Sunday, May 30, 2010

MIDI and Keyboard Music

John Marine | 5/30/2010 02:43:00 AM | |
Music has always been a hobby for both myself and my brother. I have always been a piano and keyboard person while my brother is a guitar person. I can remember having a toy piano in my youth. I always dreamed of having a proper piano. However, it wasn't like I wanted to attend any piano classes or whatever. So I've taught myself how to play piano and the keyboard. What you're going to see in this blog entry is a personal look at keyboards that I have used before and what I remember most about each of them.

^ from: my Myspace page - the Casio CTK-671.

--- The MIDI Experience ---
There have been a number of people I've talked to that hate MIDI music. Thing is, when you can't make your own music with real instruments, MIDI is a worthy alternative. You can easily piece together different keyboard strokes to make various sounds. The real magic to MIDI is in putting everything together. Think of turning keystrokes into instruments. You have to find the right kinds of instruments to make the best-possible music.

One beautiful thing about MIDI is that you can use things like wavetable synthesis to replace the MIDI sounds with that of decent instruments. Another lovely thing is that you can replace the boring MIDI sound effects with more interesting sounds by way of SoundFonts. SoundFonts take your regular MIDI sounds and replaces them with very realistic sounds. This can even be used in various applications that allow for SoundFonts to be used in making music. This includes any music-making programs that allow for VST and VSTi implementation. Some SoundFonts are free to download, but you'll have to pay for some SoundFonts.

--- Keyboards I Have Used ---
Here are a look at keyboards I have used before.

Casio Rapman.

^ from: - The Casio Rapman was the first-ever rap keyboard. It came complete with three drum beats, a microphone, and a wheel for scratching sounds.

While hip-hop and rap were MUCH different back in the early 1990s compared to today, at least this keyboard gave you the chance to mix your own music. Its 31 keys didn't give you too many options to make anything really spectacular. For what it was, however, it was the first keyboard that I've used and enjoyed. Maybe my finest moment was playing an actual song. I actually did "Three Blind Mice" with this keyboard! I don't do real songs. Instead, I mostly make my own material.

Casio CTK-500.

^ from: - I go from a 30-something key keyboard to a 61-key keyboard. Quite an upgrade from the Rapman, I'd say!

The mid-1990s was when me and my family moved to a new house (which is our current house). After we won the lottery, we went ahead and bought some things for the new house. One of those was a keyboard I wanted to get and play. The keyboard was great in trying my hand at more advanced music. I've made a few songs with this keyboard, but mostly used it to play the different rhythms. I felt like I could do MUCH more with this keyboard than with the Rapman because it had 61 keys for which to make music with.

A key point for me was in the fact that I wanted to make MIDI music. Unfortunately, neither keyboard I've used previously has MIDI capabilities. That was, until my brother got me one keyboard to where I could totally practice my MIDI ability...

Casio CTK-671.

^ from:, by way of - the Casio CTK-671 is my current keyboard. It is well-known for being able to upload rhythms and instruments to it, but many have criticized it for a lack of being able to load and save MIDI files to it from some external storage device (like a floppy disk).

The Casio CTK-671 is my current keyboard since about 2003. Its biggest feature is that you could add some extra rhythms and instruments to it. The most important feature was the fact this keyboard was MIDI-compatible. This was a chance for me to make some of the dream songs I've wanted to make from my keyboard and translated into MIDI music. I've made a good number of MIDI music songs for personal use.

These days, I'm trying to utilize my keyboard to make tracker music.

--- My Next Keyboard? ---
I am very satisfied with Casio keyboards. Despite this, if I wanted a new keyboard, I want to go from Casio... to Yamaha. The big reason why is two letters- XG. XG MIDI from Yamaha delivers amazing quality instruments, not to mention a broader array of instruments. I don't think I'd want a digital piano or even a real piano. I am not sure if XG is still alive and well in this day and age, but XG is surely solid and powerful even to this day.

--- Keyboard and MIDI Resources ---
My way of thanking you for reading is by offering you resources in case you loved my material.

Online Resources.
More will be added in the future. Keep checking for updates.

* TiMIDIty
^ I mostly just use the SoundFonts for TiMIDIty. They sound very close to a set of SoundFonts I once had when I previously had the Creative Audigy SE sound card installed on my PC. Best thing is, TiMIDIty is free, as are the SoundFonts you can use for it!

^ SynthFont is a great program to use in listening to your MIDI files with any set of SoundFonts you may have. That's even if you don't have a sound card that supports SoundFonts.

Remember- more resources will be added in future blog edits.

MIDI and Keyboard Resources on Amazon.
NOTE: This section contains links to Amazon products. You are welcome to click on images and links to learn more about each item. You are free to order any items featured in this section or in any widget if you choose. Please see "An Important Amazon Note" in my blog's sidebar to see more information on any Amazon items shown.

(3 feet long)
(5 feet long)
(10 feet long)
(15 feet long)
^ This is a standard MIDI cable from HOSA good for all MIDI operation. All of the graphics indicate the various lengths of MIDI cable available based on my Amazon search. Pick one that will best suit you and your needs.

^ When I got my current PC for Christmas back in 2005, the one thing I missed more than anything was being able to make MIDI music. I had to purchase a USB-driven MIDI cable for which to make MIDI music. Mine is from Turtle Beach, but the one above is fairly basic if you want to make MIDI music to be played/recorded on your computer. This is a very inexpensive USB-driven MIDI cable. Consider getting this if you don't have a traditional MIDI jack to your computer. This is good for both Windows and Mac computers. For Windows, this is good for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. No AC adapter is required.

^ Because I sit on my bed to play my keyboard, I don't need to use a proper keyboard stand or a keyboard bench. Get this for your large portable keyboards. The stand can be adjusted to certain positions to rest your keyboard on as you play, so it's very adaptable.

^ Heavy keyboards need heavy keyboard stands. Try this one for your larger keyboards! It will be sure to keep your larger keyboard from winning the fight on being too heavy for any average stand. This is good for big older keyboards as well.

^ A keyboard stand and a keyboard mean nothing if you don't have something comfortable to sit on. This is a keyboard bench from Yamaha that will give you something comfortable to sit on as you play. Just make sure not to lean back too far or anything.

^ Keyboards that have sustain pedal effects can get this pedal. I have no experience using pedals for proper pianos or keyboards, so I can not explain this any further.

^ This is my current keyboard. If you just want a more-than-decent keyboard for which to make great-sounding music, you can't really go wrong with this keyboard. Okay, so it's not a professional keyboard. But if you want a pro keyboard, you can always find one from Casio (or somebody else). The keyboard is maybe seven years old. This is still more than decent of a keyboard to use. You can still jack in a MIDI cable for which to enjoy MIDI music. You want to make great keyboard music or not? If your answer is yes, please give this keyboard a try!

I want you to be able to enjoy making MIDI music. So what I've done is include a number of other Amazon resources to help you out. Click on items in the widget to find something that may interest you.

For keyboards and keyboard accessories:

For MIDI software:

For books on MIDI:

If you're looking for mroe resources on Amazon, but none of my widgets were of any help, then just click on the graphic below to begin your search for ALL things music instrument on Amazon!

That concludes this blog entry. Now you have some insight on my past with music keyboards. Please let me know how I'm doing by posting comments. Don't forget also to purchase some material I've posted from Amazon if you see ANYTHING that you like. I'm doing this for YOU so that YOU can get things based on relevant material in my blog and blog entries. Subscribe to me on FeedBurner to keep up with all of my blog entries and to be in the know for when I post something new. Until next time, take care!
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