using a midi interface

• Oct 24, 2015 - 21:44

(I recently posted this on the forum, with no reply yet, so I am adapting it to the forum.)
(I am trying to see whether someone with basic knowledge of the following context could provide a bit of clarification.)
Hello. I am a recent new user of PC Linux KDE minime`. I have a history with Windows, from Win 95 through Win 7. I am currently unemployed, and without financial resources. So I have music hardware that has “timed out” in
Windows, or had certain performance issues with Windows music software that I have used. I am attempting to use “MuseScore” in PC Linux, with K-mixer/Pulse, but a midi interface is needed for note entry. I am using jack in the latest version of MuseScore. I have a shoulder injury and arthritis in my left shoulder, which impedes my abilities as a flutist. I have a prescribed physical therapy regime I am following religiously. I find that when I spend
excessive time on a computer keyboard, that my flute playing is worse, compared to the times when I use a midi keyboard for computer music note entry. I do not have a background in programming at all. There was a link in to "" which has a driver list for usb audio devices. . The open device I own; a "USB Midi cable" usb device is primarily for a midi keyboard in Xp and Vista, but has an "audio driver component". There is no specific driver for my devices (both the usb device and a parallel device) listed in the driver list. But there is a template for activation of usb devices: i.e.:

USB Audio
Takashi Iwai
index:Index value for the USB audio adapter. (array of int)
id:ID string for the USB audio adapter. (array of charp)
enable:Enable USB audio adapter. (array of bool)
vid:Vendor ID for the USB audio device. (array of int)
pid:Product ID for the USB audio device. (array of int)
nrpacks:Max. number of packets per URB. (int)
async_unlink:Use async unlink mode. (bool)
device_setup:Specific device setup (if needed). (array of int)

I checked to see if "modinfo soundcore" is active, and it is active on my KDE setup. One would assume so, since Pulse is running well. This means you don't have to "compile a kernel". The two open devices I have are the "usb midi cable" interface: 1 in/out, which is one option I use to allow my midi keyboard to communicate with a Windows music program. The USB midi cable is not one of my higher priorities. I also own a “Motu Pocket Express” which is a midi parallel interface with SMPTE with 2 in/4 out midi with support for Mac and PC. It has Win95 drivers, and I have update drivers through Windows XP. Rather than trial and error experimentation using "terminal" syntax (This is like a Windows command prompt)for possible use of these devices, I am wondering whether the USB device of this type would activate for use in PC Linux KDE with single activation line? i.e.:

enable:Enable USB audio adapter. (array of bool)

The site says that "All usb devices that are standards compliant will work", but I am not aware whether
this applies to the "USB Midi Cable". Or should the entire group of lines listed above be used, assuming the listed terminal
syntax entry approach is really viable? I feel I require some authoritative verification before trial and error, since some
of my other preliminary terminal entries preceded the loss of several Mate' and KDE setups. Or there could be a much more
extensive preparation regime for any attempt to integrate these devices in KDE. Or there could be compelling reasons to abandon
any such attempt. As for the Motu Pocket: the Alsa site lists support for 3 other parallel interfaces from Motu, but not the Pocket. Obviously, I could go to ebay to look up a Linux/KDE supported midi interface devices, but I thought I would look into this approach first. I would hate to see the two devices go to waste when they could otherwise be gainfully employed. Basic midi input is active in my Windows setups, but those midi-including devices in Windows are either unsupported in Linux, or in my conditional explorations, I am not prepared to move the devices in Windows to Linux and replace the devices in Windows. Another consideration: whether or not a device should be active in an internet-connected context, regardless of whether or not the device can be optionally disabled and enabled. I also own a Midiman Biport 2x4 parallel midi interface with SMPTE, but it is active in an ongoing setup in Windows, unlike the other two devices. If someone knew it was my
best bet, I would consider moving it to KDE Linux, but it too does not have a driver listed in All we need is midi input with jack, and usb is probably my best option.
Sincerely, Evan Mundy


To Any & All:
As my dissertation has not elicited responses, I will add a few remarks.
The USB-midi interface is a device with midi din in & out connected to my midi keyboard with
midi din, going to usb conversion on the computer usb port. I am not concerned about midi
keyboard playback. The USB-midi device does not work automatically in PC-Linux KDE.
I have an active Win7 pro 32 MuseScore 2.02 install where midi in & out are functional, but I would
prefer to have "parity" on Linux. Could someone tell me whether I should abandon this attempt
and purchase a USB midi interface which is known to work on KDE?
Sincerely, Evan Mundy

I run Kubuntu 15.10, but no midi keyboard.

However I have an (old, from Windows time) one, which I just connected. The connexion is made by a MIDI USB cable. The USB plug connected to the computer lights a LED. The USB end, connected to the keyboard, has a "MIDIIN" and a "MIDIOUT" , but none of this plugs suceeds to write a chord. However I think MIDIIN is the right one, because it makes blink the LED .
and indeed

leleu@leleu-portable:~$ aplaymidi -l
Port Client name Port name
14:0 Midi Through Midi Through Port-0
20:0 E-MU XMidi1X1 Tab E-MU XMidi1X1 Tab MIDI 1

In the preferences of Mscore "Pulseaudio" is the I∕O device.
I never used jack

I could make trials according to your (or someone else) indications.

Edit : meanwhile I followed indication given in… (installation and use of jackctl)

and my MIDI keyboard writes in Mscore

In reply to by robert leleu

( I am finally replying directly, after the following experience:)
Apparently the T5212 Emachines computer I was using with KDE has an issue with either the "USB2.0-midi" device, or else with the NEC usb 2 pci card I was using. I ran the same usb midi process on an Intel P4 board using LXDE, and I did not get the same issue. However, this other computer ran into seperate internet/networking browser "issues" after I tried to use the "Opera" browser.
I am still leery about any motherboard audio process, coming from a Windows-based experience as I have. As I do not have translation going on my internet connection yet, I cannot really comprehend the jack information from your link. I am trying to decide whether, although the Alsa process sounds quite well for playback and also provided midi input on LXDE, whether I would be more likely to have continuous acceptable operation in any Linux distribution on the lower bit/sample of jack, if I were able to establish jack for midi input? On the last installation; the LXDE; I could not switch to jack from Alsa and get midi in/out on the NEC usb 2 pci card and the "USB2.0-midi" device. If you were able to glean a correct terminal entry for enabling jack input from your link, or a configuration procedure, I would try it in new KDE, LXDE and/or Ubuntu installations. Eh?
Sincerely, Evan Mundy

In reply to by Evan J. Mundy

Hi Evan,

Can I suggest that you try a music friendly Linux distro. I have been using Ubuntu Studio on obsolete (Windows XP) systems for some time now and IME everything runs straight out of the box, even talking to my ancient M-Audio MIDISport interface without problem.

There are other distros too which are media friendly - Mint contains codecs which are otherwise missing from Ubuntu and there is also KXStudio. These are all based on Ubuntu which makes me wonder whether other distros are not so media friendly.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Hello. This updates my recent actions. Given what I describe, can you point me to an older Ubuntu variant that may run on my Emachines T5212 computer?
Thank you for your posts. I have been working on a major revision of my overall computer (music) process, within
a similiar class of older computers; so my internet capabilities were temporarily out of commission. This explains my lack of
recent post follow-up communication. I feel I am incapable of much reciprocity on the technical matters of other posters. I have been
attempting to use the computer where I previously ran KDE-minime to mount an Ubuntu installation. (T-5212).
Meantime, I have installed KDE-minime to a computer with an XP-home partition. An EMU-0404 PCI audio card is providing
reliable midi keyboard input to the MuseScore program on KDE minime there. I intend to use this installation off-line,
without further connection to the internet. I also revised another computer, an Intel P4, where I am running Win7 32 pro and LXDE.
A USB2.0-midi device is also providing reliable midi keyboard input to MuseScore on the LXDE partition. It appears that my printer
cannot be installed without resort to on-line/server technology in LXDE. Since I also intend to not connect anymore on this
computer; I have therefore installed this printer to Win7 32 and added an Acrobat Reader, which came from an out-of-use
"Avanquest System Suite 11" disc. On a third computer, the former KDE computer, a T5212 E-Machines; I have just attempted without
success to a) install desktop 32 Ubuntu alone b) install Lubuntu in dual with Win7 32, and c) after remounting KDE minime on a
dual boot again with my 3d Win7 32 pro license, I tried a Kubuntu install on triple boot. I downloaded the Kubuntu .iso and,
since the first two Ubuntu-variant install attempts went so badly,used the hash confirmation process for .iso and .iso burn in the
first of 3 hash verification steps. The first step verified, but the remaining 2 steps were unverified. The second hash
verification stage just noted the the download did not use a public key, and the third printed out a new hash: not the hash listed
at the bottom of the download page, and said the hash could be referenced on a link, but the link had no section I could find that
had a hash list. I theorized that since both KDE-minime and Kubuntu were KDE-class computers, that a higher probability of a
successful integration of Kubuntu than Ubuntu or Lubuntu existed when using the generic "Live CD" approach, but this was not born
out in practice: it was a bad Kubuntu install that stalled in the last installation window, but never offered partitioning, and
(fortunately?) left no evidence of the install attempt on KDE minime or Win7 32 pro.
I regard these Ubuntu-class install endeavors as an attempt to vet any available Ubuntu that will run, regardless of my
awareness of the existence of "Ubuntu Studio", since I have low RAM, and do not have the ability to invest in extensive upgrades or
newer computers. I have one suitable old computer that conceivably could run the Ubuntu Studio I have read about, but this computer
is reserved for other off-line music software and hardware that are available to me. Rather than replace KDE minime (with Lubuntu or
Kubuntu))on the T5212; since KDE minime does provide what has turned out to be a reasonable internet process, I am leaving any music
with MuseScore off this computer (specifically; the KDE minime partitions), and instead designating this computer as a "communications
computer". I would run Skype and email etc.initially on any Ubuntu version or variant that may sucessfully install in the near
future. My next attempt will be to install "Lubuntu" from the KDE desktop instead of from Live CD, since I cannot confirm a cd/DVD
burn fully, and maybe the T5212 bios are "buggy". So the Kubuntu .iso confirmed its hash, but since the same download process existed with Lubuntu,
(without hash confirming) and Lubuntu is of lower-resource-required design, I'll try Lubuntu first(again), after a bad Kubuntu
install attempt from "Live" cd. Maybe I should re-download Lubuntu and see about any hash confirmation available? I located a
Lubuntu link to a desktop install procedure reference and printed it, so that, for me; I can correlate the information more
conveniently with my upcoming new desktop install attempt. With my 14.03.3 Ubuntu 32-bit install try;Win8 Internet security software
showed that 3 new ports opened up on the computer during the last 2 minutes of the Ubuntu desktop 32 .iso download. I have also
attempted to use a Linux desktop for a download process. It is difficult to identify cause and effect relating to the bad Ubuntu
desktop 32 install, but I believe this port information provides a strong incentive to skip Ubuntu desktop 32 now, and try Lubuntu
(or Kubuntu) first! (fourth!).
Sincerely, Evan Mundy

I'm not completely certain what the problem is here, it would be helpful if your original post was a bit shorter and clearer. It appears you have some MIDI hardware that works in Windows but not in Linux.

Do you know that MuseScore is available on Windows too? See:

However, I use a MIDI keyboard (via a MIDI-USB adapter) on Linux and it works just fine with MuseScore. I use Ubuntu, but it should work in any distribution.

Things to consider:

  1. MIDI devices MUST be plugged in to your computer and switched on BEFORE you start MuseScore.
  2. Are the cables the right way round? MIDI devices always connect MIDI-OUT to MIDI-IN and never MIDI-IN to MIDI-IN or MIDI-OUT to MIDI-OUT. (FAQ at bottom of this page explains why.)
  3. Have you tried running MuseScore without JACK or any other software running that could be intercepting the MIDI signals?
  4. Have you set MuseScore's audio I/O preferences correctly? Go to Edit -> Preferences -> I/O. I had to tick the ALSA audio box to use MIDI, but you should try all the options. (I presume JACK must be running to use JACK but non of the other options should require you to run anything yourself. If ALSA doesn't work you may need to install ALSA.)
  5. Try the same MIDI devices with MuseScore under Ubuntu 15.10 where MIDI is known to work. You don't need to install Ubuntu to your hard drive, you can boot off a Live USB to do the test. (Backup your hard drive first just in case & make sure the USB stick is empty before you put Ubuntu on it.)

In reply to by shoogle

Hello to Shoogle and the previous poster: thanks!
Your post and the previous one came in around the time I was submitting the following "bug report"
to So my process has gone beyond what I was addressing in my first posts here in the forum. Although there was no recognition of the usb midi device in my first attempt at configuration, for some reason, the usb-midi did show up in a second attempt with the results I describe in the bug report below:
To the bug report section:
"Hello. I use KDE to run Skype and MuseScore 2.02. I am using Pulse/Alsa/Jack, but these do not
(directly)provide midi note input into MuseScore. I prefer to use a midi keyboard, rather than a computer keyboard for MuseScore note input. I have a "USB2.0-midi" device: midi in and out din-to-din at the midi keyboard, to a usb port on the computer. In an attempt to use the USB midi device, I first used "Configuration/hardware Devices/USB Sound device, and used an "enable" section, where I first called the device a "USB Audio" device. This did not work. Only when I changed the MuseScore audio driver to Alsa, and re-enabled the usb midi device, calling it "USB 2.0-midi" would it provide note input with my midi keyboard into MuseScore. After checking the midi input, I used Skype, but the mike input did not work until I changed the MuseScore audio driver to "Jack". However, the cable for the USB midi device would not reach to the location I normally place my computer. Therefore, I then attached a 10-foot usb extension to the usb midi usb cable. After I did so, and went to enable the
usb midi device, I found that it was reassigned as an "Other Hardware". There is no configuration sub-section, and the module is listed as "unknown". No midi input is currently available. The usb midi device instructions ask you to use the same usb port all the time, so my assumption is that the usb extension was interpreted as a second midi port. Under the circumstances, I decided to try two other usb ports, but the response was exactly the same. Would you say that if I want to again use the device, that I would have to run another KDE installation or overwrite my current installation if I expect to use this device again? I now know that I should; use the device without the usb cable extension; that I should use the Alsa driver, and that I should name the device "USB2.0-midi" in the enable section of Configuration. Is there some tactic or approach I could use within the current KDE installation that would restore my ability to use the USB2.0-midi device, or is bug-report support
of the opinion that my assessment is condidered correct or accurate, and that I can only now use the USB2.0-midi device with a new replacement KDE installation? Or do you recommend that other sections such as Vendor ID ("vid") also be used along with the "enable" section to complete the process that makes the device available for use?" (Whoops; no "enable" section exists in the "Other Hardware" section.)
Sincerely, Evan Mundy
P.S.: I turned on the keyboard with the usb end plugged into a computer usb port, and, although the
input port usb-midi device LED shows it is actively receiving from the midi keyboard, the response of the computer; of "configuration"; and of MuseScore with the Alsa driver; are exact;y the same as yesterday.

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