MIDI Parameter Control with Almost Any Footpedal

If you don’t have a footpedal that outputs MIDI data, try this workaround

Some virtual instrument and effects parameters just cry out for footpedal control—too bad you don’t have a pedal that outputs MIDI data…or do you?


If you have a keyboard synthesizer or controller, it will probably have an expression pedal jack. The standard MIDI controller for expression is controller #11, and unless your keyboard or controller is really old, the odds are good that plugging an expression pedal into the pedal jack, then moving the pedal, will send controller #11 messages out the keyboard or controller’s MIDI out. A floor multieffects for guitar that has a pedal may also transmit controller messages.


Assuming the target parameter you want to control has MIDI Learn, enable it (often done by right-clicking or shift-clicking on a control and choosing MIDI Learn), wiggle the footpedal, and now the parameter has “learned” to respond to your footpedal motion. Note that if another parameter is already controlled by controller #11, you’ll probably want to click on it and call up “MIDI Forget.”

This technique works with just about every footpedal I’ve tested; I’m currently using the Roland EV-5, shown above.