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Mudcat MIDI Guide

Joe Offer 25 May 00 - 07:24 PM
MMario 26 May 00 - 11:11 AM
Mark Clark 26 May 00 - 11:49 AM
Joe Offer 26 May 00 - 08:32 PM
Mark Clark 26 May 00 - 11:15 PM
Jon Freeman 26 May 00 - 11:31 PM
Pene Azul 26 May 00 - 11:38 PM
Barry T 27 May 00 - 12:17 AM
John in Brisbane 27 May 00 - 12:51 AM
Mark Clark 27 May 00 - 01:06 AM
Racer 27 May 00 - 03:51 AM
Mark Clark 27 May 00 - 01:38 PM
Jon Freeman 27 May 00 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Sheila 27 May 00 - 09:59 PM
John in Brisbane 27 May 00 - 11:27 PM
John in Brisbane 27 May 00 - 11:39 PM
Racer 28 May 00 - 04:32 AM
Joe Offer 28 May 00 - 05:05 AM
Jon Freeman 28 May 00 - 08:33 AM
Roger in Sheffield 28 May 00 - 10:45 AM
John in Brisbane 28 May 00 - 07:45 PM
Pene Azul 29 May 00 - 07:41 PM
John in Brisbane 29 May 00 - 08:43 PM
Mary in Kentucky 30 May 00 - 08:18 PM
Jon Freeman 30 May 00 - 09:18 PM
John in Brisbane 30 May 00 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 03 Oct 00 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 03 Oct 00 - 03:10 AM
John in Brisbane 16 Nov 00 - 08:06 PM
Snuffy 24 Nov 00 - 09:07 AM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Nov 00 - 03:05 PM
Alice 24 Nov 00 - 03:49 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Jul 01 - 10:58 AM
pavane 19 Jul 01 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Eclipse 19 Jul 01 - 11:36 AM
Mary in Kentucky 19 Jul 01 - 12:27 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Jul 01 - 01:04 PM
Grab 19 Jul 01 - 03:08 PM
Vertellnix 19 Jul 01 - 03:54 PM
Mark Clark 20 Jul 01 - 10:26 AM
pavane 20 Jul 01 - 10:53 AM
Mary in Kentucky 20 Jul 01 - 11:21 AM
Jande 20 Jul 01 - 04:58 PM
JohnInKansas 25 Jul 01 - 03:01 PM
MMario 25 Jul 01 - 03:07 PM
Jande 25 Jul 01 - 10:30 PM
JohnInKansas 26 Jul 01 - 02:10 AM
JohnInKansas 15 Feb 02 - 02:21 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Feb 02 - 02:27 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Feb 02 - 02:36 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Feb 02 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,Billy the Guest 04 Jun 06 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,Uncle Jaque 05 Jun 06 - 12:48 PM
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Subject: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 00 - 07:24 PM

The following is a draft of a MIDI Guide for Newcomers. Feedback of any kind would be most welcome. Regards, John

FOLK MUSIC TUNES ON THE INTERNET

A Newcomers Guide to MIDI

The Internet is truly a marvellous resource for people who enjoy music.  We are blessed with the facilities to listen to it, read about it, read the musical scores and it gives us lots of tools to help us sing or play music as well.  What follows is a brief guide for newcomers to a popular and versatile form of Internet music known as MIDI.

This MIDI stuff lets you very easily do the following:

  • Find literally hundreds of thousands of tunes on the Web, but most notably several thousand tunes to folk songs (right here at Mudcat).
  • Play the tunes through your computer's existing hardware and software - this typically means that your computer needs a soundcard, but there are some shortcuts for older gear
  • If you'd like to play or sing along with the tune, you can even change the key (to suit your voice or instrument) or modify the tempo of the piece (say if it's a bit too quick to play an unfamiliar tune).  How about practising a harmony line in the chorus in the privacy of your own castle.
  • You can view the music notation on screen and watch it scroll through as it's played - handy even if you're not an expert music sight reader.  If you are sight impaired you can make the music score larger, just like the text in a word processor.
  • Change the sound of the piece by swapping instrument sounds with a choice of over 120 different sounds, or change the relative volume of the different instruments to give a different feel.
  • Print the music like a pro.

With just a bit of practice you can then:

  • Take an existing piece of music and create a MIDI for others to share
  • Compose and notate a completely new piece of music

What MIDI Doesn't Do

You'd think there has to be a catch in all of this musical nirvana .............and indeed there is.  Can I take my favourite Bach/Beatles/Watersons CD and do all this great stuff?  Sadly, no!  MIDIs are simply computer files that provide instructions to your computer about how to play musical notes - what note, how loud, which instrument, what speed and much more.  They are somewhat like the old-fashioned piano rolls of last century.  The important thing though is that they are a very effective means of learning new tunes or remembering old ones.  Someone has had to previously sit down and create this instructional file.  Some Mudcat Cafe members such as Barry Taylor and Lesley Nelson do a very good job of creating very pleasant sounding renditions of (mostly) traditional dance tunes, but it's not the same as having real musicians on your turntable.

Windows vs Mac vs Linux

MIDI files are recognisable by their .mid extension after the file name.  Windows has a huge number of utilities available to play around with MIDI files and Mac much less.  Linux is anyone's guess?  As a PC user I'll concentrate on the Windows environment for the rest of this document, but would invite Mac users to append further information at a later date.

Where Do I Find MIDI Files?

The best place to start is right here at Mudcat.  If you've read through the earliest Mudcat FAQ's you'll be aware that you can search through the lyrics of something close to 10,000 songs, of which about half have a MIDI tune available.  The tell tale sign appears near the bottom of the text and reads CLICK HERE TO PLAY.  Left click on your mouse to play the tune, or right click to save the file to disc.  It is probably wise to create a new Directory to store your MIDI files.  Most MIDI files at Mudcat are less than 2,000 bytes, so you can even store plenty on a floppy disc.

You can search the Web just as easily by going to http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~ckelly/midi/help/midi-search.html.  There are lots of search engines here but Midi Explorer is the favourite.  If you're looking for 'A Hard Day's Night' you might enter 'Hard Day' into the search box.  This is an easy one but if you don't succeed at first you may need to try 'beatles' or 'lennon'.  By the way, 99.9% of all MIDI files on the net may be downloaded for free.  There's the odd commercial site that will try and sting you for a 'special' musical arrangement.  Try elsewhere!

I Just Want To Play a MIDI!  What do I need?

The Microsoft Media Player (Freeware) is the bare bones utility installed on Windows PC's.  It plays one MIDI file at a time and works just fine if you don't need any further smarts.  There are plenty of clones of this program around, some Freeware and some Shareware.  If you go to http://www.zdnet.com/swlib/ and type 'MIDI play' you'll find more choices than you can poke a stick at.

Search around and you'll find software that will allow to vary the speed of playback and/or change key for you.  I won't make any special recommendations here because there is so much on the market, plus these features are almost always provided in the next category of software below.

Just two words of caution on this subject.  Firstly don't be suckered to pay any loot to get a MIDI player - there's oodles of free stuff out there.  Also have a look at the Karaoke Players; changing the key or tempo of playback are common features, and they will happily play .mid files.

I'd Love To Print the Music From A MIDI File

Anyone can now do this with comparative ease!  Download the Freeware program MIDI Notate at http://www.notation.com/midinotatedownload.htm.  This will give you quite presentable printout of your chosen music.  It's easy to use and it's FREE.  Before you do this you may care to read a little further on.

Printing Tablature

There is a nice program called MUSE from http://web.ukonline.co.uk/Members/laurie.griffiths/ which will allow you a 30 day trial.  It has stacks of other features, but it does good job of printing TABlature for stringed instruments, with variable tuning for up to 6 strings, as well as Harmonica TABs.  Does it optimise the fingering for Django's most demanding pieces?  I haven't a clue, but it's just fine for helping you pick out the melody on your favourite fretboard.  In a lot of respects MUSE runs a close race with NoteWorthy Composer for general features, but is clearly superior with respect to fretted instrument support.  You'll read more about this subject in just a minute.

I'd Like To Do Some Other Stuff With MIDI Music Files

OK, so there's an individualistic streak in you and you're looking for the chance to rebel against the status quo!  With most of the players above you'll need to modify the settings for key or tempo each time you play the tune - you can't modify the MIDI file to suit your personal tastes.  Maybe you'd like to change the odd note, or add a pause after the chorus, or insert a few bars from Mozart.  Then again you may want to start from scratch and enter the dots for a tune your grand-mother wrote or compose a whole new masterpiece fro a poem you've just written.

NoteWorthy Composer is a popular Shareware program at the Mudcat.  Available at http://www.ntworthy.com/, it offers very generous facilities without registration, including the ability to write, edit, play and print MIDI files.  There's a host of serious features that the average folkie will never need and new features are being constantly added.

I've already mentioned MUSE above if tablature is your bag.

Printed Folk Music On The Web

By far the easiest way to get printed music for a Mudcat Cafe (Digital Tradition) song is to go to the "Yet Another Digital Tradition" site at http://www.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/.  It's not as current as the on-line database, but if you're happy with what you see when you get there, just print it out.  It is also the easiest place to get notation for tin whistle or mountain dulcimer for Mudcat songs.

Other Forms Of Music Notation Available

ABC is a form of common sense notation that can be written with a conventional word processor and can be read (more or less) straight from the printed page.  Supported by a relatively small horde of devotees there is a swag of software for it which does much the same job as NoteWorthy Composer, or parts thereof.  More importantly there are huge repositories of fiddle/pipe tunes written in this format.  There are programs to convert from ABC to MIDI format - MUSE as mentioned above can directly import ABC files.  Otherwise there's a stack of information available at the ABC home page, (Be prepared for information overload at this site.  It is not that newcomer friendly).

Can I Convert Sheet Music Into MIDIs?

You won't find universal consensus on this.  I use a Shareware program called SharpEye to do this and find it quite a breeze for more complex music with three or more staves, such as choral music.  Others argue that for simple tunes on one stave that it is just as easy to use NoteWorthy Composer and notate it from start to finish.  If you'd like to try SharpEye it's available from http://www.visiv.co.uk/detai.htm,

Can I Convert WAVE or MP3 Files To MIDI?

No!  And don't waste your money on software that claims to do it!

Caveats and Feedback

The information above is based upon what I've found useful at the least possible price.  There is a stack of software available out there.  If you have any questions or suggestions simply post a thread to this Forum.  I for one will always be interested in new questions and opinions.


Note: I copied this from a message John in Brisbane posted in another thread. It's a great piece of work, and deserves its own thread.
Thanks, John. Because of the value of this information as a permanent reference, John and I will maintain this thread. Feel free to post messages to this thread, but note that we reserve the right to keep this thread as a reference by editing or deleting messages.
Thanks, John.
-Joe Offer


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: MMario
Date: 26 May 00 - 11:11 AM

Odd the ABC thread gets comments and this one doesn't. But this deserves notice too!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Mark Clark
Date: 26 May 00 - 11:49 AM

MMario, I think this one will get lots of comments. I only just noticed it myself and it can sometimes take me several days to notice a new important thread. Joe & John, thanks for starting and maintaining this one.

For many years, I've been a user of Finale, a pretty pricy program with many of the features you describe. It looks to me as though I'd better start spending time with the freebies to see what I may be missing.

I have a question about producing notation from a MIDI file. Do any of the programs John mentions place the correct chord names above the proper notes in the score? I guess I'm asking whether MIDI files contain chord names. I suppose they could be text events but is there any reason to asume they have been added?

I responded to a forum request for a lead sheet (melody with chords) recently and posted the PDF file on my own Web space with a link placed in the thread response. Could I have used a MIDI file instead? Where could I have placed the MIDI file so members could reach it?

The technically inclined might be interested in the structure of a MIDI file but it's certainly not for the faint of heart. I'm looking forward to learning a lot about MIDI here.

Thanks,

      - Mark


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Subject: Links to MIDI Files
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 May 00 - 08:32 PM

Hi, Mark - there's a Mudcat MIDI Page listed in the Quick Links, with instructions for e-mailing tunes for posting.
Also, if you're looking for folk MIDI tunes, take note of these MIDI sites: -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Mark Clark
Date: 26 May 00 - 11:15 PM

Thanks, Joe. I admit I had not found the Mudcat MIDI Page. Lots of good stuff there for sure. So all we have to do is email the midi file to you. Do you then go into a thread and complete an empty link to a MIDI file inside an existing message? Now that'w what I call dedicated service. But of course you're well known for that already.

I've been checking the MIDI Manufacturers Association site and found a lot of technical information there. Still I don't seem to find a way to include chord names in such a way that any score built from the MIDI file would contain the correct chord symbols. Do you have a way to do that?

Thanks,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 May 00 - 11:31 PM

HMark, Mid just gives instructions to a synth to play a note on a certain "instrument" at a given time, for so long, etc and chord patterns are not included. If you want to loook at chords or tab, try one of the many packages that use thier own format.

I am a Cakewalk user - not the best package for notation and mine is an early version but the later ones will put chords on the staff and seems to have a good selection of guitar chords in various positions.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Pene Azul
Date: 26 May 00 - 11:38 PM

I haven't used this one much yet but it looks pretty cool:
Standard MIDI Files on the Net

It contains a nice section:
Searching the Internet for a Certain MIDI File

PA


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Barry T
Date: 27 May 00 - 12:17 AM

For great entertainment by the best sequencers on the web, visit Les Gorven's Midi Studio. Though not the same musical genres as we here at Mudcat thrive on, the gurus there really push the envelope to demonstrate what midi is capable of producing.

My recommendation: Get yourself a coffee and crank up the volume!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 27 May 00 - 12:51 AM

Mark, the facilities in MUSE to add chords are very good from a printing point of view. In addition MUSE will also add the chords to the MIDI. I'd need to have another look, but as I recall it will add the equivalent of one strum for each chord appearance. Have a play with it - it's a very tiny download for such an effective package. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Mark Clark
Date: 27 May 00 - 01:06 AM

Thanks, John. I can't wait to try it out.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Racer
Date: 27 May 00 - 03:51 AM

I've got an interesting problem that hasn't been addressed on this thread:

How do I convert MIDI files to Wave (digital audio) files?

I have CakewalkPro (I can't seem to find which version). For some reason, the part that says "Export Audio to Wave" (in "File" then "Utilities") has grey lettering rather than black lettering. This is telling me that for some reason, this option is not available to me. I was wondering exactly is the computer looking for when it's deciding whether or not to convert something from MIDI to Wave format.

My brother (the computer programmer) tells me that all I need to do in re-install Windows. I'm hoping for an easier solution.

Thanks

-Racer (who knows nothing about computers)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Mark Clark
Date: 27 May 00 - 01:38 PM

Three engineers were in a rented car on their way to a conference. The car begain having serious problems so they pulled to the side of the road and stopped. The mechanical engineer said: "No doubt it's something mechanical. I wish I had some tools, I could get us going in short order." The electronics engineer said: "No, these modern cars are all controled by computers and electronics. If I had my oscilliscope and a soldering iron I'm sure I could solve the problem." The software engineer thought for a moment then said: "Why don't we all just get out and then get back in?"

But seriously, Racer, I imagine your brother thinks the driver for playing wave files has been damaged or deleted. If your computer plays other wave files, like the ta-da chord at startup, then you probably don't need to reload the operating system. Check to see if your version of CakewalkPro includes the funtionality you want to use. Perhaps you are using an economy version that has some of the functionality disabled. Another possibility is that you've moved the program from another computer and all the necessary drivers weren't brought over. Sometimes software installation scripts place application specific drivers in the system area instead of keeping them all in the application directory. Sometimes a menu option is greyed simply because some other application event has not occurred such as the highlighting of a selection or something like that.

Good luck,

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 27 May 00 - 04:55 PM

Racer, I can't answer your Cakewalk question (my version is old) but just using Media Player to play the MIDI and Sound Recorder for the other bit should work.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: GUEST,Sheila
Date: 27 May 00 - 09:59 PM

You are all sooo knowledgeable! Thank you, Joe and Alison, for sharing your wonderful sites. I would never have known about them, and they are sources of unending pleasure. Sheila


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 27 May 00 - 11:27 PM

Racer, I have a couple of answers for you, but before I launch into them I have a question. Why do you want to record WAVE files? If you (say) wanted to play a particular MIDI file on your car stereo to learn a fiddle tune (or a choral part) then a simple answer is to connect a cassette recorder to the output of your sound card and press RECORD on your cassette before you start playing the MIDI on your PC. Maybe this is a simple solution for you.

I can't answer your question about Cakewalk - there are just too many versions around with various degrees of disability.

You can download Total Recorder at http://hotfiles.zdnet.com/cgi-bin/texis/swlib/hotfiles/info.html?fcode=000WEB. The shareware version will only let you record 40 seconds of WAVE and costs (from memory) $11.95. I haven't used this part of the program yet. I first took an interest when I read that you can use it to store complete live Real Audio shows to your own hard disc.

Wingroove at http://www.geocities.com/Eureka/8464/ is quite different. It provides somewhat more realistic instrument sounds than the cheaper sound cards provide AND lets you record WAVE files from MIDI files at varying degrees of fidelity. CD quality in stereo probably chews up about 5 Megs per minute - by sacrifising quality this probably comes down to something like 1 Meg/minute (I'm guessing). It costs $20 after the 30 day trial period - the program is virtually useless after this time, but it gives you a fair amount of time to play with it. I paid 10 times that amount for my Yamaha wave table daughter board, but I can't get the B***** thing to work in my latest PC. Wingroove is a fair substitute for a better cound card if you have a P133 or better.

Hope that this helps. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 27 May 00 - 11:39 PM

One other useful URL! For all those tricky quesyions about which software connects to which hardware connects to which whatever, go to Software Music Machine at http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/wwwboard/. If you have a quick browse of the user forum you may easily find that your query has already been covered. Otherwise you can post a question and wait for helpful people to provide an answer. This is a good place to ask questions about common progs like Cakewalk. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Racer
Date: 28 May 00 - 04:32 AM

What I'm trying to do is put my school notes on a CD with a nice musical score that I've written in the background. I was then hoping to record this on to a tape to play in my car. I wanted it on CD so I could just tell the CD player to play the song/notes repeatedly while the tape recorded.

The only way I have of doing this is externally. The mic on my computer picks up sound from the speakers a little too well. The recording would be a lot cleaner if I could convert MIDI to sound internally.

The version of Cakewalk that I'm using is a Demo version. I think Mark Clark has identified the problem. For some reason, the Cakewalk Gurus have disabled this function in this program. Perhaps they were worried about me recording their music on to a CD and selling it (like that would ever happen.)

I must mention that I like Mark Clark's idea of how a computer programmer solves problems. I have to add that a computer programmer might suggest disconnecting the battery for a minute. Believe it or not, sometimes this will fix a car problem. If maintenance has been done, and the car's computer hasn't been reset, this is the only way a lamen can reset it. This only works if something major has been changed.

-Racer


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 May 00 - 05:05 AM

Hi, Racer - a couple of months ago, I needed the trumpet tune "El Nino Perdido" for a play, and had to follow it with the sound of angry bees. I transcribed the tune onto Noteworthy Recorder and made a MIDI, and then used the Windows Sound Recorder and recorded a WAV from the MIDI (I added a little reverb to make the trumpet sound more credible). I set Windows Media Player so it would open a new window for every WAV file I clicked on, and then I could play several sounds at once and adjust the level of each separately. I recorded from the computer's line out jack to a cassette recorder, but I could have recorded onto a CD just as easily.
That was the first time I mixed sound effects on a computer, and it worked very well - and it was a lot easier than any method I've tried before.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 28 May 00 - 08:33 AM

Just to pick up on a comment that John made, it should be remembered that MIDI is only a set of instructions to a synthesiser (in most cases a sound card) and to get the best out of MIDI, rather than having it sounding "computer generated", you do need something which provides decent wave table synthesis. I know nothing about the software solutions that John mentioned although I would imagine they are quite processor intensive. My sound card is only a Sound Blaster AWE32 but I do have the Yamaha DBXG50 daughter board attached. It may be old but for MIDI, it transforms the soundcard and provides a quality of sound comparable with some of the Yamaha PSR range of keyboards.

Also, on sound, I dont use PC speakers but hook up (line out on sound card to aux in) to my Kenwood amp and apart from getting me good quality sound, this provides me with a very effective means of recording to tape.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 28 May 00 - 10:45 AM

Wonderful Stuff Thanks I have downloaded NoteWorthy Composer and the Sharpeye OCR. I have just had great fun scanning in some tunes getting them recognized by Sharpeye and then playing them back using Midi Notate Midi Notate allows the choice of different play back instruments some of which sound OK, some of which are quite amusing. I found you could play a tune and alter the instrument used several times during playback.

RS


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 28 May 00 - 07:45 PM

You're dead right Roger - I was tempted to recommend Midi Notate as the default Media Player because it is so flexible (and fun). I reconsidered on the basis that the notation may scare off beginners who may feel intimidated by the dots. It's a great piece of Freeware. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Pene Azul
Date: 29 May 00 - 07:41 PM

This is a great site for ragtime MIDIs:

Doc Wilson's Ragtime MIDI Files

PA


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 29 May 00 - 08:43 PM

Here's a couple of extra MIDI ideas I've gleaned from the Web in the last couple of days:

(1) There's an excellent (if slightly wordy) set of MIDI tutorials at http://www.jjonline.com/digital/miditutorial01.asp. Don't be put off by the Christian ministry bit as he gives some excellent step by step instructions on specific tasks such as entering tune notation from a piano keyboard or using MIDI to practice difficult musical parts.

(2)
With today's sound cards, even users with basic computing needs could benefit a lot from good sound. But despite advances in the technology, not all sound cards are created equal.

On the one hand, for example, Compaq's new iPaq, an entry-level system, cuts a few corners on the sound card. Standard voice-recognition packages make it clear that the iPaq's sound quality is inadequate.

On the other hand, it works just fine at playing audio.

In buying an aftermarket sound card, make sure it uses wave-table synthesis to reproduce sound, and not frequency modulation (FM) synthesis. In FM synthesis, the card mimics musical instruments according to predetermined formulas. The computer more or less has to fake the sounds of different instruments.

Wave-table technology instead puts actual samples from leading types of musical instruments right on the card. When a sound request is sent to the card for reproduction, the card combines, edits and enhances the samples.

Another must: Buy a sound card built to the electronic music industry's MIDI standard. Pronounced ''middy,'' it stands for musical instrument digital interface. A MIDI card can at minimum process the pitch, length and volume differences between musical notes.

Find out whether the sound card is full duplex, which means you can send sound data to it at the same time sound is coming out, like a telephone. A half-duplex card would make conferencing almost impossible, as only one person could talk at a time and some voice data would likely be lost.

Also determine whether the sound card supports a high sampling rate for both input and output. Sampling takes periodic snapshots of an audio stream.

If the sampling rate is quick, as in an audio CD-ROM, the human ear can't tell the difference from the full stream.

Low sampling rates equal choppy sound. A low rate would be anything below about 35 kilohertz, which can distort the signal. Standard sound cards sample faster than 40 KHz, and good sound is almost guaranteed at the 50-KHz level and higher.

If you want a four-speaker audio system, you must make sure the PC's sound card supports it, which means the card has to have one audio output jack for the front pair of speakers and one for the back.

And make sure your after-market sound card is Sound Blaster-compatible.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 30 May 00 - 08:18 PM

Pene Azul, You might like this ragtime link, John Roache's Ragtime Library. You can compare The Maple Leaf Rag at your site and at this site. Maple Leaf Rag

John, several years ago I was facinated with the idea of writing MIDI's, and was shocked at how hard it was to find any information about it. I won a copy of Cakewalk sequencing software in a contest and then essentially struggled through figuring it out all by myself! Since then I've found several good tutorials.

At The Classical MIDI Connection there is a section on Classical MIDI Sequencing. Robert Finlay's tutorial is here, and David Siu's tutorial is here.

I like David Siu's quote: If you find that a worthwhile task requires much more work to do really well than you ever dreamed, you're probably doing it correctly.

Since I can't use a keyboard to input notes precisely, imagine the joy I felt when I read how Barry Taylor creates his MIDI files! Click here.

Keep the Mudcat MIDI Guide going and growing!

Mary


Links updated 19-Jul-01 - Jon Freeman


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 30 May 00 - 09:18 PM

Mary, I was lucky enough to get a copy of CakeWalk (professional v3) as part of a comuputer deal and I took to using it very easily. We are all different but I found it one of the most intuiative software packages (not just music software) that I have used.

I am another one that uses the drag and place notes with the staff. One thing is that although I have some idea on the basics of the theory of music, my sight reading skills are basically nill so I like the way Cakewalk plays the note as I am trying to find its proper place on the staff - just leaves me with the note length to get confused over sometimes.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 30 May 00 - 09:44 PM

Mary, thanks for the excellent links - I particularly liked the Barry Taylor narrative.

Jon Freeman has raised with me the need to distinguish between the terms 'notating' and 'sequencing'. For want of a specific definition of the terms I'll try to compose one on the fly as the processes apply to folk tunes.

Both notating and sequencing produce seemingly similar outputs, that is - MIDI files. The objectives tend to be somewhat different however. The intention when notating a tune is to distil the music in such a way that someone can in future perform the piece, often by way of printed music and with a degree of conservatism when it comes to aspects such as the length of individual notes. It is assumed that the performer has the right to interpret the tune to achieve (usually) subtle artistic differences from the printed page. More importantly the playing of the MIDI piece through a PC is intended to provide an aural cross check for the notator and a good guide for subsequent listeners as to the basic nature of the tune.

Sequencing on the other hand tends to concentrate on producing a quality sound output and/or an interesting musical arrangement, often attempting to emulate an existing recording. Great care is taken to choose particular musical instruments and their placement on the stereophonic stage. Because the aim is to make the performance seem more human the duration of musical notes may be much more variable than in a notated score. While the MIDIs may be printed, the output may be quite difficult to read. For instance succesive 1/4 notes from a 'straight notated' score may read 9/32, 7/32, 7/32, 9/32 in a 'sequenced score'. There is a technique for averaging out these differences known as 'quantising'. (Sometimes the variations in note length are due to the indifferent skills of keyboard players who can't maintain strict tempo when attempting to sequence a tune 'live' into the sequencing program. That's me, so I don't use that method any more).

And finally there's a bit of a blur between what software is 'notation' and what is 'sequencing'. For instance the NoteWorthy people regard their product as a 'Composer/Score Writer' or 'Notation' program. Even though it can do many of the things a 'sequencer' can do, it won't do them all, nor will it peform these functions with the ease of (say) the older versions of Power Tracks Pro (from Band In A Box).

Hope this helps. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 03:01 AM

BarFly is a Freeware music notation program written for Mac use and gets rave reviews from its users. Its author reports on the ABC List that he has experimented with a FREE Mac Emulator for PC acess to BarFly. I extracted the following text - I'm flat out with performances over the next few weeks, but maybe a combination of PC and Mac gurues could give it a try. To date this subject has drawn no further discussion on the ABC List. Regards, John

I've been experimenting with a free Macintosh emulator for PCs to see if I could get it to run BarFly, and have achieved at least partial success. The emulator is called "Fusion" and can be downloaded from . While the emulator software is free, there are a couple of catches. You need a ROM image file copied from a real Mac, and also a Mac system CD (or floppies). Fusion only emulates the old 680x0 processor Macs, and will run System 7.1 - 7.6 or OS 8 (depending on the ROM file you use).

I installed it on a 500 MHz Pentium III machine running Windows 98. Being thoroughly ignorant of Windows, I encountered a number of problems. First, the setup prgram told me that I needed a DOS based mouse driver (the emulator is a DOS program; you have to re-start the machine in MS-DOS mode to use it). The website of the manufacturer of my mouse was no help, but I eventually found a Microsoft mouse driver which worked. After I installed that, Windows started putting up error messages on startup to the effect that the program "POINTER.EXE" was out of date and could not run under Windows, so I edited the Windows.ini file to remove the reference (did I do the right thing?). Anyway everything works now.

I could not get the emulator to recognise the CD-ROM drive, so I installed the only Mac system I have on floppies (7.5). Installation took a very long time (I think because the floppy drive is very slow when reading Mac format disks), so I was pleasantly surprised when it booted up faster than any real Mac I've ever seen. I was even more surprised to find that programs run on it much faster than they did on the ancient Mac which is being emulated (the ROM file came from a Quadra 650).

The display seems to be fixed at 640 x 480 in 256 colours, and the mouse cursor movement is a bit jittery, but otherwise it looks and feels just like a real Mac. There are two outstanding problems, one being the CD-ROM access and the other the lack of sound. I suspect that both of these are due to lack of the appropriate driver. The Fusion docs say that the CD requires something called MSCDEX, with no further information. I found soething called Mscdex.exe in the windows\command directory and started it. It put up a message saying that MSCDEX v2.91 was already running. Maybe I need a specific driver for the Hitachi DVD/CD drive that's in place.

The other, and more serious problem is the lack of sound. Here, the docs say that you need an MS-DOS based sound driver, and I haven't had any luck in finding one. The sound card is a Soundblaster PCI 128, and if anyone has any suggestions as to where to get the driver I'll be grateful.

If anybody else wants to play around with this, I have a few Mac ROM files which I have collected from old machines which are about to be scrapped, and which I can give away (I hope!) without infringing Apple's copyright.

Phil Taylor


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 03:10 AM

Sorry that FUSION Emulator site is http://www.emulators.com

To find a copy of the MAC BarFly go to the ABC Homepage, the address is referenced in the MIDI guide which I wrote above. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 16 Nov 00 - 08:06 PM

Refresh. In relation to a request today about notation programs, NoteWorthy Composer will allow you to work on a single line score, a piano score and right up to full orchestral arrangemenrs. The URL link to NoteWorthy is in my tutorial in the first part of this PermaThread.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Snuffy
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 09:07 AM

Now that there are MIDIs with the words included on the Mudcat Midi site, what software do I need to be able to see the words?

I think I can make MIDIs with words from my ABC files - if I open one in Wordpad the lyrics appear in the MIDI file - but I haven't got anything on my PC that will play the tune with the words like the Songwright player in the DT download.

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 03:05 PM

MidiNotate and Cakewalk will both display lyrics attached to midi files while playing them.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Alice
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 03:49 PM

Great thread. I have not read all the details posted to the thread - I may be repeating what is already posted here, but for the Macintosh, I've started using Melody software. Lots of capabilities in Melody, and I've barely scratched the surface. You can save midi files and print out the notation.

Alice


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 10:58 AM

I note that there hasn't been much new activity here, which is a pity. This is a great subject.

A comment on resources:
I recently responded to a newspaper ad about a "Presentation on MIDI," and found that the presentation was by a church organ manufacturer.
Attendees were a group of phenomenally talented and very professional musicians, all of whom where using MIDI in their church music programs. (Although some of them didn't know that's what it was how it worked.)
Apparently, MIDI sequencers and sound samplers are the "guts" of the newer breed of "electronic" organs.
For those who have an appropriate 'contact,' this might be a place to go to find advice, or to get your hands on a piece of good MIDI equipment.

Based on comments from the people at that meeting, there are probably a lot of churches with some good equipment that they don't know much about using, so if you find this is the situation, you might be able to help them too.

John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: pavane
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 11:06 AM

I am busy writing MIDI utilities, any ideas for new ones welcome


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: GUEST,Eclipse
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 11:36 AM

I have a Midi related question...

You can get a keyboard to enter Midi, so is there something that will pick up other instruments (I'm thinking wind instruments)?

I realize I may be asking something like "can you turn a wav into a midi", but I'd like to know. I get the feeling I'll be typing in Midi files by hand (sigh). -Eclipse


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 12:27 PM

Eclipse, I'm sure someone will be along soon to answer your question. In the meantime, a comment...I found that when I used a keyboard to input there were just too many mistakes, so it was faster for me to do everything by hand. (Pavane, are you working on this type of utilities?) But then, as we were discussing above on the jazz midis, if you don't worry about what the notation looks like, instrument input using a good instrument and a talented performer results in some very nice sequences.

JohninKansas, when my church burned, a music store loaned us a fantastic keyboard that pretty much did everything and sounded almost like a *real* piano. It had all the bells and whistles which no one knew how to use. I drooled over it everytime I saw it. We now have one which has more capability than anyone has been able to use.

I noticed that my links above have moved, so I'll notify a JoeClone to change them. If they move again, just go to the Classical MIDI Connection and follow the links to MIDI tutorials.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 01:04 PM

Guest,Eclipse
We have looked at some vague reports that you can get "midi" guitars and such, but they turned out to be more "vague" than "report." Lots of people have "heard of one" but no one we have ever found has actually seen one.
For a clean MIDI input to other MIDI devices or to your computer, whatever kind of "pickup" you use has to determine what note (or notes) are being played. Overtones, and slight variations in pitch make this conversion rather complex if you are trying to "filter down" from any audio source to identify one note at a time, and can reach mind-boggling complexity if you start playing chords. A system that actually detected which fret you were on might work, but it might also make your nose glow when you play the instrument.

Mary In Kentucky
I use a keyboard for most input, but in "single note" entry mode. Select the "time value" and play the note, one note at a time. My program puts the right dot into the score. I find it easier and faster than trying to click the right spot on-screen. If you're as shaky as I am, you may need to reset "on velocities" for the whole score when you get done, but that's a fairly simple step with most programs.
I should note that I use MIDI input mainly to make written scores. The MIDI files that I get are a byproduct that I use mainly to see that I got it more-or-less the way I intended to.

John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Grab
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 03:08 PM

Eclipse, I remember an article in a computer magazine about 10 years back. I certainly remember it featuring a MIDI saxophone and some other wind instruments, and a MIDI guitar may have been in there. Whether these are still available, I don't know. The MIDI wind instruments had sensors to detect whether keys/holes were open (and possibly also to detect how much), and some form of airflow sensor to determine how much you were blowing.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Vertellnix
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 03:54 PM

The "Yet Another Digital Tradition" site has moved to

http://sniff.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/

Please change your bookmarks and use this great resource with '99' contents. Henry


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Mark Clark
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 10:26 AM

There is lot's of MIDI guitar stuff available. Check it out at The Musician's Friend. I'm sure there are many other suppliers. There are midi consoles that work just like guitars (Yamaha, I think) and all sorts of other devices to bring the guitar into the world of MIDI. I don't actually own any of this stuff but maybe someone who does will post their evaluation.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 10:53 AM

Mary, I think abc notation is about the quickest way to get tunes in. Then use one of the abc to MIDI programs (preferably mine!). My HARMONY program, mainly intended to add chords, also puts GM reset codes into every MIDI file it creates, and will be able to add system exclusive code in the future. (If you don't know what these are, it doesn't matter).
My other utilities (not yet all on my site) can do miscellaneous jobs like
changing the master volume for each channel (to fix badly balanced files)
inserting mid-tune key changes
muting unwanted channels/tracks (but not deleting, so you can unmute)
changing the tempo
Turning a MIDI into a KARAOKE file


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 11:21 AM

Thanks pavane, I'll have to break down and learn ABC! Sounds like a good idea though.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Jande
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 04:58 PM

I just skimmed through this thread but I didn't notice that anyone answered racer's question about Cakewalk.

The reason "export to audio" is greyed out in Cakewalk when you have a midi file up, is probably because you don't have a "full-duplex" sound-card.

OR

You don't have the "what U hear" (sic) checked for recording in the windows mixer.

Let me know if you need more info...

~ Jande


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 03:01 PM

I have recently encountered several references to a program (shareware) called AKoff Music Composer that claims to be able to convert microphone input or .wav files to MIDI.
We have tried the microphone input thing with PrintMusic, and with trial versions of some other programs, without much success.
The thought is that a dedicated program, designed to do JUST the conversion, might be more successful.
Has anyone tried this one? AKoff
I've had some bad luck with a couple of shareware downloads recently, so I don't really want to jump on this - at least until I complete the recovery from the previous incidents. Might try it if someone will happens to have tried it and can say some good words.

John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: MMario
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 03:07 PM

haven't found a really successful one yet.....they all work on their included samples - but what I get when I try it "live" - well - the proofing takes longer then to enter stuff manually....


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: Jande
Date: 25 Jul 01 - 10:30 PM

I have a copy of AKoff's Music Composer. I have a wave file of James whistling one of his tunes.It did a really good job of translating it to midi, even the warbles.

I really dislike programs that are not fully functional. I would prefer they be fully functional and cut off completely after the trial date is up. Or at least give us a choice.

this one does not allow you to save the midi files you create with it. But it does store the file in the Windows Temp directory, so If you really need that midi file badly, you can check the time that you made it and change the file name from "~(bunch-o-letters).tmp" to "(yourname).mid" Not for the faint of heart, though.

Now that I have had a chance to see how it well saves the files and to reload the file into Cakewalk and use my soundfonts on it, I will be purchasing the program in the near future (as soon as I finish making, and sell, a few CDs) :`)

It would be nice to get others' opinions on this product.

FWIW,

~ Jande

~ Jande


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 26 Jul 01 - 02:10 AM

Jande
Appreciate the feedback. I use midi mostly as a check on music that I'm putting into scores, so I'm not really needing "musical quality." Just accuracy of the note detection.
It sounds like your experience indicates I might get some good out of it. Other things I've tried were a long way away from useful. The other possibility is that James just whistles in key better than I can play. :-0
It will probably be a while before I get around to trying it out - too many other things broke and need fixin'.

John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 02:21 PM

A "curiosity" that may be of interest to some.

The February 25, 2002 issue of PC Magazine offers a utility that displays a separate piano keyboard for each channel of a midi file, and "lights up" the keys used as the midi plays.

A separate "composite keyboard" at the top plays all of the channels together - similar to the keyboard display found in most notation programs.

The program runs on any Windows or NT (Win95,Win98,NT,Win2K, WinME, WinXP) platform.

For the "musician-user" the possible benefit would be the ability to "visualize" what is going on in each separate channel of a midi file. It can be really difficult, with complex (multi-channel) midis to figure out which channel(s) have the melody, which have the chords (which may be split across channels), and which are percussion and embellishments.

This program also lets you easily "mute" individual channels, so that you can listen individually to the ones you're trying to separate, and you can change the "instrument" that plays an individual channel to help you hear a particular part.

This program doesn't do much that you can't do with most MIDI editors, but may be much simpler for "non-technical" musicians to use to analyze a tune.

For the few of our people with an interest in such stuff, the C source code is included! The portions I've looked at seem to be well annotated, and one might expect it to be a good example of "clean code." The author, Charles Petzold, is well known, and I think has a very good reputation with programmers.
Download from www.pcmag.com/utilities the file for MIDIColors. The file you will get is midiclrs.zip (363 KB). You will need WinZIP, or some other "unzipper" program to open it. Opening (unzipping) the .zip file gets you a setup.exe and a separate MIDI_src.zip. You don't need to do anything with the MIDI_src.zip if you're not interested in the "code," - although it does include a "help" file with a brief outline of MIDI pointers. Just run the setup.exe and you're in business.

For programmers - or the merely curious, I would suggest unzipping the MIDI_src.zip to a separate folder, since it contains about 30 files that you'll want to keep separated from the "run" files.

John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 02:27 PM

Aplologies:

The link above doesn't work from here. Typing the address into my address bar gets a redirect, so lets try again with PCMag

John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 02:36 PM

Source code for the above post shows a missing initial ". Don't know what happened, 'cause it's in the Word doc I copied from.

www.pcmag.com will get you to the site. You can select "downloads" and "utilities" from there to get to the MIDIColors download.

I'll try one more time with a direct link to MIDIColors.

John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 03:39 PM

I think the "html goddess" has been playing tricks on me. She's not really cruel, but she can be d#$%! sarcastic?
The last clicky, "MIDIColors," appears to work.

In playing with the program a little, I note that a feature that may be of real interest - and maybe the most useful feature there - is a little click box that lets you change playback speed from 1/10th to 10x, on the fly.

Possibly, this could be a great help for those who just want to listen to a midi (at reduced speed) while they learn a tune. It's certainly easier than editing the program.

John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: GUEST,Billy the Guest
Date: 04 Jun 06 - 07:45 PM

I know I'm joining a discussion that ended many years ago. However, for those wondering about the "export audio" function being grayed out. Cakewalk Home Studio version 7.0, which I use, has "Export audio..." in the tools menu. This command is intended only to export audio tracks to an external WAV file, and the tracks you want to export must be selected first. It doesn't work for MIDI tracks. Although it isn't grayed out on my particular program, it does give you an error if no audio tracks are selected.

If you are trying to create a WAV of the MIDI tracks, use your soundcard's "mixer" controls to enable recording of MIDI, or "What you hear". The latter is especially useful if you are trying to export a Cakewalk file that has a combination of MIDI and audio tracks. Then record the result to an additional audio track and export it using the "export audio".


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Subject: RE: Mudcat MIDI Guide
From: GUEST,Uncle Jaque
Date: 05 Jun 06 - 12:48 PM

I've been using "Melody Assistant" from MYRIAD Software (a French firm) for several years now.

MYRIAD Software

You can get a free "crippleware" download, which is pretty functional in many ways, but the registration is really reasonable, and is good for life (of the Company, at least) and for unlimited upgrades, of which there have been legion since I bought it.

There are a few features that I think could stand improvement - like the print setup, for instance - but it has loads of bells and whistles which I don't have a clue how to use nor do I need for what I do.

And it will put a MIDI file up as a score, which you can play, edit, transpose, chord, change instrument, tempo, & etc., then print it off if you want to.

And I'm pretty sure that you can convert MIDI files into WAV or Mp3, too.

They also sell "OmER" OCR program for music scores - but I've found that your scores have to be sharp, clean, and clear or what you get won't look or sound anything like music!

Since I work a lot with antique, archival music, it really doesn't work out for me - it's a lot less hassle just transcribing the score from the yellowed, frazzled old pages directly on to MELODY and going from there.

Besides; it helps me to excersize what limited music reading and writing skills I have.

I have composed one tune already on MELODY, and it was a lot of fun, actually.

Check it out; the test ride is free!

And a good music/audio recording/editing freeware program is "AUDACITY".

Still a bit of a Beta, but once I got the hang of it it does some really neat things with audio files.


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