Using Pro Tools' MIDI editor, I'm arranging a strings instrument track.

I'm making use of the "sustain" automation lane, in order to add a sustain effect.

What is the best way to implement an immediate "release/depress" sustain effect, if I am using grid mode?

The only way I can think of is to reduce the grid to 1/64 of a note and reduce the "sustain" value to zero for a duration of 1/64.

Is there a better way?

  • 1
    Why would you need that? I just cannot see the use-case. Apart from the fact that some instruments if you catch them in the release phase will sustain at that current level, wouldn't it just be easier to overlap your notes by a short amount, if the sample set can't cope with legato properly. btw, the best way to get keyboard strings to sound like actual strings rather than a keyboard player with a string machine, is to play every line, one at a time, with some performance; mod, pb, aftertouch, or something like TouchOSC for more flexibility.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 14, 2023 at 19:03
  • You are right. Evidently, I am only starting to learn. Many thanks for the comment
    – Isaac
    Commented Jan 14, 2023 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


To answer your question as asked - yes. In it's simplest form, sus pedal on/off consists of two discreet events, cc64 127 & cc64 0, so to switch the pedal off then on again you need to insert these two cc64 values, 0, 127, one after the other. [Many instruments use only 0 & 127 as a binary switch, others can use all values in between - this is often more useful for such as piano, where partial pedalling has a real use-case.]

Practically, as already mentioned, this isn't a great way to do it.
If you were playing this in as a keyboard player trying to achieve smooth transitions, then you would naturally just add the pedal just before a chord change then lift shortly after it. A keyboard player would just 'feel' this transition & be able to modify their playing so the timings came out smoothest.

Conversely, you could just extend the notes to slightly overlap [legato] & not rely on pedal at all.

To really do this 'properly' on a string arrangement you really don't want to be playing block chords. It just never sounds like an orchestra, it sounds like a keyboard player with a 'string machine'.
To achieve realism you need to play each line individually, as each player would play it, with appropriate performance parameters.
This is not 'beginner' territory.

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