630: How to set up MIDI in devices

Most modern MIDI keyboards are connected to a computer using a USB cable. Simply plugging this into your computer could be enough to make the computer recognise the keyboard. Some keyboards are ‘class compliant', which means you don't need to install drivers. If your keyboard has lots of knobs and sliders on it, chances are that you need to install the drivers. The drivers will be on the CDs that came with the keyboard or can be downloaded for free from the keyboard's manufacturer's website.

If your keyboard doesn't have a USB connection on the back but has a MIDI out socket instead, you'll need to connect this to your computer with a USB MIDI interface. These are very standard and we recommend an Avid M-Audio UNO, which can be bought online from shop.avid.com.

Before connecting your USB interface, you will need to install the drivers, which you can find on the original CD that came with the USB interface, or from the manufacturer's website.

Once the drivers are installed, you need connect the MIDI in cable to the MIDI out socket on your keyboard and the USB end of it to one of the USB sockets on your computer.

Setting up your MIDI keyboard in Sibelius:

Start Sibelius and go to File, Preferences (Sibelius menu, Preferences on Mac) and click on Input Devices on the left. You should see the name of your MIDI keyboard or the name of the USB interface on the right hand side. There, you can specify if your MIDI input device is a keyboard or guitar and also which type of keyboard you have. If yours isn't listed, choose MIDI Keyboard.

Here, you can test your keyboard by playing on it, and you should see a green flashing light appear on the right hand side. If not, see the troubleshooting steps below.

To make sure it is inputting notes into your score, select a bar of music in your score and play on your keyboard. You should see the notes appear in the score.


Can't input notes into the score

There could be a number of reasons this could happen. Firstly, go to File, Preferences (or Sibelius menu, Preferences on Mac) and check your keyboard or USB interface is listed. If so, check it's in use by ticking it in the list. Play on the keyboard and see if you can see the green light flashing. If so, click OK and try inputting notes in the score again,

If not, this means you have connected the keyboard to the computer but the MIDI information isn't getting through to Sibelius. If you're using a MIDI interface, this could be due to the cables being the wrong way round on the keyboard. It's easy to get these muddled up so try swapping the MIDI in to the out and the out to the in.

If that doesn't help or if you have connected your computer via a USB cable directly, you should reinstall the drivers. The drivers on the CDs aren't always the latest so it's recommended you always download the most recent drivers from the manufacturer's website.

Can't see keyboard or USB interface in Sibelius

This is very unlikely to be a problem in Sibelius as Sibelius simply asks Windows or Mac what's connected and they report back what's there. If nothing is appearing in Sibelius, chances are that your computer can't see the device either. To check this:

On Windows, go to Start, Control Panel and find the Sound settings. Unfortunately, Windows Vista and 7 only show audio devices here so you'll have to read on for further help. On Windows XP, you should open the Sounds and Audio Devices Control Panel and click the Audio tab at the top. Check in the MIDI devices section that your keyboard or MIDI interface is there. If not, Sibelius won't be able to see it.

Similarly on Mac, go to the Applications, Utilities folder on Mac and open Audio MIDI Setup. Click on the MIDI Devices tab at the top and you should see your keyboard or MIDI interface there. To make sure it's working, click the Test button at the top. Clicking on the keyboard or MIDI interface, you may hear a note being played on the keyboard. If your keyboard doesn't have any sounds on it then you won't hear anything. If you play on your keyboard, you should hear a click coming from your computer's speakers. If the keyboard or MIDI interface doesn't appear in this window at all, Sibelius won't be able to see it.

If your computer isn't able to see the keyboard or MIDI interface at all, you will need to download and install the latest drivers from the manufacturer's websites. Here's a list of common MIDI keyboard and MIDI interface manufacturers' support pages:



1.003 - 1.4, 2 - 2.11, 3.0 - 3.1.3, 4.0 - 4.1, 5.0 - 5.2.5, 6.0 - 6.2, 7.0 - 7.1
20 Apr 2010

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