Playing music in Cakewalk Music Creator 6 with a computer keyboard

Have you ever wanted to play music with your computer keyboard when you don't have a regular MIDI keyboard at hand? This time-saving feature is usually available at most music creation software, but unfortunately, it isn't built as part of Cakewalk Music Creator 6 Touch.

That's why I found out a way to use your regular computer keyboard as a MIDI keyboard that would be recognized by Music Creator 6, so you can compose some quick musical experiments even when you are on the go! The following sections will detail the steps to get this nice feature working on your music creation software.

Using a computer keyboard as music keyboard

How to make Cakewalk Music Creator 6 Touch to recognize your computer keyboard as MIDI input

The procedure to have your keyboard recognized as a MIDI keyboard in any music creation software would follow these steps:

  • A virtual MIDI keyboard should capture the keystrokes from your computer keyboard and turn then into MIDI.
  • This MIDI information should be rerouted from the output of the virtual keyboard to the MIDI input of your music creation software.
Use your computer keyboard as MIDI input

Getting your keyboard to work with Music Creator is easier than it seems, once you have the following two software programs:

  • VMPK. It is a useful open source project that stands for Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard. VMPK will recognize the keystrokes in your computer keyboard as MIDI input. It can be downloaded from here, where other detailed usage instructions are available.
  • loopMIDI. This program, created by Tobias Erichsen, provides a reliable and extremely simple way to reroute your virtual MIDI cables. It works from Windows XP to Windows 8 systems, supporting both, 32 and 64 bit systems. It can be downloaded from the author's website here.

Detailed steps to use your computer keyboard as a MIDI input in Music Creator 6 Touch

Once you have Cakewalk Music Creator 6 Touch installed in your computer, as well as the other two previously mentioned programs, you just need to follow these steps to start playing and recording music from your computer keyboard.

First, run loopMIDI by executing loopMIDI.exe. Click the plus (+) symbol to add a new loopback MIDI port. In the example, we created a new MIDI port with its default name, loopMIDI Port. Don't close loopMIDI, since you'll need this program to be running as a background process in order for the MIDI reroute to take effect.

Then, run VMPK.exe to execute the Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard software. It will start capturing the keystrokes from your computer keyboard as MIDI input, as long as its window is selected and has focus as an active window. Select Edit > MIDI Connections to configure the MIDI output of this program.

edit virtual keyboard MIDI connections

We want the output of this virtual keyboard to go towards our recently created virtual loop MIDI port. That's why inside the VMPK MIDI setup menu we should be selecting the name of the new loopMIDI port as an Output MIDI Connection – in this example, we select our previously created port named “loopMIDI Port” and hit OK.

output MIDI connection

Here's where Cakewalk Music Creator 6 Touch comes into play. We are already recognizing the keystrokes from our computer keyboard, and sending them to a new MIDI port that would reroute them as a MIDI input. So the next step is to configure Music Creator 6 to use this virtual port as its MIDI input. Inside Music Creator, open the preferences menu by selecting Edit > Preferences.

edit Music Creator preferences

Inside the Music Creator preferences window, select Devices under the MIDI section. The top list will display all available MIDI inputs under the Inputs label. Look for the name of the virtual MIDI loop port you just created – loopMIDI Port in our example – select it by checking the box at the left of its name, and click okay.

Cakewalk Music Creator MIDI input devices

And that's all! Cakewalk Music Creator will now recognize your keystrokes as MIDI input (as long as your VMPK window is the selected, active window, and as long as the loopmidi software is running,) allowing you to record (and even step-record) the notes of your songs directly from your computer keyboard.

Even when nothing can replace a full music keyboard, this is a quite time-saving solution if you don't have a MIDI keyboard at hand or if you are composing music on the go.