Groovyband Live! manages 4 input devices and 1 output device, all 5 devices must be connected to the computer through USB (usual configuration) or midi interface. If the computer does not have enough USB ports (as it might be the case with laptop or tablets) an USB hub can be used.
Input devices serve both as keyboards to play the white/black keys (melody and accompaniment lines), and as physical controls to enter commands in addition to the touch screen or a mouse. For this latter purpose a set of bindings must be programmed.
A Yamaha PSR/Tyros/Genos must be used as sound generator and configured as the midi out device. It can be, and usually is, used also as midi input. A single USB cable connecting the computer and the Yamaha arranger then provides 1 input and 1 output. Please note that to be properly recognized by Windows, the Yamaha arranger needs a driver, to be downloaded from the Yamaha web site. Other devices, if not “class compliant”, might need a driver as well. Check with the respective user manuals.
To use an Yamaha arranger as a midi input/output device two configurations are needed: one in the arranger, and one in the Groovyband Live! software.
While the configuration on Yamaha arrangers is specific for these devices (and sometimes convoluted because of the poor midi implementation that does not favour their use as general purpose midi controllers), the configuration in the Groovyband Live! program is general, and is valid and must be performed for any hardware midi device.
All the actions detailed here must be performed in the Function/Midi Setup menu of the arranger (please refer to your arranger’s manual for details on how to get there). Do not be worried: these are “do it once and forget” actions, since the resulting configuration can be saved and recalled when needed at the push of a button! The screenshots below are for the PSR/Tyros arrangers. For Genos, although the user interface is different, the available functionality is identical and it is straightforward to figure out how to operate on that arranger as well.
Every Yamaha arranger can receive midi data (and play it) on 2 midi ports, each one of 16 midi channels. Port2, although also accessible from the outside, is used by the arranger internal style play engine (accompaniment parts, ots, pads). Port1 is used by the arranger’s internal midi player, and is the preferred choice to be used from external sequencers as well to drive the arranger’s sound generator engine (= to use the arranger as a sound expander). Port2 is less suitable for this purpose, since it does not recognize some midi commands which are vital to properly use the sound generator at its full potential from an external sequencer. Groovyband Live! acts as an external sequencer that needs full control over the Yamaha arranger’s tone generator, and hence Port1 must be used.
To setup Port1 as outlined above, enter the Midi Receive menu and set all Port1 parts (channels 1÷16) to “song” and all Port2 parts (channels 1÷16) to “off” (the display must be scrolled down to access all ports/channels):
Additionally you want the Yamaha arranger to transmit the whole keybed (white and black keys) as a single flat block of keys all on the same midi channel. By default the arranger would transmit the various left / right parts on different midi channels, plus other additional midi data which is useless for our purpose. To silence all the midi data you do not want, and consolidate the whole keybed on a single midi channel, you have to set the Midi Transmit menu as shown (all parts set to “off” except the Upper and Lower parts, which must transmit to Port1/Channel1; once again scroll down the display to access all parts). To avoid duplicate messages, deselect CC and PB transmission for the Lower part (keeping them only for the Upper part):
Then you want to disable as much “local control” as possible, so that your (maybe unintended) “button pushing” on the arranger would not trigger unwanted midi commands locally (bypassing the control of Groovyband Live!). To obtain this you have to set the Midi System menu as follows:
You also have to instruct your arranger to follow the external MIDI clock coming from USB Port1 (the one Groovyband Live! will trasmit on) instead of its own internal clock:
Finally, select which MIDI messages should be received (receiving SysEx messages is vitally important):
Before saving, check that all the settings in the following screenshots are disabled:
To forget all this setup and never do it again, you have to save it as a user configuration (maybe you need to consult your arranger manual). Give it a proper name so that you can instantly find and recall it when needed:
If you want to revert to use your arranger “normally” (= without Groovyband Live! being in control) you can easily do it, by recalling one of the default midi configurations (or your own customisation, if any):
Groovyband Live! Midi setup
This setup is always needed: for Yamaha arrangers or for any other midi device.
Groovyband Live! produces a stream of midi data that is converted into audio (sound) by the tone generator built in a supported Yamaha arranger. Groovyband Live!’s midi “Out 1” port must therefore target the Yamaha arranger you are using.
Groovyband Live! manages two keyboards to play music + a pedal board (or a third keyboard). The first keyboard is the one you use to play chord and lead voices (usually L/R1÷3), divided by a configurable split point. This keyboard is the one you set as midi “In 1”. It can be the same Yamaha arranger used as sound generator, or any other keyboard.
The second keyboard is used for Aux voices (A1÷4), that you can set set in layer/split mode as you like. This keyboard is the one set as midi “In 2”; it can be any keyboard you like, including the Yamaha arranger, if it is not already used as “In 1”.
A third note input device (a pedal board or a keyboard) can be used to play Aux voices as well. This device is connected to midi “In 3”.
Every input (In 1÷4) can be used to connect midi devices (generically called “control surfaces”) that provides physical controls (knobs, sliders, switches, …), possibly in addition to keys.
To recap, three common setups are the following (others, not depicted, are possible):
- Only the Yamaha arranger is used. This is set both as “In 1” and “Out 1”. You play its keyboard in split mode (as you would normally). Aux voices cannot be played since there is no another keyboard/pedalboard connected.
- The Yamaha arranger and another keyboard are used. You still set the Yamaha arranger as “Out 1”, and then you decide which keyboard to configure as “In 1” or “In 2”. You play the chords and lead voices on “In 1”, the aux voices on “In 2”.
- A midified organ console provides inputs for 2 manuals and pedalboard. The Yamaha arranger is only used for sound generation (and possibly as control surface).
- Press the “Midi Ports” button to toggle the visibility (show/hide) of the midi input panel. This button flashes if either Input 1 and Output 1 are not configured. They are mandatory to be able to use the program.
- Press “Rescan Midi I/O Devices” every time a new device is connected or turned on. If in doubt, just press it, it will not hurt!
- Repeatedly press the device selector buttons in order to select the device you desire for the given midi input/output port. The list is cycled circularly: if you missed an entry, keep pushing until it shows again. If you do not see your device, even after having rescanned the midi i/o, then you have to troubleshoot your midi connection so that it is properly recognized by Windows.
- Optionally select the channel to listen to (it must correspond to the transmit channel). See next point.
- Check the input/output midi traffic through this led. If the led flashes then Groovyband Live! is receiving/transmitting data on this port/midi channel combo.
- Press the “Panic” button if some note is stuck due to lost data in the connection between the computer and midi device. This is a safety net which nowadays is rarely, if ever, used.
Check that your midi setup is correctly working
If you have setup everything as explained here, you should be able to play lead voices, aux voices and automatic accompaniment and see the corresponding midi data received by the Yamaha Arranger’s tone generator.
Open the Midi/Receive configuration tab in your arranger. There is a midi Rx (receive) Monitor with flashing leds for each channel: when a midi message is received on that Port/Channel the led briefly flashes. You should be looking at Port1 (MIDI/USB 1) input channels.
- Lead voices transmit on channels 1÷4. If you play at the right of the split point on the keyboard set as “In 1” you should be able to see some of these leds to flash (check to see if at least one of the L/R1÷3 parts in Groovyband Live! mixer has the volume meter bar going up and down to be sure the program is transmitting midi data).
- Aux voices transmit on channels 5÷8. If you play on the keyboard set as “In 2” you should be able to see some of these leds to flash (check to see if at least one of the A1÷4 parts in Groovyband Live! mixer has the volume meter bar going up and down to be sure the program is transmitting midi data).
- Automatic accompaniment (style) parts transmit on channels 9÷16. If you start the style and play some chords on the keyboard set as “In 1” you should be able to see some of these leds to flash (check to see if at least one of the style parts in Groovyband Live! mixer has the volume meter bar going up and down to be sure the program is transmitting midi data).
If you do not see the volume meter going up/down then you should check how to enable a part in the Mixer. Even if a part is enabled, it does not play if someone (you) or something (the sequencer) does not actually play some notes. If you do not know how to trigger the automatic accompaniment and/or aux/lead voices, please consult the appropriate manual chapters.
As a general rule of thumb: moving volume meter means midi data being transmitted on that midi channel. And therefore it should be shown as received at the other end of the cable (your arranger tone generator).
If, despite being transmitted, it does not arrive to the tone generator, you should check your midi setup. In particular be sure to have setup correctly the Port and all the receiving channels as shown earlier here.
If still your yamaha arranger does not receive midi data, you should check the USB cable and that the Yamaha driver is correctly installed and working with your PC (please refer to the documentation supplied by Yamaha). Do NOT assume that, verify it with positive evidence. You could also try to communicate with your arranger using another program (different from Groovyband Live!) to be sure that the problem is not between the computer and the keyboard.