Can I use a midi keyboard to play the piano with Ardour?


New on the forums, and new to electric music production in general.

I played the piano when younger and now I want to start again. ALSO I’d like to try my hand at making some music myself with several instruments and everything.

I have been doing some research, and a sequencer looks like the right tool for the second part. Ardour fits that part, right?

But, can I plug a midi keyboard into a linux computer with ardour, play the keys and have the program generate piano sounds, and record them to the sequencer at the same time?

I assume that the answer is yes to those questions, but I thought I’d double check.

The part with having Ardour generate piano sounds for me is due to the keyboard I am looking at is a CME UF80, it is cheap and I understand that it feels somewhat like a piano. But it produces no sound of it’s own.

You can not play the piano with Ardour, cause Ardour has no midi instruments built in, in your case the answer would be Rosegarden, or if you want really amazing piano sounds, Pianoteq but it’s not free.

Ahh, ok. Thanks, I’ll take a look at Rosegarden then.

If you’d like a good (free) Piano sample library you can get the Maestro Concert Grand ( Have a look at LinuxSampler in order to use it.

I run an M-Audio KeyStation 88 which is similar to your controller as it is only a MIDI controller. I use qsampler (a front end for linuxsampler) to load the grand piano. I can then connect the Keystation to the sampler and play.

Hi L1nx,

Can you run your midi grand piano into ardour/JACK like with ReWire and the proprietary music apps?

How do you hook a midi keyboard to any vst?

You certainly can play midi piano with Ardour 3, I do it all the time. While Ardour itself does not make any sounds, you can load a LV2 or VST plugin on the midi track which makes the sound. You use connect the midi signal from your piano to the input of the Ardour midil track which has a piano plugin loaded and can play live. Since you are new to doing music on a computer you have a big learning curve. First I’d recommend using an linux audio oriented distribution like AVLinux or kxstudio which will save you a lot of time configuring your computer. Here is a youtube video about connected a lv2 plugin for the linuxsampler plugin on Ardour:

nevermind, I figured it out :slight_smile:
using a2jmidid, adding it to the startup qjackctl script option. You should somehow make this more out of the box, but i’m afraid I have no idea how you could. Every other DAW has it out of the box set and done. Took me an hour to find the information to set it up. Should be on a wiki

ah sorry, I didnt see you posted while writing xD

The linux sampler solution looks like its easier

blurymind: we tried wiki’s, they don’t work very well. As for “we should make this more out of the box”, the other DAWs (a) don’t run on Linux (b) don’t provide sample accurate MIDI sequencing. Something had to give.

Hello guys, can someone assist me into recording Piano or adding plug ins into Ardour, and using it with my MIDI keyboard? I’ve got skype so someone can help me out in this. Many thanks!

Sorry for bumping the old thread. But I wanted to share how I’m doing it now, because I found this thread early on during my search and had to look through a few tools before being able to do it. So here is a summary

  1. download zfs file from Piano in 162
  2. install carla
  3. open zfs file in carla via the left menu. It has to load ~4GB of data into memory or something, so it takes some time
  4. connect midi keyboard
  5. install a2jmidid
  6. open catia. tools → alsa-midi-bridge → start bridge
  7. connect everything in catia

well, something like this. Good luck.

But no idea what the license of those samples is.

A much simpler solution: Do not use JACK – but Audio-System: ALSA on Linux, Coreaudio on macOS, ASIO/WinMME on Windows.

  1. Create a MIDI track. Done.

Ardour comes with a GM synth which is the default synth when using the official binary. MIDI tracks are also auto-connected.

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