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Tutorial 4 – Playing and recording software instruments

Tutorial 4 – Playing and recording software instruments
Software instruments, also referred to as soft synths, are a major part of computer music. Our goal in this tutorial is to add a software instrument to a project. We'll explore a few different ways they can be used with SONAR and look at some options to make the most of them.
In the early 1980's, all of the major manufacturers of keyboards and drum machines got together to decide on a way for their products to work well with each other. Since they all operated under some version of the two functions listed above, it was a simple goal.They needed to standardize what messages were used to represent particular expressions. For example: if it was a drum machine, everyone would need to use the C note for the bass drum, the D note for the snare drum and so on. That way, messages sent from one drum machine can be fed to another made by a different company. It will play the same beat, but using the drum sounds from the different module.The standard they established is known as MIDI (usually pronounced [mid-ee]). As soon as computers entered the scene, it was clear that there should be a way to connect a synth and send MIDI messages to it from a software sequencer. That's how Cakewalk was born. Our first application was a DOS program that would allow a user to edit the MIDI data in detail, and play it out to a connected synth. You could also record the events from a performance into the computer.
Things have evolved a lot since then. As computers have grown more powerful, the capabilities of Cakewalk software have expanded. Computers are now so fast that software companies are able to make synths and drum machines that are completely software-based. They are essentially the guts of a keyboard in a computer program.

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