FORTE fans often reach out to us with questions about MIDI recording. They wonder about the settings of their instruments. They ask us about the buttons and settings in FORTE, and much more…
This article will guide you through three steps to MIDI recording with FORTE.
Step 1. Setting up your MIDI instrument for recording
a. Connect your keyboard with the USB cable.
b. Connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port.
As a first step, you’ll need to connect your MIDI instrument (say, for example, a keyboard or an e-piano) via a USB or MIDI cable with an audio interface.
Then, start the FORTE program.
In the main menu “Options,” select “MIDI In.” You’ll find your MIDI instrument listed as “Default Recording Device.”
Select your device and click “apply.”
If your keyboard has a sound module of its own, you might like to set it up as the default playback device. The resulting sound will be better and the recording of your music more precise.
In the tab “MIDI Out,” you can select the default playback device. If your MIDI device doesn’t have a sound module of its own, we recommend you select “VST Synth” as the default playback device. This setting helps to reduce latency. (Latency refers to a short period of delay––usually measured in milliseconds––between an audio signal entering and emerging from a system.)
If you want your playback to always come from your midi instrument or from VST Synth, check the box “Always use default device” and click “Apply” to confirm your choice.
c. Setting up MIDI-In
d. Setting up MIDI-Out
FORTE is now ready for recording!
FORTE Home and FORTE Premium offer two recording options:
- Step mode – this means that you enter each note after the previous one. (You define the note value with either your computer mouse or the numbers on your computer keyboard. For example, 4 for a quarter note.)
- Real-time mode – see ‘step 3b.’
Step 2: Setting up your score for recording a piano system
Before you start entering the notes, you’ll need to set up your score for recording a piano system. Especially when you’re planning on recording several instruments, it’s crucial that FORTE knows which track you’re recording.
Open FORTE’s mixer by clicking the mixer icon. You’ll find this icon in the main tabs “Home” and “Record” on the far left. (The key combination “alt+3” also opens the mixer.)
The mixer will open at the bottom of your FORTE window.
Go to the track (duct) of the instrument you’re planning to record. At the bottom of the duct, you’ll see a small green triangle: the “Play” symbol. This means the track is selected to playback.
If you click the green triangle, it will turn into a red circle which is the recording symbol. Now, FORTE knows you want to MIDI-record on this track with your instrument.
Step 3a: MIDI record (step mode)
Recording step mode means you record every single note after the previous one.
Since FORTE Basic only offers the step mode, you just need to click on the “MIDI” record button to record in step mode.
If you’re using FORTE Home or FORTE Premium, you’ll need to click “step mode” first and then click the “MIDI” record button.
You can use the input palette to select the note value, say a quarter, an eighth note or a sixteenth note. But you’ll be faster if you use the numbers of your computer keyboard.
A “4” is a quarter, an “8” stands for the eighth note, a “6” for the sixteenth and so on.
To find your computer keyboard layout go to the main tab “Help,” and then to “Keyboard Layout.”
Step 3b: MIDI record in real-time (FORTE Premium and Home only)
Real-time mode allows you to record your music alongside the metronome.
FORTE interprets the note values of your music automatically. The main tab “Record” shows you a range of options regarding this type of recording.
Next to the metronome, you’ll see the “Region” tab which refers to a region of measures you can choose from for recording.
If you want to record several versions of a region, you can set up a loop.
Furthermore, FORTE can lead you in before recording. (If you have loop mode activated, the lead-in is repeated with each new loop as well.)
The “Options” tab (to the right of “Record”) allows you to choose what you would like FORTE to do with your already entered music once you start a new recording or a new loop.
Now you’ve set all the parameters, simply click the red record button to start recording.
Quantization: Have FORTE correct the note values automatically
Because we’re human and not robots, it can be difficult to play with a precise/exact timing.
And so, FORTE is designed to further support your music writing by ‘quantizing’ your recorded notes.
You can select the smallest note value of your recorded music, and by using quantization, your score is adjusted automatically.
To start quantizing your music, go to the main tab “Record.” On the right side of the menu ribbon, you’ll see “Quantization.”
Click “Notes” and the property window will open.
Select the parameters you want to quantize (for example, the starting time, the duration etc.) as well as the division of the quarter note. (It’s crucial to select the smallest note value of your recorded music here, for example, 16th notes.)
More options and MIDI-routing for professionals
Go to the main tab “Options” and select “MIDI-In,” and then “Routing” to select all the details regarding the MIDI channels selected for recording.
In this same window, you can select the split point. The split point defines the pitch which is used to divide/split your notes between tracks or voices. (These features will be particularly interesting for advanced MIDI users and for professionals.)
For more information on MIDI recording with FORTE, please see our short article: How do I enter notes from my MIDI-device in real-time?
We hope you enjoyed this post and we look forward to receiving your comments below.