If you feel like having a go at this sort of thing, there are some free programs available that will allow you to get a feel for it. I haven't used all of them so I can't vouch for them.

The following links, which worked when last tested, are to pages that are not part of my site:
There's an online version
for you to try.
Jazz++ is an open source project midi sequencer. A lot of these open source projects originate from Linux.
Music Studio Producer is another free one.
is said by some to be the best free midi sequencer.

You will be able to record vocals with the sort of headset language training programs sometimes come with.  If you intend buying one look for one said to be suitable for speech recognition software. It should be relatively inexpensive.

If you're a bit more serious then you need what is sometimes called a client, that is a midi sequencer that is compatible with software synths. On Windows, there are two main standards for these. VST appears to be the most widely available though there are also some DXi synths. Ideally you want a client compatible with both these standards.

For a home user the leading midi sequencer plugin clients are Cubase and Sonar. A visit to your local music shop is likely to secure one or the other. There are others, including Music Creator. You should be aware that some sequencing and synthesiser software, especially if it is aimed at industry professionals, may require additional hardware (usually sold with it) to be fitted to the PC it is running on.

If you're interested in using an Apple Mac, then there are three Apple programs you could use:
The advantage of Apple is that they are better machines, better made, with better designed software that gives better performance for the same spec. The operating system is much better. The disadvantage, apart from the relearning, is that they are expensive. At time of writing they start somewhere over £800 - plus any additional software.

If you're using a Mac then you may find these files (which I wrote purely to remember how to do things for my own benefit) useful:

You may also be interested in this. It's a summary of the upshot of musical theory - keys, some chords, harmonies - I did search for something like this on the internet. I did quite a bit of searching but I couldn't find it, so I compiled it myself. As far as I'm aware all this is correct but bear in mind I'm not a musical theorist - I got it from other places. It's in Open Office format.

Again if you're after higher standard recordings, you are likely to want a studio standard condenser microphone.
Sceptical noises have been made about recording anything through a USB port, for various reasons including latency - that is, delays. This can be an issue for live performance but since timing is essentially arbitrary when recording it shouldn't matter.

The majority of my recordings have been made using a Samson C01U, latterly (while I was still using Music Creator, which I'm not now) recording into Audacity while simultaneously playing back the synthesised backing using Music Creator. There are three tricks to this. One, do not use the Samson SoftPre software pre-amp as this appears to have been the source of significant problems for a number of users and will disable the Windows volume control thus greying out the volume button. Two, set Audacity to record one channel (mono) and 16 bit only (not 32). Three, adjust the (now not greyed out) volume button to near or at the top of the scale. You may also want to ask your music shop for: a boom mic stand, a pop filter (which should be a round soft mesh on the end of a flexible stalk) and a shock mounting.

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