I Want a Midi

• Aug 27, 2013 - 07:37

Can anyone recommend a small MIDI (about 12 inches} that is compatible with MuseScore I could use?

I was at the Guitar Center and was shown two midis by Akai that look like what I need, however the sells person couldn't tell me if they were compatible with Musescore.



I assume you are talking about a MIDI keyboard?

If it outputs MIDI messages then it is compatible with MuseScore.

You will need a MIDI interface to connect it to your computer.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I suspect most of the small keyboards one might buy are connected via USB and don't need a separate keyboard.

Do note that MIDI input is limited to one note at a time - you can't just play music and have it magically rendered as notation. Personally, I find using a MIDI keyboard only barely more efficient than note entry by typing on the computer keyboard and not worth the bother. Certain things go a little faster using MIDI inout (MuseScore doesn't have to guess which octave a note is in), other things go a little faster with computer keyboard input (MuseScore doesn't have to guess how to spell an accidental).

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Yes, I'm talking about a keyboard. The keyboard I have in mind is the Akai LPK25. It is the size I want and is relatively inexpensive. The problem is no one, so far, can tell me if it will work with MuseScore.

Will this interface you mention will this work? If so, which one should I get and where can I get it?

I'm not one of those musicians that hear music or melodies in their head and puts it down on paper (or MuseScore). I'm the type that messes around on a guitar until I hear something good then go after that and develop it. Presently, I experiment with the notes on MuseScore and create melodies that way. However, as much fun as I'm having I think I can have more positive results with the tactile method.

Thank you.


In reply to by Lafayette

As I said above, most keyboards sold today do not require a separate interface . If the keyboard has a USB connection, you're all set.

But read the rest of my previous message carefully as well. If you're think you can just mess around on the keyboard and MuseScore will magically notate what you play, you're going to be very disappointed. It just doesn't work that way. You will still have to enter notes one at a time just as you do now. The only difference is that after selecting the duration for a note, instead of typing the letter name of the note you want or clicking on the staff, you will be able to play that note on your MIDI keyboard. But it's still the exact same proess: first select a duration, then enter a single note, then select another duration, then enter another single note, etc. So it's really no more "tacile" a method of entering notes than typing or clicking.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Duh and darn.

Thanks for re-iterating what I was too dense the first time to comprehend. You have saved me money, time, and frustration.

I am sorry and disappointed to learn that MuseScore doesn't produced the notes in the manner that I play them. Will this ever be an option in future versions?

Thanks again.


P.S. I still love MuseScore.

In reply to by Lafayette

I think the way forward for you would be to use a MIDI seqeuncer to capture your playing.

I don't know which platform you're own, but there are a number of free ones for Linux, and there is Anvil which is a free entry level sequencer for Windows,

Using this would enable you to play around on he keyboard, capturing your playing and then quantise it and import into MuseScore.


In reply to by Lafayette

Michael's suggestion above - use a sequencer to record your performance, then import the resulting MIDI file into MuseScore) is indeed the way to go if you really must try this. However, you need to be aware that the resultant will very likely be gibberish and will require a lot of manual editing to produce anything even remotely readable. The problem of producing a readable score from what you play is a very difficult one to solve. MuseScore 2.0 will be better than the current version, but this technology is still in its infancy even after several decades of MIDI and notation programs coexisting. Even with the most sophisticated, most expensive programs out there, it is still just no reasonable to expect you play anything you want sand have it magically turned into something readable without the need to (often extensive) manual edits. Producing readable notation from a MIDI performance still requires human expertise and intervention in most cases.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Yes, but even so, but except in simple one-line melodies, it's still the case if one is playing the keyboard like a piano, which both hands, playing chords, etc - it's virtually impossible to turn that into notation that would actually be readable. Too much guesswork involved in sorting out things like which notes to put in which staff, how to sort out multiple voices, spelling of accidentals, etc. To say nothing of the possibility that the music might contain deliberate time signature changes or mistakes in timing that cause everything to get off.

So even when perfectly quantized, I find the results tend to be unreadable and require almost as much work to correct as it would have to enter the music one note at a time. Again, much better in MuseScore 2.0 than 1.3, but even in Finale (pretty much the top of line program) it's still very iffy. It's certainly *possible* to fix up the results to be readable, but this requires just as much expertise in notation as entering the notes by hand. And in my experience, the people most interested in magic auto-notation tend as a rule to be maybe those who are *not* as expert in notation as they could be, and that's a big part of why they are hoping for an automatic solution. Not always, of course, but I think it helps to set expectations realistically. It's not an *easier* way to good results. It's just a *different* way, that overall takes about the same amount of expertise and effort.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

My idea with the MIDI is to simply play melody not chords or harmony. If I can get MuseScore to reproduce just one line of melody as I play it that would make me happy. Once I get the melody notated I can go back (minus the MIDI) and then employing MuseScore to write in the chords and any other ornamentation and/or instruments I desire.

Would this be simple enough to make the idea of sequencer workable?

Believe me I have no desire to sort through a musical morass to find my melody. I have some music reading skills, but not a lot.

In the past I learn to play a simple guitar etude by Carulli by reading the music and by a little couching from a t.v. instructor. But, if I had to reproduce a one line melody I created for guitar all I could give would be the notes and the chords, but not the timing of them.

I understand that the sequencer will give me the notes I played, however will it give the timing of the single line melody?


In reply to by Lafayette

Hello Lafayette.

I just want to reiterate what Mark and Michael have said - it is a LOT more complex to do what you want than it may seem, although it is possible. You will need to play what you want quite accurately in time even to be able to quantise it into a usable result. In the distant past, when MIDI was first introduced, I used this method to write a book of studies and exercises successfully, but one reason I used that method was that it allowed me to experiment and capture various ideas. I now just write the stuff, usually after I have a fairly clear idea of what I want. I have reverted to pencil and paper for sketching, still the very best method, I find.

Best regards,

In reply to by Lafayette

Don't forget that once you have recorded a passage in the sequencer, you can manipulate what you have recorded within it - they all have notation views as well as piano roll views and event lists, so you would be able to sort out any timing errors prior to import into MuseScore.

What I would suggest is that you download a free sequencer and try it out before you take the plunge, so you can see what it can do.


In reply to by xavierjazz

I can't help the feeling that MIDI is getting a bad rap here. As a scoring application, Musescore is the top of the heap for Open Source software packages, but for fast, accurate and NUANCED capturing of musical ideas, MIDI still outperforms "point and click" and step input platforms. If you can play along with a metronome, you can easily create correctly quantized MIDI scores. As a compositional tool, MIDI gets out of your way very quickly. It's a matter of "create, then edit", which MIDI allows with minimal distraction from the creative process. It is easier to be creative and spontaneous when you are actually playing an instrument, than clicking time and pitches on a computer.

I cut my teeth on the Atari/Notator system in the early '90s, and could complete a full high school band arrangement in little more time than it took to actually play the parts on the keyboard. The printed output was not bad, either, considering the general state of WYSWYG software of the day. The palette was surprisingly sophisticated, and the software made ingenious use of the limited resources of the system to keep the whole package under 720kb. Atari were brilliant in that they made the MIDI interface an integral part of the computer itself, not an add-on piece of hardware. The Motorola CPUs of the day were also more accurate in terms of timing than the available Intel architecture. To be sure, some of the editing features that I like best about Musescore are very similar to the score page of Notator.

Do I wish that Musescore had a fully-integrated MIDI module? Not really. Musescore does what it does very well. It creates scores of outstanding quality. I see no need for it to do more. I do wish that someone had cracked the mystery of the Notator .SON file format, or that I had had the foresight to convert my many compositions to MIDI format while 720k disks were still readable on more modern computer platforms.

End of rant... just trying to show MIDI some respect.


In reply to by toffle

I too started on Notator long ago, and agree it showed what was possible. But it also showed limitations that have not been overcome in the 25 years or so since it came out. As I said above, MIDI works fine for simple single-note lines, but not so much for actual keybiard music. And also, by talking about "nuanced performance", you're talking about something that really has nothing to do with the purpose of MuseScore. The purpose is to create good readable notation, not a nuanced performance. If your goal is about the performance as opposed to the notation, then indeed MIDI is well suited, but maybe MuseScore is not - you'd be better off working in a sequencer. So I was assuming the goal was a good looking score, not a nuanced performance.

Anyow, as I have already acknowledged, for inputting single note lines - especially ones that you have thought through in advance and play along carefully play carefully to a click track - sure, MIDI works. It's not really any faster on average than steptime input, but no worse either. Some lines can be played in faster than they can be typed, but the reverse is just as surely true, making it about a wash in the long run. For producing a big band score - which is after all, a series of single note lines, some of which may be of the character where playing is slitly more efficient, others of the opposite character - MIDI input is about as good as any other form of input.

Note I'm not talking about a specific personality trait that might happen to allow some given user to feel more "spontaneous" when playing a MIDi keyboard versus typing on a computer keyboard or, god forbid, clicking - I'm talking the actual reality of how efficient the input method is. Although of course, if you're playing a well-thought-out line carefully along with a click track, that's not really being particularly "spontaneous".

But my comments were not about carefully playing a well-thought-out line along with a click track at all. They were about my perception that the OP just wanted to mess around - presumably with both hands - and have MuseScore magically turn that into readable two staff piano notation. Maybe that's not the case here, but it was not obvious, and this *is* a commonly expressed expectation. So I felt it important to interject some reality.

Within its limitations, sure, MIDI works.

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