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There's no doubt that Reason and a MIDI keyboard make a powerful creative pair. But what if you're not so great with piano keys, or what if you're in a situation where a MIDI keyboard, whether large or small, doesn't make sense? Reason includes a function just for this purpose. We introduced this device earlier in the course, but I want to take a moment and fully describe the onscreen Piano Keys function because I think it will help many of you utilize Reason instruments more fully. Pressing F4 brings up the onscreen MIDI keyboard.
It can be played two ways: with a mouse and with the computer QWERTY keyboard. Choose between the modes with the indicator tabs. When in Mouse Keys mode, clicking on one of the keys sends a MIDI signal to the synthesizer that can also be recorded in the Reason sequencer. Clicking further up the key sends a low velocity, and clicking further out on the key sends a high velocity. This will help you simulate dynamic playing as low velocities are interpreted to soft notes and high velocities are processed as wild notes, in most patches.
(music playing) The Repeat and Hold options are helpful when tweaking patches. The Repeat box causes Reason to retrigger notes at quarter note intervals. (music playing) That goes on forever as long, as you have Repeat checked. The Hold box forces Reason to hold pressed notes until the box is unchecked, releasing all the notes. (music playing) Octave are shifted with a mouse click on the included piano keyboard.
The keys display the octave. In Computer Keys mode, the QWERTY keyboard on your computer becomes an emergency MIDI keyboard. The letters A, W, S, E, D, and so on become triggers for the selected Reason synthesizer, and follow a typical piano keyboard layout, as indicated in the display. Z and X keys change the octave, and the number keys change velocity. Chords and individual notes can be played and recorded by the sequencer.
(music playing) Let's move up an octave. (music playing) Velocity can be changed while playing, simulating a more dynamic performance. (music playing) The Shift key acts as a momentary sustain pedal. (music playing) For varied velocity programming, the Velocity Variation Selector can randomly change the output velocity within three ranges: Light, Medium, and Heavy.
(music playing) It's all random, but it makes for a cool performance. If by chance you need to change the QWERTY mapping of the onscreen computer keyboard to accommodate your playing style, Reason allows a user to completely customize these keys in the Preferences menu. Even if you're an accomplished pianist, you'll come to appreciate this thoughtful addition to the Reason toolset. If you've never used a piano keyboard before, the onscreen computer keyboard will help take advantage of sound-creation tools you may have never been able to explore otherwise.
Either way, this function is a valuable tool that you'll use over and over again.
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