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Thread: making midi files

  1. #1
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    making midi files

    Hej folks,

    Well, I`m ready (I think) to start making some musical excerpts for my website, but I really don`t know the best way to go about this. Apparently plain midi files are the way to go. I`ve got an eight year old digital piano with midi, but I read that the internal sequencer on these pianos is not great, and that one should use something like Cakewalk software. Thing is, it`s just for piano, really, not other instruments or written music. Do I really need the additional software? Btw, I use Windows xp.

    Does anyone have any advice for someone like me, starting out on this complex subject? I managed to make the website, but this is a whole nother kettle of fish!

    Any help is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Administrator Frederik Magle's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Hi rojo,

    The problem about the internal sequenzer of the piano is that I doubt it can export to midi-files on disk or to the computer (though I could be wrong, but you'd have to consult the manual for that). So you need to record onto a computer based sequencer program before being able to save as midi files.

    However, since it's only a single piano track you are going to record, and unless you will need more advanced editing possibilites, software like Cakewalk may be overkill and you could probably do with one of the free programs - at least for a start.

    Unfortunately I have no experience with music software on Windows, but what you would need seems to be a free (or inexpensive) midi sequencer with the ability of creating midi files (most should have that). I hope someone else here can help with suggestions.

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Hi Frederik; thanks for the quick response. What you say makes a lot of sense. I think I`ll start scouring the net for music software for use with Windows. (Any suggestions welcome!)

    Btw, off-topic, is may just be me, but I find the forums are loading faster lately.

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    Ensign, Principal Swaft's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Hey Rojo, let me help you

    Go get Cool Edit Pro from my website (link will be in pm). This is an easy to use program though. What you need to do:

    If you have a midi output to your keyboard and a midi input in your computer this would be the best way to proceed but since I am not sure I will tell you an other way.

    You need to plug your piano in an amps and from the amps you need a 1/4 to 1/16 adaptor to plug into your microphone in of your computer sound card. Then the sound should enter and get recorded like if it was a microphone. Then, in CEP you will be able to modify the spectrum and arrange volume, pitch, and others.

    If theres something you do not understand just tell me.

    Kenny

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Hey Swaft- thanks for sharing

    I do have a midi output on the piano and I`m pretty sure I`ve got a midi input on the pc. I`m actually looking for a place to buy the appropriate cable, cheap. Once that`s done (soon) I`ll be sure to check out your suggestion. Cool Edit Pro, huh- there are so many programs available, it`s hard to know what`s good for doing what...I basically want something free (or cheap) and easy to use-

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    Ensign, Principal Swaft's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Well, cool edit pro is easy to use, although I think it is the easiest I tryed. For a midi cable, have you looked at Steve's Music.. If you do not know where it is (I'm pretty sure you know) it is just next to the metro Place-d'Armes,here you can buy cheap or expensive , its like you want, midi cables.

  7. #7
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Thanks again, Swaft- I`m on it.

  8. #8
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Just to update- I`ve bought the cable (midisport uno), so now I need to install the driver software, which I have never done before. Who knew one needed software to install a cable! Oy, still so much to learn...

    Been reading up on cool edit pro- it`s well-liked by many. I`m really looking forward to getting started...

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    Vice Admiral of Notes, Dots & at times also Slurs corno's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Hi Robin,

    The M-Audio MIDISport Uno is not only a midi"cable" but also a midicontroller. That's why it needs the driver.

    As to the choice of Cool Edit Pro. To my knowledge Syntrillium sold Cool Edit Pro to Adobe and it's now sold as Adobe Audition. Furthermore I haven't connected Cool Edit Pro with midisequencing before, to me it's a digital audio editing program for wave, mp3 files aso. Though it might be possible to playback midifiles I'm not so sure whether it's possible to record/sequence them.

    When you use the MIDISport Uno with your digital piano you need a midisequencer program like Cubase, Cakewalk, FL Studio, Musicator etc.
    Musicator is, I think, by far the easiest program of these to master, and not overly expensive. But you might want to start out with either some free programs or demoversions - for Musicator try www.musicator.com else a search on google for "free midi sequencer" (without the quotationmarks) will probably yield some results.

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Re: making midi files

    Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for all that! I`ll definitely check out your suggestions.

    I`m not sure I needed the midisport uno, but it`s supposed to work with windows.

    I also noticed that Cool Edit Pro is now sold as Adobe Audition- seems Adobe is buying a lot of things these days (Macromedia, eg.)

    Swaft- if you read this, do you record midi files with CEP?

    Haven`t had the chance to install the driver yet (oy)- hopefully soon...

  11. #11
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Update-

    So the driver has since been installed, and free programs have been tried, but results were not acceptable. Now I`ve got Cakewalk Pro Audio 9. I can record, playback from my midi keyboard, everything seems to be working, but I`m having some problems. There seem to be some extraneous sounds. I look at the sound map, and there are lower register sounds there that I hadn`t played. Sounds seem to last longer than they should, as if the pedal was depressed as well. So I have to erase those out. The results are still not to my satisfaction.

    Could the fact that I`m not using the metronome enter into it? Or perhaps my soundcard isn`t good enough? (I`m using the one that came with the pc) Btw, the midisport uno cable seems to be working fine as far as I can tell.

    Also, the playback sound is very low volume, making it difficult to hear what`s going on.

    If anyone knows what might be going on here, I would really appreciate the help.
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


  12. #12
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster
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    Hi Rojo,

    I´m not sure how to generate a midifile in cakewalk. In Cubase you can use different functions that will allow you to export more informations than just the scores. There could be some effects which maybe make these extraneous sounds.
    After exporting a midifile, the soundcard normaly plays just GM sounds and not the sounds of your keyboard. If you want to have your soundcard connected to you keyboard, you have to configure your midi organizer. If you need your midifiles just to let other people hear your music, it will be better to make an audio file of your original midi and to than convert it into a mp3 file. Create an audio channel in the same arrange window, click record. When you stop, Cubase automaticly generates an audiofile. Normalize it, export it, and use an audiogenerator like Switch https://www.nch.com.au/cgi-bin/regis...=softwaretrial to convert your 44 KHZ file into an mp3 file.
    To learn more about it, you can read the handbook of open music system or use the "Getting into the details" book. Browse the index for detailed information of exporting and generating a midifile.
    I put both books on our server so you can download it.

    http://www.ensemble-fnm.de/torsten/i...i/oms_book.pdf

    http://www.ensemble-fnm.de/torsten/i...he_details.pdf

    Best regards,

    Torsten
    Last edited by Torsten Brandes; Aug-21-2006 at 01:06.

  13. #13
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Thank you very much, Torsten. I`ll have a look at those books.

    The problem is not so much making the midifile; I actually haven`t even gotten that far yet. Although I`ve converted other kinds of files in the past, so I don`t forsee having problems there (ha!)

    I`m still having trouble making a decent .wrk file of my playing using cakewalk.
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


  14. #14
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster Teo's Avatar
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    Wink gee maybe I'll know some-think..

    Quote Originally Posted by rojo View Post
    Update-
    ...I can record, playback from my midi keyboard, everything seems to be working, but I`m having some problems. There seem to be some extraneous sounds. I look at the sound map, and there are lower register sounds there that I hadn`t played. Sounds seem to last longer than they should, as if the pedal was depressed as well. So I have to erase those out. The results are still not to my satisfaction.

    Could the fact that I`m not using the metronome enter into it? Or perhaps my soundcard isn`t good enough? (I`m using the one that came with the pc) Btw, the midisport uno cable seems to be working fine as far as I can tell.

    Also, the playback sound is very low volume, making it difficult to hear what`s going on.

    If anyone knows what might be going on here, I would really appreciate the help.
    Hi Rojo,

    Maybe I'll have a tidbit or 2 to offer... the original request "music examples on my website" and here "soundcard not good enough.." is a wide field

    I think what you are doing is GREEEEAT! Don't get me wrong. I just don't know what suggestions I can make, I basically use Mac G3 and G4, QuickTime a lot, but there is a PC available to me, windows 98 which gee, in a year is a decade old!

    I'm going to try and help you... by ignoring all you've said and telling you MY experiences, maybe something along my way will clear up a think or 2, maybe give a pointer or 2?

    In the old days I composed using general midi, and learned the common sounds, the common controllers - pan, "expression," sustain, modulation, I forget the exact #s, find the manual for the keyboard you have, or find it online. Anyway, at one point I was crazy about panning various things, and at one point even found a patch editor for my at-the-time favorite sound unit, a roland MT 32. I learned to type hexidecimal, modify reverbs, even get into patch editing.. boy was that nerdy! Then later I realized I could never use those sounds except when my computer was plugged in...

    Anyway, one aspect of MIDI is, of course, you can compose orchestrations at home that Bach or Beethoven would have loved.. though maybe it's like mathematicians nowadays with handheld calculators might never discover things like Einstein - people before the technology - anyway, you can compose and hear how this chord sounds on this tone, this octave, all that kind of stuff.

    I would feel guilty if I composed by just dragging sliders and stuff, not actually playing on a keyboard. A few songs that I like, of my own, I still like them, but I feel I was cheating...

    Now for the last 3 years I've been studying classical piano, and using just the accoustic piano in the living room here... learning specifics of what Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven and so on were composing, and learning skills really specific to a real weighted piano, and using all functions of the piano. For example, the middle pedal on mine here is not the sostenudo that either 1) sustains the right half of the keyboard or 2) sustains what is already held down, on my piano it is simply a "practice pedal" making everything waaay quiet. Then I realized, in many songs, if I used the sostenudo pedal correctly, I could play the root note, sustain JUST THAT NOTE, then the chords, all in the left hand, and the right hand wouldn't be sustained! But..

    I've gotten used to enjoying the sustaining on the right notes!

    So there are specifics that are important on a piano, but not sequencing. I also find that I enjoy using the soft pedal, then for powerful sections letting it up to be real loud. Strangely, the electric keyboard I bought recently DOES use a soft pedal, but get this: I can sequence to my computer, it gets the soft pedal, when played back to the keyboard, sure, softness! But... midi... forget it! It is not used in midi playback, so basically, even though I want to be a real pianist, midi won't use the soft pedal data. Here is a sample file:

    http://webpageexperience.com/mid/softpedaltest.mid

    the folder is "open," so you can peek some of my midi's there.

    Personally, I really enjoy the fact that midis sound slightly different on every computer/sound card what have you. Example. A piece of a Liszt song..

    http://webpageexperience.com/mid/LisztLetItBes.mid

    I used sound #199 I think, a "pad" sound, and on the PC in QuickTime player it uses a different sound than in WinAmp! Personally I find it fun, making it work on more than one output...

    Trying to stay "purist" or at least "true to form," I recorded "O Sole Mio" using piano tones, but later thought - hey! Put it on accordian! Well, the sustains on piano made it sound too muddy on accordian. I took them out of the sequence, they it is too dry - to sparse.

    I figure I'll have to record USING accordian sound. Similarly I did some Bach and tried to put it on organ, I'll have to record on organ.

    Going from piano to harpsichord is easier, works on both usually.

    What I have gained from all of this, is that I find instead of just holding down sustain for say, a whole section of a song, I find myself releasing and pressing sustain more often - what if a person jumps to the middle of the midi file? So I'm sort of playing more conscious of what a sequencer will record.

    In the old days I would use click tracks, either clave tone, sometimes even a drum tone. In an effort to be "real" nowadays, I ignore click and tempo and all of that! I used it for one song recently, no biggie...

    Now here is where I feel I am still cheating:

    I record along, from beginning - and I put a "splash" at the beginning of each song, just to make sure the recording gets started, - then when I make a mistake, I just start maybe a few bars back, where I know it will be easy to...

    drag from the good part to the end of the sequence, CUT, select from the same note where I messed up to the end, PASTE. OK OK I'll admit.. I go and take out individual notes that are wrong, and... ok ok ok maybe drag one forward a little or ... boyo stupid of me to admit this hum?

    -------

    Later I decided to make an audio CD, and I started feeling so strange that instead of recording a real piano... I just went into QuickTime player, and simply "save as" choosing AIF. Sounds great, a little reverb is on it, I can tell. I decided... on the CD I won't mention anything about what piano I recorded it on...

    I wish I had.. well, I'm sure the real piano store has ... "Real MIDI Piano," though probably out of my price range. I find that as I keep going from real pianos, and Grand's sure are great! Back and forth to little "toys," I think I'm getting chops that Beethoven and them must have, surely they were put on keyboards with various octaves, various tones, having to rearrange in a sense, a piano piece for organ, harpsichord, all of that kind of stuff. So, I don't complain, in fact, I find it a lot of fun! Maybe when I record O Sole Mio for accordian, and then change it to Piano patch, who knows, maybe some kind of expression will happen that I can later incorporate into ALL of my piano playing?

    In other posts here you can see I've made all kind of efforts to put TAGS like performer, song name and such into midi files. If you go to midi.org you'll see me picking on Windows Media Slayer because they don't use the standard text tags..

    Wishing you the best of luck! Keep us posted! Share some midis! Here's an Enchanted Waltz by Satie I'm working on, not finished, but it takes me to the ballroom!

    peace

    of music! he he..

    Teo

    ps attachment didn't open easily, here it is:
    http://webpageexperience.com/mid/EnchantedWaltze.mid
    Last edited by Teo; Oct-03-2007 at 23:06.
    Wagner's music is better than it sounds. - Mark Twain's Autobiography

  15. #15
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Hi Teo,

    Thanks for all that! I'm actually starting a new project, along the same lines, but using different media. I don't want to say too much at the moment, because it will take a while, and I don't know how it will work out. But I appreciate all the info!
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


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