Handbook: Better explanation of "velocity"

• Feb 3, 2016 - 15:10

The handbook could use a short explanation of note "velocity", how it differs from volume, its possible range, and how it's controlled. For users who haven't done MIDI programming, I don't think the MIDI term "velocity" intuitively connects with dynamics, which I'd describe more in terms of strength or force.

All I've learned about "velocity" comes from various forum posts (like this one) and from trial and error. The Dynamics page of the handbook mentions "velocity" but gives no explanation. The Hairpins page doesn't even mention velocity, although a hairpin's velocity change can be adjusted in the Inspector.

[Edit] I've updated the Hairpins page to have more explanation of how they interact with dynamics and to mention "Velocity change".


Mind-bending (but ingenious!) thing about keyboard velocity is that you can't hit a note hard without hitting it fast; & can't play a note soft without hitting it slow. So rather than use fancy / expensive pressure sensors, each key has 2 switches which capture the period from start to end of key depression. I mean, you may have known that, but I still find it mind-bending. Sometimes I sit all day trying to play a fast *AND* soft note. I have never yet succeeded, but when I do, I am afraid the world may end.

In reply to by Rotator Backwards

Indeed, velocity is a MIDI term and most probably stems from Keyboards, may also work on plucked instruments and percussion, but doesn't make that much sense on other Instrument groups, like woodwinds, brass, strings

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamics_(music):
Note Velocity is a MIDI measurement of the speed that the key travels from its rest position to completely depressed, with 127, the largest value in a 7-bit number, being instantaneous, and meaning as strong as possible
In some music notation programs, there are default MIDI key velocity values associated with these indications, but more sophisticated programs allow users to change these as needed.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIDI:
MIDI carries event messages that specify notation, pitch and velocity, control signals for parameters such as volume, vibrato, audio panning, cues, and clock signals that set and synchronize tempo between multiple devices.
... a velocity value that indicates how forcefully the note was played

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