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Step 2: Setting up your MIDI system

MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It’s the language spoken by computers and electronic musical instruments. We’ll assume that you’re connecting a MIDI keyboard, although you can use any MIDI instrument. In this guide, “MIDI keyboard” refers to whatever type of MIDI device you are using.

At the very least, you’ll need the following equipment for an operational MIDI system (not including your computer):

  • A MIDI keyboard
  • Amplifier/speaker or headphones
  • Two MIDI cables
  • A MIDI interface with appropriate USB cable

The last item, a MIDI interface, is a device that translates the signals arriving from the MIDI keyboard into signals that the computer understands, and vice versa. The most basic interfaces require no external power and have ports (jacks) for a single MIDI keyboard; more expensive models have ports for multiple MIDI devices or other features. Most Macs have USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, a standard that allows users to connect devices to their computers without needing to restart for the devices to become active.

  1. Place the computer, keyboard, and MIDI interface where you want them. Go ahead and plug in any power cords, but don’t turn anything on yet.
  2. Plug one end of the MIDI interface cable into the interface (if applicable). Plug the other end into the USB or serial port on the back of your Mac.
  3. Plug one end of a MIDI cable into the MIDI keyboard port marked MIDI In. Plug the other end into the MIDI interface port marked MIDI Out. Plug the second MIDI cable into the interface port marked MIDI In and the MIDI keyboard port marked MIDI Out. The most common problem encountered by a new MIDI user is improperly connected cables. The trick is to think of the route the music data is taking. The notes you play will leave your MIDI keyboard from the port marked Out, and enter the interface through the port marked In, then on to the computer. Similarly, when the computer plays back your music, the notes go out from the computer to the interface, leave the interface through the port marked Out, and enter your MIDI keyboard through the port marked In. So, although it may seem contrary to common sense, plug the In to the Out and vice versa.
  4. Turn on all your equipment.

Your MIDI system is now configured. To configure additional settings, see Configuring MIDI in OS X below. When you are ready to continue, move to the next step, Launching and authorizing Finale.

Tip: To playback using General MIDI or a non-General MIDI instrument on your external MIDI keyboard or sound module, see Assigning instruments to MIDI sounds.

Step 1: Installation Step 3: Launching and authorizing Finale

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