Piston-like use of the X-Keys Stick

My workflow already involves two Stream Decks—an XL to the left of my midi keyboard, and a mini to the right of my computer keyboard—my keyboard lives in a drawer under my midi keyboard. My goal in adding buttons to my desk has been to minimize uncomfortable movement, so the mini—for example—contains buttons that I can reach with my right pinky when entering note values with the numeric keypad.

My most recent frustration has been when I would need to switch voices but my left hand was on the midi keyboard (I’m right handed, so that hand would be on the numeric keypad). Being an organist, I pined for some pistons—and then started searching for what options might be available. Up popped the X-Keys Stick. I opted for the 16 key edition, and would get a longer one if I could now that I’ve used it a few days. More thought is required in setting it up than with a Stream Deck, but it has been a joy. Right now, I have it setup to allow some layer switching and creation, and to enter note values (I use the Finale-style entry) so I can enter music with both hands on the midi keyboard.

So, maybe everyone knows about this use case already which is why I’ve not heard of it before—but I figure this might be new to someone, so it would be valuable to share. Let me know if you have any questions—I’ll do my best to answer.


I wonder since you’re an organist if you have considered using a device to enter durations with your feet.


That’s an interesting idea… I wouldn’t be opposed. It could certainly be build with toe studs and a bit of circuitry.


I’ve seen these used for hauptwerk pistons, but never for this application. Interesting idea.