So, I made a discovery that I am absolutely excited about. One of the things I’ll need for a few upcoming shows is the option to have sampled timpani and keyboard instruments. I know a lot of people use the keyboard pads and simply assign the correct octave within the MalletKAT and timpani samples in MainStage. This is great, however, I’d rather have drum pads to play the timpani specific parts on. What I intend to do is a use the MIDI in port on the MalletKAT to attach my Roland TM-2 as a second input. This will provide me with 2–4 pad inputs to be used as timpani specifically. For this, I have to do some work within MainStage to set it up correctly.To begin with, we open an instance of MS. I used the single keyboard template.

Next, we go to the layout menu, and add (in this instance) 2 drum pads. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to simply double click on the drum pad icon in the bottom menu then move it in the layout screen.

Once the instances have been added, we need to assign the MIDI input for each “instrument”. As stated in an earlier post, the easiest way that I’ve found to determine what MIDI channel a pad is sending, if you strike the pad, the display in the top center of the screen will flash the channel. In the case of my TM-2, one pad is sending on C2 and the other on D2. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m only using two pads. Once the “MIDI Port” has been changed to the input (M-Track in my case unlike in the picture below), and the Note has been changed to correspond to the pad, we’re all set in the layout!

Go back into the “Edit” menu, and add a patch on the left hand side. In that patch, add a new instrument channel strip on the right hand side. In this case, we’re selecting “Timpani” as the instrument (under orchestral percussion).

Select the drum pad you want to assign first in the workspace. In the menu below the workspace, select the “Unmapped” tab, select “timpani” in the first column, “MIDI Notes” in the second column, and finally, the note you want that pad to play.

That’s it! You’re all done! Repeat for each patch change within the concert. Additionally, if you want to use the pads for percussion sounds, you can do so with the orchestral kit menu. To download a copy of the Orchestral Kit Percussion List, click here.

Originally published at www.crobertsmusic.com.

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