94. How can I separate individual drum sounds onto their own tracks?

If you are generating the MIDI files from Band-in-a-Box®, note that Band-in-a-Box® 12 and higher have a feature that will do this automatically for you. When you save your MIDI file, simply choose 'Drums on separate tracks' from the MIDI File Type combo box. When you open the MIDI file with PowerTracks, all of the different drum sounds will appear on separate tracks.

In addition, PowerTracks Pro Audio 12 and higher have a feature that will do this automatically - Edit | Split MIDI Drums, and enter the appropriate data into the dialog box that comes up.

If you aren't using Band-in-a-Box®, and/or have an earlier version of PowerTracks, it is still possible to do but it isn't a single step. We will use the file melanbab.seq, a sample file included with PowerTracks, to demonstrate what you could do. In this file, the drum track is track 2.

  1. First, we suggest making a duplicate of your original drum track as a backup. In our example, we will duplicate the drum track onto track 6. Click on track 2, go to the Track menu and select Duplicate. Type 6 and press OK.
  2. Click on track 2 and open an Event List for that track by pressing F2.
  3. In the Event List, look at what the first note is. In our example, it is Gb3. Note that on the drum channel (usually channel 10) each MIDI note is a different drum sound rather than being a different pitch of the same instrument. Gb3 happens to be a Closed Hi-Hat in the General MIDI Standard Drum Kit. Click here to see a chart of the different drum sounds in the Standard Drum Kit.
  4. Go to the Edit menu and click on Cut. In the Options section, select 'Use Data Filter'. Make sure that the From and Thru values are 1 to 1000 - this is the whole song. Press OK.
  5. In the Data Filter dialog, uncheck everything except for 'Note'. Set the 'Range' for 'Note' to Gb3 and Gb3. Leave the Value and Duration set at the default values. This means that the Edit | Cut command will operate on all Gb3's, but not any other notes. Press OK.
  6. In our example, we will start putting the individual drum sounds on track 7. Select track 7, and go to Edit | Paste. Press OK.
  7. If you would like, you can name this track 'Closed Hi-Hat' so that you can identify it easily later.
  8. Now repeat steps 3 to 6 for each drum sound, putting them each on different tracks (Track 8, 9, 10, etc.). This should be a fairly fast process once you get the hang of it. So, in our example, the next step would be to click on track 2, press F2 to make the Event List active, and look at what the first note in the list is. Note that all Gb3's have now been removed from this track and the first note is now Eb4, which happens to be Ride Symbol in the Standard Drum Kit. Cut all Eb4's and paste them onto track 8.

When you have finished, you should end up with individual drum sounds on tracks 7 through 15; 9 tracks in total.

Alyssa - PG Music