Here’s a word not normally associated with music editing: histograms.
We’ve been waiting a long time for Bitwig Studio, once announced, to actually ship something. The latest video reveals a bit of what they’ve apparently been up to: they’ve been going a bit wild building an obsessive-compulsive MIDI editing suite.
Whatever happens with Bitwig, it seems that when it does ship, it could become the tool of choice for micro-edited techno.
Histogram editing is the cleverest, if oddest, feature here. It allows you to view a sort of spectrum of notes, transforming various notes’ parameters at once.
Other features seen in the video bring Bitwig closer to a conventional DAW than Ableton Live, introducing some features that many of us would badly like in Ableton, but which seem not to be possible with its architecture. That includes seamlessly toggling between editing clips and tracks (Live has a hard-line distinction between the two), and the ability to grab a set of notes and drag them to a new clip. These aren’t the sort of thing that would make you drop Live and switch tools, I think, but they could be welcome given some of Bitwig’s more unique modular and editing features.
You can also automate “micro-pitch” per note for advanced note editing, something that the likes of Cubase can accomplish.
Bitwig appears to be nearing a 1.0 demo version, and beta builds are already in more hands (though sign-ups still didn’t reach all who wanted them). It is nice to see that, after all these years, there may still be some new ideas in editing MIDI.