Midi Data - What gets transferred?


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Hi all,

I am curious about what midi data gets transferred when you use a keyboard as a midi controller. I believe that if you hit a single note on the keyboard then midi data is transferred that tells which note was played and how hard it was played along with other data about the note. I begin to be less sure of what is transferred when you play a chord or a chord with melody notes at the same time.

The reason for my question is related to live performance.

I am wondering if you are using an arranger keyboard as a midi controller if midi data is being transferred from the voices of the “style” being used as well as anything you are doing with the right hand.

I hope my question makes sense. Thanks in advance for any help.
 
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I believe that if you hit a single note on the keyboard then midi data is transferred that tells which note was played and how hard it was played along with other data about the note.
No other data. If you hit a single note, you generate a single command, which is which note was played, and how hard. (Other events that you perform after striking the note will send their own data... releasing the note, for example, or on some boards, aftertouch.)

I begin to be less sure of what is transferred when you play a chord or a chord with melody notes at the same time.
Each key send its own data, but always the same... which note was played, and how hard.

I am wondering if you are using an arranger keyboard as a midi controller if midi data is being transferred from the voices of the “style” being used as well as anything you are doing with the right hand.
This may vary with the arranger. On my Korg PA1000, you can route the various parts of the auto-generated style elements to your choice of MIDI channels, e.g. to be captured by an external sequencer. But you don't need to. It's your choice as to whether or not those background parts are sending out MIDI, and if so, which ones, over which channels.
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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If you aren't sure what gets transmitted by a particular keyboard or controller, you can use a MIDI monitor program to watch the MIDI data that's being sent.

I'll use my Yamaha keyboards as an example because I don't have experience with other brands.

A Yamaha keyboard will usually send a steady stream of MIDI clock pulses with an Active Sensing pulse inserted every so often. I'm not sure whether any of Yamaha's models yet you turn off the outgoing Active Sensing, but you can usually select whether you want to use the internal MIDI clock or an external MIDI clock. Selecting the internal clock will send clock pulses to other equipment, while selecting external clock will tell the keyboard to listen for clock pulses coming from other equipment.

Yamaha keyboards usually let you choose which "parts" you want to transmit MIDI data for, but the details vary between the entry-level and studio/stage model lines.

The entry-level models (such as PSR-E463 and below) group the parts into "keyboard," "style," and "song" parts.

The "keyboard parts" are the three voices you use to play manually-- the Main Voice, Dual Voice, and Split Voice-- plus any extra notes generated by the Harmony or Arpeggio features. Each keyboard part is sent on a separate MIDI channel-- 1 (Main), 2 (Dual), and 3 (Split).

The "style parts" are the notes and beats played by the auto-accompaniment style, which are sent on separate channels-- 9 through 16.

The "song parts" are the notes played back from MIDI songs, which are sent on separate channels-- 1 through 16. The internal songs are not transmitted, and I don't think external MIDI song files are transmitted, but User Songs recorded and saved on the keyboard are.

The studio/stage models are more complex and sophisticated, providing more options for controlling which parts you want to transmit and which MIDI ports and channels you want to use to transmit them. In addition, they let you choose which types of MIDI events you want to transmit-- for instance, you can control whether or not you want to transmit Program Changes.

Note that controlling the transmitted data is just one side of it. Some, but not all, equipment lets you choose which received data you want it to listen to. For instance, even if the equipment is receiving all 16 MIDI channels, you might be able to tell it that you want it to listen to only channel 5, or something like that. You may also be able to tell it which types of MIDI events you want it to listen to. For instance, you might be able to tell it that you want it to ignore any Program Change messages it might receive.

Since each software instrument, hardware sound module, and other MIDI equipment is different, you should refer to the manual to see what options it has in regard to received MIDI data.
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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By the way, I forgot to mention that if you're using equipment which doesn't provide a lot of options in regard to what MIDI data will be transmitted or received, there are "MIDI boxes" you can buy which can provide additional control over your setup. Some MIDI boxes are simple splitters or mergers, but others can provide sophisticated MIDI event processing to do things such as filtering out unwanted MIDI events or channels, moving MIDI events from one channel to another, or even transforming one type of MIDI event into another type.
 
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