To date, my time with the WX5 MIDI wind controller has focused on the performance aspect. Last night I had a opportunity to explore some new territory.
I have always enjoyed producing arrangements of music for use by students or my woodwind quintet. One of the time consuming tasks that a music arranger or composer needs to deal with is data entry into notation software. There are a variety of methods to accomplish the data input: mouse, step time recording (one note at a time via a MIDI instrument), real time MIDI input, scanning (& following copyright requirements!), pitch recognition or use a public domain MIDI file.
The mouse and step time entry methods are the most time consuming, but also the most accurate. This is of course cumbersome when working on a large score. The real time MIDI input method is much faster if you can achieve a level of accuracy that keeps the data clean up minimized. I have done lots of music entry with a MIDI keyboard, but certainly as an experienced clarinetist, being able to enter data through the WX5 would be even more efficient.
I set out to do a little experimentation with the WX5 and Finale, a music notation package licensed for use in Ontario publicly funded school boards. The setup is fairly standard based on past experience with MIDI keyboard devices. (Note: references to this in the WX5 manual are sketchy).
MIDI connection: Plug the WX5 into the MIDI in port on the MIDI device connected to your computer. In my case, I used a Roland USB module.
Software Setup: Use the MIDI set up function in the notation software (Finale in this case) to identify the ‘MIDI in’ device
Score setup: Prepare the music layout to receive the data. For this example, I used a single treble clef but you could just as easily work with a full music score.
Set the recording parameters: 1. Set the tempo (beats per minute) 2. Set the number of ‘count in’ bars. 3. Set the quantizing. Quantizing is the music version of rounding off. Generally you set this to match the smallest note value in your piece. In my example, I set quantizing to an eighth note.
That’s it – you are ready to play data directly into the music software in real time. As an aside, I was pleasantly surprised to find the the WX5 sends dual data streams, so you can hear the sound form the VL70m module while sending the MIDI data to the software. Notational input depends on accuracy, so choosing a suitable tempo to maximize your results is important and easily done with a little experimenting.
By way of example, I used the WX5 in input the melody below into the Finale notation software.
Now I am off and running with new scoring tools for arranging and composing!