I’ve been playing with a sweet little gadget lately: a Korg MicroKey 2 Air, which is a midi keyboard for both pc and tablet. You can use a USB cable to connect, or bluetooth.
A midi keyboard is not a normal keyboard. A standard keyboard has built-in sound and speakers. A midi keyboard only produces midi, which your computer can play back. It is used for composing music. In the “good old days” all you needed was pencil, paper, and eraser, but nowadays you enter your music into musical notation programs, like Sibelius or Finale, or into a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Using your mouse is tedious and poses a real risk of developing RSI, so a midi keyboard is a nice solution for that.
Many composers like to have something portable and small for this, so that they have space to put it on their desk next to the computer keyboard. The piano is not very convenient for that, even if it’s a digital one. On the other hand, reducing the size of a keyboard means that your range shrinks. A full-size piano keyboard has 88 keys (7 octaves plus a bit). There are midi keyboards with as little as two octaves. My keyboard has three (37 keys).
So how do you cope with range? Simple! There are buttons to shift up to three octaves in either direction. Also, the keys are just a tiny bit smaller than ‘real’ piano keys, so that reduces the size even more.
Having such a small
toy tool is great for when you want to just play with music on the couch too. As I was doing last night.
I was playing with GarageBand, a DAW application that is included in OSX by default. It’s fun to try out all the instruments! i was just playing, recording, and playing some more. In the end I even came up with a sleepy song:
Because this happened: