Computer joy

The title of this entry is ironic. I'm currently making an arrangement of a few songs from Porgy and Bess to perform with my wife on tour in January, and decided it might be worth investing in some music notation software. I already have a Yamaha electric keyboard which I used for practising in Singapore while Jeannie was still playing with the Singapore Symphony, and the thought of being able to play the music from it directly into the computer with a MIDI connection was very appealing. The first problem - how to hook the keyboard up to the computer? I bought a cable which looked like it should do the job, but no joy. Emails to Yamaha and the software manufacturer; no response. Much searching online for a solution, to no avail. Finally I bought another cable, 10 times the cost of the first, hooked it up to my laptop, but it didn't work. My frustration was starting to rise at a considerable rate. In desperation I tried connecting it to my PC. Still no luck. I fiddled about with every setting I could think of and to my amazement suddenly the connection was there. Funny the way technology can make one feel helpless! It turns out the instructions in the Yamaha keyboard manual were wrong.

Having the ability to play music directly into the computer is only the start of the process, however. I still have to learn how to edit what appears on the screen and this is a bewildering process. I printed out the list of keyboard commands to study - all 18 pages of them! I spent yesterday morning experimenting with them and inflicting all kinds of indignities on the British national anthem in the process. Gradually, I'm getting to grips with the logic of the system, and I have the sense that computer joy may in fact not be so far away after all.


Hello Steven, I have been through very similar trials linking a keyboard to my PC. It is great to have it working. I use software called Music Time to do notation. It is not as expensive as some programmes. It produces very professional looking music. I have just enjoyed hearing you play the Pathetique Sonata by Beethoven on ABC Classic FM radio here in Australia. I love it and your playing was splendid.

Posted by David Lancaster on 13 May 2010

Hi David. I didn't come across that programme, but the one I got proved to work very well once I'd negotiated the steep learning curve. Glad you enjoyed the Beethoven

Posted by Steven Osborne on 14 May 2010