I installed the organ emulator setBfree on a Debian GNU/Linux System.

setBfree Organ emulator GUI

I run it with Jack connected to the simple USB MIDI controller keyboard. This is working fairly well to connect to the upper manual. Though I cannot figure out how to get a connection to the lower manual and pedalboard.

jack connection to setbfree organ

As one can see in the picture, there is only one MIDI input for the instrument. Does anyone know how I can control the other two keyboards? Do I need some CC control programming for this? (There does not seem to be any option relating to this issue in the GUI preferences)

  • "Manual" comes from the Latin word for "hand," so it's not correct to call the pedalboard a "manual." I've edited accordingly.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 6:34

2 Answers 2


According to this reference (sorry in French), the other manuals can be accessed by changing the MIDI channel.

The link actually gives a technique, using qmidiroute (a very useful program), to map different part of a midi keyboard to the different register.

  • Nice one, thanks. I was just having a look for qmidiroute THX hinting in this direction again! For now I came up with a simple and not quite satisfying workaround - since the overlapping of notes -> music.stackexchange.com/a/129677/42816 You have been 13 Seconds faster ;-)
    – nath
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 21:07
  • @nath Your answer is more complete but if I had took the time to mention a2j I would have lost this race ;)
    – Tom
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 0:09

I found the answer, pretty simple:

Parameters for 'MIDI Parser':
  midi.upper.channel                         I  (1)
    The MIDI channel to use for the upper manual. range: [1..16]
  midi.lower.channel                         I  (2)
    The MIDI channel to use for the lower manual. range: [1..16]
  midi.pedals.channel                        I  (3)
    The MIDI channel to use for the pedals. range: [1..16]

Manual 1 uses Channel 1
Manual 2 uses Channel 2
Pedalboard uses Channel 3

Since my simple controller keyboard has no facility to change the channel, I installed the virtual jack keyboard where I can set the desired channel and switched it in between the organ input and MIDI keyboard output:

jack-keyboard channel 1 jack-keyboard channel 3

Unfortunately jack keyboard can not split the keyboard. I worked around it by starting two instances of it, one using MIDI channel 1 and the other one using MIDI channel 3. There is some overlapping unfortunately but like this I can play the pedalboard with the low keys and the upper manual with the higher keys. (HuaXing is the output of my hardware controller keyboard):

enter image description here

UPDATE: inspired by --> Toms answer <--

with the application qmidiroute — a MIDI event processor and router — the organ manuals can be accessed in any way that is within the range of the hardware keyboard. Since qmidiroute does not supply jack ports it needs to be combined with the ALSA to JACK MIDI bridge a2jmidi_bridge.

Here is an example using the two low octaves of the controller keyboard for the foot-pedal and the the higher octaves for the upper manual (since it is a small keyboard the low octave of the upper manual is skipped):

qmidiroute foot-pedal

qmidiroute upper-manual

(HuaXing again, is the output of my hardware controller keyboard):

jack connections

  • 1
    Is it really called the "food pedal"? If yes, my edit to the initial question needs to be rolled back. Otherwise, this post needs an edit.
    – Aaron
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 21:05
  • @Aaron Not quite sure :-/ THX for asking. Upper manual, lower manual, pedals...? Did not read about the "food" anywhere - that is how I call it. If it is wrong we can take it out and call it just pedals. Though its played with the food I think it can not be too much of big fault ;-)
    – nath
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 21:12
  • 2
    Okay, I think you've just confused the words "food" (a thing that is eaten) and "foot" (the body part a shoe goes on). "Foot pedal" is the term you want.
    – Aaron
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 21:14
  • @Aaron Cheers <3 <3 <3 (No native speaker) :-))))
    – nath
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 21:16
  • 1
    "pedal" comes from the Latin word for "foot," so "foot pedal" is redundant. I've edited accordingly along with some other corrections.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 6:33

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