Sunday Keys for MainStage 2021: Sunday Keys Basics

There is some basic on-screen sections and features that make up Sunday Keys, and this article and video will show you important terminology you'll want to know for later videos. 

Be sure to check out all the other video tutorials over on the Sunday Keys Resource Article.

Check out the video or the steps below it to learn more about all the basics:



In this video you’ll learn about the basic on-screen sections and features that make up Sunday Keys. You’ll also learn some important terminology you’ll want to know for later videos.

To start off, let’s talk about MainStage. MainStage has three views or modes:

  1. Layout mode - where you make connections between your midi hardware and the onscreen workspace.
  2. Edit mode -  where you can build your sounds and connect those sounds to the onscreen workspace
  3. Perform mode - where all the connecting and sound building you’ve done in Layout and Edit modes come together and all you see is that nice big workspace fullscreen.

After initially setting up Sunday Keys, which you’ve likely already done if you’re watching this video, you’ll spend most of your preparation time in Edit mode.

Let me briefly explain the different elements of Edit mode, then I’ll talk about a big part of what makes Sunday Keys special- the visual workspace.

MainStage's Edit Mode

There are three main features in Edit Mode.

  1. Patch List - in Edit mode, the entire left side of your screen is your Patch List. Each patch is made up of one or more channel strips which can be seen on the far right side of the screen.
  2. Channel strips - these are responsible for creating the sounds in Sunday Keys. We’ve programmed all the channel strips in advance, so you shouldn’t have to worry about them much unless you decide you want to go behind the scenes and make more advanced tweaks. You can hide or show the channel strips via this button. just above the channel strip area.
  3. The Inspector - The bottom third of the screen is the Inspector. The Inspector dynamically changes based on the last item in MainStage you clicked. For example, when I click on this patch, the inspector shows me details related to that patch. When I click on a channel strip, I’ll see the details related to that channel strip. While I have a patch selected, I want to point out the “Patch Library” tab which is how you’ll access all the sounds that are included with Sunday Keys. Tuck that away for a now and watch the videos below after this one to learn more about browsing and selecting sounds.

Lastly regarding the inspector you can show or hide it via the “i” icon just to the right of the Perform mode button.

So the left side of the screen is the patch list, the right side contains channel strips, and the bottom third is the Inspector.

Sunday Keys Workspace

That leaves the big area right in the center called the Workspace.

We designed the workspace in Sunday Keys to be easy to understand and immediately intuitive.

The very first thing I want to highlight in the workspace is in the bottom right corner. That’s right, the Help button! You can regain access to the Sunday Keys Resource Page and browse a list of help topics at any time from within MainStage, by going to the concert level in Edit mode, which you do by clicking the title of your concert next to the orange folder in your Patch List, then clicking on the “Help” button. From there you can browse common help topics in the inspector at the bottom of the screen. Clicking a link will open the related video straight in your web browser.

Four Color Coded Sections

Any patch in Sunday Keys has room for up to four main sounds in the four color-coded sections at the top of the workspace. These sectioned are numbered 1 through 4, left to right. So we have orange section 1, green section 2, blue section 3, and purple section 4. As you select different patches you’ll see that the sounds loaded into a given section may change. That’s part of what makes Sunday Keys so versatile and powerful.

Each section has a large, white title at the top. and right below it a level indicator that lets see visually how loud that specific is at any moment. Each of the four main sections contains the same exact onscreen controls. In Sunday Keys, the sounds are designed with simple to use, sound shaping controls that we call modifiers. Each section may contain modifiers to adjust the amount of a given effect like reverb or delay, a tone control that make a sound brighter or darker, and various other modifiers like a chorus or octave effect programmed to a button.

Across all sounds in Sunday Keys, the left fader in each section will always be a volume control for that sound.

If you're new, don’t feel like you need to understand or interact with all of the controls in each section. In fact, in the over 100 ready to play worship patches that come with Sunday Keys, we’ve already pre-set all the modifiers so you can just start playing. Once you’re ready, I think you’ll enjoy experimenting with different modifiers to see how they change the sound.

Below the four main sections, we have some additional controls inside Sunday Keys.

Tonic Pad Player

Starting from the middle left side, is the Tonic Pad Player. Tonic plays an ambient drone pad in the key of your choice that you can use to glue together the sound of your band and nail transitions between songs and keys. You can turn it on at any time by pressing the “On” button in the bottom right corner of Tonic. Press the same button again to turn it off. I won’t go into more detail now, but check out the videos further down this page for more info on using Tonic.

Performance List of your Patch List

To the right of Tonic is a performance oriented version of your Patch List. It exactly mirrors the Patch List column on the left side of your screen and when you’re in perform mode it’ll tell you which patch you have selected, and which sounds are coming up next.

Previous and Next Buttons

There are previous and next patch buttons below the Patch List. By default these are programmed automatically to the Korg nanoKontrol2 midi controller. More on that controller and how to program the previous and next patch buttons to a different controller, in videos further down the page.

The Extra Section

To the right of the Patch List is what we call the Extra section. This is a fifth, simplified instrument section with a space for a text label, a level indicator and a horizontal volume fader just below that. Some patches will include sounds in the extra section and some will not. In addition, song specific patches that you may buy from our website will be pre-mapped to the Extra section. where you’ll get some cool features to help you get the most out of that song patch.

Output Section

Lastly, to the right of the Extra Section is the Output section.

  • Overall level indicator
  • Master volume knob. You can use this volume control if you need more or less volume from Sunday Keys in general. Just be sure that you don’t see red, clipping signal in the level indicator above the volume knob if you turn it up.
  • Panic button resets all audio and midi when pressed and can be useful if you’re running into an issue in the moment and need to essentially start over.
  • Tap tempo button allows you to easily lock in to any tempo in real-time. Just tap quarter notes a few times and it will pick up the approximate tempo. It’s worth noting here that you can also pre-set the tempo of any specific patch in Edit mode, by clicking the patch in your patch list, Clicking the attributes tab of the inspector, then checking the “Change tempo to” box and typing in a specific BPM.
  • Mono button. If your sound board is not stereo or if you only plan on running a single instrument or XLR cable from your keys rig to the soundboard then you’ll want to make sure the mono button is engaged. Otherwise, you’ll lose some audio quality.

Set this up

That’s a brief overview of the onscreen sections in Sunday Keys and a hint at some of the main features. In the next two videos we’re going to begin to explore the two main ways you can use Sunday Keys to find the perfect sound for any song.

If you want to learn how to browse the over 100 ready to play layered worship patches that are included in Sunday Keys click here to go to that video. 

If you want to learn how to create your own layered patches in Patch Builder click here to go to that video. 


Be sure to check out all the video tutorials over on the Sunday Keys Resource Article!


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