Song Editor

The song editor is the central place for arranging your composition. It also provides the following features:

Quick links:

Managing Tracks
Track Headers
Time Ribbon
Editing Window
Command Buttons.
Track Automation
Tempo and Time Sig Tracks
Importing a MIDI File
Exporting a MIDI File


A song contains a list of tracks. Tracks are typically assigned an instrument to play, but this is not always the case as they can be used to group other tracks together or as effect return buses.

A song also has two special master tracks: a tempo track and a time signature track. These allow you to make tempo and time signature changes within your arrangement.

Tracks within the song contain a sequence of parts. They may also contain track automation data, which is sent to the track's mixer and insert effects.

Parts usually contain a sequence of notes to be played, but they can also contain part automation, which is sent to the instrument on the track.

Parts begin life by containing their own note or automation data, but when duplicated they can be made into linked parts. Linked parts share the same note and automation data with their linked counterparts. When you change the contents of a linked part, all the other parts which share a link with it will also be changed. This is useful in situations where you'd like to make an edit to a loop and have that edit appear in all other instances of the loop without any extra work. If you need to make an edit to a particular instance of a linked part and you don't want that edit to appear in its linked counterparts, you can easily unlink a part to make it unique again. Once unlinked, a part contains its own notes and automation data again and any edits to that part won't affect any others.

Parts can be optionally set to cycle repeat. This means that when you extend their length, they automatically loop without the need to be duplicated.

If you wish, you can add extra lanes to a track. These are really just extra list rows on the track to help you stay organized. A good use for extra track lanes is to dedicate one to parts containing notes and others to parts which contain automation. It's then much easier to see what's going on and apply edits without unwanted side effects.

The song editor provides many tools for working with parts and song arrangement in general, such as drawing, moving, extending, duplicating, splitting, joining and copy/pasting.

To edit the notes or automation within a part, DOUBLE TAP ON A PART to invoke the Part Editor. The part editor is similar in operation to the song editor, but is designed for editing MIDI notes and part automation. Once you get familiar with the song editor, you will have no problem using the part editor.

Managing Tracks

The simplest possible track layout you can have is just a flat list of tracks. A slightly more complex alternative is to create a single master track and then group all other tracks within it so they are children of the master track. This allows you to add effects to the master track (eg. a final limiter or mastering EQ) which are applied to the mix of all the other tracks in the song. NanoStudio's default project templates use a layout such as this.

If you wish, you may have as many track groups as you need and you can also place groups inside other groups. This is useful when you want to keep all your percussion or bass tracks grouped together so that you can easily control their overall volume level or apply insert effects to the group as a whole. You have complete freedom to create track setups which are as simple or as complex as you like, according to your requirements.

You can add or remove tracks using the buttons on the bottom left of the song editor page:

TAP to add a new Obsidian synth track.

TAP AND HOLD to add a track containing a different type of instrument or a new lane to the currently selected track.
TAP to remove the selected track(s).
When enabled, you can select more than one track at the same time. This is useful when you want to rearrange or delete a group of tracks in a single operation.

Tracks may be rearranged using the Track Headers.

Track Headers

The track headers are located on the left side of the song editor. They show the names of each track and indicate how the tracks are ordered and grouped.

To change the order of the tracks, TAP AND HOLD on a track header and then drag vertically to move the track to the desired position. You can also drop a track's header on top of another track to make it a child of that track.

When the song editor's view is zoomed out there is only enough room to show the name of the track.

DOUBLE TAP on the header to view the instrument assigned to the track. If the track has no instrument then you will instead be shown the track's mixer insert FX.
When the song editor's view is zoomed in the track header has enough room to reveal extra mute/solo buttons and an audio output level meter.

DOUBLE TAP ON THE TRACK NAME to view the instrument assigned to the track.

DOUBLE TAP ON THE METER to view the mixer's track.

Time Ribbon

The time ribbon indicates the sequencer transport's current position and the song loop region.

TAP on the ribbon to move the sequencer's transport to the desired position.

DOUBLE TAP INSIDE the loop region to toggle the loop on or off.

DOUBLE TAP OUTSIDE the loop region to move the start point of the loop region to the desired position.

Indicates the region of the sample used by the player for looping. The blue bar is shown if looping is enabled via the PLAY Settings.

TAP AND HOLD ON THE START / END to drag the loop extents.
TAP AND HOLD ON THE LOOP REGION to drag the entire region.
DOUBLE TAP ON THE LOOP REGION to toggle the song loop on or off.
When enabled, the song editor will automatically scroll its view to keep the current transport position visible.

Editing Window

Use the editing window to navigate the view and make selections.

Navigation and selection can be performed with the traditional DRAG and PINCH ZOOM actions, but you will often find that the SELECT and ZOOM command buttons are a more efficient way to achieve these operations in a more task-oriented manner.


SCROLLING - Use two fingers to PINCH ZOOM, and then release one finger and drag. Alternatively, you can use the scrollbars.

ZOOMING - Use two fingers to PINCH ZOOM. You can perform a context-sensitive zoom by double tapping the ZOOM command button. Alternatively, you can use the +/- buttons on the scrollbars.

TAP or DRAG to make a selection.
You can change the selection mode via the SELECT command button.

TAP on the background to deselect all.
DOUBLE TAP on the background to select all.

Editing Parts

To edit the contents of a part, DOUBLE TAP on it to open the Part Editor.

To move a part or a selection of parts, TAP AND HOLD on a part. After a short pause you will be able to freely move the selected part(s) by dragging horizontally or vertically.

Most of the time you will just want to move the selection horizontally or vertically. The best way to achieve this is with the white drag handles which appear around the edges of the view when a selection is made:

Moves the selection forwards or backwards in time.
Changes the length of the selection.
Moves the selection vertically.

Part Appearance

By default, parts use the same colour as the track they are on (see mixer Track Setup).

You may give a parts a custom colour via the PROPERTIES command button.

Selected parts are indicated using a lighter colour.
Linked parts are shown with a small chain link icon in the top left corner.

When a linked part is selected, the icons of its linked counterparts will turn white to help you visualize the relationship with the other linked parts in the song.
Muted parts are shown in grey. Parts may be muted for more than one reason:
- The track the part is on (or a parent of that track) is muted.
- The part itself is muted. You can mute any part via the PROPERTIES command button.
Parts containing automation show the names of the automated parameters along their bottom edge. Part automation is always sent to the instrument on the track and will use the instrument's custom automation names if it has them.
If a part has been given a custom name it will be shown along its top edge.

You can set a custom name via the PROPERTIES command button.
Parts which have been set to cycle repeat show a vertical bar at each cycle repeat point.

You can enable or disable cycle repeat for any part via the PROPERTIES command button.
Overlapping parts are represented using separate rows if there is enough space. You can overlap as many parts as you like and the sequencer will play, but the editor view will only draw up to a maximum of 4 rows. If you frequently overlap parts, you may be better off creating track lanes with TAP AND HOLD on the TRACK ADD BUTTON (see Managing Tracks).

Command Buttons

Use the command buttons to set beat grid properties, perform task-oriented zoom/selection and edit the selected region of the song.

GRID TAP to view or change the grid and snap options.

DOUBLE TAP to toggle the grid snap on or off.
ZOOM TAP to zoom on a specific area of the song.

DOUBLE TAP to perform a context-sensitive zoom.
DOUBLE TAP AGAIN to revert to the previous zoom.
SELECT TAP to select a specific area of the song.

DOUBLE TAP to toggle the selection mode.
DRAW TAP to enable draw mode. When draw mode is enabled you can drag in the editing window to create a new empty part. Draw mode is automatically disabled once you have drawn a part.
DELETE Deletes the current selection.
DUPLICATE Duplicates the current selection.

TAP AND HOLD for more options, such as making multiple or linked duplicates.
ACTIONS Performs general editing actions on the current selection such as joining, splitting, unlinking and exporting as a MIDI file.

DOUBLE TAP to set the song loop to the current selection.
PROPERTIES TAP to view or change the properties of the current selection such as part muting, cycling, colour and custom naming.

DOUBLE TAP to toggle the mute status of the selected parts.

Track Automation

Tracks may optionally contain automation. Automation is essentially a sequence of values which is used to automatically vary the controls of an instrument, effect, mixer track or send during playback. Track automation can only control the mixer's controls, insert FX or sends on the track. If you wish to automate the instrument then you must instead use Part Automation.

To reveal the track automation, tap the automation button (highlighted in GREEN).

Tap on any track (or Track Header) to open the Automation Editor.

Tempo and Time Signature Tracks

A song also has two special master tracks: a tempo track and a time signature track. These allow you to make tempo and time signature changes within your arrangement. It's up to you if you want to use them. By default they are disabled and you set a fixed tempo and time signature via the PLAY Settings.

To reveal the tempo and time signature tracks, tap the MASTER TRACK button (highlighted in GREEN).

To add a new tempo or time signature change, move the transport cursor to the desired position and tap the circular + icon on the far right of the track. Alternatively, if the track is empty then you can just DOUBLE TAP at the desired position. You can only add time signature changes on a bar division.

To select one or more sections, TAP or DRAG on the tracks.

To edit the properties of an existing section, DOUBLE TAP on that section.

Enables or disables the track. When the track is disabled, the song uses the fixed values set in the PLAY Settings
Adds a new section at the transport's current position.
You can only add time signature changes on a bar division.
Moves the selected section(s) backwards or forwards in time.
Deletes the selected section(s).

Importing and Exporting MIDI Files

You can use the song editor to import and export MIDI files. The importer and exporter are both capable of handling multiple tracks including tempo and time signature tracks.

Importing a MIDI File

- Tap the FILE button (highlighted in GREEN).

- Use the File Browser to find the MIDI file you wish to import.
- TAP AND HOLD on the file.
- You can then drag the file to a track of your choice.

Exporting a MIDI File