MIDI connection between digital piano and Macbook Pro
Right, I’ve torn my hair out over this for long enough now and so I’m pleading for help. I must be missing something very basic and elementary, but I cannot for the life of me find what it is.
First some back-story, which you will need to know if you don’t follow me on Twitter. I have recently inherited my late mother’s Technics digital piano (model PX9), as my Dad is moving house and there is no room for it at his new place. I’ve had my eye on it for some years now and my current home does have room for it, so he brought it up last week for me. Given that I cannot actually play the piano, I wish to connect it to my laptop using its MIDI ports.
My reasons for this are simple: All I want to do is:
- Download music from the Internet as MIDI files.
- Connect my laptop (Macbook Pro, Mac OS X 10.6.6) to the piano using a USB MIDI interface.
- Play the MIDI files on the digital piano from the laptop.
So far, I have achieved the first two goals, but I am having serious trouble with the third. Please note that I do not wish to compose music, create MIDI files or use the digital piano as a MIDI keyboard, all I want to do is have the laptop play the piano.
I have tried using the following software to achieve this:
- iTunes – will play MIDI files, but not via MIDI, only using the computer’s speakers.
- GarageBand – will play MIDI files on the laptop and will use the piano as a MIDI keyboard. I see MIDI signals being recognised, but it will not use the piano as a MIDI output and I cannot find any settings or options to that effect. Various Google searches suggest that GarageBand does not support MIDI output, despite supporting MIDI input.
- Reason – this baffled the hell out of me, I couldn’t even load my MIDI file into it, much less find any MIDI output options.
- Logic Express 9 – again, this is a complicated piece of professional software and I still could not find any MIDI output options. This surprised me given that this is supposed to be Apple’s professional composition software (in contrast to GarageBand which is aimed at amateurs), so I may well have missed them somewhere.
My question to those who know about this sort of thing is simple: How do I achieve what I want to do? What software do I need and which settings do I need to set? Surely it cannot be that difficult? I would imagine that it would be a case of having an option somewhere that changes the output audio device from the local sound card to a MIDI device. I know it’s possible because, back in the day, I had a similar interface for my Acorn Archimedes, and I distinctly remember achieving this with some considerable ease using basic bundled software.
I have confirmed that my USB MIDI interface is working correctly and that it is connected to the digital piano correctly. I think the fact that GarageBand recognises input signals from the piano confirms this. I would welcome help and advice from anyone who can help me.
Incidentally I think it’s amazing that an up to date laptop is able to connect and talk to a 24 year old piece of equipment using nothing more than a smart cable that cost £2.50 from Amazon.