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I started to fiddle around with a cheap entertainer keyboard without any velocity sensitivity. Later I realized I need a more elaborated keyboard to control my digital audio workstation (DAW) and I've upgraded it to a midi keyboard which as a bonus has velocity sensitivity but absolutely now weighted keys (so no graded hammer action :/ )

Even this change is of course dramatic as I am unable to maintain a steady velocity. As I need to be able to maintain a velocity I am looking for proper ways to do that. In addition to standard finger strength training for piano players I am also making use of DAW.

The velocity of the keyboard is mapped to the range of 19-127, I think 80 would be the "standard" velocity.

Now wit the ability of the DAW I did the following: I silenced any velocity below 75 and changed the note to something awkward for velocities above 85. With this I can only hear proper notes when I hit the correct velocity. This of course drives me nuts at the beginning as hitting the right velocity with my weak fingers or the weak hand is hard.

Why I am seeking advice is, I don't know where this is the right approach. Is this regarded as a good approach from somebody with experience in piano playing? (Beside the fact that it will give me a hard time whenever I should switch to graded hammer action instrument)

Is my restricting to harsh or to broad? Can I use other known features to enhance this training or should I abandon it?

(I am aware that I am not going to be a concert piano player, I just like composing things)

  • If you want to keep the velocity constant, usually you can do this either with a setting on the keyboard or within your DAW. – Charles Oct 16 '14 at 23:48
  • I know this doesn't answer your question, but my approach with my cheap MIDI controller is to make a sucky recording, then manually repair the note timings and velocities. – Kevin Oct 22 '14 at 17:13
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Personally, when i use a DAW keyboard its fine for pad sounds etc. If I want to do piano I really do need to feel weighted keys or I struggle to get the subtle differences in velocity. You might want to go to a music shop and spend some time on keyboards/digital pianos with weighted keys as the quality can vary greatly between models.

Oh and take some headphones so you don't feel pressured to perform, and can get in the zone.

You don't have to spend a fortune either, outdated models can go really cheap. Even full size ones with good brand names. As long as it has midi or USB (that allows midi) all you need is a good hammer action if your using it as a DAW input.

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Key velocity is a poor replacement for mechanic action since you are missing the tactile feedback. For doing percussion and its ilk, that might work reasonably. But the control will just not be detailed and graded enough for playing simulated piano.

So you are probably better off switching key velocity off for piano play or at least reducing the sensitivity curves to something rather limited.

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