If you’re interested in writing music using a DAW and aren’t familiar with MIDI CC, here’s a quick easy guide that I found online. I also have something similar printed out at the studio I work at because every once in awhile, I hear “Justin, what’s the Midi CC for Foot Pedal?” etc… So it’s good to have a list nearby. You can usually find CC lists for hardware synths as well. The Nord Stage 2 occasionally will dump all sorts of CC into Digital Performer and this can wreck havoc when running that midi track to a different software synthesizer.
List of Standard MIDI Continuous Controllers (CCs)
0 Bank Select (MSB) Never re-route anything to Controller 0. It will mess up your program changes.
1 Modulation Wheel or Joystick (positive polarity) (MSB) Can be effectively remapped to other controllers on some synths
2 Breath controller sometimes Joystick (negative polarity) (MSB) Can be effectively remapped to other controllers on some synths
4 Foot Pedal (MSB) Don’t mess with it
5 Portamento Time (MSB) Only use this for portamento time
6 Data Entry (MSB) Better leave this one alone too.
7 Volume (MSB) If you re-route to Controller 7, your software mixer will mess up
8 Balance (MSB) Some synths use it
10 Pan position (MSB) If you re-route to Controller 10, your software mixer will mess up
11 Expression (MSB) Roland synths use it. Some synths use it for LFOs, some for crescendo/ decrescendo (loudness). Sometimes routed to keyboard aftertouch.
Also, Spitfire’s amazing sounding orchestral instruments seem to use CC11 for overall volume. Which it seems CC7 also does fine, but in case you don’t want your faders moving in your DAW, you can use CC11 instead. CC1 controls the sample that is being used.
Read on if you’re working with hardware synths.
The group below are sometimes “hard assigned” to faders and knobs on your synth. But usually they are set as a default you can change to match your other synths
12 Effect Control 1 (MSB)
13 Effect Control 2 (MSB)
16 Ribbon Controller or General Purpose Slider 1
17 Knob 1 or General Purpose Slider 2
18 General Purpose Slider 3
19 Knob 2 General Purpose Slider 4
20 Knob 3 or Undefined
21 Knob 4 or Undefined
22-31 are undefined, available for use by synths that let you assign controllers. These are a good choice if you can freely assign controllers on all your synths. If you can use them in a consistent way, all your synths will react the same way. For example if you always assign 22 to Knob A and you always assign Knob A to filter cutoff, then all your programmable synths will sweep the filter when you turn knob A no matter what synth is selected on that channel in your sequencer. This works until you get a synth that hard assigns filter cutoff to controller 74, as many general midi synths do. To make it more confusing, some synths will let you assign filter cutoff to CNTL 22 but will still let the synth react to CNTL 74
32 Bank Select (LSB) It’s critical that you do not assign this controller to other functions. Unless you like random bank changes running through your song.
These may or may not be implemented in your synth, most likely they are not.
33 Modulation Wheel (LSB)
34 Breath controller (LSB)
36 Foot Pedal (LSB)
37 Portamento Time (LSB)
38 Data Entry (LSB)
39 Volume (LSB)
40 Balance (LSB)
42 Pan position (LSB)
43 Expression (LSB)
44 Effect Control 1 (LSB) Roland Portamento on and rate
45 Effect Control 2 (LSB)
46-63 may be in use as the LSB for controllers 14-31 in some devices, but I have not seen one yet.
This group controls pedals typically. Leave this group alone when reassigning controllers.
64 Hold Pedal (on/off) Nearly every synth will react to 64 (sustain pedal)
65 Portamento (on/off)
66 Sustenuto Pedal (on/off)
67 Soft Pedal (on/off)
68 Legato Pedal (on/off)
69 Hold 2 Pedal (on/off)
This next group controls parameters on some synths. Here’s where you need to closely inspect your midi implementation chart to see what’s going on. Synths with lots of knobs may “hard assign ” them to specific knobs. If you can use 71 and 74 for frequency and resonance, it’s a good idea to do so. On the Korg Triton for example, 71-74 are hard assigned to the knobs. If you set your more freely assignable Proteus to respond the frequency cutoff on CNTL 74, then your rig is more consistent.
70 Sound Variation
71 Resonance (aka Timbre)
72 Sound Release Time
73 Sound Attack Time
74 Frequency Cutoff (aka Brightness )
75 Sound Control 6
76 Sound Control 7
77 Sound Control 8
78 Sound Control 9
79 Sound Control 10
80 Decay or General Purpose Button 1 (on/off) Roland Tone level 1
81 Hi Pass Filter Frequency or General Purpose Button 2 (on/off) Roland Tone level 2
82 General Purpose Button 3 (on/off) Roland Tone level 3
83 General Purpose Button 4 (on/off) Roland Tone level 4
84-90 are undefined, typically available for use by synths that let you assign controllers
Effects Group Controls 91 and 93 are active on nearly all general midi synths I have played, and many others use these too.
91 Reverb Level
92 Tremolo Level
93 Chorus Level
94 Celeste Level or Detune
95 Phaser Level
Avoid the following controllers.
96 Data Button increment
97 Data Button decrement
98 Non-registered Parameter (LSB)
99 Non-registered Parameter (MSB)
100 Registered Parameter (LSB)
101 Registered Parameter (MSB)
It’s very important that you do not use these no matter what unless you want to invoke these functions
120 All Sound Off
121 All Controllers Off
122 Local Keyboard (on/off) You might actually crash your keyboard if you use this one.
123 All Notes Off (Heh, your song will go haywire if you use this assigned to a knob.)
you typically don’t want your synths to change modes on you in the middle of making a song, so don’t use these.
124 Omni Mode Off
125 Omni Mode On
126 Mono Operation
127 Poly Operation