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  1. Jon Hickam
  2. MIDI Software
  3. Thursday, 05 October 2017
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I play chromatic button accordion and want to be able to use some of my same licks with a soft synth. I am looking at the Lofree keyboard, which has mechanical switches for keys and is laid out with the buttons stacked symmetrically. The one virtual keyboard that I tried did not work because I could only map a given midi note to one key, and the chromatic button accordions actually repeat the rows so you can use the same fingerings in different keys. For example I would want to map both 'V' and "7" to the note C1.
Any recommendations for software packages our development environments for something like this? I am on windows, linux, or android tablets.
thanks in advance!!
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Hey! When Geoff mentioned QWERTY, that reminded me of a Windows tool called qwertymidi that I played around with once. It's in the zip file package of Div's MIDI Utilities.

Here's the description from that page:
Qwertymidi is a command line/text mode interactive utility lets you use your computer keyboard as if it were a synthesizer keyboard. It supports custom mapping of the keyboard layout by means of a config file. A list of keyboard scan codes will be useful for configuring the mapping. Sample maps are included for the common piano-like tracker keyboard layout, the experimental von Janko piano keyboard layout from the 1850's, the Hayden concertina button layout, and a General MIDI drum kit.


Here are some steps to get you started:
1. Go to Div's MIDI Utilities and download the zip file.
2. Make a folder on your Desktop and extract the files below into that folder:
midi-utilities\bin\lsmidiouts.exe
midi-utilities\bin\qwertymidi.exe
midi-utilities\share\qwertymidi\classic.map
3. Hold down the Shift key and right click on the folder. Choose "Open command window here".
4. Enter lsmidiouts to see a numbered list of MIDI output devices on your computer.
5. Enter the following command
qwertymidi --out n --map classic.map
where n corresponds to the number of the MIDI output device you want to use.
6. The computer keyboard now acts as a piano keyboard and plays the selected MIDI device. Press Esc to quit.

You can edit the classic.map file in Notepad or another editor. It maps scancodes to MIDI note numbers (60 is middle C). I made some test edits and it allows multiple keys to map to the same note.

-----

Another tool in that package called imp looks similar:
Imp (input mapping program) is a rudimentary but usable attempt to create a more powerful successor to qwertymidi. It is implemented as a true GUI program in order to use newer Microsoft APIs which distinguish amongst multiple USB keyboards plugged into the same computer at the same time.


Imp is new to me, so I'm still playing around with it for the first time, and it isn't documented very well. But here's what I've figured out so far.

To use it, you need to extract these files:
midi-utilities\bin\imp.exe
midi-utilities\bin\libexpat.dll
midi-utilities\share\imp\english-48.imp (or any of the .imp files)

When you run imp.exe, an Open dialog box will appear, and you can choose english-48.imp. I get an imp taskbar button, but no window shows up for me on my Windows 8.1 system. The program only captures keys when it is the "active window". It's active immediately after you select the english-48.imp file, but if I click something else, then try to click back to the task bar button, it doesn't seem to activate properly for me. However, I was able to use Alt+Tab to select it, and that re-activates it for me.

When you edit the english-48.imp file in Notepad, the format uses descriptive names for the keys and notes. I made some test edits and it allows multiple keys to map to the same note.

I peeked in the source code in the src\imp folder and it looks like you might have to start it with --midi-out-number n or --midi-out-name name to select another device.

Although the description claims it can distinguish between multiple keyboards (use or edit english-48-double.imp for example), that doesn't seem to work for me. When I tried, all the keyboards (laptop built-in and 2 USB keyboards) got the same notes. There are command options --keyboard-alias-number n:str and --keyboard-alias-handle n:str that might be related, but I don't understand them yet.
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I use Bome MIDI Translator Pro for all my MIDI mapping needs.

http://www.bome.com
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Incredible!!!

Somebody has got the same idea as me! "using a lofree keyboard as a CBA midi". I'm waiting for my keyboard to arrived. I've found another software very user friendly called freepiano. i begun to use it with the loopmidi as virtual midi driver , and ableton life to access sound banks.

two problems will occure in my mind.

First : how to use two keyboard to use both hands to play (assuming you like to play freebass accordion like me, because Stradella bass would be another big problem to configure) . For this point, the imp.exe could be the solution

Second : the latency of course. Each time you use intermediate software you may introduce some more latency


Let's keep in touch as soon as i get my lofree keyboard. I thing many french accordion players would like to ear about that technic. Perhaps it could be an idea to open a thread in that direction to.


NRI
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Many thanks Bavi_H, that is just what I am looking for. I am also struggling a bit with imp.exe. --help gave some tips but yet to get a sound out.

It will be more helpful when I get a second keyboard, ordering the lofree tonight!
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Sorry, but you'll just have to explore as many virtual keyboards as you can.

In software terms, it's a pretty simple task. You just have one (or more) tables in memory which equates specific keys with specific notes, and there's no reason at all why you cannot have the same note attached to different keys, as you require. Or a method of quickly switching between one map and another. I've done my own progs which map QWERTY keys to notes, for testing purposes.

Maybe, lurking somewhere in the web undergrowth, there IS a virtual keyboard that will do this. Try a search for 'virtual music keyboard multiple maps' and see if that's any help.

Geoff
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