An Open Source Digital Audio Workstation Setup


Recording MIDI Drums

MIDI Device Setup

Once Jack is up and running you can start Rosegarden to begin a midi session.
iThere's no need to close Ardour if you have it open as many Linux music creation and editing apps are intended to run simultaneously and can share the same transport controls through JACK.

Step 6 demonstartes how to setup a unified JACK transport system.
Ensure that you have connected your midi drum machine correctly to your soundcard, see the Connections page for further instructions.
  • In Rosegarden click Studio -> Manage Midi Devices
  • Click the "New" button in the Midi Playback section to create a new midi playback device.

What we would like to do is send a midi signal from Rosegarden to the soundcard, which then routes the signal to the drum machine, which triggers an audible sound.
This sound is then sent back to the soundcard so that it can be mixed in with other sounds (such as guitars, synth etc) and we hear the sound composited in the mix through the monitors.
iThis typical midi setup will allow us to have multiple midi tracks in Rosegarden and allow us to record the processed signal though Ardour for the final mix.
Click the "Banks..." button to setup the new midi device.
  • In the resulting dialog box, with the Item labeled New Device selected click the "Import..." button in the bottom left of the Manage Midi Banks and Programs window.
  • A convenient selection of preset Midi Banks that are installed along with Rosegarden can be found in ~/.local/share/rosegarden/library. Navigate to your device's name, select it and click Open to import it. In the resulting dialog box choose to "Overwrite Banks" so that any setting that might have existed in the default Device configuration we just created will be replaced with the new Banks we are importing.
  • Conveniently Bank 1:0 is marked as a percussion bank and as such we will use channel 10 to send and receive midi data from the RY8. Channel 10, by convention, is reserved for percussion and adding a track segment to Track 10 in Rosegarden will attempt to use Bank1:0 by default for processing midi data as it is marked as a Percussion Bank. This can often save you the additional setup explained in the section titled "Setup a track to send and receive midi data" further down this page.
Once midi Banks have been setup click the Close button to return to the Manage Midi Devices window.
  • Double click the New Device name and change it to something more meaningful.

  • With the New Device (you just renamed) still selected click your soundcard as the option under Midi Output, this is so that rosegarden will send midi data directly to your soundcard, which will in turn send the data to your Drum machine.
  • Finally confirm that the soundcard that the Drum machine is connected to is also selected as the "MIDI input system device" under the MIDI Recording section. This ensures that when you click the record button in Rosegarden, the data that will subsequently be recorded will be from the Drum Machine.

Setup a Track to Send and Receive Midi Data

Once your midi device is configured, using it in a recording is really easy. Setting up other external midi devices (such as a keyboard) will follow a similar procedure. It is, however, recommended that you keep channel 10 and track 10 in Rosegarden reserved for drums.

  • Right click on the track you would like to use to either send or receive midi data on, navigate to the midi device you just setup and choose Channel 10 for Drums.
  • With the track you are configuring selected, Click the Percussion, Bank and Program check boxes in the Instrument Parameters section of Special Parameters (which can be toggled on and off by hitting p on your keyboard).
  • You can add as many Midi Drum tracks as you like as they do not have to be limited to existing only on track 10 (as is standard convention), and even mix Midi Drums with other Midi data such as a Software Synth in the same composition. This is something we will have a look at in the next Step.