Keyboard For Dummies
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Many of the keyboards have pretty advanced features — some that you would’ve thought you needed a computer to do. Keyboards now commonly include some form of recording so that you can play and then listen back to yourself. Two forms of recording are available today:

Step into the virtual recording studio

Each format has its own terms, capabilities, and benefits, and musicians at every level use each of them.

  • Audio recording: This method is the recording of the actual sound you produced. It’s what you listen to from a CD, an MP3 player, or your favorite online music streaming service.

  • MIDI recording: MIDI is the Musical Instrument Digital Interface standard, a fancy name for a digital way that musical products can talk to each other. It’s not the sound you hear but rather a way of communicating the gestures, moves, and settings of your electronic device as you played it.

Shape the sounds you play

So many of today’s keyboards offer control over the sounds that are included, whether that’s adjusting them a little bit or completely changing them, warping them, or building them from the ground up.

For many musicians, creating the sound is as important as the music they play with it. The art of making sounds is usually called programming a keyboard, or sound design. If you’ve heard the terms waveform, oscillator, filter, envelope generator, or LFO, you know that they’re the building blocks of this creative art.

Check out the computer connection

Thanks to the development of MIDI, keyboards can connect to computers and tablets for a broad array of activities and enjoyment. There are many categories of software, from recording and sound editing to playing additional sounds that are running on your computer to working with virtual teachers. This exciting world is the cutting edge of music making and study.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Jerry Kovarsky is a regular columnist for Keyboard magazine and longtime product management guru with Casio, Korg, and other companies who have been instrumental in bringing keyboard technology into people's homes and onto stages and studios around the world.

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