Getting Around in Cakewalk Sonar

Getting Around in Cakewalk Sonar 6

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 
By Stephane Brault

Cakewalk Sonar is a powerful application that allows you to perform many different tasks from composing music, recording an instrument, making computer game music and sounds, producing compact discs and even scoring films and videos. You can use Sonar as your central piece of equipment and control your music gear from your computer through control panels.

For this tour, we'll cut down Sonar into differents parts:

  • Projects
  • Tracks, clips and events
  • Staff View
  • Piano Roll View
  • Event List View
  • Loop Construction View
  • Console View


All the music data for a body of work is contained in a project. A project can be anything from a musical composition, a movie soundtrack or a song from your favorite artist. A project also contains the settings for your work such as effects and recording options. A project saved in a file with the .CWP extension will contain only MIDI data and project settings whereas a Cakewalk Bundle file (.CWB) will contain also any audio data.


Events are the smallest music data unit. It can contain a single music note, a patch change, an instruction to modify the volume, etc.


Clips are groups of events. They can contain an entire MIDI song as well as a vocal performance recorded as audio.


Tracks are used to store clips. A project could contain 3 MIDI tracks (let's say drum, bass and keyboard) and 1 audio track (like recorded vocals). Each track can contain any number clips. The number of track in Sonar is limited to your computer's performance.

Track View

Sonar allows you to work with data using views. Each view allows you to manipulate data in different ways. You can switch between views by clicking on Views from the top menu. The track view is the default view when you create a new Sonar project. This will probably be the one you will be using most. This view shows you all the available tracks in a project.

Sonar - Track View

Staff View

The staff view show you the tracks as music notation. You can view multiple tracks by selecting them in the track view and then click on Views => Staff from the main menu.

Sonar - Staff View

You can edit music notes using the staff view. Notation functions such as percussion parts and guitar chords are available.

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