Making a beat (basic questions)

I’m new to Ardour and I need to know how to connect a USB piano or keyboard with Ardour. Second, how to pull up different sounds such as trumpets, bells, etc…?

usb keyboard or piano, what kind of that?
if you’re talking about midi keyboards, you won’t be able to use it with an ardour release, because there is no support for midi-tracks in there.

but you could checkout the ardour ongoing svn and try that versions wich have midi support. (not recommended for productive use.)

the version of ardour you’re probably using (if you didn’t build it yourself) does not have integrated recording of midi data, nor does it have the ability to use midi sound patches or soundfonts.

you must use an external application for that.

if you’re using linux, please use qjackctl to control jack. it’ll make things very simple. also, you’ll need an application that can load soundfonts. i use qsynth, for example. all you have to do to get things working is to:

1)make sure jack is running
2)make sure qsynth is running
3)make sure you have some soundfonts loaded into qsynth
4)push the ‘Connect’ button in qjackctl
5)in the midi tab, connect your usb midi keyboard to qsynth, and in the audio tab, connect qsynth’s outputs to ardour’s inputs.

at this point, you should be able to record the sounds created by your keyboard and qsynth. bear in mind, this doesn’t record the actual midi data. it’ll record the sound created.

now, if you’re using mac os x, there are many many many hosts that will let you use soundfonts with a keyboard. i believe if you have apple’s developer tools installed, you can even use apple’s own AULab to do just that. as long as the application lets you use jack as your audio device, you should be able to connect the output of any mac os x audio application to ardour in much the same way as you would with linux.

if you want a piece of software that’ll let you do midi sequencing, and editing of midi data, with integrated ‘sounds’, then ardour is not what you’re looking for. if you are using linux and want something like apple’s garageband, jokosher is sort of similar in scope, although i have not tried it. if you want something more advanced, then try rosegarden. if you’re using os x, and want something like that, you may be out of luck as far as a purely open-source solution goes.

okay, so i was wrong-ish. jokosher doesn’t feature software instruments.

but your post title suggests you want to ‘make a beat’. why don’t you try out hydrogen? it’s available for linux and mac os x. basically, it’s a very well thought out drum machine. you can download several drumkits and sound effect patches from the developer’s website.