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Add a software instrument and record MIDI

and quantize in your DAW. Including
preparing the track(s), adding the
instrument, setting the click and countoff,
and recording efficiently.
Hi, my name is Thiago Pospichil Marques. I
am from Porto Alegre, Brazil. This is a guide
for MIDI recording and software
instruments. Made for week 2 of
Introduction to Music Production on

For this example, I'm using "Ableton Live

8" and "Behringer UMX610 (U-control)" 61Key USB/MIDI Controller Keyboard
connected to a laptop with a standard
A/B USB cable.

Do you know what MIDI is?

MIDI is a protocol to connect musical
instruments and electronic devices to
send and receive information between
each other, creating a standard language
to this type of digital equipment systems.


Previously connect your keyboard controller to

the computer and make sure both are properly
powered on and communicating with each other.
Create a new MIDI track on your Digital Audio
Workstation (DAW) and name this channel
according to the type of instrument or element
you want to record on your music.
For this example, I am using an acoustic piano.


Selecting an acoustic piano

Select a virtual instrument

in your DAW, or a plug-in
that was installed in your
software and play your
controller to test if all
signals are communicating
Check the notes by playing the keys, verifying
knobs, faders and pedal (if you are using it).

Adjust the tempo and time signature (if

necessary). Now you can activate the
metronome to a better recording session
and efficient editing later.

Press REC button and start your recording in selected

track. Remember that the MIDI recording does not capture
audio signal, but the music data information being
performed in real time, as an active and editable sheet
music. In this specific process, the audio signal starts in the
computer, digitally generated with binary information by a
virtual instrument, plug-in or using some sound sample
The primary information that MIDI signal provides to the
DAW are: Note number (which note is being played). Note
ON (When this note was played). Velocity (How fast the key
was pressed). Note OFF (When this note stops to be played).


After recording this particular part, you can edit the

performance using the quantize tool if necessary.
Selecting this new clip, you access the piano roll and midi
grid. At this point you can edit the notes (moving UP and
DOWN to change the pitch, one semitone at time). (Left and
right to move notes time position). Its also possible to shorten
and stretch the note to change the relative duration (Value).

Quantize settings...

You can edit using the quantization

settings, selecting the correction
(Current grid, 1/4, 1/8, 1/8T, 1/8 + 1/8T, 1/16, 1/16T, 1/16 + 1/16T, 1/32).
Also choose if notes will be quantized by
start or end. The parameter "amount",
controls how much the note will be
aligned to the grid, giving more flexibility
to the type of correction you want to do.

This example compares the original record to a "100% amount"

align to the grid quantization.

Another characteristic of recording and editing MIDI is the

possibility of changing instruments, sound and various timbre
parameters later.
Following these steps you can make a good recording session with
MIDI tracks and software instruments, using well the capabilities
of your equipment and digital audio workstation to record, edit
and quantize your music projects. I hope this guide has been
helpful and has presented clear information to improve your
learning and musical work.
Thiago Pospichil Marques