3.4 Toolbar

The tool bar is at the top window, permanently underneath the Main menu bar. It looks like this:

Toolbar

The speed-bar buttons are arranged in 2 rows. The top row is all about project-handling. The bottom row has buttons for toggling the different LMMS GUIs. We start with the top-row.

3.4.1 File Controls

The six buttons in the top row deal with opening and saving files.

  • The Create New Project button creates a new project

  • The Create New Project From Template button will allow the use of saved templates for new projects. By clicking on the icon you will see a list of templates you can load, this is mmpz files already filled with instruments, drums and/or automation. Templates can save you a lot of time! If you for example tend to remove all the four preloaded tracks in a new LMMS project, you could save an empty template and open that instead, each time you want to start on a new project.

  • The Open Existing Project button opens an existing project file from your LMMS Working Directory

  • The Recently Opened Project button lists files that you have saved recently in LMMS. If you have opened a file and not saved it due to a crash or other similar circumstances, the file will not be in the list.

  • The Save Current Poject button saves the current project. If you have not yet saved the project you will be prompted for a name and location to save it.

  • The Export Current Project button is a shortcut to exports of the current project as a WAV or OGG file. This is the same as in the file menu's Export option.

3.4.2 Window Controls

The seven buttons in the second row show or hide various workspace windows. When clicked, the action depends on the current state of that window. If the window selected is not at the front of the LMMS window, it is brought to the front. If it is at the front, it is closed. If it is closed, it is opened and brought to the front. In other words: these are toggle buttons for the workspace windows. The contents of the window are not lost when the window is closed. These toggle-buttons allow you to work in a kind of "tabbed" workspace. To utilize this feature, maximize all windows and use the toggle-buttons to bring your wanted window up front.

All GUIs have a context menu icon in the top left corner of its window. Click the icon or use right mouse button to open the context menu. The Stay On Top option keeps that window on top of all other windows. This is especially useful for the FX-Mixer, and also for some special tricks it allow you to do during song playback, such as real-time editing.

The toggle buttons are:

  • The Song-Editor toggle button shows/hides the Song Editor

  • The Beat+Bassline Editor button shows/hides the Beat+Bassline Editor

  • The Piano Roll Editor Window button shows/hides the Piano Roll Editor. If you click the toggle button in an empty (new) project, an empty Piano-Roll window will open, and the message will be shown: "Please open a pattern by double-clicking on it!" You cannot edit in this window, because you opened a Piano-Roll editor window that is not linked to any track! You must close this orphaned window. However, Piano-roll windows that you open by double-clicking a block in the Song-Editor (or a segment in the Beat+Bassline Editor) will open the Piano-roll editor window linked to the track that you clicked i, and you can now edit its notes.

  • The Automation Window button shows/hides the global-song Automation Editor window. Global-song automation is different from track-automation. You get access to global-song-automation by right-clicking a LMMS control, and then choose "Edit song-global automation", in the context-menu. This action will then open the Automation-Editor window, and you can create an automation-track that is specific to that control. Warning: there are no visual "reminders" that you created this automation. In other words: if you decide to use "song-global-automation" you should definitely make a not of it in the project-notes window. A good habit is to name the automation track, and place it directly next to the track that it controls.

  • The FX-Mixer toggle-button shows/hides the FX-Mixer.

  • The Project Notes button shows/hides the Project Notes window. These are notes to remind yourself of anything. For example: why you did things the way you did them, wha you are going to do next.

  • The Controller-rack toggle button shows/hides the Controller-rack; a list of LFO and peak controllers in the project.

3.4.3 Tempo Control

Tempo control

The current tempo is shown in numerals. This is a standard control, so it can be changed by dragging up and down inside it and it can be automated by holding Ctrl while dragging to an automation track. If some time the tempo seems to be stuck, it could be related to the global automation. By right clicking and choosing "remove song-global automation" the issue should fix itself.

3.4.4 Timer

Timer

The timer shows the time it would take to play from the beginning of the song to the current position of play-head. If you click on the timer it can instead show how many bars, beats and ticks that have passed. Ticks subdivide beats, depending on the time-signature you have chosen. They are also important in automation, because you can snap the curve to ticks. In the 4/4 default time-signature, 32nd length notes will snap to 2. tick of the beat. Swing-notes in percussion is also snapped to 2. tick, rather than to the beat.

3.4.5 Time Signature Controls

Time signature controls

The default time signature is 4/4. You can change this by dragging up or down and holding left mouse button. The separator in the Piano-roll will automatically adapt to the chosen time-signature. So what does a "time-signature" actually means? The default 4/4 does not display this well. We need to look at a different time-signature before we can understand the numbers. 3/4 is also often used and we can use that as an example. The "4" in this signature indicates what note length on beat has. So in both 4/4 and 3/4 signature, one beat is 1/4 note in length! The "3" denotes how many beats there are in one bar. So in 4/4 we have 4 beats in one bar, but on 3/4, we only have 3 beats in one bar. You can read much more around time-signatures, and their importance in music here: http://www.musicarrangers.com/star-theory/t19.htm. All that said - if your score suddenly looks serious weird, and you can't make sense of anything, do check if you by chance have altered the time-signature.

3.4.6 Volume and Pitch Controls

To the right of the tempo control are the master volume and pitch controls.

The Master Volume control sets the master volume for the entire song. It is almost always a bad idea to change this from the default 100%.

The Master Pitch control sets the "root" note on which every other note in the song is based. Turn this down to make the piece play at a lower pitch, and vice versa. This can be useful if you have programmed a reproduction of a song to be in a certain key, and after checking it against the original, you find the original to be in a different key. But be careful, because there is a snag! Sound-clips can be messed up, when the master-pitch is changed, so it is not recommended.

3.4.6 Wave and CPU Usage Display

Wave and CPU usage display

Finally, the Wave/CPU display shows the current waveform being played during playback and the current CPU usage of all the LMMS instruments, effects and sequencing. You can turn the wave display off or on by clicking it, although this does little to reduce CPU usage, and it is a "window" to the master output. You will see green curves, when you gave no clipping. Orange curves when clipping is a risk, and red tells you that you need to address a clipping situation, in the mixer.

3.4.6 GUI Controls

The second row are made out of toggle buttons for the individual windows. From left to right we have toggle buttons for:

  • Song-Editor (F5)

  • Drum & Beat-Editor (F6)

  • Piano-Roll (F7)

  • Automation-Editor (F8)

  • Mixer (F9)

  • Project-Notes (F10)

  • Controller-Rack (F11)

As you can see, you can also use the function-keys to toggle the GUI components up and down.