At the end of this lesson, you will know exactly how to use ghost notes in FL Studio. Sometimes, they’re also called ghost channels, ghost chords or even just ghosts.
If you’re new to FL Studio, start first with the FL Studio Beginner’s Guide.
What are ghost notes
Ghost notes are (dark grey) transparent notes on the FL Studio Piano Roll. They serve the purpose to showcase the notes of all used channels on a Pattern. For example, let’s say you have a melody with instrument 1, then you can see the notes of that melody as ghosts on instrument 2. This way, all the musical content within a Pattern will be entirely visible on the Piano Roll.
Why use ghost notes
Normally, you pick an instrument and draw notes on the Piano Roll. This can be anything, like a melody, chord progression or rhythm. These notes belong to one instrument. One channel. But when you use a different instrument (channel), you may want to see the notes from your other instruments (channels) for guidance.
How to use ghost notes
If you want to enable ghost notes, open the Piano Roll and click the arrow in the top left corner. Then, select “Helpers” and click “Ghost Channels”. Ghost notes will now appear on the Piano Roll for each instrument. This allows you to draw notes with one instrument, while seeing the notes of the others. This is very useful to immediately match the notes of your current channel with the notes already created.
So, ghost notes serve as visual feedback to see what the notes of other channels are. This you can use as guidance to draw the notes for your current channel.
Make melodies faster with ghost notes
To fully benefit from it, you have to know the basics of music theory. This allows you to design your melody in harmony with the other instruments. To get these skills quickly, simply start with The Ultimate Melody Guide by clicking this link.
The video will give you a good example to see the benefit of ghost notes while working with a chord progression to create a melody. Again, read The Ultimate Melody Guide if you don’t know about the fundamentals of chords and melodies.
Ghost notes on different Patterns
When ghost notes are enabled, you will see the (dark grey) notes of all the channels combined. That is, ONLY if they are created in the same Pattern. If you go to a new Pattern, the ghost notes will temporarily disappear, until you fill the new Pattern with some musical content. So, ghost notes are Pattern based.
How to edit ghost notes
If you want to be able to edit ghost notes, open the Piano Roll and click the arrow in the top left corner. Then, select “Helpers” and click “Editable ghosts”. Editable ghost notes allow you to change the notes of a different channel within your current channel. This basically serves as a shortcut to modify the melody of one instrument, while working in the other.
Now, if you’re struggling to make professional melodies, thus optimally benefit from using ghost notes in the first place, start now with The Ultimate Melody Guide. Many producers have had their breakthroughs, so I don’t want you to miss out.
(Music producer, author & creator of Screech House)