I'm part of a small theater group looking to add some big sound to our small orchestra. I was wondering if anyone knew of a software package that would allow an artist to record an instrument, say a guitar, then control that recording's playback at show time via the MIDI outputs on a digital keyboard. The software would have to adjust tempo etc based on the way the keyboard is played. Any info would be appreciated!

  • 2
    I use Anvil Studio for this. Sep 19 '13 at 19:55
  • What computer platform are you talking about using? Macintosh? Windows? iPad? Something else?
    – user1044
    Sep 19 '13 at 22:13
  • I would suggest MaxMSP here, but again, like other responses, the program would cost money and time to learn how to control tempo via motion sensors. Not to mention programming language etc. Sep 21 '13 at 6:25

MIDI Maestro is one professional system designed for this purpose.

If you know someone who is an expert at the Ableton Live environment, you could construct something useful.

There are also several musical theater-related companies that will rent you a turn-key system of computer and samplers with the entire orchestration for a particular hit musical or opera, for augmenting your live orchestra with pre-recorded or MIDI-sequenced performance tracks that can be controlled by a live human conductor tapping out a tempo on a MIDI controller. Those have been around for more than twenty-five years. These companies seem to be rather secretive and proprietary, and I do not know where to look to identify a list of them or find out what systems they can rent you for which musicals or operas, and what it would cost.


The only way that the software can adjust and control the tempo is if it is given a reference beat from the drummer or some other instrument that provides a known quantity of beats per bar. MIDI software can be set up to respond to that kind of trigger. But this won't work in your case, because the keyboard player most likely will not be providing constant rhythmic pulses. Any time the keyboard player pauses, this will throw the software out of whack. You would want to set it up to respond to the drummer, not the keyboardist.

  • False. This information is incorrect. There are programs dictated by motion control that can adjust tempo according to player movement fluctuation and are not dependent on a percussionist for tempo. Sep 21 '13 at 6:24
  • @jjmusicnotes. You're taking what I'm saying too literally. Any type of automatic tempo control requires a steady reference of some kind. You can choose to call it a drum beat, you can choose to use a motion, it doesn't matter as long as it is a steady and constant point of reference. This is the main thing to understand. Which "programs" do you refer to? I can tell you how they are designed and on what principles they work. I am a software engineer, after all. Sep 23 '13 at 16:19
  • I do not take things too literally - one should not say what one does not mean. If you meant a "steady reference" or input value, then that is the phrase you should have used, because declaring the only way it can be done is with a reference beat is very different than having a constant input value. I am referring to MaxMSP, of which I am already familiar, so you can spare the lecture. To that end, since your training is by admission software engineering and not music, it is even more imperative to make sure information is correct and accurate before posting answers. Sep 23 '13 at 17:46
  • @jjmusicnotes the fact that you make assumptions about my training says a lot. Actually I was trained as a musician long before I did any sort of training in the sciences. I'm ambidextrous you could say. Sep 23 '13 at 20:21
  • I did not make an assumption - I visited your website and read your biography, and to my knowledge, the most it mentions of your musical training is that you grew up playing certain instruments. When I speak to training in music, I am referring strictly to either conservatory, university, or specialized apprenticeship, so my comments are based upon information that you provided. Sep 23 '13 at 21:11

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