To randomize the velocity of notes within FL Studio, you’ll want to open the desired midi pattern in the piano roll. Then press ALT+R to open the randomizer tool. Within the randomizer window, disable the top ‘pattern’ section. Then tweak the velocity parameter level to randomize the velocity of the individual notes in the selected pattern.
This article will look at how you can quickly introduce randomized velocity into your FL Studio productions.
When producing music inside of a DAW, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the elements that go into making music sound human. This can sometimes leave electronic music sounding somewhat flat or lifeless, usually due to a lack of ‘humanization.’
In the context of music production, this term refers to the introduction of random, subtle variation back into the music, which can often leave you with a more natural sound.
Variation in both timing and velocity are the easiest ways in which this is achieved.
This tutorial will look at a quick method within FL Studio that allows you to manipulate these parameters.
Step 1 – Selecting The Pattern
To randomize midi note velocity, you will first want to ensure that you have the correct pattern selected and opened up in the piano roll.
This can be done by checking the pattern’s name in the top toolbar and then clicking on the FL Studio piano roll icon, as shown in the video below.
Step 2 – Opening The Randomizer
Once you have opened the correct pattern within the piano roll, you can open the randomizer tool.
This can be accessed by the keyboard shortcut ALT+R or by using the drop-down menu at the top left of the piano roll and selecting ‘Tools‘ and then ‘Randomize.’
After you have gone through either of these methods, a randomizer window will open with lots of parameters on it. You may also notice that all of your notes seem to change in the piano roll, but don’t worry; this is normal and will be explained next.
Step 3 – Using The Randomizer
Now that you have the randomizer open in the piano roll, you can start to tweak the settings to automatically assign different velocity values to random midi notes within your pattern.
If the randomizer has opened up with the pattern section enabled, you will want to firstly disable this.
This is the section that changed the actual key placement of the notes.
You will then want to make sure that the ‘levels’ section is activated. Within the levels section, you will see the options to tweak six different parameters relating to the FL Studio piano roll notes.
We will focus on the one labeled ‘vel‘ (short for velocity) for this guide.
When you change this parameter either left or right, you will notice the velocity of each note visually changing in the indicator just below the piano roll.
This shows you the variation of the velocity of each note.
If the randomization isn’t to your liking, you can also try clicking on the ‘seed’ arrows. This will give you a new set of randomly generated values for the velocity of each note, and you can keep cycling through them until you find what suits your needs.
It is also worth noting that you can use the randomizer to randomize other parameters apart from velocity, which can help give a pattern some life.
For example, subtly randomizing the panning of random notes can help to bring some added variety and interest to a pattern.
What is the benefit of randomization in music production?
There are some situations in which randomization can help bring a pattern or loop to life instead of sounding flat.
For example, parts with real instruments such as pianos can really benefit from introducing a small degree of randomness to help make it sound as though someone is playing it.
Can you apply velocity to samples in the playlist?
Suppose you are looking to add some variety to samples within the playlist. In that case, your best option is likely to create an automation clip of the volume of the sample and then modulate this as it plays.
What else can the randomizer be used for?
In the piano roll, the randomizer can be used to place notes, which you can then define the parameters of randomly. For instance, you can choose only to want notes placed in a specific key and within a certain octave range.
As well as this, you can also vary the note length and enable random note glides.
You can also randomize the pan, release, two different sets of effects, and the pitch of the desired notes from within the randomizer. These parameters can be found alongside the velocity knob in the ‘levels‘ tab.
Can you randomize velocity in Ableton?
Using the ‘velocity‘ midi plugin, you can change multiple parameters to achieve a wide variety of velocity changes. This is very similar to the randomizer within FL Studio. However, it has some more refined parameters, such as a velocity curve that let you fine-tune the sound to a greater extent.
In what cases should I use velocity randomization?
There are many instanced when you might want to try velocity randomization. Speaking from personal experience, it works excellent with real-world instruments generally played by a human. This includes guitars and pianos; however, it also works well in bringing things such as hi-hat loops to life.
Can you randomize the starting position of notes in FL Studio?
There is no way to randomize the starting position of notes within a pattern in the piano roll. With that being said, if you are looking to create a more natural sound, you can try using the ‘strum’ and ‘flam’ options from the tools menu where you find the randomizer. These options work really well when used with a chord.
These will add some variation to the start position of notes but predictable instead of being random.
Why doesn’t randomization always sound right when I use it?
There are some instances when the randomization may not sound right on your pattern. This may be down to the instrument being used not working well with the velocity randomization or the amount of randomization being too much or too little.
It is also worth noting that some patterns, such as hi-hats, work well with more predictable velocity. This is what helps give them a sense of groove and is how real-world drummers play. So in these instances, it is worth manually applying a velocity pattern.
You know now how to randomize the velocity of your patterns from within the FL Studio’s piano roll. This is a great tool to utilize in various situations to help bring some needed variation and humanization into your patterns.
There are many examples of when you might want to utilize this trick, for instance, adding variation into midi drums such as hi-hats.
In real life, a drummer would likely not be able to hit the hi-hat with the same strength repeatedly. Adding some randomization into loops such as this helps them feel more lifelike and dynamic.
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about the author
Hi, I’m Max, a passionate UK-based electronic music producer, and audio engineer.
I have now been making music for around 6 years.
Over this time, I have developed a deep passion and understanding of various musical styles and genres, along with the different production techniques that separate them from one another.
In addition, I have also recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in electronic music production from dBs Sound & Music Institute.