Piano Roll Labels

Hi there!

Long story short, I am not good with pianos. Played it for years, had to have tape with written labels on all the keys so I knew what note was which. (Don’t even get me started on how I literally cannot read sheet music)

I’ve been trying to get the courage to make my own song. Sometimes I just want to make some silly acapellas in SynthV, but can’t because I don’t know what the notes are past the labelled Cs to practice some chords and harmony making.

In LMMS, there was a toggle to label all of the keys on the piano roll. I looked high and low for any information if that could be done with SynthV, but came up empty.

Is there a way to add the labels of all the notes onto the piano roll in the program itself already and I just missed it, or is this something that would have to be scripted? I’d also rather not have to look between LMMS and SynthV constantly.

Included are some example images, with the SynthV roll and the LMMS roll, in case I wasn’t clear in my explanation.

Thank you for any help! :blue_heart:


As far as I know, there’s no way to set labels. It would be nice, but it’s not there. :anguished:

There’s really no good way around this: you’re going to have to learn the notes. And even if the notes had labels on them, you’d have to keep glancing to the keys to see what note you’re on.

That’s a painful way to work.

Reading piano roll isn’t nearly as hard as reading notes on a musical staff. In fact, it’s actually much easier. That’s because unlike the musical staff, the pattern doesn’t change as you move up and down.

The first thing you look for is the grouping of two dark notes:


And three notes:

See how that color pattern of dark/light extends horizontally in SynthesizerV? It’s not there in LMMS, which makes reading the piano roll in LMMS unreasonably difficult, because all the notes look the same unless you look back at the keys.

Once you see those dark/light bands, it doesn’t take much work to learn the the notes. There are only seven white notes, and they always appear in the same place on the keyboard. The sharp is above the white note, and the flat below.

The note you are asking about lies in between the two black notes - It’s a D note. That’s where it always can be found - between those two black notes.


So the key to learning the notes is to see that 3 black note/2 black note pattern, and then learn where the notes fall within that pattern.

Yes, it takes some amount of work. But there are only seven notes. And once you’ve got it, you won’t have to keep glancing to the keyboard to see which note it is.

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Thank you for your reply! I should have probably added it to the original post, but I didn’t want to flood it with info I thought wasn’t necessary. I can’t describe it exactly, but there’s a disconnect between my brain and what I’m looking at. It’s not that I can’t memorize the fact that there’s a pattern with 7 notes, it’s that my brain is simply incapable of processing it on a piano roll. The 2 vs 3 black keys mean nothing to me when my brain registers the entire roll as one big thing of noise (sheet music was even worse). It happens with things like excel sheets, too, when they’re note colour-coded.

It’s very hard to explain! In essence, it’s not that I haven’t tried to learn the pattern, it’s that my brain refuses to process what I’m looking at when staring at a piano roll and can’t apply the pattern to it because it registers as just one big mass, basically.

Alas, if there’s nothing to be done, then there’s nothing to be done! Thank you for your response and have a great day. :slight_smile: Hopefully I can figure something out pff.

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I play piano since many years and I have always this difficulty to transpose it horizontaly :upside_down_face:
But in the end, I do it this way. I use the starting note displayed (C3, C4 etc.) and count up from that note to find other tones. The next notes of C are D E F G A B. I don’t need to check the black keys.
If I want the black keys, it’s the next one close to the white (the corresponding flat note).

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Well, there’s nothing more to be done in SynthesizerV.

You can use another tool to create MIDI, and then import that MIDI into SynthesizerV and add the words.

Have you looked at OpenUtau? It doesn’t label the notes, but it’s labeled similar to LMMS.

Here’s my wishlist - note names and duration, along with (although you can’t hear it) note playback:


Plus, much better color contrast and bigger display. We can all dream. :smiling_face_with_tear:

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you can also “cheat” by just listening to the voice and sizing the note and trying relative positioning as you work out the vocal line… sometimes my best laid plans for a melody get changed once i hear a “singer” sing it vs when i do it… LOL.

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[quote=“Lynsneakers, post:3, topic:12374”]
It’s not that I can’t memorize the fact that there’s a pattern with 7 notes, it’s that my brain is simply incapable of processing it on a piano roll. The 2 vs 3 black keys mean nothing to me[/quote]

You already did the hard part. You know there’s a pattern with 7 white notes. It’s just the first 7 letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. The only “pattern” is that after you get to G you start back at A again. It’s just ABCDEFG, then again ABCDEFG, then ABCDEFG, forever. For a reason that doesn’t matter, C is the one they show labeled. So go up from there: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, … If it’s one white note higher than C, then it’s D. Three up from C? C, D, E, F. It’s all you need for dealing with the piano roll. You already know it’s 7 notes so just repeat the first 7 letters of the alphabet. You can even practice while driving to work or whenever. Good luck!

But, yes, I’d also love it if SynthV allowed us to custom label the notes.