Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

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Maybe you’re buying your first MIDI keyboard. Or maybe you’ve found something hiding in the corner of your study. So you’ve got it set up and connected but nothing seems to happen…

Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

Fortunately, there are many professional MIDI keyboard software available today for all platforms, as the technology is almost 40 years old!

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In this article, we look at the best free MIDI keyboard software of 2022 to turn those “1s and 0s” into music.

(If you’re still deciding on your first MIDI keyboard, here are the best MIDI keyboards for beginners!)

Throughout this guide, you’ll see the term DAW used – this means Digital Audio Workstation and the software used to create music on a computer. So many of the best MIDI keyboard software fall under this category.

For Apple users, Garageband is probably the best free MIDI keyboard software out there. It has all the modern DAW features found in more expensive packages such as Ableton Live or Pro Logic, but it’s free! If you’re on PC, we recommend BandLab CakeWalk.

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If you have an Apple setup, especially one powered by the new M1 chip, GarageBand is definitely the way to go.

For on-the-go functionality, an iPad or iPhone with GarageBand installed can be like having a multi-track studio on the go when paired with a mobile interface like the RED AI Micro.

GarageBand is a full-featured music-making studio on your Mac – with a comprehensive sound library that includes instrument, guitar and voice presets, and an incredible selection of session drummers and percussionists.

Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

GarageBand is the clear winner this round and is one of the best free music apps period. As you know, it is only available on Mac computers, but Windows users can check out the list of free Windows alternatives to Garageband.

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GarageBand is one of the applications available for free download, making music production accessible to everyone.

GarageBand started life as a simple sequencer app and over the years has evolved into a very sophisticated DAW with MIDI capabilities. GarageBand can be considered the younger sibling of Apple’s flagship Pro Logic, with a more entry-level feature set.

With built-in lessons for piano and guitar, GarageBand can help you become a more competent musician, or just find your way around a new MIDI keyboard.

In addition, you can use many instrument effects to record, edit, remix or layer the latest beats. Quite often I have used GarageBand on the iPad, or even the iPhone, to edit the latest production on the way to the next gig!

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If you already have an Apple device, chances are you already have GarageBand installed – if not, it’s easy to download from the App Store.

GarageBand for iOS makes it super easy to play, record and share music anywhere. Use a variety of instruments from around the world.

Backed by over 30 years of innovation, Cakewalk by BandLab is the new standard for the modern recording studio.

Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

If you’re looking for another Garageband experience but on a Windows PC, this free MIDI keyboard software is a complete music production package.

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As one of the first DAW software solutions for musicians, Gibson produced the software for several years until handing it over to BandLab, which created a free app.

Although originally a software used to record guitars, CakeWalk supports many virtual instruments and also includes built-in sound options.

For keyboard players, all you have to do is drag and drop your MIDI keyboard into the mixer and start creating.

Being a former commercial paid DAW, CakeWalk has all the features you will find in many top DAWs, including sequencers, effects, loops and multi-instruments.

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Looking like a throwback to the MIDI era of the 2000s, MidiEditor is a MIDI-capable DAW available for Windows and Linux.

The no-nonsense graphical interface actually reminds me of the MIDI software on the old Atari ST series of computers – one of the first home computers with professional MIDI input!

A large number of patches are available online to add various virtual instruments to your built-in virtual piano and drums.

Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

Unfortunately, it’s more of a workhorse DAW and doesn’t offer the lessons found in many of the other free MIDI keyboard software packages we’ve seen.

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For Windows users, this is definitely one of the best recording software applications available for free to use with your MIDI keyboard.

If you find the user interface not as creative as you need, you can export your MIDI files to other DAWs for extra functionality.

Learning with Piano is like playing your favorite video game: fun and exciting. Get trophies for every level you complete and level up to get more.

If you want to play a MIDI keyboard right away, Pianu.com is a great web-based option. As a browser-based app, you can use this on almost any platform you like.

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This is perhaps the easiest software to use we’ve seen – just go to pianu.com/keyboard and connect the keyboard to your device.

Pianu.com is not a complex DAW software like Garageband, but it is good if you just want to play the piano.

What Pianu.com is designed for is learning the piano with many lessons starting with the basics.

Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

What I really like about this app/website is the ability to play songs from contemporary artists like Taylor Swift, Coldplay and Lady Gaga to name a few.

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Not everyone has an iPad or iPhone – poor soul! (Just kidding, there are also many excellent alternative Android tablets and phones on the market).

With many new Android tablets and phones now having USB-C slots, connecting a MIDI keyboard is easier than ever. A converter cable that has a traditional female USB-A or B connection will work on most MIDI keyboards.

This versatile free MIDI piano software has many functional modes, including single or double line, double player and multi-chord.

One of our favorite features is the online multiplayer mode – where you can participate in weekly events like online chats, competitions and singing challenges.

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Like most of the available applications, the sound is not recorded from a real device, but pre-programmed.

Surprisingly for a free app, the sound is quite impressive and you can even download additional instruments like synths, strings and horns for free.

We conclude with a free MIDI piano software application for Windows for those who just want to play the piano and more.

Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

Piano Time is very easy to connect and get started with your new keyboard. It recognized my Novation MIDI keyboard without any problems and I didn’t even have to go to the settings.

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As you can guess from the name, Piano Time is designed to imitate the sound of a piano. You can’t really add other virtual instruments or add reverb or delay, but the sound is quite convincing.

Preloaded with some basic tracks to play along with, there are also some simple size exercises to try. Supported keyboards will even light up the keys to show you’re playing along.

MIDI data provides information about musical performance. Most importantly, the note that is pressed, how hard it is hit, and how long it is held. Many controllers used by DJs also use MIDI to communicate with applications like Serato or Traktor.

In the analog world, instruments make sounds as soon as we press them. With a MIDI keyboard it’s not so easy,

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A MIDI keyboard or MIDI controller simply generates digital control signals that, among other things, tell a MIDI-equipped synthesizer what to play.

If you’re interested in music production and synthesizers, you’ve probably come across MIDI before.

If you want to pick up a MIDI keyboard before doing anything, check out our AKAI MPK Mini Mk3 review!

Best Free Midi Keyboard Software

Developed in the 1980s, it was designed to help musical equipment communicate and perform together with as little difficulty as possible.

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Initially, MIDI cables were used to carry this data and patch MIDI-compatible devices to communicate with each other. Although this is still common, many synths today can send MIDI via USB, and MIDI can also be used completely ‘in-the-box’, as are many DAWs. So you don’t need a MIDI cable to use MIDI.

So your computer or DAW can recognize a MIDI keyboard as a plug ‘n’ play device, but you still need something to send MIDI to that will make sounds (like a VST synth).

All of the software applications/packages we’ve reviewed here work with MIDI keyboards, and many even have key mappings for them

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