The Tiny Piano

tinypiano_icon_256x256This small application puts the power of MIDI instruments into your computer. You can play a piano keyboard with the click of your mouse, typing of keys, or plug-in your own midi instrument. It is simple and the instructions are self-explanatory, so the learning curve is more like a learning plain. Just start the app and go.

TinyPianoInterface

maudio oxygen 8
M-Audio Oxygen 8, an example of an external midi controller available on the market

On the left side of the screen, you see a menu called “Select MIDI Input Device.” Click this button and a drop down menu appears with all MIDI devices available. If you don’t see yours in the list, check to make sure it is powered on and plugged in. Then restart The Tiny Piano. If it still doesn’t show up, you might need to install a driver for your MIDI device, especially if you’ve never used it on your computer before. Check the manual for your device for more information.

Once you’ve selected the device you want, you can play! Notice that the onscreen keyboard highlights the key you currently have pressed. You also have a few options to change your playing experience. First, you can change the instrument (right now it probably says 10_Glockenspiel. Click on it once to bring up a drop down menu of 127 more options). You can also switch into chord mode. With this mode enabled, you can press just one key of the scale and The Tiny Piano will play the whole chord from that scale degree in your selected major key. If you don’t have an external device, you can use your computer’s typing keyboard to play just as you would an external device. Just check the box labeled “Use Computer Keyboard” and type from the A to the L on the middle line of your keyboard for a major scale. You can drag the yellow cursor on the grey bar right below the onscreen keyboard to select where the typing keyboard starts, so you can easily change keys and octaves.

Mousing Music is just for fun. When enabled, it generates music to follow the movements of your mouse on screen. It feels like waving a magic wand around your screen when you move the mouse. Try it out just for answering emails and doing other mundane work to brighten up your day.

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