MUS 570B

Staff View

Return to Home Page

Return to MUS 570B Menu

The Staff view shows sequencer data as staff notation entries, and has interactive editing and printing capabilities (p. 199ff).  Traditionally, there have been two distinct types of music software:  sequencers and notation programs.  Cakewalk Pro Audio is intended as a sequencing program, and does not purport to be a full-feature notation program.  For notation software we will use Finale.  Staff view merely offers yet another viewing option.

There are two ways to open Staff view:

  • Right-click within either Track or Clips pane to get an Inspector menu, then, select Staff.
  • From the menu bar, select View, New, Staff.

Staff view lets you edit events during playback, which particularly useful if you are looping a small region, such as a measure or two.  You can hear any change you make on the next loop.

Picking Tracks

[89]  Located in the lower right corner of the screen, selecting this button (up/down arrows) brings up a dialog box with all the tracks in the song.  This lets you quickly choose which tracks you want to see after you load a Layout from the View|Layouts dialog.  The Staff view can display up to 24 staves.

Staff View Layout

When you open Staff view, the program picks a clef for each track based on the range of pitches in that track.  The track is split into two staves if notes fall into both the treble and bass clef ranges.

You can change how each track is displayed by clicking the Layout button, which brings up the Staff View Layout dialog box.  Each track is listed, along with clef and split properties, which can be changed.

For Percussion Layout, see p. 202ff.  In that Finale will be used for music notation, not a great deal of time will be spent in mastering Cakewalk Staff view options.

Changing the Now Time

The Now time marker indicates where playback will start if you click the Play button.  The marker appears as a vertical line through the staves, and is also numerically displayed in aqua numbers in the upper left corner of the Control bar.  You cannot control the direction or speed of movement of the Now time marker once you click the Play button.  The spacing of the tick marks on the horizontal ruler depends on the time signature of the song.


As in other views, Staff view tools allow manipulation of musical elements using standard music notation.  Certainly, you are encouraged to gain an understanding of the use of these tools, however, spending a great deal of time in this area will be anti-productive considering our eventual study of Finale.

Selection Tool [a]

Clicking this tool enters Selection mode.  You can click a note or other notation symbol to select it.  Holding down the Shift key lets you extend selection to other symbols.  You can also "lasso" groups of symbols by dragging a rectangle around them.  Selections can include elements from several staves.

Moving, copying, and deleting selections:  You can move items by click-dragging.  You can easily transpose a group of notes by selecting them and then dragging the selection to another line of the staff.  You can copy an entire section to another position by holding down Control and then click-dragging.

Pencil Tool [g]

Clicking this tool enters Draw mode.  This mode is primarily for inserting new symbols, however, you can also use it to move, copy, and delete individual symbols.

Inserting a note:  To insert a note, first click one of the notehead size buttons at the top left. You may also click the "dot" button to add a dot.  Then, click in an empty space to insert the note.  You may also hold down the mouse button and drag the new note to a different position.

Moving a note:  Click a note and drag it to a new position, horizontally or vertically.  You can also drag chromatically (for accidentals) by clicking with the right mouse button while still holding the left mouse button.

Copying a note:  In Draw mode, hold down the Control key and click the note to be copied.  Drag the copy to its new position and release.

Deleting a note:  In Draw mode, click the note and press Delete while holding down the mouse button.

Erase Tool [t]

Simply click a note or other symbol to erase it.

Scrub Tool (small gold speaker)

By selecting the scrub tool, you can click and drag to display the vertical scrub line.  As the line moves over the notes, they play.  The Scrub tool is useful only for currently displayed notes in Staff view, not for playing an entire sequence.

Snap to Grid [a]

Snap to Grid sets fixed time positions that are rounded to the current resolution.  You can adjust the start time of a symbol that is already inserted by right-clicking it.

Changing Hidden Parameters

When you right-click a note, the Note Properties dialog box appears.  This enables you to edit all MIDI parameters, including those that standard music notation cannot display.

Enharmonic Spelling

To change a note from C#3 to Db3, for example, use the Note Properties box by right-clicking the note.  In the Pitch field, you can type one of four characters to specify the note spelling:

Character:  Meaning:  Example:  Displays as:

Character Meaning Example Displays as


flat Cb5 Cb
# sharp C#5 C#
" double flat C"5 Cbb
x double sharp Cx5 Cx


(The Lyrics tool will be of limited use to us in Cakewalk, so we will not spend much time on this application.)  If your song includes lyrics, these will appear in Staff view.

  • One option for adding lyrics to a song is to add the lyrics directly to the Staff view.  To do so, select the Pencil tool and click the Lyric button [L], located beneath the duration buttons.

    Move the cursor underneath the lowest note on the staff.  Continue to move the cursor down until the pencil looks like a pencil and not the "can't drop" cursor; then click.  You will see an insertion box (p. 213)

    If the cursor is positioned close to a note when the Lyric tool is selected, its shape changes to the ordinary arrow cursor.  If you click, you will deselect the Lyric tool, and the duration button corresponding to the duration of the note you clicked will be selected.  Click the Lyric tool to reselect it.

    As you type lyrics, if you press the Spacebar or hyphen, the insertion box moves through the available notes and the lyrics appear just as shown in the manual (p. 213).  After typing each word, press the Spacebar or Tab to advance the editing box to the next associated note.  (Shift+Tab moves back to the previous note.)

    When a lyric word spans multiple noteheads, a trailing underline or series of regularly-spaced hyphens is automatically drawn.

Entering Chord Symbols

(Again this application will only be used when we study Finale.)  Staff view lets you enter chord symbols above staves.  You can enter ordinary chord names, such as G7, as well as guitar chord symbols.

To enter a chord symbol, select the Pencil tool and click the Chord button [C], located beneath the duration buttons.  Move the cursor over the correct staff, and position it horizontally so that the symbol will be aligned with the note or notes that you intend the symbol to describe.  (If the track is split into Treble/Bass staves, chords are allowed only above the Treble staff.)

Click to enter a chord symbol.  The most recently added symbol will be inserted in the Chord Properties dialog box; if you have not yet entered any chord symbols, a C chord will be inserted.  Right-click the chord symbol to edit it.  For further information, see pp. 215-217.

Adding Expression Marks

Expression, or dynamic, markings allow traditional notation to convey dynamic information to MIDI in the form of velocity or volume.

To enter an expression mark, select the Pencil tool and click the Expression button [f], located beneath the duration buttons.  Move the cursor under the staff and line it up below the correct note.  Click to enter an expression mark.  A text box opens in which you can enter traditional abbreviations:  ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff, or any performance suggestion you desire.  Press the Enter key to insert the marking.  In the case of a track split into Treble/Bass staves, markings are only allowed between staves.

Inserting crescendo & diminuendo hairpins [<]:  Select the Pencil tool and click the Hairpin button [<].  Move the cursor to the desired insertion point.  Click to enter the mark.  A crescendo or diminuendo mark matching the last one edited is inserted, which you can now edit.  Right-click a < or > to edit its starting time, direction of increase, and duration from the Hairpin Properties pop-up box.  If the track is split into two staves, < and > are only allowed between staves.

Adding Pedal Events

Pedal symbols indicate when the sustain pedal of a piano is to be depressed, and for how long.  The Pedal button [P] lets you achieve the same effect, which translates to MIDI information.

To enter a pair of pedal symbols, select the Pencil tool and click the Pedal button [P].  Move the cursor under the appropriate note where the pedal-down is to appear.  Click to enter a pedal event.  Two symbols are inserted: a pedal down and a pedal up (*).  You can drag either symbol to a different location.  You can right- click either symbol to get the Pedal Event Parameters box, where you can further edit the time in the usual way (p. 221).

Working with Triplets

Limitations are:

  • Triplets must occur in full sets of three.
  • All three steps in a triplet must be notes (no rests) of the same duration.
  • There can be no ties in or out of the triplet.

Again, it would not be advantageous to spend a great deal of time working with these limited notation parameters.  We will address notation with Finale.  (See p. 223ff for further information.)

Printing the Staff View

While printing Cakewalk Staff view pages will have limited use, nevertheless, following are the basics:

The Staff view must be the active window in order to print music.  Nine staff sizes are available.

To get an idea of how the music will look when you print it:

  • Choose File, Print Preview.
  • Click in the music or the Zoom button to toggle between close-up and standard view.
  • Click the Configure button.  The Staff View Print Configure dialog box is displayed.
  • Use the drop-down list to select a staff size.
  • Click OK.

To print the Staff view, from the File menu bar, choose Print.  For further info on printing, refer to pp. 225-228.

Return to Home Page

Return to MUS 570B Menu