Adding a New MIDI Keyboard to Your Configuration
If you have purchased a MIDI keyboard so that you can record notes into Composer, then congratulations on a good decision! You will enjoy Composer even more with a music keyboard.
If you have not done so already, then connect your computer to your new MIDI keyboard via a USB or MIDI cable, as described in Installing a USB or MIDI Cable Between Your sound card and Keyboard.
If your MIDI keyboard is a USB device, then install the MIDI device driver for your MIDI keyboard, according to the keyboard's installation instructions.
Once you have connected your keyboard to the sound card with the MIDI cable, and have installed its MIDI device driver (if it is a USB device), then it is a good idea to immediately test it using the Quick MIDI Device Setup command.
If the recording test is successful, then you should consider renaming the keyboard device. By default, Composer gives it the name of the external Windows port. This is usually a complicated name, such as "SB Live! MIDI UART". Since the device name is referred to in various parts of the Composer program, you will probably be happier if you rename the device to something that makes better sense to you. You might just rename it to "Keyboard". Or, you might rename it to the manufacturer of the keyboard, such as "Casio" or "Yamaha". For instructions in renaming the recording device, use the Rename Device button in the Quick MIDI Device Setup window.
If, while running Composer, you do not hear sound as you play your keyboard, then explore the possible explanations and remedies described in What To Do If You Do Not Hear Any Sound.
If your keyboard is capable of not only recording but also producing sound, then you might hear sound simultaneously coming out of both your keyboard and your computer speakers as you record or play at the keyboard. That is probably not what you want. To fix that problem, follow the instructions in Deciding Whether or Not Your Keyboard Should Directly Produce Sound.
If your keyboard is capable of producing sound, then you might want to assign staves of your song to that device for playback. If your keyboard has standard General MIDI (GM) sounds, then you will be able to take advantage of the fact that, by default, Composer assigns General MIDI sound (patch) names to a newly identified external device. For example, the first three sounds are "Acoustic Piano", "Bright Acoustic Piano", and "Electric Grand Piano." If your keyboard does not offer the General MIDI sounds, then you will want to inform Composer about the names of the various sounds available on your keyboard. The instructions for doing this are the same as for configuring an external MIDI sound module that only plays MIDI and does not record. For these instructions, see Preparing Bank, Patch, and Drum Note Names for a MIDI Device.