A Music Director's Epic Tale: Les Miserables

Chapter 6 : Bringing The Music To Life

6.3 - Creating The MIDI Tracks in Cubase

I use Cubase 2.0 for my digital audio workstation software. Yes, that's a fairly old version, having come out in 2003, but I haven't found the need to upgrade yet! For each song, I used all the orchestrations to create a MIDI version. To start working on a song, I would put each book (Reed 1, Violin, Trumpet 2, etc.) on its own track. Then, after analysis of the song to see what instrument doubling (and synth patches, such as pizzicato vs. arco strings) was needed, I cut and pasted the various sections of each track into new tracks. Most songs ended up with about 35-40 tracks, each assigned to its own specific MIDI port+channel (patch). With 3 ports and 16 channels per port, I had a maximum of 48 total MIDI channels ("sounds") to work with for each song.

Cubase (yes, even version 2.0) is excellent for use as a MIDI editor. If I had a section of music on a specific instrument in which I needed to bump up the velocity of the notes, and the notes were all struck with different velocities, I could use the editor to increase all velocities in a range by, say, 10%.

Moving sections of notes from one track to another is also extremely easy in Cubase, as is creating an automation track for volume.