Entries by FORTE Team

3 Steps to MIDI Recording With FORTE

FORTE fans often reach out to us with lots of questions about MIDI recording in their favorite music writing software.
They wonder about the settings of their instrument.
They ask us about the buttons and settings of FORTE. Let us help you out there, guys. This article, complete with more than 10 illustrations and 2 videos, will guide you through 3 steps to MIDI recording with FORTE.

Noten über MIDI einspielen

MIDI-Workshop: 3 Steps to MIDI recording and editing your music with FORTE

Step 1. Setting up your MIDI instrument for recording.

Noten über MIDI einspielen

1. Connect your keyboard with the USB cable. 

Noten über MIDI einspielen

2. Connect 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 USB or via a MIDI cable with an audio interface.
Then, you start the FORTE program. In the main menu “Options”, select "MIDI" -> “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. As a result, the sound will be better and the recording of your music will be 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 when an audio signal enters and when it emerges from a system. If you want your playback to always come from your midi instrument or from VST Synth, you check the box “Always use default device”. Click “apply” to confirm your choice.

1. Setting up MIDI-IN

2. Setting up MIDI-Out

FORTE’s now ready for recording! FORTE Home and FORTE Premium offer two recording options: Step mode and realtime mode. Step mode means that you enter each note after the other. You define the note value with either your computer mouse or the numbers of your computer keyboard (4 for a quarter note and so on).

Step 2: Setting up your score for recording a piano system

Just 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 find the mixer icon in the main tabs “Home” and “Record” at the far left. The key combination “alt+3” also opens the mixer.

The mixer opens at the bottom of your FORTE window. Go to the track (duct) of the instrument you’re planning on recording.
At the bottom of the duct you can see a small green triangle: the “Play” symbol. This means that this track is selected to playback. If you click the green triangle, it will turn into a red circle, the recording symbol.
Now, FORTE knows that you want to MIDI-record on this track with your instrument.

Step 3a: MIDI record (Step Mode)

Recording step mode means your record each single note after the other. Since FORTE Basic just offers the step mode, you’ll need to click on the MIDI record button for recording in step mode. When you’re using FORTE Home or FORTE Premium, you’ll need to click step mode first and subsequently 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 and a “6” for the sixteenth and so on. You find the layout of your computer keyboard under the main tab “Help”, then “Keyboard Layout”.

In the following video we will show you this combined method of writing your music. We’ll also show you how to set up your score.

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 the kind of recording. Next to the metronome, there’s “Region” which refers to a region of measures you can choose 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.

Under “Options”, the tab at the far right side of the main tab “Record”, you decide what FORTE should do with your already entered music once you start a new recording or a new loop.

Now that you’ve set all parameters, click the red record button to start recording.

Quantization: Have FORTE correct the note values automatically

We’re humans, not robots. It can be quite difficult to play with a precise / exact timing. That’s why FORTE supports your music writing with quantizing your recorded notes. You select the smallest note value of your recorded music. Using quantization, your score is adjusted automatically.

To start quantizing your music, go to the main tab “Record”. At the right side of the menu ribbon, there’s “Quantization”. Click “Input”. A property window opens. Select the parameters you want to quantize (say 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", “MIDI-In”, then “Routing” to select all the details regarding the MIDI channels selected for recording.
In this same window you can select the split point. This point defines the pitch which is used to divide / split your notes between tracks or voices. These features are especially interesting to the advanced MIDI user or the professional.

We greatly hope that you enjoyed “3 Steps to MIDI recording with FORTE”. We’re looking forward to your comments below!
Here’s some more information on MIDI-recording with FORTE...

If you have any questions about FORTE, you’ll find a great deal of answers here. And of course, you can always write us a message.

Your FORTE team

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Frequently Asked Questions About FORTE

How much is an update / upgrade?

Updates are free of charge. Updates contain small bug fixes and work towards greater stability. Generally, updates are available for the last two versions.
When your computer is connected to the internet, go to the main menu “help” and select “check for updates”. If there’s a new update available, download it.

Or maybe you meant upgrade. An upgrade refers to changing to a bigger or newer version. Say for example from FORTE Basic to FORTE Home. Or from FORTE 7 to FORTE 8. If you upgrade, your existing licenses will be taken into account to give you the best possible rate, of course. You’ll only pay the difference. Here’s an overview of the upgrade rates:

You can also use this link to check if there are any upgrades available for you.

Do I have to purchase a new FORTE every year?

No, you don’t have to. If you’re happy with your FORTE, we’re happy as well. Yet we do recommend you do a thorough check of the new FORTE in autumn. The new version is always optimized for the respective operating system. Together, they run safe and smooth. That means the chances for freezes or shutdowns are low.

The introductory offer usually lasts for a few days and you’ll receive the news about it well in advance. Maybe one of the preview showed you some interesting new feature? Then download the trial version in any case and try the new feature! During the introductory offer your upgrade rates are as good as they'll ever get for you.
Being a FORTE customer, you’ll get your upgrade rates and information ahead of everyone else!

Just how much is FORTE?

FORTE has one version, like for example FORTE 6, FORTE 7 or FORTE 8. Each year, a new version is published: FORTE 9 will be released in 2017.
Each version comes with three editions: Basic, Home and Premium.
FORTE is available as a download license or in a box.

Here are your rates:

FORTE Premium:


FORTE Basic:

$229 (Download) / $239 (Box)

$99 (Download) / $109 (Box)

$24 (Download) / $34 (Box)

Which FORTE edition is the right one for me?

We cannot give you a general recommendation as to which edition ist the right one for you. The best edition for you depends on what kind of music you're making and which functions of the program are essential for you. There's an overview of the different editions here labeled "Every detail you need to know about FORTE".

The easiest way to find the best option for you is to simply test the program. You can download trial versions of each edition and test it for 14 days. (see below "How long can I use the trial version?")

Should I buy the download or the box?

Buying a box you have a physical product that you can touch and put on a shelf. Sometimes, it’s important to have that kind of feeling for a purchase. However, producing CDs and boxes and wrapping and shipping them requires a lot of energy and resources. This causes environmental stress. That’s why the boxes cost an additional $10. Boxes are produced at the release date (Version X.0). That means if you buy a box at a later time in the year, you’ll have to install an additional upgrade right away (Version X.1).

Your download license is with you right away and you can get started immediately. Even on a Friday night. Licenses are always sent to your paypal account (!). Please remember to check your spam folder, too. A download doesn’t require any ressources save for an internet connection. They are eco-friendly. Download licenses are always up to date – you’ll always get the latest version. We recommend you save the setup file of your license, say, on an external hard drive. And even if you lose this file, we’ll always be able to send you your download link and license key again.

I’ve bought FORTE, but it does not accept my license key!

You’ll probably also see an error message? If you buy a FORTE license, you’ll have to download and install the full version first. You cannot use your license key to “open” your trial version.

How long can I use the trial version?

You can test each edition of FORTE once for 14 days. The trial version is fully functional. You can test, write, save and print your first scores. You will not be charged anything. After the testing period of 14 days, the program just won't open again. You do not have to cancel anything. Of course, you'll be able to access your saved scores when you decide to buy a FORTE license.

Good to know:

The trial period starts once you installed FORTE for the first time. In order to get the most thorough and best experience, please plan for some time with the program 🙂

During the trial period, you'll get some emails to help you get started. These are sent automatically (once again - this is a great help to you on a weekend!). So it might happen that the emails and your actual trial period are somewhat not 100% syncked.

The emails contain tips for your work with FORTE and other information and as well as offers for the software. If you don't want to receive these news, please use the unsubscribe link provided. We might be a bit sad then, though...

The following page will provide you some useful information: You'll get an overview of the differences between the different FORTE editions. You'll be able to download a fully functional test version.

Can I digitize my PDFs? Can FORTE Scan read my PDFs?

FORTE Scan is an exclusive feature of FORTE 8 Premium. At the moment, you cannot digitize PDFs directly. But if you use a free service like smallpdf.com you can convert your PDF into an image file like jpg. These image files can be digitized by FORTE Scan.

I need help! How can I contact you?

Our BLOG features a lot of tutorials. Many of them are inspired by the questions other customers asked us. On the right hand side, you find a tag cloud. Click one of the tags to find all posts linked to that tag.
Then there's our customer support forum. There are many articles and video tutorials about FORTE. We update the articles regularly. You can also search the article data base. If you don't find an answer to your problem in our knowledge data base, you can always write us a message.

Good to know for your customer request:

(1) Please always provide the exact version and edition of FORTE you're working with. (FORTE 6, 7, or 8? FORTE Basic, Home or Premium?).
Please provide information regarding your operating system.

(2) If possible, use the same email address that's also linked to your licenses.

(3) Please be as precise as possible when describing the problem. The better the details, the easier for us to help you. Stating something like "I didn't do anything" or "I just entered normal notes" or "then there was an error message"... makes it next to impossible to determine how we could possibly help you.
If you see an error message, take a screenshot right away. Great!

Can I just talk to somebody?

Unfortunately, no. We cannot provide any support via telephone. In the vast majority of all requests, it's greater help if we can send you a link or an illustration. Or you can send an error message or your score to us. This exchange of information does not work on the telephone. If you write a message to us, we usually get back to you within a working day.

We're just a small team located in Northern Germany. Please note that email support is completely free of charge. And we're always happy to help you!

Can I use FORTE on my MAC?

At the moment, FORTE is optimized for Windows 7, 8 and 10.

We do not offer a FORTE version for Apple's operating system. You can install Microsoft Windows on your Mac by using a virtual desktop or by using Apple's software bootcamp. Please visit the Apple website for further information:

Other operating systems, such as Linux or Ubuntu, are not supported, either. Please note that using older Windows systems (say Vista or XP) can lead to massive stability and safety issues. We cannot recommend continued use of these systems.

I play the guitar, banjo, ukulele...
Can I write tablature with FORTE?

Yes, FORTE supports the use of tablature. You can even edit the instruments according to your needs.
To be fair, though: There are special programs for guitar available. If you're mostly writing tabs, these other programs might be a better fit for you.

How to Write and Edit Fingering

“How can I make the font of the fingering bigger?
At the moment, I cannot read these numbers. Changing the text settings in the layout options didn’t do anything...”

Fingersatz - Notenbeispiel
Mark S. - FORTE User

Fingering is meant to help you (and your students) best navigate your sheet music.

Naturally, you want your navigation to be easy on the eye. And the numbers for your fingers must not interfere with your playing.

To accommodate personal preferences, FORTE comes with a variety of layout options related to fingering. 

Let's have a look at these options step-by-step (and of course, we'll cover Mark's question).

Writing your fingering

You can see the different types of numbers you have at your disposal in the image below. They can be found in the tab “Accents / Techniques” of the input palette.
fingering - input palette

As a rule, the placement of the fingering is opposite to the direction of the note’s stem.
So, if the stem goes up, the fingering is below the note. And if the stem goes down, the fingering is above the note.

Fingersatz - Notenbeispiel

Editing the properties of your fingering

fingering - properties window "appearance"

When you double-click on the fingering on your score, the properties window will open.

The tab “Appearance” allows you to change the number or symbol. You can also change the place of the element from “below” to “above” the note and vice versa.

(The tab “Performance” enables editing of how an element influences the playback of the note. In the case of fingering, this tab is irrelevant.)

In the tab “General,” you can reposition the element, change its color or hide it completely. (Please note: changing the size value will not affect the symbol here.)

Tab: Performance

fingering - properties window "performance"

Tab: General

fingering - properties window "general"

Layout your fingering: position and size

While you’re making the final adjustments on your layout, you can also edit the position of the fingering.

If you'd like to reposition an element, simply click on the element. It should now turn red. Press ctrl (and keep ctrl pressed) while using the arrow keys to reposition the element to the desired place.

Edit the size of your fingering’s numbers here:
Score – Layout – General – Expression – Change

fingering - ribbon
fingering - edit size 1
fingering - edit size 2

Please note:
In this selection, all accents are edited. It might be necessary to adjust some accent’s size manually again. Please open the properties window of the element you want to edit and adjust the percentage value.

Want to find out more about accents and the other elements of the input palette?

Looking for more layout tips? Here they are.

You can find more tutorials on our YouTube channel.

Did you find this blog post helpful? Let us know... we're looking forward to your comments and suggestions
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