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Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...

leeneia 08 Aug 16 - 05:20 PM
Jack Campin 08 Aug 16 - 05:51 PM
Jack Campin 08 Aug 16 - 06:13 PM
punkfolkrocker 08 Aug 16 - 07:46 PM
Joe Offer 08 Aug 16 - 08:50 PM
leeneia 08 Aug 16 - 09:34 PM
BobL 09 Aug 16 - 02:37 AM
GUEST,Grishka 09 Aug 16 - 04:32 AM
Jack Campin 09 Aug 16 - 06:11 AM
Stanron 09 Aug 16 - 07:54 AM
punkfolkrocker 09 Aug 16 - 10:58 AM
punkfolkrocker 09 Aug 16 - 11:01 AM
leeneia 09 Aug 16 - 09:51 PM
leeneia 09 Aug 16 - 10:08 PM
punkfolkrocker 10 Aug 16 - 12:00 AM
punkfolkrocker 10 Aug 16 - 12:44 AM
Howard Jones 10 Aug 16 - 08:56 AM
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Subject: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 05:20 PM

I'm into music. I have a MIDI program on my computer, and a MIDI keyboard on my desk. I've been using MIDI for at least 16 years, mostly with Noteworthy Composer. I download music, edit music, compose music and post music to the net, mostly here at the Mudcat. So those are my qualifications.

I won't detail the problems I've run into. I'll just say that if you wish to post music to the Internet and you hope that people will use and enjoy it, then please follow the following steps.

1. Put the proper key on the piece. For example, if it's in D, tell your computer.   Otherwise, the computer assumes it's in C and puts an accidental on every F and C. The person downloading the piece sees a piece bristling with accidentals, and a beginner will be fooled into thinking it's a goofy, useless file. Others will waste time figuring out what key it's really in and fixing it.

Humans know that a piece with no key signature on it is in the key of C, but computers don't know that. If it's in C, tell your computer. Why? Because a computer needs to know it's in C if anybody ever wants to transpose the piece.

2. If a piece starts with pick-up notes, put the rests that fill up the measure in front of the pick-up notes. Then save your MIDI file. It looks funny, but if you don't, the next computer will put the pick-up notes at the beginning of the first measure, will have all bar lines in the wrong place, and will generate specious ties which have to be removed, one by tiresome one.

3. Learn to recognize a triplet and mark triplets in your file as needed. If you don't, your computer will save them as a goofy little set of notes that nobody can time. I just encountered this in a workshop where not even the music majors recognized them.

4. Mark the right tempo on the piece. If you don't, your computer will label it 120, the default tempo. When I see a piece labelled 120, I wonder whether the author actually selected it or was too amateur to assign a tempo.

Usually we master dances at 120, and then we are told to play slower when we get to the dance. Thus wasting our practice time...

5. For some reason, many programs print titles in size 24 type. I think that's too big - wastes ink and wastes space. I've set up a template and all my titles are 12. Nobody's complained yet.

===========

Here endeth the lesson.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 05:51 PM

It's much easier for everybody if you just write the thing in ABC in the first place and export to MIDI if you really, truly need it (I can't think when I last did).


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 06:13 PM

One further problem with MIDI, which I don't understand: it's not a file type that many forums will let you upload as an attachment. MP3 is much more commonly supported, though you are likely to hit size limits with it; and with ABC it doesn't really matter if it can be an attachment since you can simply paste it in to a message body.

So "sharing" MIDI is not easy. Mudcat doesn't support it: you have to get an admin to store it on an associated site. (I have more than 1000 MIDI files on my own site, and I've never had any difficulty there, but it isn't a forum).

What's the problem? Do the people who develop forum engines simply not know about MIDI, or does it pose security risks?


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 07:46 PM

From the perspective of most rock and electronic dance musicians & producers, the midi era was the 80s and 90s;
and midi was primarily an audio medium.
We created midi files which would play back accurately on sound modules with the correctly assigned instrumental sounds.

Translating midi to printable music notation was considered an after thought,
not a vital purpose.

A useful secondary function of more interest to specialised formal trained composers and music score readers.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 08:50 PM

For the last several years, I've been posting MIDI files from Mudcatters on my own website, and then linking to them in threads. Feel free to send files to me, joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 09:34 PM

For example, we wanted to play 'Upon a Summer's Day' at our last dance, and it occurred in our country dance book in the key of Ab - four flats. 75% of the group said, "Oh no."

So I downloaded it in Em from abcnotation.com, fixed the measures (because the author hadn't known Rule 1) printed and voila! If I hadn't found it in Em, I would have been able to change the key I found.

Some of the dance music is too fast for me, so I download the MIDI's, add a staff and write my own, simpler part.

I have a friend with bad vision, and I print great big scores for him.

I woke up one morning wanting to play 'Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring,' and I downloaded it and removed the ugly chromatic part. Printed it an played it.

And as a Mudcatter once observed, he likes to find MIDI's because then he can hear the tune.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: BobL
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 02:37 AM

Why on earth did they publish it in A flat? The original's in F.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 04:32 AM

punkfolkrocker wrote:
Translating midi to printable music notation was considered an after thought, not a vital purpose.
That is indeed the crucial birth defect of the MIDI file format. For mere playback, the key signature, metric signature, anacrusis (leeneia's point 2.) and indeed all bar lines, clefs, spelling of accidentals (F# vs. Gb), repeat signs etc. would be irrelevant. For some reasons, the designers of the format included the first two data but not the others. Lyrics were allowed, although the most popular karaoke machines in those days demanded a different internal representation of lyrics. Speed of reading from floppy discs and minimization of internal storage were major issues.

Nowadays, MIDI files are only used for legacy reasons, i.o.w. for lack of a newer format of similar universal support. If sheet music is the focus, the best candidate is the compressed MusicXML format (.mxl) as readable and playable by all modern notation software including the free MuseScore. Joe Offer may decide to host files in that format as well, if asked by potential uploaders and downloaders.

On the other hand, ABC is Mudcat's mother tongue, like Jack observed. It has a strong focus on sheet music and supports most elements needed for mainstream notation. However, not everybody wants to use ABC by typing plain text. Users of MuseScore etc. will create MusicXML and transform the result to ABC with the powerful tool xml2abc.

If your favourite notation software does not support MusicXML (or ABC directly), you can try your luck with conversion software that starts from MIDI files, such as MidiZyx2abc. Some additional work is indispensable, notably taking care of repeat signs including boxes. First of all, observe leeneia's points 1. through 4. (Point 5. has nothing to do with the MIDI file format, if I'm not mistaken.)

As for point 2., most software products will do it by themselves when exporting MIDI files. Try it out before doing superfluous work.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 06:11 AM

Do you mean this one? I found it in D dorian in about a minute via a search for the ABC, and transposed it using the ABC converter at mandolintab.net.

X:482
T:Upon a Summer's Day
L:1/4
M:6/4
K:Edor
B|B2B G2E|B3 B2c/d/|e2d e2f|g3- g2
G|G2G F2E|d3 f3    |f2G F2E|E3- E2||
f|f2f d2B|f3 f2d   |e2d e2f|g3- g2
G|G2G F2E|d3 e3    |f2G F2E|E3- E2|]


That took about five minutes, including a few edits to make the ABC look better.

I know somebody whose usual source of sheet music is MIDIs run through a converter. For dance tunes, the lack of a repeat construct in MIDI means everything takes twice as much notation as it needs to.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: Stanron
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 07:54 AM

Before I switched to Linux my notation editor of choice was Sibelius. Now I use Musescore. I can use MIDI to transport files between the two editors otherwise I always thought that it was for machines rather than people. The point about listening to the lies will be good for some people but as I can hear them in Sibelius or Musescore already.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 10:58 AM

Ok.. here's something 'new' I can bring to attention.. if you are not already aware of it.

[new - I may have mentioned this here a few years ago..]

A company called Sonuus introduced a new affordable product that effectively and reliably records & converts performance pitch to midi.

Ie, it is possible to sing or play a flute / recorder/ whistle etc
into a microphone and capture the performed notes as midi,
which you can then edit, correct and manipulate at will with midi software.

I bought the earliest devices [ about £60 each] that permit electric guitars and Bass guitars
to transmit monophonic midi information to trigger synthesisers in real time.

The newest product connects by USB to computers, enabling capture of audio to midi information
directly into computer software.

http://www.sonuus.com/products_i2m_mp.html

Very cheap [£69] and convenient if you want to quickly hum or la la a melody into midi data.

This product is not polyphonic, so cannot be used to convert chords, only single line melodies.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 11:01 AM

Apparently, they now also do a ten dollar apple app.

http://www.sonuus.com/products_g2m_app.html


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: leeneia
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 09:51 PM

Thanks for the info. MIDI software has been trying to do that for a long time, but the problem is that computers over overly-literal about the subtle variations that people put into their timing.

If Sonuus has solved that problem I can only say - hooray! I'll check it out.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: leeneia
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 10:08 PM

BobL asked, "Why on earth did they publish it in A flat? The original's in F."

I don't know, Bob. I'm grateful to Peter Barnes for publishing two thick books of country dance tunes, but I admit that some features (odd keys, strange chords) baffle me.

If good old abcnotation.com had followed my rules, I could have fixed the file in 5 minutes.


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Aug 16 - 12:00 AM

Leeneia - When I purchased the earlier version I anticipated a painful learning curve and random cacophonous results...

My surprise when I plugged guitar into Sonuus, and Sonuus into midi synth sound modules,
was that it worked accurately the very first time.

All I needed to do was turn guitar tone knob down, and carefully mute strings to avoid high pitched harmonics that could confuse the conversion process.

Tracking guitar notes to midi sounds was accurate and instantaneous.
eg, a harmonica preset sounded quite convincing with a few blues style riffs and phrases...


I didn't try plugging in a mic and humming melodies myself, but saw a youtube demo that was fairly convincing...


This newer USB version claims even better results.

Personally I'd approach it with optimistic skepticism...

Sonuus download page for manuals for the sonuus i2M musicport™ Product Manual & sonuus i2M musicport™ Desktop Editor Manual.

I'm about 10 years out of date with audio to midi converter software,
but if I remember, the good programs were far too expensive & complicated, and the freeware plugins were not very good.

If the Sonuus i2M musicport is as good as claimed, then the advantages are affordability, and a simple plug and play hardware converter
that is dedicated to doing one job very well...???


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Aug 16 - 12:44 AM

I'm enjoying researching this.. [my music activities stopped abruptly in 2012 due to family priorities - most of my gear boxed up and gathering dust]

Sound on Sound review - extract:

"The last thing I tried, noticing that there was a wind/voice option in the source instrument list, was a microphone. I can confirm that it works — you sing notes into the mic and MIDI comes out of the Sonuus — and I can confirm also that I'm not a good enough singer to do useful work with it that way. It would always be quicker for me to play the lines on a guitar. Somebody who is a decent singer, but no kind of instrumentalist could, I think, do useful programming work with this, especially with the help of chromatic mode and a little editing. It requires a little care with the attack of your notes — avoiding potentially pitch-ambiguous consonants and plosives in favour of a clearly articulated "Aaahhh" for each note seemed to give the best results.

I noticed also that in the Sonuus users' forum, there is a sax player apparently getting good results doubling his instrument in a live context, so if it works there, with the potential problems of separation and spill, it should certainly be OK in the more controlled environment of a recording context. I wasn't able to summon up a friendly wind player in time to verify this personally, so try before you buy if you are interested in a Sonuus primarily for that facility.
"


Sonuus User Forum - extract:

"i2m with vocals??
Postby rdebs812 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:37 am

can this piece turn vocal ideas/harmonies into midis? like if i have a quick melody in my head that i would later like to find a synth for, would i be able to just plug a mic into it, sing and get the midi? and if not... could i achieve this if the vocals where pitch corrected first so that they are basically in true key? or is this piece just really not for any type of vocals at all? i would really appreciate any answers on this because i am very interested in this piece for specific purposes
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Re: i2m with vocals??
Postby james » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:06 pm

Yes, it will work with vocals.

To capture exact notes, you can enable CHROMATIC mode so it will "snap" to the nearest note. If you want to lock to a musical scale you can now do this too (with our latest firmware update) so then you can never be out of tune! So no need to perform any pitch-correction beforehand.
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Re: i2m with vocals??
Postby JackNash » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:30 am

I'm having trouble converting Vocals. My primary reason for purchasing was to use for converting vocal melodies to midi. I've tried it with guitar and there is a smooth conversion, but when I sing into a mic, I am getting pretty unusable midi information. There are a lot of extra notes and the melodies are unrecognizable when played back as a midi instrument. What is the best way to set up vocals? I have the software set up for vocals, ive tried legato on/off and ive tried Pitchbend/Chromatic and still haven't gotten results. Is there a way to have the midi information be as accurate with vocals as it is with guitar?

Thank you
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Re: i2m with vocals??
Postby james » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:21 am

This happens because the voice isn't often as controllable as a guitar, so there is lots of extra (unintentional) pitched sounds going on: breaths, plosive sounds (p, b, etc).

The first thing to do is to ensure the sound source is good. Essentially, you want to sing only vowel sounds to ensure they have as pure a pitch content as possible.

Another thing that may help, assuming that these bad notes are quieter than the others, is to enable the "velocity filter". You can do this in the "mode" page of the i2M editor. Any notes falling below a MIDI velocity you set will be ignored. This can be used to clean up "glitches" in guitar, as well as other background noises such as string noise, breath noise etc.
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Re: i2m with vocals??
Postby soundog » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:44 pm

Yes, there is a lot of variation in pitch in the typical singing voice, even if you are a practiced vocalist! If you are having problems and want to get good optimized audio-to-MIDI tracking with vocals, you can try putting a pitch correction device in front of the Sonuus, such as one of the TC Helicon hardware boxes (many of them do pitch correction). In fact, with many of these devices you set them up to send the pitch corrected audio to the Sonuus (thus getting accurate MIDI notes), separate from the uncorrected vocal audio. Also, you can dial in the amount of correction used so you retain some of the scoops and inflections if desired.
"



The impression I get from all this is that an experienced singer with a good command of technique and a decent dynamic microphone,
should be able to easily achieve reasonable and reliable results
converting real time vocal performance to USB midi conversion
within computer recording/notation software....???


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Subject: RE: Tech: If you want to share a useful MIDI...
From: Howard Jones
Date: 10 Aug 16 - 08:56 AM

I think Jack put his finger on it in the second post in the thread. If you want to share MIDI files, then no doubt what leenia suggests is very good advice. If you want to share music or create scores then there are better ways of doing so than MIDI which also allow printing of scores and playback. In particular, for British/American folk music the most common format appears to be ABC.


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