Midi programming for non-keyboard players



I'm a guitarist with very little keyboard skills.

For those of you who are non-keyboard players, how do you program midi keyboard parts? Lately I've been using Band in a Box since I can type in a chord progression, pick a style, and generate a midi file which can be dragged and dropped into logic. I'm just wondering if there are better options.



For those of you who are non-keyboard players, how do you program midi keyboard parts?

Very slowly :D Seriously though, that's the beauty of MIDI. Slow things down until you can play them in comfortably. Play in one had at a time if necessary (personal confession: I often do this). Edit like crazy, use the extended region parameters for nuanced quantizing. The velocity tool is your friend; learn to use the capture last take command in order to play a part over and over until you get it right - and then capture that last correctly played take. Punch in a lot. Etc.... There's no one magic answer.
There's no one magic answer.

Not until Apple buy BIAB :)

Seriously I agree. I find that although I will never be a good pianist, just trying to play stuff in using the methods you do have made me improve, as well as more aware of how to do it well. Copying and pasting from BIAB will get very very good results, but you won't actually learn as quickly from that process.

Mind you I'm guilty of taking plenty of programming shortcuts these days. I used to do lots of very careful drum programming, even to the point of programming 16 bar drum solos which (if I may say so myself) sound quite convincing. However since I discovered EZDrummer most of that has gone out of the window as the many of the grooves are so useable straight out of the box.

Of course good (live played and programmed) MIDI files of loads of grooves have been around for years, but it's the useabilty factor of being able to audition them from a catalogued library (at project tempo) and then just dragging into the arrange a la Apple Loops that would be the real boon.
Hi Dana,

I'm a guitarist with very little keyboard skills.

Do you like 80s new wave music (I love it!) because most of those guys were keyboard players with two-fingered keyboard skills! ;)

Anyway, I'm a guitarist too, without a single keyboard lesson to my name.

For those of you who are non-keyboard players, how do you program midi keyboard parts?

I find that one of the best friends for poor keyboard players like me is Step Input mode. I'll call up a Piano Roll editor, click the "MIDI Input" button, and make sure the division number is set to the note that I want to input (eighth note, quarter note, sixteenth note, etc). And then I'll play in the MIDI part one step at a time. And remember that with Step Input mode, you don't have to have every note at the same division; you can change the division number between steps, and add rests, etc.

I especially love step input mode because it lets me play more complex chords than I could play in real time. So if I was recording a riff in real time, I might only be able to hit two or three keys at most. But in step input mode, I can hit a five or more note chord, since I have all the time in the world to place my fingers over the keys I want to press before actually depressing them and inputting the step.

Really, I'd highly recommend investigating step input mode in the piano roll editor. Look it up in the manual (or in my book, but really, I didn't answer this post to shill, I promise! :) )

Where is the problem? On a keyboard guitarist can use the left hand for the delicate parts and the right hand for the powerful sections (vice versa for Orren). Keyboarders don't have this chance. Therefore guitarists make the better music.