Piano roll: setting for new note length

When introducing a new note into the piano roll (either double clicking with the crosshair or using pen) the default note length is based on the last note that was introduced or selected.

This makes sense when writing a series of notes with the same length, or there are notes of different lengths in the same passage, but it’s a hindrance when when the last note you wrote was very long (eg: 4 bars) and fits the whole screen.

The current behavior will work in some contexts, but it would be more flexible if there were a setting to let users choose how they prefer to work, i.e. whether new notes should stick to the current grid snapping duration instead of having a predefined length.

What problem(s) would this feature resolve?

It would save time when writing notes in the piano roll.

How does this feature fit in Bitwig as a product?

Bitwig aims to be adaptable to different users with different needs. Adding this feature as a setting wouldn’t be obtrusive.

Is there already an alternative way to achieve this on Bitwig?


Could it be implemented using Bitwig components or APIs, without Bitwig team’s support?


Could it be provided by a VST or something else reasonably integrated with Bitwig?


Are there other products that offer this feature?

Several DAWs ignore the duration of the most recently entered note and use the grid snapping duration to determine the length of new notes.


8 posts were split to a new topic: [Draft discussion] Piano roll: setting for new note length

I agree, it’s quite annoying sometimes and counterintuitive.

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The length isn’t determined by the last inserted note, it’s determined by the last selected note. So when the last note you entered was very long, just click on one of the shorter notes and the next inserted note will be of that length.


Ohh that’s good to know too, thanks. Maybe I just need to get used to it.

Thanks for the tip, but in my case that doesn’t help much.

My issue with this note length behavior occurs mostly when writing long notes like pad chords, orchestral strings, etc. And in those situations I’d never have short notes to select before writing a new note.

I see. But it’s probably a good idea to update the feature request so it describes the current behavior correctly :slight_smile:




I do not want to nuke this request but I think it is worth to add if you draw a single note (without releasing LMB) then you can adjust length by moving mouse left or right freely.
Additionally you can click LMB with ALT and then note will stick to the current grid.


@here after the last comment by @pseudonym_303 I wonder whether it still makes sense to keep this request.

Going back to the description, the problem described happens only when double clicking. Not when Clicking and dragging or Alt-clicking. When you use the pen (which is the right tool for elaborated work with Notes), these two options appear in the footer.

Yeah this works. The only problem is that if you previously made a very long note, you have to drag all the way back to where you want the note to be. You can’t just drag to the right and the note snaps to the length represented by the distance from the start position to where the pointer is now. You have to keep dragging to the left until the note is as short as you want it to be. This has the unfortunate side effect of making it very difficult to keep the velocity where you want it to be (because drag up/down on new notes sets velocity). So yeah it works, but it’s a bit fiddly.

If a user made a very long note, then they can Alt-click to get a note fitting the current grid.

Or they can click an existing note with the length desired (or similar) and then create new.notes with that length.

If the current grid is not a good default for the current track, the user can change the grid easily from the main window, and add notes comfortably from there.

These cases look more practical and realistic than expecting users to set a default note length or something along these lines in their settings. Different tracks are likely to have different needs.

I can suggest yet another way of editing note length, using note pane from inspector panel:


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I dont know if this is a good place to bring this up, but to my knowledge there is no keyboard shortcut to set all selected notes to 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, current grid, whatever…Afaik we are forced to do this via the inspector panel via the length functions. This is great and all, but slow. I would like to be able to setup keyboard shortcuts for “Set note length to x”, where is is at least the interval from 1/128 to full note.

So I tried the ALT thing and it doesn’t really help. It really just is a paint mode.

When using ALT you can’t create a new note and drag it to a desired length. Of course you can click once and then edit the note you just created but this is such a waste of time to do for every note you want to write.

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You actually can have the note paste at the note length, just hold alt then click.

Yeah, don’t hold alt if you want the note to be a different length. Hold alt to paste it at that length.