A friend of mine wanted to get Reason up and running on his laptop, so he could mix up some mad beats on an airplane. It's a bit tough to lug a MIDI keyboard about on the plane with you, though. You might learn to play a more compact MIDI instrument, but a better solution is to use a "virtual instrument".

Enter Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard, or VMPK, a free virtual MIDI keyboard. Here's what you need to do to get this set up:

  • Download LoopBe1. This is a "virtual MIDI port" - it gives you a fake port to plug your fake keyboard into, and a fake device to read MIDI data from in Reason. It's free for non-commercial use.
  • Install and run LoopBe1. You should see a little black MIDI port in your system tray.
  • Install and run VMPK.
  • In VMPK, go "Edit"->"Connections". Set "Output MIDI Connection" to "LoopBe Internal MIDI".
  • In Reason, go "Edit"->"Preferences". Set the "Page" dropdown to "Keyboards and Control Surfaces".
  • Click "Add".
  • Pick the following:
    • Manufacturer: <Other>
    • Model: MIDI Control Keyboard
    • MIDI Input: LoopBe Internal MIDI
  • Click "OK" and then close Prefernces.

Now you can bang out tunes on your virtual keyboard. Enjoy!