Alesis VI - Midi Keyboard Shortcuts

Hi All–
I know that there has been some talk about using certain devises such as a stream deck to aid in Dorico workflow. Since Dorico implemented the option to assign shortcuts to midi signals, I’ve taken an alternate route that I’d like to share with you all. I purchased an Alesis VI 61 keyboard which has a bank of 48 MIDI buttons at the top as well as drum pads on the left hand side. As my needs for Dorico slowly expand, I am assigning all my favorite functions to these keys and it is working extremely well and I’m thrilled with the results. So, if any of you are in the need for a new MIDI keyboard for note entry, I’d highly suggest you give this some thought.

Here’s my overall setup:

And here are some closeups of some of the buttons I’ve begun labelling:

NB: to get this to work, you do need to download the Alesis configurator software to change the type of midi signals the keyboard sends. Once you push the settings to the keyboard (it’s very easy) those settings remain the defaults on the keyboard until you deliberately change it. This means that you can unplug the keyboard and take it with you and not lose your setup. I changed the buttons to “CC momentary”.

As I am an organist, I also drive Hauptwerk and this works well for that too. I use the drum pads to control my stops and piston presets for Hauptwerk in the background as my sample library (HW running full in the background with Dorico in the foreground) and there are no issues with both programs using the signals from the keyboard at the same time (at least on Mac.).

I hope this helps someone,


Here are higher res images for anyone that wants a better look.

Oh-- and for anyone wondering about the other “keyboard” at the bottom, it is a Kinesis gaming keyboard. While it is targeted at gamers (I do not game) it is also great for anyone who has any repetitive strain injuries. I use this to combat arm pain. On the plus side, every single key is reassignable. This lends itself to some neat tricks too. For example, I have a “layout” where simply pressing the numbers 1 through 5 automatically enters the key commands to add that fingering. A little macro (programmed into the keyboard itself-- totally independent of software) executes the sequence to activate the popover, enter that fingering and hit enter all with one single key press. I also have the left space bar programmed to do the special alt_space that allows you to enter more than one word per note when entering in lyrics.

I’m quite interested in how you can assign shortcuts to midi signals?
Thanks for a short explanation.

I don’t have the program in front of me at the moment (my dongle is at work) so my terms may be off slightly.

When you go into the key commands section of the preferences pane, at the bottom for whichever function you choose, there is an option to “assign midi command”. You click on that button, then press the midi key / button on your keyboard that you want to affect Dorico, Dorico will then auto-populate the name of the signal into the box and finally you click apply and you are done. Now whenever you press that button on your keyboard it will perform that function the exact same as if you hit a text shortcut on your letters keyboard.

Hi roman. I have The same keyboard and assigned also the drum pads to enter fingering. Every pad triggers a macro in the macro program I’m using which enters a specific finger/fingers and then advances to the next note.

Thank you, Romanos, it works exactly like you described it.

Andre, what macro program are you using? I wasn’t aware of any macro programs that could use midi signals. Sounds pretty cool!

Oh yeah. If you’re on Mac, KM:

AHK for Windows can do it too, though not as simple.

Yes, I’m using keyboard Maestro.

I used to used AHK on my windows machine and I positively loved it (Mac only at the moment). It’s labor intensive to get it all set up, but once you do, it works like a dream.

I will check out KBM.

Quick question-- I cannot find the info on their website to save my life: do you get more than one active install of KBM? If it only functions on 1 computer, I’ll have work purchase it; if it can function on multiple, I’ll buy it myself and sync macros to my work computer too.

Hi James,
I’ve been searching the internet for this EXACT setup, and am also an organist (in London) with Hauptwerk.
Many thanks for sharing!

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