I am not a musician, but a software geek, and want to find out whether I can pick up enough MIDI and music theory in retirement to write music that floats in my head from time to time.
I doubt if I will be pf value to you people, but you will certainly be of value to me. If anything ever comes of this effort, you can be sure I would share. Years ago, when my experience was applicable, I freely distributed software with source code for the Amiga.
Never have been much of a Windows expert, I was in industrial control systems, so I roughly understood STUXNET, the virus that hit Iran.
Not sure whether this site will meet your needs as a complete beginner, especially as I've not got around to writing some more music theory articles. However, there are quite a few web sites out there which deal with theory.
I'm wondering whether what you may need is some sort of keyboard with MIDI sequencing capabilities built into it, so you can try to 'play in' some of the tunes rattling around in your head.
Anyway, ask away and I'll try to answer.
My own background is originally, programming in assembler on fairly early computers, in the mid sixties.
I'll take your advice. I have access to my wife's old keyboard which she doesn't use but does have midi, but no midi input on my PC.
They're not near each other at the moment, which is a problem I can work around. I would think they need to be close to each other in order to interact with each.
I'm a real old timer, programming wise. (And chronologically!) Learned on an IBM 650, a tube based machine the size of my living room. Also first learned assembler and direct machine code, in the early 60's. The single disk drive, called a RAMAC, was about 5meg if I recall, and was the size of a BIG refrigerator. We also had 6 tape drives, and some humongous card reader / printer devices. An a console with lots of lights, of course.
What you will need is a MIDI to USB adapter, I suspect, for the PC. My advice would be NOT to buy a very cheap imported one, but something from a known quality supplier. The cheap ones usually work okay for basic stuff, but often throw up weird problems when asked to do more complex things. They can introduce delays too. Usually the sign that it's a good one is that it comes with driver firmware and doesn't use the Microsoft proprietary ones. Watch out for operating system compatibility. You may need to download the latest drivers from the company's web site.
Closeness depends upon how far you like to run USB cables.
I'm something of an old timer too in this respect. The first machine was an RCA 301, rebadged as an ICT1500, with an octal display operators console (no teletype keyboards here). No disks, just 1 inch tape reels, we had 8 decks, 4 of which could be switched between the two machines we had. (Or was it 6 with 2?) Paper tape, 80 column punched card (in and out) and a line printer. The machine had a MASSIVE 20 kilo-characters (6 bit) of memory.
This an ICT engineer sitting at the console doing maintenance. (The scope isn't part of the machine!)
I became quite adept with it, and learned to be able to program it from the console like the engineer is doing.
Worked on very early front end processors and all sorts. After some years programming I moved into data comms writing transaction processing programs and dealing with transmission protocols. Wrote some bits of protocol handling in mainframe operating systems. Ended up, before retirement, writing courses for a major player in the satellite comms industry and rolled out courses for them around the world. ISDN and early satellite broadband. A somewhat varied career!
Now I mess with MIDI, which is a lot simpler than D channel ISDN signalling!