REAPER's Notation Editor[edit]

14.1 A Brief Introduction to Notation[edit]

In a broad sense, the term notation can be applied to any system that uses written symbols to represent musical notes. Thus, the piano roll view of REAPER's MIDI Editor can be seen as a type of notation, as is the use of guitar tabs, which you might have encountered elsewhere. However, in practice the term �notation� is often used to refer to modern staff notation. This was developed for use with European classical music, but is now widely used to represent music of many genres. This chapter will focus on the use of REAPER's notation editor for modern staff notation. First, here is a general introduction.

The practice of notation writing is sometimes also known as scoring. Notation is a huge subject about which there is much to learn, and the journey from complete beginner to competent achiever can be a long one. Many books are available on the subject, including Music Notation (Theory and Technique for Music Notation) by Mark McGrain and Music Notation and Terminology by Karl Wilson Gehrkens (available on line as a free download from Gutenberg). A handy short general introduction to understanding music theory and notation can be found on line at and some introductory tutorials at

If all this intimidates you, don't let it! You don't need to be able to read or write musical scores to be a musician. Robert Johnson, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Tommy Emmanuel and many, many others are all proof of that!

This User Guide does not aim for the impossible goal of teaching everybody everything they could ever wish to know about notation scoring and editing, in just a few pages! Its purpose is to help you to learn how to start using REAPER's notation editor with such knowledge and skills as you can bring to the table.

Below are illustrated some of the basic elements and terminology of notation scoring:

The staff is the five line grid on which notes can be written, and which is used to display the notes. If a MIDI item recorded using a keyboard or created by hand within the MIDI editor is opened in the notation editor, then that item will be automatically scored. You can also edit that score, or add to it, within the notation editor. The staff is divided into a number of measures for the duration of the piece. The number of beats to a measure is itself determined by the time signature (see also below).

On the left end of the staff is displayed the clef. For the treble clef the first (lowest) line of the staff represents E this goes up alternately thru grid spaces and lines to F, G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. The bass clef uses the same musical alphabet but goes up G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and A. Where a note needs to be displayed above or below the range covered by the staff, this is done using ledger lines.

A different symbol is used to represent each note, from double whole note or breve (not shown) thru (shown from left to right below) whole note (semibreve), half note (minim), quarter note (crotchet), eighth note (quaver), sixteenth note (semiquaver), thirty-second note (demi-semiquaver) and sixty-fourth note (semi-demi-semiquaver). Above you can see where ties have been used to join together two or more adjacent notes of the same pitch, effectively creating a single longer note.

To the immediate right of the clef are the key signature (if present) and the time signature. The key signature designates notes to be played higher or lower than its corresponding natural note. The time signature determines how many beats there are per measure, and what kind of note gets the beat. For example, in 4/4 time there are four beats per measure with the quarter note getting the beat. In 3/4 time also the quarter note will get the beat, but with only three beats in a measure.

Finally in the above diagram you can see Rests. A rest represents a period of silence in a bar. The duration of the rest corresponds to a note length and is indicated by the symbol used, as illustrated in the examples shown on the right.

14.2 REAPER's Notation Editor: a First Look[edit]

The single most important thing for you to understand about REAPER's notation editor is this:

It is a fully integrated part of the MIDI Editor, not a stand-alone module. Any changes you make when editing will be to the MIDI item itself, and will show up in every view. This architecture has a number of significant advantages, such as:

If you are familiar with working in, say, piano roll view, then learning to use the notation editor presents a significantly less steep learning curve than would otherwise be the case. Indeed, you would probably be unwise to attempt to use the notation editor without first getting to know the MIDI Editor, and especially piano roll view.

You can make your edits (such as moving, copying or modifying notes) in whichever view you find it easiest to work. The results of the edits will be visible (and audible) in any view.

The MIDI Editor's different views are selected from the View menu. The different modes (already introduced in Chapter 13) are:

Mode: piano roll (Alt 1)

Mode: named notes (Alt 2)

Mode: event list (Alt 3)

Mode: musical notation (Alt 4)

Consider the example on the right. This is a fairly simple MIDI item. It could have been imported from an external MIDI file, recorded using a keyboard, or crafted in the REAPER Midi Editor piano roll view or musical notation view. It is shown here in piano roll view (top) and musical notation view. When you switch between views, you are seeing exactly the same notes each time.

You can also see that the MIDI editor environment is also the same. For example, the menus and toolbars are the same, as is the essential MIDI Editor functionality. In either of the two view shown here, for example, you can add, delete or move notes.

Note that a MIDI item can be displayed in only one view at a time (e.g. musical notation mode or piano roll mode, but not both at once), although different items may be open at the same time in different views in separate MIDI Editor instances.

Note also that the methods employed when working within the different views (or modes) are as far as possible, the same.

For example, use double-click to insert a new note. Use right-click-drag to select a series of notes (marquee). You can perform tasks on your selection such as delete, move, copy, quantize or humanize, and so on.

As you will see later in this chapter, musical notation view also incorporates a large number of extra features that are specific to scoring music.

First, let's return for a moment to our simple example.

In this case, we have added some more notes in the piano roll view (shown here as selected).

When we switch to musical notation view, we can see that the edits are also displayed there.

Thus the process of working and moving between the different modes is quite seamless.

If you are working with projects which contain more than one track with MIDI items, and/or more than one MIDI item per track, it is important that you understand your options for managing how the MIDI Editor (including musical notation mode) can handle these. You might already be familiar with this, from sections 13.27 to 13.29 of this guide. If necessary, refer back to these sections, but there follows a brief summary.

14.3 Opening MIDI Items in the Notation Editor[edit]

Under Options, Preferences, Editing Behavior, MIDI Editor you can specify your default preference as to whether you want one MIDI editor instance opened for each item, for each track, or for the entire project. When in musical notation mode, it can often be helpful to have all MIDI items open together.

On the same page, you can also determine what happens by default when you open a MIDI item in the MIDI Editor, either by double-clicking, or using the Open in built-in editor command. The options are to open the clicked item only, all selected MIDI items, all MIDI items on the same track, or all MIDI items in the project. Your default setting can be overridden for individual projects from the MIDI Editor's Contents menu. There are also a number of other options, shown above.

14.4 REAPER's Notation Editor: A Closer Look[edit]

Once opened, musical notation mode can be selected (View menu) and the option to view the track list should be enabled from the Contents menu. This can be used, amongst other things, to determine which items are visible and optionally editable, as well as which is to be used when inserting notes (see 13.27 to 13.29). You should make sure that you have a sound understanding of the track list and its features before working in musical notation view.

Shown here is an example of a folder with a synth inserted in its FX chain and three child tracks, each containing a MIDI item. All three are open together in the MIDI Editor's musical notation view. By looking at the panel on the right you should be able to see that all three items are visible in this window. The first of these is the only one currently selected as editable and it has also been selected for inserting any new notes.

Let's look first at some of the things that you can already see here:

If more than one track is visible, track names are displayed to the left of the staff. Both track and item names are visible in the track list panel. Clicking on the track name (in the notation or in the track panel) will make that track the target track for inserting events, and will make the items on that track editable.

Notes that are not currently editable are shown in a lighter shade of gray.

There are two boxes at the top left corner of the display, just below the toolbar. If you hover your mouse over any note, these boxes will display that note's time position and pitch.

The tempo is displayed above and slightly to the right of the time signature.

To the right of the page, at the end of each pair of rows there is a pitch cursor in the form of a small gray triangle. This shows the current pitch that will apply when keyboard actions such as insert note are applied. An accidental (sharp or flat) will be shown beside it if the pitch is not in the current key. This symbol is editable by dragging up or down with the mouse.

Now let's take a look at some other features that might not be as immediately apparent. You can see several things in this illustration, which will be explained shortly.

Lyrics have been added just below the first staff.

Notations (in this example, crescendo, play very loud, and dimuendo) have been made above the staff.

A time selection and separate loop selection have been made. This could initially have been done in arrange view, but can also be edited in notation mode. For example, you can grab the handles with the mouse to adjust the start and end points of the loop.

Some notes are also marked with color. These are the currently selected notes. How they are colored will depend which option you have set � channel or velocity or pitch, etc. Setting color to velocity can be especially useful, as in notation (as opposed to piano roll view) there is no other way to display velocity.


Before digging any deeper, familiarise yourself with the basics of the musical notation mode environment. Make a copy of one of your MIDI projects, then, as a first exercise, strip it back to a few simple MIDI items on no more than two or three tracks.

Open this in the MIDI editor and get used to the feel and flavor of musical notation mode. Don't yet be too ambitious: restrict yourself at first to simple tasks like adding or deleting notes, moving or copying loop selections, etc. Get to grips with switching between modes and editing in both. Don't worry if you mess it up occasionally � it's just a scratch pad!

We'll get to explaining how you manage the other (and perhaps more interesting) features shortly, but there's a couple of other points worth making first.

14.5 Notation Editor View Options[edit]

The MIDI Editor main menu View command includes a number of notation view specific options:

Proportional (musical) note spacing.

Enabling this option selects proportional note spacing rather than absolute spacing (as in piano roll view) - see images, right. With absolute spacing (top image), the timing grid is evenly spaced, and the notes placed in their absolute timing positions on it. With proportional spacing (lower image) the grid is adjusted to suit this: longer notes need not take up their larger actual time-portion of the bar and the grid tends to be narrowed, shorter notes are no longer compressed into their actual short time-space and the grid is widened accordingly.

Continuous view always, regardless of zoom level:

This toggle option determines how your notation is displayed in the MIDI Editor: it is explained in section 14.7.

Minimize ties for all notes by default: a toggle option.

Automatically double dot notes: a toggle option.

Automatically triple dot notes: a toggle option.

Display pedal events: A toggle to determine whether or not pedal events are shown.

Bracket tracks by folder: Enabling this option will cause a bracket to be drawn to the left of the score to indicate where a number of consecutive tracks belong in the same folder.

Color note heads: Determines whether or not note heads are colored in accordance with whichever option has been selected (View, Color notes by command).

Position dynamics below the staff by default: a toggle option that determines positioning of dynamics on the staff.

Automatically detect triplets: Toggles this option on and off. Tuplets and triplets are discussed later in this chapter.

Automatically voice overlapping notes: Voicing allows the notes that make up a chord to be arranged in various ways so as to vary the sound. The automatic voicing of overlapping notes can be toggled on and off.

Show project tempo changes: A toggle to determine whether or not project tempo changes should be displayed above the score in the notation editor.

Key signatures: Allows you to specify how key signature should be managed. Sub-menu toggle options are Key signature change affects all tracks and Transposing display affects key signatures..

Display quantization: The default setting is 1/16 but you can use the slider to instead choose 1/64, 1/32 or 1/8.

Display quantization, Minimum note length: The default setting is 1/64, but you can use the slider to instead choose 1/256, 1/128, 1/32, 1/16 or 1/8.

Neither your display quantization nor your minimum note length settings will affect the underlying MIDI in any way. They only determine how notes are displayed. To understand how these two options work, you need to consider them together.

The display quantization setting ensures that for display purposes all but the shortest notes will be rounded to whatever value is selected. The minimum note length setting allows shorter notes to be displayed regardless of the display quantization setting. For example, if display quantization is set to 1/16 and minimum note length to 1/64 (the default settings), then notes slightly longer or shorter than 1/16 will be displayed as 1/16, those slightly longer or shorter than 1/8 will be displayed as 1/8, and so on. It will, however, still be possible to display notes shorter than 1/16, such as 1/32 or 1/64. In addition, the Contents menu includes a toggle option All media items are editable in notation view.

14.6 Basic Note Selection and MIDI Editor Tasks[edit]

Basic note selection and MIDI editing tasks are covered in detail in Chapter 13, including the commands on the Edit menu. As well as the more obvious commands and actions, there are a number of mouse and keyboard shortcuts. Most mouse behaviors that work in the piano roll will also work in musical notation mode.

Zoom and Scroll

Make yourself familiar with the MIDI Editor's zoom and scroll controls. In addition to the various buttons and sliders displayed in the MIDI Editor window, the following mouse and keyboard actions are also useful:

Mousewheel: Horizontal Zoom (Num +, Num -)

Ctrl Mousewheel: Vertical Zoom (Pg Up, Pg Dn)

Alt Mousewheel: Horizontal Scroll (Alt Left, Alt Rt)

Ctrl Alt Mousewheel: Vertical Scroll (Alt Up, Alt Dn)

Common Tasks

Below are listed some common tasks that can be used in both the piano roll and musical notation mode..

Delete note or note selection: Marquee to make selection, press Delete.

Move note or note selection: Marquee to make selection, Click and drag to new position.

Copy note or note selection: Marquee to make selection, Ctrl click and drag to new position.

The Action List

You also have available to you Actions: The MIDI Editor actions list includes the notation mode commands as well as several actions not on the menus that are specific to notation mode, for example:

Notation: Hide selected notes

Notation: Minimize ties for all notes by default

Notation: Unhide all notes

Notation: Toggle minimize ties for selected notes

Notation: Select all notes in staff

Notation: Identify chords on editor grid

Options like these can be enabled or disabled. You can also assign your own shortcut keys for any actions, or add them to the MIDI Editor's menus or toolbars. The actions list is covered in more detail in Chapter 15: some time spent browsing thru this list could prove to be time well spent.

Default Mouse Modifiers

REAPER includes a large number of default mouse actions. These can be customised to suit your own requirements thru the Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers page of your preferences. To do this, first select the MIDI piano roll context, then one of the actions left click, left drag or double click. You then double click on a modifier (e.g. Shift+Ctrl or Ctrl+Alt) to display a list of options.

Shown here (right) are the default settings for MIDI piano roll double click. You can select any modifier (e.g. Ctrl Double click) and assign to it an action of your choosing.

Listed below are REAPER's default MIDI piano roll mouse and musical notation modifiers. MIDI Editor mouse modifiers were introduced in Chapter 13, and you can learn more about them in Chapter 15.

Left Click

Default action Deselect all notes and move edit cursor.
Ctrl Deselect all notes and move edit cursor, ignoring snap.
Alt Deselect all notes.
Shift+Alt Insert note ignoring snap.
Shift+Ctrl+Alt Insert note.

Left Drag

Default action Insert note, drag to extend or change pitch.
Shift Insert note ignoring snap, drag to extend or change pitch.
Ctrl Copy selected note(s).
Alt Erase notes.
Shift+Alt Paint notes, ignoring snap.
Ctrl+Alt Paint a straight line of notes.
Shift+Ctrl+Alt Paint notes and chords.

Double click

Default action Insert note.
Shift Insert note, ignoring snap.

You can double-click on any item in the Behavior column to select from a list of alternative actions where available (see right), or to open the action list and select another action.

You should also make sure you understand the purpose of the MIDI Editor's other controls, especially those located near the bottom of the window, to the right of the transport bar. These are labelled Grid, Notes, Scale, etc. For example, the Notes drop down list sets the default length for new notes when they are inserted. If necessary, refer back to Chapter 13, section 13.6.

14.7 Notation Editor Specific Tasks and Functions[edit]

Before delving too deeply into the notation mode's editing capabilities it's worth pausing to take on board a few important points:

If you have several MIDI items open together in a single notation editor you should display the track list (Contents, Track list). This enables you to make sure that any item that you wish to work on is at least editable, and, for many actions, also selected as the target for inserting events. One simple way of doing this is to make it the only item visible at the time (below right).

Within the MIDI editor track list, use Ctrl Click on any track name to close a track, or Alt Click to close all other tracks.

Each MIDI item can have its own key signature, or no key signature. If no key signature is specified for an item, it will take its key signature from the previous item on the same track. If there is no previous item on the same track and no key signature defined, it will not have a key signature.

Only a relatively small number of the commands that are exclusive to musical notation view affect the actual MIDI notes themselves. These include deleting and inserting notes and setting tuplets. Other actions such as articulations, lyrics, notations, etc. will only affect what is drawn on the page, not the underlying notes themselves.

You can right-click on the timeline (which displays the bar/measure numbers) to access the MIDI editor's general context menu.

How the score is displayed

When only a single track is being viewed, the notation will by default be displayed as a page, running from left to right and top to bottom, unless you are zoomed so closely as to display less than one full measure.

When less than a full measure or more than one track is displayed, the display is continuous, running always and only from left to right. The MIDI Editor's main View menu includes a toggle Notation view options, Continuous view always. Enable this if you wish to use continuous view regardless of zoom level.

MIDI Track/Measure Editing Commands and Options

Track/measure task Method
Change default clef To change the default clef, right-click over the vertical bar at the start of a measure and select Default clef from the menu. Options are Treble + Bass, Treble, Bass, Alto, Tenor, Treble -8, Treble +8, Treble+15, Bass -8, Bass-15, Percussion, Percussion (one staff line) or Chart. The chart option creates a staff with no notes, just beat markings, chords, and other notations.
Transposing note display: Octaves and Semitones (see also Transpose Options). The Transpose display command can be used to cause the notes on a track to be displayed up or down by up to 3 octaves and/or11 semitones. This affects only the way notes are displayed, not the underlying MIDI. Right-click at the start of a measure, choose Transpose display from the context menu, then select Octaves or Semitones. Octaves can be transformed within a range of +3 to -3.Semitones can be transformed within a range of +11 to -11. You can transpose by a combination of octaves and semitones if you wish: simply use this command twice. Use the Clear command from this menu to restore transposed notes to their previous state.
Transposing note display: Instruments (see also Transpose Options). To transpose notes for a specific instrument, choose Transpose instruments from the Transpose display menu, then make your choice. Part of the range of options for transposing instruments is shown on the right. For example, to transpose the display for a clarinet you would select +3 Eb. Transposing display by itself does not result in any changes being made to the MIDI data. Note, however, that you do also have an option to allow transposing display to affect key signatures. This is discussed towards the end of this table. Use the Clear command from this menu to restore transposed notes to their previous state.
Display quantization This command can be used to quantize your notation display, either for the whole project or on a per track basis. Tracks can be selected from the drop down list. Click on About display quantization... for further information.
Changing the clef To insert a new clef at the start of a measure, right-click on the bar and choose Change clef then select from the list of available choices. These choices are the same as those available on the Default clef menu. To delete such a clef, right click and choose Delete from the change clef menu.
Change tempo/ time signature/ rhythm pattern To insert a time signature change at the start of any bar, right-click and choose Change tempo/ time signature/ rhythm pattern from the menu. This opens a dialog box (shown right) where you can make your changes. You can also change an existing tempo, time signature and/or the rhythm pattern setting in this way. Click OK to confirm.
Change key signature Use this command from the context menu to insert a key signature change at the start of a bar. You can then select a root and type from the flyout menu.
Project settings options After the measure setting options on the menu there are two project settings toggle options to determine the display of project tempo changes and accidentals (see right).
Delete a key signature Right-click over the key signature and choose Change key signature then Delete key signature from context menu.
Options The final group on this menu is a set of toggle options which are basically self-explanatory. Key signature changes affect all tracks. Transposing display affects key signatures. When transposing display, show transposed semitones below key sigs. Disable transposing display. Show project markers. Show project regions.

General Editing Commands and Actions

You can right-click just about anywhere except on a note or item to display a general menu of notation editing commands. These include the usual general editing commands (Copy, Cut, Paste, etc.) as well as these notation view specific commands:

  • Dynamics
  • Lyrics
  • Tuplet
  • Pedal
  • Voice
  • Hide Notes

These are explained in the table below.

General editing task Method

Click on the staff to move the edit cursor to the required position. Right-click and choose Dynamics from the menu. This causes a flyout menu to be displayed, from which you can make any of a number of choices, such as:

  • Crescendo (gradually increase volume)
  • Dimuendo (gradually reduce volume)
  • pppp (as softly as possible)
  • ppp (very, very softly)
  • pp (very softly)
  • p (softly)
  • mp (mezzo piano moderately soft)
  • m (mezzo, moderately)
  • mf (mezzo forte, moderately loud)
  • f (forte, loudly)
  • ff (fortissimo, very loud)
  • fff, (very, very loud)
  • ffff (as loud as possible) An example of how this is displayed is shown here. These notations are performance instructions only: they do not affect the MIDI data in the file. Insert text above score. Right click at required location, then choose Text and Enter text... from menu.
Change a dynamic notation To change a dynamic notation from one menu item to another (e.g. from pp to ppp), right click on the notation and make your selection from the menu.
Extend or shrink a crescendo or dimuendo Hover your mouse over the start or end of the item, so that the mouse cursor changes to a double-headed arrow. Click and drag left or right, as required.
Remove notation Click on the notation, press Delete key.
Move a notation or lyric Hover your mouse over the middle of the item, then click-hold-drag to drag and drop the item to its required position.
Insert a lyric Click on the staff to move the edit cursor to the required position. Right click and from the context menu choose the Lyrics command. Type your text and click on OK.
Remove lyrics Click on existing lyric text, press Delete key.
Edit lyrics Right-click over text to open text window. Make your changes and press Enter. You can also drag and drop to move lyrics. Lyrics can also be edited in event list mode (as, of course, can other events).
Insert sequential lyrics Type the first lyrics in the Edit lyric box, then click on Forward. With the cursor in the edit box, click Forward to move forward as required, then type the second part of the lyrics in the box. Repeat as needed, then click OK. The Back button can be used to move back thru your lyrics, for example to edit them.
Insert tuplet A tuplet is an irregular rhythm that involves dividing the beat into a number of subdivisions which differ from those usually allowed by the time signature. To insert a tuplet, first position the edit cursor, right click and choose Tuplet then Create tuplet... from the context menu. This causes the Create tuplet dialog to be displayed. By default, a triplet (3:2) will be specified, but you can change this as you wish. You can select a note length within the range 1/128 to 1/2, and assign a voice (high or low) if you wish, or accept the default. You can specify a staff position of top or bottom. Your other option is whether to allow note positions to be modified. Click on Create to create a tuplet bracket as a separate item on the staff. The Create tu[let dialog then becomes an Edit tuplet dialog. You can drag and drop this around as you wish. Click on Apply to �lock� the tuplet, then close the dialog box. Tuplets will impact on the actual MIDI events, e.g. by changing the original note position or length. Notes will snap to the tuplet stops as you edit them. For example, a quarter note triplet starting at the beginning of the measure will span the first two beats of the measure and contain a stop at 2/3 beats and a stop at 4/3 beats (each quarter note triplet is 2/3 QN long, because a triplet fits 3 notes in the duration normally taken by 2). You can also alter the tuplet type after it's created: for example, you can switch a quarter note tuplet *=(3 QN in the space of 2) to a quarter note duplet (2 QN in the space of 3); the component notes will not change, but the tuplet itself will shorten. More commonly used tuplets include 2:3 (duplet), 3:2 (triplet), 4:3, 5:4, 6:4. For example, a quarter note (crotchet) can be divided into three (triplet), five (quintuplet), six (sextuplet) or seven parts (octuplet). However, the Edit Tuplet dialog allows you to define whatever specifications you choose. Where necessary, rests will automatically be added for missing notes in a tuplet. Rests are indicated by a symbol which represents the length of the pause.
Move, Change or Edit a tuplet To move a tuplet, simply drag and drop to the required position. To change a tuplet, right-click on the tuplet, choose Edit tuplet... from the menu, make your changes to dialog box settings and click on Apply.
Remove a tuplet To remove a tuplet, click on the tuplet and press Delete. It can also be deleted using the Remove button in the Edit tuplet dialog.
Understand and manage tuplets If the option Automatically detect triplets is enabled, them triplets will be auto-detected. Auto-detected triplets will be displayed in gray. If you move or alter an auto-detected triplet (not the component notes, but the tuplet bracket itself) it will remain until you manually delete it. Right-click on a tuplet to open the Edit tuplet dialog. You can change note length, voice and/or staff position, or use the Remove button to delete it. Tuplets can also be added and attached to note selections as they are inserted. This topic is covered in the next section.
Pedal notation Choose Pedal from the context menu for two pedal notation options � Engage pedal and Release pedal. You also have a toggle option to determine whether pedal notations should be displayed.
Set Voice The Voice command can be used to select All notes in default voice, All notes in high voice or All notes in low voice. The method for setting notes to a specified voice is explained in the next table.
Hide Notes The Hide Notes command can be used to hide notes in any specified octave. It is useful for hiding MIDI key switches or other events not intended to be played as music. Choose this command, then select your required octave from the flyout menu. Next, select a specific note from the list offered, or choose Hide octave to hide all notes in that octave. Repeat the same steps to unhide any specific currently hidden note. To restore the display of all currently hidden notes, choose Unhide all notes from the menu shown here.

14.8 Working with Notes and Note Selections[edit]

A number of commands specific to musical notation view are available from this view's own context menu. Select a note (or series of notes) and right-click to display this menu.

It is well beyond the scope of this User Guide to attempt to teach music theory. Nevertheless, for those that need to learn more, the information in the table below might serve as a starting point by introducing you to some of these terms. These comments are offered for information and guidance only, and are not intended to be comprehensive or water-tight definitions.

Note Option... Comments ... Accidentals Accidentals (sharps and flats) are an instruction to raise or lower the pitch of a note by half a step. Select the note, right-click and select Accidental from the menu. You can then make your choice from the flyout menu. Different values will, of course, be available for different notes. The last of the options on this menu, Default notation for accidentals in C major, can be set to Sharp or Flat. The actions to move the note do actually move the note, not just change the display. If a note can be ambiguously written in either of two ways (for example, C sharp or D flat), the menu will offer a choice of which to display. This will not affect the actual MIDI note, only the notation.
Stem This command enables you to over-ride the default stem direction for a note or note selection. Options are Stem up, Stem down, or restore Default stem direction.
Beam Right-click on a selected note and choose Beam, then Beam notes together to start beaming on any note. Do not beam notes can be used to remove beaming. This allows you to break up sets of beamed notes to better display the intended rhythm. For example, if four 1/16 notes are beamed together but intended to be phrased as 1+3 then you might wish to start a new beam on the second note. The option Default beaming restores a note selection to the default.
Dot/Tie This menu option can be used with a note selection. Right-click over the selection, then you can choose Dot/Tie and Minimize ties if possible to minimize the number of ties in a note selection. There is also an option to Minimize ties for all notes by default.Options also exist to Double dot if possible, Triple dot if possible and Do not double or triple dot note.
Tuplet For detailed information about tuplets, see the preceding table General Editing Commands and Actions. Tuplets can also be defined as an attribute of a selection of notes. For example, you could set three notes to be a tuplet, and REAPER will do its best to figure out the correct start, end, duration of the tuplet based on the note positions, even as they changed around. To do this, make your note selection, choose Tuplet, Create tuplet from the context menu, then enter your required values in the Edit tuplet dialog box.
Voice Notes can be set to High voice or Low voice. To do this, simply make the selection, then right-click over it and choose Default voice, High voice or Low voice from the context menu. Notes in a given voice will be grouped and beamed together, and have their stems point away from the other voice, for visual identification of separate musical lines.You can also select a voice for a newly inserted note in the same way. From Voice on this menu (or from the general editing context menu), you can Select all notes in high voice or Select all notes in low voice. For high voice notes, articulations will be shown immediately above the notes: for low voice notes they will be shown immediately below the notes. Note also that the Color drop down box includes an option to specify that selected notes should be colored by voice, and that the Voice drop-down determines which voice is assigned to notes as they are inserted.
Phrase/slur Think of a musical phrase as being conceptually similar to a phrase in the English language. Take the example of the old Irish song, Cockles and Mussels. The words �alive alive oh� can be seen to make up a phrase. They belong together, and the end of that phrase would be a suitable place for a very brief pause. Likewise, the musical notes accompanying those words can be said to make up a musical phrase. The curved line that denotes the notes included in the phrase is known as a slur. Shown here is the default technique (normal). You can choose a different slur technique (slide, bend, or hammer/pull) by choosing Phrase/slur, Technique from the notes right-click context menu. To define an actual phrase, first select the notes then choose Phrase/slur, Make phrase/slur from the right-click context menu. A phrase is indicated by a curved line (slur), as shown here. You can edit the phrase as a unit by clicking and dragging on the phrase mark. To select all notes in a phrase, select any note in the phrase, then right-click and choose Phrase/slur, Select all notes in phrase/slur. Phrase/slur, Remove phrase can be used to remove a phrase from a note selection.
Staff Use this command to move a note or selection of notes from the treble clef to the bass clef, or vice versa.
Octave Use this command to move a note selection outside the staff up or down the display by 1, 2 or 3 octaves. This is another command that does not affect the underlying MIDI notes themselves. Notes that are very high or very low (and far away from the staff) can thus be moved closer to the staff without their pitch being affected.
Articulation Articulations are used to indicate how individual notes within a passage are to be played � for example emphasized (Accent), brief and detached (Staccato).The options on this menu are shown on the right. These are instructions only, articulations do not affect the actual MIDI events. Up to two articulations and one ornament per note are supported.
Ornament Use this command to insert an ornamentation on or after a selected note, or each note in a selection. Options available are Grace note, Tremelo, Trill, Upper and Lower Mordent. A grace note is an extra note that is added as an embellishment and which is not essential to the harmony or melody. Grace notes will affect the actual MIDI events. A trill (indicated by the letters tr) is used to provide rhythmic, melodic and/or harmonic interest by employing a rapid alternation between two adjacent notes, usually a semitone or tone apart. An upper mordent is a single rapid alternation with the note above. It is often called simply a mordent. A lower mordent (also known as an inverted mordent) is a single rapid alternation with the note below. An ornament can be removed by right-clicking on the note or note selection and choosing Remove ornament from the context menu.
Note head You can change the graphic used to display your note heads from the standard elliptical symbol to any of a number of alternatives. Right-click over any note or note selection, then first choose Note head from the context menu followed by either Selected notes (only) or All notes at selected pitch. You can then select from a list of about 20 or so choices.
Display offset This command is used to modify a selected note (or notes) position or length by nudging left or right. There is also an option to clear an existing display offset.
Chord Notation To identify and notate a basic chord, first select the notes then choose Chords from the context menu. If a chord is identified, it will be shown as a menu option. Click on this text to confirm the chord. The chord name will then be displayed in the score. There is also an option to choose Other and enter the chords manually. This menu also includes the toggle action Identify chords on editor grid. Note: As well as being able to select key type (major, minor, etc.) from the MIDI Editor dropdown, you can also select Load... from that dropdown and import your own .reascale file which can be used to define your own scales and chords. The file sample.reascale is included with REAPER.
Hide Notes Use this to hide currently selected notes. To unhide hidden notes, choose the Unhide all notes option from the same menu, with any note or notes selected.
MIDI Editor Edit Commands. At the bottom of the notes context menu there is a section containing the several MIDI Editor Edit menu commands � Copy, Cut, Paste, Paste preserving position in measure, Select all, Delete, Insert note, Set note ends to start of next note )legato), Select previous note, Select next note and Note Properties. The Note properties... dialog is explained in Chapter 13.

Note: The notations created in musical notation view will also be shown in event list view (see Chapter 13).

14.9 Exporting MusicXML and PDF Files[edit]

It is currently not possible to print your musical notation score from within REAPER. However, you are able to export your score in MusicXML format, which can be read by Finale, Sibelius, MuseScore, Forte, Cubase and many other programs.

To export your score, follow this sequence:

  1. Open the score in REAPER's MIDI Editor and select musical notation view.
  2. From the menu, choose File, Notation: Export (PDF, MusicXML)
  3. Accept the default directory offered, or navigate to another of your choosing. Select file type (.xml or .pdf) and type a file name. Specify page width and, optionally, author.
  4. Select score-partwise or score-timewise (see note below).
  5. Click on Save.

The difference between partwise and timewise lies in the priorities that are applied in arranging part and measure elements. If a score contains more than one part elements, each of which contains one or more measure elements, then score-partwise organises the score with part elements at the top of the hierarchy. Score-timewise reverses this hierarchy. If you are unsure as to which to use, accept the default settling.

Note that REAPER's MusicXML export and import supports multi-layer music.

14.10 XML Import[edit]

You can import an XML file (for example, as might be produced by Finale Notepad) by dragging and dropping the file from Windows Explorer or Mac Finder into REAPER's arrange view. This applies to both normal .XML files and zip compressed .MXL files. When you do this, you will be presented with a number of options.

You will be offered the options to:

Expand the MIDI tracks into an equivalent number of REAPER tracks. If not selected, all imported MIDI tracks will go on to one REAPER track.

Import the MIDFI tempo map to the project tempo

and Import MIDI markers (if any) to project markers.

REAPER will import the file as an in-project MIDI item. This can be opened in the MIDI Editor and edited like any other MIDI item.

14.11 Making a Notation Editor Toolbar[edit]

If you've used other notation editing software, you might think that REAPER is missing something � i.e. a dedicated notation toolbar. That's because you are able to start with a blank canvas and construct your own, adding those commands, actions and options that are most important to you.

Exactly how to do this is explained in Chapter 15. If you search the MIDI Editor's action list you should be able to find what you want. Especially useful might be a whole stack of actions for inserting notes, advancing the cursor or editing notes, using the current note length division type.