A FamiStudio project contains:
- A list of Songs
- A list of Instruments
- A list of DPCM samples
- A list of Arpeggios
Songs are made of Patterns, which are on one of the five Channels supported by the NES. Patterns contain Notes which are played by an Instrument (DPCM samples do not require an instrument) and may refer to an arpeggio. Instruments may have some of their attributes (pitch, volume, arpeggio) modulated by Envelopes.
Basic Desktop Controls
Most of the operations are performed with the mouse. In general:
- The left mouse button adds stuff, double-clicking something edits properties (songs, patterns, instruments, DPCM)
- The right mouse button removes stuff. Right clicking in the header of the Sequencer or Piano Roll selects.
- The middle mouse button pans when you press it and zooms and you use the mouse wheel.
Alternatively, if your mouse does not have a middle mouse button or mouse wheel:
- All actions requiring pressing the middle mouse buttons can be done with Alt+Left click.
- All actions requiring the mouse wheel can be performed with Alt+Right click, then dragging up/down.
If you are working on a trackpad, please check out how to enable Trackpad controls in the configuration dialog.
Basic Mobile Controls
On mobile, there are 3 main gestures used:
- A quick tap will usually add stuff. Tapping on an certain objects (notes, patterns, instruments, etc.) will sometimes toggle a white highlight around them. When an object has a white highlight, it will allow you to perform other actions such as moving them.
- A swipe will usually pan when clicking in the background. Swiping on the header will select a time range. Swiping on a item with a white highlight will usually drag/move it.
- A long press on something will sometimes reveal advanced options.
The UI was designed to be a simple as possible, there are almost no context menus.
The main window has 4 main components:
- The Toolbar (on top)
- The Project Explorer (on the right) is where you add/remove/edit songs and instruments.
- The Sequencer (below the toolbar) is where you schedule your patterns on one of the 5 channels. It gives a high-level view of the song.
- The Piano Roll (below the sequencer) is where you edit your patterns.
At any given moment there is always:
- A selected channel, in bold in the sequencer
- A selected song, in bold in the project explorer song list
- A selected instrument, in bold in the project explorer instrument list.
- A selected arpeggio, in bold in the project explorer arpeggio list.
The sequencer and piano roll will display the information for the currently selected song. When pressing the keys on the piano roll, it will play notes for the currently selected instrument, and output it on the currently selected channel. The same applies if you have a MIDI keyboard connected.
The main toolbar contains your usual stuff: file operation, undo/redo, timecode, oscilloscope and play controls.
Here is the meaning of each toolbar icon and some additional actions that can be performed.
|Icon||Click Action||Additional Actions|
|Open FamiStudio project or other file format|
|Save project||On Desktop, right click to "Save As...".
On Mobile, use long press.
|Export to various formats Project||On Desktop, right click to repeat the last export|
|Paste||On Desktop, right-click to "Special Paste" (paste with advanced options).
On Mobile, use long press.
|Delete selection (mobile only)||On mobile, long press to "Special Delete" (delete with advanced options)|
|Play song||On desktop, rotate mouse wheel to change playback speed.
On mobile, long press to change playback speed.
|Toggle recording mode|
|Rewing to beginning|
|Change looping mode|
|Toggle QWERTY input (desktop only)|
|Toggle pop-up piano (mobile only)|
|Toggle metronome click|
|Toggle playback machine|
|Toggle follow mode|
|Reveal hidden toolbar buttons (mobile only)|
Keyboard shortcuts or special actions are always displayed as tooltips in the upper-right corner of the toolbar. Please keep an eye on it to learn new functionalities.
Playing/pausing the song
Besides the toolbar, space bar is used to play/pause the song. Ctrl-space plays in pattern loop mode, Shift-space plays in song loop mode.
Changing the playback speed
Rotating the mouse-wheel over the play button will allow you to change the playback speed to 1/2 or 1/4 speed. This is useful to hear very small/short notes.
Changing the looping mode
There are 2 looping modes:
- Song / None: Loops the entire song if a loop point is step, stops at the end if there are no loop point.
- Pattern or Selection: Loops over the current pattern if there is no selection in the sequencer. If there is a selection, will loop over that selection. The icon in the toolbar will change to reflection this.
Toggling the metronome
The metronome can be enabled by clicking the icon on the toolbar. The metronome will tick at every beat and will only work when the song is playing.
Saving the project
Clicking on the icon save the project, right-clicking is a "save as..." and will prompt you for a new filename.
Exporting to various formats
Please see the Export section for details on how to export to various formats.
Please see the Cleanup section for details on how to cleanup your project.
Please see the Configuration section for details on how to configure FamiStudio.
The project explorer displays the list of songs and instruments in the current project.
For more details on what you can do with the Project Explorer, please check out these sections:
The sequencer is where you organize the high-level structure of the song: which patterns play and when they play. The thumbnails of the patterns in the sequencer are by no mean accurate. Please visit the Editing Patterns section for more details.
The piano roll is where you editing the actual notes of the song, the instrument envelopes, as well as some special effects.
Please check out the Editing Notes section for more details.
The piano roll can be maximized to full screen by pressing the little maximize button in the top right corner, or by pressing 1 on the keyboard.
Quick Access Bar (Mobile Only)
The "Quick Access Bar" is specific to the mobile version, is the bar on the right hand side of the screen (of the bottom when in portrait mode). Its content will change depending on the context but will typically give you a series of convenient shortcuts (such as changing the active channel, instrument, etc.) so you dont have to go back and forth between the other views.
Pop-Up Piano (Mobile Only)
Another little view that is unique to the mobile version is the pop-up piano that lets you preview the sound of instrument. This is also used in recording mode, which whill be covered later in the documentation.
Here is a list of useful keyboard shortcuts:
- Space: Play/stop the stop
- Enter: Toggles recording mode.
- Ctrl+Space: Plays from beginning of current pattern.
- Shift+Space: Plays from beginning of the song.
- Ctrl+Shift+Space: Plays from loop point of the song (if any).
- Home: Seeks back to beginning of the song.
- Ctrl+Home: Seeks to beginning of the current pattern.
- Esc: Stops any lindering sound, stops recording mode, clears the selection.
- Ctrl+Z: Undo
- Ctrl+Y: Redo
- Ctrl+N: New project
- Ctrl+S: Save
- Ctrl+E: Export
- Ctrl+Shift+E: Repeat last export
- Ctrl+O: Open
- Shift+Q: Toggle QWERTY keyboard input.
- Delete: Delete selected patterns or notes.
- Escape: Deselects patterns or notes, stops any sound that is stuck playing.
- F1...F24: Changes the active channel (more than 5 if you have expansion audio enabled).
- Ctrl+F1...F24: Force display a channel. (more than 5 if you have expansion audio enabled).
- 1: Toggle maximize the piano roll.
- Ctrl+1: Toggle the effect panel.
- Shift+S: Toggle snapping in the piano roll.
Some keyboard shortcuts specific to the sequencer:
- L+Click: Sets the loop point at the clicked pattern.
Some keyboard shortcuts specific to the piano roll:
- Shift+Click: Adds a release note.
- S+Click (and drag): Creates or edit a slide note.
- A+Click: Toggles the attack of a note.
- I+Click: Instrument picker
- T+Click: Adds an orphan stop note.
- Shift+S: Toggles snapping.
When QWERTY keyboard input is active, some of the keys will be overriden to support piano input. This is default layout for an en-US keyboard. The Configuration Dialog allows re-mapping the keys for other types of keyboards.