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I am sorry to bother you but I don't know very much. This is about playing the piano through the computer. I have an m-audio keystation 88 which is a whole separate machine that connects through the usb cable that I got to work in windows xp with software from cantabile, I do not remember how but it does not matter because linux does not have cantabile. There are a lot of things like Midi and synthesizers and cards and jacks and controls and I do not know how they go together. A while ago I tried to get wine to work but couldn't do it. All the documentation I can find assumes you know almost all of the answer already. I don't presume to ask anyone how to do it but I do need something very simple to at least get me started.

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What version of Ubuntu are you using? 12.04? I've seen some older documentation that mentions support in older kernels with alsa. If you're using 12.04 with Unity, I wouldn't worry about the alsa part and plug in the USB. Go to the upper right corner, left click on the speaker Icon, Go to Sound Settings, Input tab, and see if your keyboard appears. If it does select it and see if it works for you. Hope this helps! – itnet7 May 23 '12 at 20:27
This worked well for me on Ubuntu 12.10.‌​19768 – somethis Sep 17 '13 at 14:31

You can install a synthesizer from the Software Centre such as Bristol as well as a program to route midi commands from the keyboard to the synth, such as Jack Control.

Midi can either go over two different protocols, ALSA or Jack and Jack Control handles both. Bristol, by default, uses ALSA. Jack Control opens several windows and can look a bit forbidding so you have been warned!

Connect your keyboard the computer and start both programs. Click Connect in the main window of Jack Control, choose the ALSA tab and connect the output of your keyboard to the input of the Bristol by selecting each and clicking connect. You should be able to hear sounds now.

Other programs exist that work with samples or soundfonts and may give you a more authentic piano sound. QSynth is easy to use and you can route the midi exactly in the way I described above. There are two extra steps however. Within QSynth setup, you must point it to a soundfont file (.SF2), such as the one found here and you must click Start in Jack Control for the audio to be routed from QSynth to your soundcard.

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Try Pianoteq. It's a physical model synthesizer rather than being sample-based and it costs €100 but there's a trial version for a 20mb download. If your keyboard is weighted and you are focussed on piano and are OK with proprietary software then this one can't be beat.

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I assumed that 12.04 was unity because when I followed itnet7's instructions I found a tab called 'input,' but there was no way I could see to add a source. And anyway it seems to be recording oriented and I am just trying to play from the keyboard. I tried pianoteq trial and it worked ok except for white notes going mute and then being playable again, kind of at random. I wrote to pianoteq and they said try it on windows, so I did, and it seemed to work ok, so it must be a problem with linux. Is linux too fast? notes may step on each other. Anyway thank you very much. – Charles E Rignall May 25 '12 at 17:18

I assume you want to pipe a midi keyboard into your pc and hear the music coming from your pc? "rosegarden" will do this, plus record your music, plus write into a music score. you will need the various software.

read this link.. Step-by-step to run a midi keyboard input device? 12.04

In addition, YOU NEED TO INSTALL THE UBUNTU LOW-LATENCY KERNEL. you find this via synaptic.

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Piano booster works well using Ubuntu 14.04 and midi keyboard through usb connection.

Minimal setup to get it working. Once keyboard plugged to computer and switched on, choose midi output device from setup menu.

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