Digital Audio Workstation software for other purposes
Music notation software can be used to enter notes which can then be routed to sound sampler software. Additionally, a MIDI keyboard can be used to enter notes into the music notation software or directly into the DAW's sound sampler software. The musical notation software typically has the ability to "connect" to the sound sampler software. Once the source notes have been captured, through any of the above means, the piece of music can be rendered by the DAW.
For example, an extremely difficult Handel keyboard suite may be notes-entered into the DAW and then rendered with flawless performance. Imagine taking an 18-th century composition for the harpsichord and creating a 21-st century performance on a Bosendorfer grand piano, through the marvels of digital technology.
Sound samplers operate in real-time such that a piece can be played on an electronic keyboard with instant real-time rendition. This application has found its way into virtual pianos in the form of a real physical piano construct with an embedded sound sampler. An advantage of this type of piano is that it does not have to be tuned. A virtual piano can also be comprised of an electronic keyboard attached to a DAW thus offering a light-weight option to take with you on the go.
Here is an example of a virtual piano. This is nothing short of spectacular.
Interview with Alicia Keys on the collaboration with Native Instruments to create her virtual piano.
Visit the Alicia Keys YouTube videos page.