Small desktop midi keyboard


I’d like some advice on buying a small (37 or 49 keys )midi keyboard to control Dorico.

  • small enough to put on my desk.
  • connection to my steinberg UR44
  • some buttons on the keyboard for fast input of notes and changing parameters.
    -good quality keyboard
    -I buy new

Thanks already for your valuable input

Stefaan (Belgium)

I got myself a Komplete Kontrol M32 and am quite happy with it.


I have the 61 key version of this keyboard:
I love it because you can program every single one of those buttons at the top so I have all of my favorite functions right there

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By owning several, it’s a bit like a laptop: you always have to find a compromise to meet the desired needs.
If you need to enter midi values (cc) there are models with potentiometers knob with stopper and others that can be turned endlessly: Personally, I prefer those with stopper like that I always know the value that I send 12 hour = 63, 6:35 = 0, 5:25 = 127, etc … with endless potentiomere s we never remember what value they are

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I have a NI 32 kbd which has mini size keys and several knobs, and is really good for entering notes, but, there isn’t a way to change parameters with it in Dorico (at least I haven’t found any). It’s great with Cubase though. A good addition to change parameters of notes in Dorico is a Stream Deck with the NY Music template (aprox $30) which is excellent - works a treat with the little kbd and all USB powered too. I’m sure the more experienced members will have some good tips.

I use an M-Audio KeyStation 32 Mini Mk3. In my experience, this is the most practical keyboard if you want small and portable. I re-purpose the volume dial and use it as a CC1 dynamics fader. The range at the lower end with 32 keys, but this fits the range of most orchestral instruments.

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Thank you for the useful information.
I was wondering if the experienced members can finish a simple score
doing the most by midi keyboard command?

Yes. Not entirely, but yes, between a midi keyboard and qwerty keyboard shortcuts, just about.

I have the Roland A-49, which is a nice compromise of size and function. It only has two knobs, and two buttons, though they are easy to program.

It also has a crazy ‘theremin’ style controller, which you can wave your hand over to change the parameter. It has the usual pitch bend and velocity controller stick, too.

I have an Akai LPK25. It was cheap, has reliable keys and takes up little space on my desk. The only disadvantage is its short compass, but I have become used to employing its octave transpose buttons for this purpose, and occasionally ALT-arrow.


I have this one too - it’s good as a small keyboard (although the flashing arpeggiator key is annoying even though you can turn it off). It is annoyingly small in terms of number of keys though, even with the octave transpose function and generally prefer 88 keys, I’ve also heard good things about Arturia keyboards:

lots of knobs and different sizes.

I have an MPK249 that I enjoy very much.
It’s highly programmable (16x4banks = 64 pads + knobs+sliders+transport,etc.), and it has regular size keys with a reasonable piano feel.
If your Dorico commands can be mapped to a midi message, the numerous pads+etc. can control everything.
The keys are nothing remotely close to a Roland PHA50 keybed, but quite descent for the size/weight/price.

If you value a good piano key feel, it’s hard to beat in this size.
If you value more having the smallest footprint, you might prefer one of the mini-key alternatives (I personally cannot play on these, but they can be much smaller than this mid-size MPK249).
If you want smaller and 25-note (1-hand) is ok, the MPK225 could be considered.
If you find no use for the sliders though (?), they might just be wasting valuable desk space for you.

I previously owned a Roland A800-PRO (same as the smaller A500 orA300-Pro) but was quite disappointed and resold it after about a year. (I loooove all other Roland keyboards I had, just not this series).

I think 88 keys are overkill; but a 61-key keyboard would be perfect for me, and full-sized keys. However, I dont have space for one on my desk.


I do think that 61 keys is typically the sweet spot. The overwhelming majority of commonly-used pitches fit within this range, as does all of the historic keyboard repertoire (the volume of which is yet to be matched by anything other than choral repertoire). Obviously, if you’re working on romantic keyboard works which required the full range of a modern piano, then that’s different, but in that case I suspect you wouldn’t settle for 61 keys anyway.

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