Note: The core SONAR installer does not include all available software instruments. In order to follow along with the tutorials, please download and install the optional SONAR Instruments Collection via Cakewalk Command Center (see Cakewalk Command Center).Software instruments, also referred to as soft synths, are a major part of computer music. Our goal in this tutorial is to add a software instrument to a project. We'll explore a few different ways they can be used with SONAR and look at some options to make the most of them.
In the early 1980's, all of the major manufacturers of keyboards and drum machines got together to decide on a way for their products to work well with each other. Since they all operated under some version of the two functions listed above, it was a simple goal. They needed to standardize what messages were used to represent particular expressions. For example: if it was a drum machine, everyone would need to use the C note for the bass drum, the D note for the snare drum and so on. That way, messages sent from one drum machine can be fed to another made by a different company. It will play the same beat, but using the drum sounds from the different module. The standard they established is known as MIDI (usually pronounced [mid-ee]). As soon as computers entered the scene, it was clear that there should be a way to connect a synth and send MIDI messages to it from a software sequencer. That's how Cakewalk was born. Our first application was a DOS program that would allow a user to edit the MIDI data in detail, and play it out to a connected synth. You could also record the events from a performance into the computer.Things have evolved a lot since then. As computers have grown more powerful, the capabilities of Cakewalk software have expanded. Computers are now so fast that software companies are able to make synths and drum machines that are completely software-based. They are essentially the guts of a keyboard in a computer program.
Tip - Searching Documentation
Tip: To search for a specific topic, type your search query in the Search Cakewalk.com field at the top right of this page.
When the search results appear, click which product's documentation you would like to search to filter the search results further.
Note - Using Offline Help
Note: If you prefer to always use offline Help, go to Edit > Preferences > File > Advanced in your Cakewalk software and select Always Use Offline Help.
If you are not connected to the internet, your Cakewalk software will default to showing offline help until an internet connection becomes available.