As a musician, having a MIDI controller can be incredibly helpful for creating music in your home studio. However, what do you do when you are traveling or don’t have access to your MIDI controller? Well, did you know that you can use your computer keyboard as a MIDI controller in Ableton Live? In this blog post, we’ll show you how to do just that.
First, open Ableton Live and create a blank session. Next, you will need to engage the computer MIDI keyboard feature. You can do this by either pressing the button at the top of the screen or by pressing the “M” key on your keyboard. Once engaged, the middle row of buttons on your keyboard (A through L) will become a scale.
Now, you can start playing the keys on your keyboard and Ableton Live will send MIDI information to the track. If you drag a piano track into your session, you can play the keys on your keyboard and hear the notes on the piano track. The keys on the keyboard correspond to the notes in the C major scale, with the “L” button giving you a high D note.
If you’re a piano player, you can picture where the sharps would be. For example, the “W” key would be a C-sharp and the “E” key would be a D-sharp. You can play a whole chromatic scale from C to D by using the “T,” “Y,” and “U” keys.
If you want to drop the octave, you can use the “Z” and “X” keys. The “Z” key will lower the octave, and the “X” key will bring it back up. If you want to adjust the velocity or the loudness of the sound, you can use the “C” and “V” keys.
You can also play in a different key by using the MIDI effects and going to “Pitch.” From there, you can drop the pitch on the same track and play in a different key. Keep in mind that it will still record on that track in the key of C, and you will have to manually bring it down inside the clip.
Using your computer keyboard as a MIDI controller is a handy way of playing keys and creating music when you don’t have access to your MIDI controller. In our next video, we’ll show you how to use your computer keyboard as a MIDI controller for drum tracks. Stay tuned!