PreSonus Blog

Melodyne Essential = Polyphonic MIDI Guitar

Many people think Melodyne Essential works only with monophonic tracks. That’s true for editing notes, but it can transform polyphonic guitar playing to MIDI note data. Granted, there’s a tradeoff: no pitch bend. But for laying down pads, power chords, and the like with electric guitar, then playing them back on virtual instruments—no problem.

  1. After recording your guitar part, select it and choose Edit with Melodyne (Ctrl + M). You’ll see the familiar blobs, but not chords—only single notes.
  2. Choose Polyphonic Decay for the Melodyne algorithm (fig. 1). Even though Essential is monophonic, you’ll be able to choose this option.

Figure 1: Choosing Polyphonic Decay is the key to transforming guitar parts into note data.

  1. You’ll see blobs that correspond to your chord notes, but they’ll be grayed out, because you can’t edit them. No worries.
  2. Create an Instrument track (Presence is always a fun choice) to play back your guitar part.
  3. Drag the audio that you processed with Melodyne into the instrument track, and you’ll see a polyphonic MIDI guitar part (fig. 2).

Figure 2: A polyphonic guitar part has been transformed into Note Data.


  1. Fig. 3 shows the unedited part. Translating guitar to MIDI is never perfect, and will almost always require some editing. Fortunately, Studio One can much of that for you, by automatically deleting notes with excessively low velocities and short durations.

Figure 3: Check out all the low-velocity notes—they’re probably just glitches.

  1. Select all the notes, then choose Action > Select Notes. Choose Range, and select all notes with a velocity below 20% (fig. 4). Hit delete. If that doesn’t get rid of enough low-velocity notes, try again with a higher percentage (e.g., 30%).

Figure 4: Initial settings to reduce low-velocity bogus notes.

  1. MIDI guitar may also produce “notes” that are more like short glitches. Go to Action > Delete Notes, and choose notes shorter than If this doesn’t delete enough of the short notes, increase the duration (e.g., Note that these two de-glitching processes would be good candidates for a Macro.
  2. Fig. 5 shows the results of applying the above processes in Studio One, and then doing about a minute’s worth of touch-up editing. (



Figure 5: The note data now looks ready for prime time.




Finally, let’s listen to the original guitar part, and the MIDI cello part it produced. Cool, eh?