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Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?

Joe Offer 08 Apr 19 - 03:38 PM
Helen 08 Apr 19 - 04:15 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 08 Apr 19 - 04:36 PM
Joe Offer 08 Apr 19 - 04:53 PM
Jack Campin 08 Apr 19 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Jon 08 Apr 19 - 05:13 PM
Pete MacGregor 08 Apr 19 - 05:14 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 08 Apr 19 - 05:16 PM
Helen 08 Apr 19 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Grishka 08 Apr 19 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Grishka 08 Apr 19 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,Jon 08 Apr 19 - 06:17 PM
punkfolkrocker 08 Apr 19 - 08:54 PM
Bill D 08 Apr 19 - 09:44 PM
leeneia 09 Apr 19 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Jon 09 Apr 19 - 04:01 PM
punkfolkrocker 09 Apr 19 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Jon 09 Apr 19 - 04:44 PM
punkfolkrocker 09 Apr 19 - 05:22 PM
punkfolkrocker 09 Apr 19 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Jon 09 Apr 19 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Jon 09 Apr 19 - 05:33 PM
punkfolkrocker 09 Apr 19 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Jon 09 Apr 19 - 06:31 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 19 - 10:32 PM
Helen 09 Apr 19 - 10:51 PM
Will Fly 10 Apr 19 - 03:44 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 19 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Jon 10 Apr 19 - 08:28 AM
punkfolkrocker 10 Apr 19 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Jon 10 Apr 19 - 09:30 AM
punkfolkrocker 10 Apr 19 - 09:40 AM
leeneia 10 Apr 19 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 10 Apr 19 - 11:44 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 19 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Grishka 10 Apr 19 - 12:26 PM
Bill D 10 Apr 19 - 12:32 PM
punkfolkrocker 10 Apr 19 - 01:12 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 19 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Jon 10 Apr 19 - 01:36 PM
Bill D 10 Apr 19 - 05:32 PM
DaveRo 11 Apr 19 - 09:43 AM
punkfolkrocker 11 Apr 19 - 10:13 AM
Bill D 11 Apr 19 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Jon 11 Apr 19 - 06:36 PM
ST 12 Apr 19 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Penn 12 Apr 19 - 03:58 AM
punkfolkrocker 12 Apr 19 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Jon 12 Apr 19 - 07:50 AM
DaveRo 12 Apr 19 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,Jon 12 Apr 19 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Jon 12 Apr 19 - 09:35 AM
DaveRo 12 Apr 19 - 09:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Apr 19 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Jon 12 Apr 19 - 10:36 AM
punkfolkrocker 12 Apr 19 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Jon 12 Apr 19 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Jon 16 Apr 19 - 08:21 AM
punkfolkrocker 16 Apr 19 - 08:36 AM
punkfolkrocker 16 Apr 19 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Apr 19 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Apr 19 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Apr 19 - 11:10 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 19 - 06:49 AM
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Subject: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 03:38 PM

For a long, long time, computers have been able to play MIDI files. At first, they played little beeps, like what you hear on the Digital Tradition's Songwright melodies. But then computers got sound cards, and those sound cards always had MIDI capabilities with lots of voices to choose from. And some MIDI files sounded pretty darn good. I had a "Hatikvah" MIDI as the ringtone on my cell phone, and it sounded terrific.
But nowadays, many people can't play the MIDI files I send them, and I'm wondering if their computer sound cards no longer have MIDI capacity. It's a hassle to have to change MIDI to MP3, and the file size is so much larger.
So, what's the deal with modern computers and MIDI?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Helen
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 04:15 PM

Hi Joe, Windows Media Player (WMP) plays the MIDI files on my computer. Someone more tech-savvy than me can tell you how to make it happen automatically, but on a PC - and from memory - when you go into the file folder where the MIDI is saved, you right click on the name of a MIDI, then go down to Open With, and when that dropbox opens there is a line named Choose Default Program. Click on that and choose either Windows Media Player or whatever program works.

After that, any MIDI should open in that program by default, unless you change it again at a later date.

If the person's computer doesn't have WMP, then they might have to download or buy a program which does play MIDI files.

Another trick is to check that sound has not been muted, e.g. by checking the little speaker icon on the Windows taskbar - on the bottom of the window on my computer, on the other end of the taskbar which says "Start" on the furthest left. That's a tricky/pesky little issue that has caught me out sometimes.

That's about as far as my techo knowledge goes. I guess the question is, when people say that they can't play MIDI files, do they mean that the file won't open, or that the file opens but they can't hear it playing, or something else.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 04:36 PM

Anybody know anything about Macs? In theory my (2015 retina-build, so not the newest) Apple computer will, and iTunes and QuickTime players both say they will, but try to get them to actually do it! Earlier today I downloaded a midi from a highly trusted source but the error messages all said it contravened the security settings I had supposedly agreed to (I didn't) but cannot find ANYwhere how to undo. Gah!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 04:53 PM

Well, I wasn't actually asking about the software end, because I know that (except for Macs, Bonnie).
A while ago, Google Chrome stopped playing MIDI. I have to download MIDI files, and then play them with MIDI software (usually I use Windows Media Player). My Chromebook can download MIDI files, but won't play them.

Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft Windows Explorer will all play a MIDI file on a click, although some will ask you to select a player on the first time.

I have mixed results on phones. Generally, phones won't play MIDI files, but I have been able to play MIDIs on some phones by pretending I'm testing them as a ringtone. Go figure.


But my question is about hardware, whether all sound cards still have MIDI capacity, or if the MIDI synthesizer is being phased out of sound cards. The software side certainly seems to be pushing MIDI into obscurity.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 05:00 PM

I use very old Macs which have no problem.

iOS seems incapable of playing MIDI or QuickTime files.

Facebook is incapable of playing any kind of audio whatever.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 05:13 PM

Joe,there are both software and hardware synths.

I've not bought a sound card in years but can use the sound cards built into PC motherboards. There is nothing built in to any of the computers here that could play MIDI and my guess is that it would be unusual to find something on that line that did.

My desktop is connected via an old Edirol UM 2 to a Yamaha keyboard and that "just works" with Linux.

The other alternative I have it to install a software synth. FluidSynth is one but I use Timidity. Setting this up on OpenSuse (some other Linux may be a bit more friendly) was still a bit messy last time I looked as you need to find a SoundFont (Merlin Gold is a possibility) to get from something like just piano and drum to a range of instruments and passible sound and some file to map the instruments. It can be done and is done but it's not something I'd think every user would want to do.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Pete MacGregor
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 05:14 PM

Hi Bonnie. MIDI files should load and play OK in Garageband which comes with Mac OS
All the best.
PM


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 05:16 PM

Great, thanks - I'll have to explore Garageband, which I've managed to never use. And it's nice to "see" you again!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Helen
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 05:31 PM

Well, as an ex-librarian, my work here is done!! At least I used my librarianly questioning techniques to find out more detailed information about the enquiry so that other more tech-savvy people could talk geek-speak more confidently than I can.

:-D

In other words, I'll leave it to the experts. All I know is that when I tried to use Chrome I had all sorts of issues and Hubby, who is a qualified geek, doesn't use it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 05:41 PM

MIDI files as such will be with us for the rest of our lives, and therefore supported by all serious computer systems. (Smartphones are a different type of device in terms of "ideology", not of capacity – the very idea of a "file" is declared old-fashioned there, in order to give the "app" providers more power over the device.) Shortcomings are well-known and a new format for the same purpose has been overdue for decades, but has yet to be agreed upon.

The reason for having an external MIDI chip (on the "sound card") is only about system performance, not per se about quality.

Browsers don't make music. If they receive a file, they will perform the action their user configured them to do, depending on the declared file type: either save them to a permanent file on the hard disk, or to a temporary one and have your OS "open" it immediately after download (as if the file icon were double-clicked). The OS in turn must be told what "open" means, i.e. which software to pass it to. This MIDI player software in turn must be told what "device" to send the individual MIDI commands to - often several are available: built-in hardware, a pertinent USB device, software synth, etc. All these settings will come with defaults chosen by the software at installation time; change them if you disagree.

Joe, please tell us what kind of problems your recipients report.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 06:01 PM

On second thought, some browsers may well use a more direct way to the sound devices than via the default player software. If we are out of luck, they choose the wrong device without allowing us to change the configuration. Reports would be appreciated.

I for one don't want my browser to play music anyway, so I save it to a file, which I can then play whenever I want.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 06:17 PM

As far as I can see Windows (I've found references from 98 to Win 10) should come with a software synth, GS WaveTable Synth.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 08:54 PM

It's a long time since I used one,
but I'd start by googling "free software general midi player"...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Apr 19 - 09:44 PM

http://falcosoft.hu/softwares.html

https://ariamaestosa.github.io/ariamaestosa/docs/index.html


and my favorite is Van Basco's Midi/Karaoke player


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: leeneia
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 11:21 AM

I have Windows 7, Google Chrome and Noteworthy Composer.

My computer readily plays MIDI's on Windows Media Player.

I'm not giving up my Windows 7 until forced to at knifepoint. I saw what a dog's breakfast Windows 8 was when my husband got his own computer, and I have little faith in Windows 10.

In the last few months, I have found that some mysterious force is interfering with my MIDI keyboard so that I can't hear a note even though the stick & dot appear on the screen. This is remedied by turning the keyboard off and turning it on again.

For years, the BBC has been bad in this way. Now it seems to be other sites at well, including YouTube.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 04:01 PM

I suppose on slightly OT question I could ask here is does anyone know of cheap MIDI modules? I did acquire a Ketron a few years back. That one (to me) was pretty good on some of the more orchestral sounds but weaker for other sounds. I see one here that claims to have 70 special folk instrument sounds.

Trouble is this sort of thing seems to start around £200 and soon goes up in price, the folk one listed at £600 in B Stock. Anything sub £50 to play with on a passing whim?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 04:10 PM

Ebay or Reverb for starters...

A damn good 1990s general midi module,
or even a similar age Yamaha [or other familiar brands] home keyboard, in working order,
probably aint too expensive if you look around and wait...

The midi specs and inputs and outputs will most likely be superior
than any brand new products that still exist now...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 04:44 PM

Thank pfr. On old stuff, years ago I had a Yamaha daughter board which I thought was superb. It fitted onto a Sound Blaster card. When my SB card died (or some problem), someone (I think from MC) did find me another card to take it but I think it was ISA slot and the card and board are long lost.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 05:22 PM

just had a quick look on ebay..

I still own an Alesis Nano Synth General midi module somewhere boxed up with all my old kit..
It was a very popular choice way back...

Here's an example of one starting at 25 quid...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Alesis-NanoSynth-Sound-Module-64-Voice-Multitimbral-Synthesizer-inc-PSU/123727768166?epid=1978116194&

Old midi gear is cool again...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 05:29 PM

..and here's a sample music tech forum thread [from not too many years ago]..


"Midi Sound Modules? What has become of them?"


https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-and-electronic-music-production/912951-midi-sound-modules-what-has-become-them.html


blue clicky didn't work with this page...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 05:31 PM

Thanks again, pfr. It does seem to be the way to look. Any views on the Yamaha MU50, another that crops up there?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 05:33 PM

Try this


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 06:02 PM

From memory, Roland and Yamaha were popular standard midi modules
on College music tech courses I attended back in the 90s..

Just good general purpose affordable modules..

I still own Alesis, Akai, and Yamaha modules somewhere in the house.
But none have seen light of day for nearly 20 years...

As for specific models and variations,
google obviously provides reviews and links to user groups.

I'd run an old Win XP PC [not conncted to internet]
loaded with era correct midi utility software
to get best out of such modules.
Downloads can still be found.....

Ps.. my Yamaha Sampler which retailed at near £1000 in the late 90s
probably wouldn't fetch even a tenth of that now...

Prices for much of this old tech are definitely in favour of buyers...

By coincidence, I'm having to re-educate myself in such midi matters just recently,
as I'm finally putting together a decent music DAW laptop
after being distracted by family & health concerns for far to many years...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 06:31 PM

I don't think I've ever done much with MIDI but there was a short while when I enjoyed playing with Cakewalk. Last try not too many years back was with the Roland GR-55. It was a bit mixed, part my own "playing" (and within my own limitations am rather more comfortable with GDAE 4 string things for melody - mostly folk dance tunes) although I'm not sure that explains why say piano would repeat notes on me and another voice not but quite fun. I'd probably try any module in conjunction with that for one play...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 10:32 PM

I've used personal computers since 1988, and I've almost always been able to intuitively do whatever I wanted to do with them. The main problem I've had all these years, is setting things up so that other people can do things with their computers. That, and "dummyproofing" things so people (especially managers) can't screw them up. I gave up with my wife and finally sent her to a "Smart Phones for Dummies" class at the local adult school.
Over the years, I've typed up hundreds for MIDI files for tunes for songs posted at Mudcat, and people rarely have trouble playing those MIDIs. But I'm the only bass in the church choir who can read music, so I've resorted to typing up MIDIs for the bass parts of a lot of songs. It used to be that the bass singers could play them on their phones or computers, but not so much in the last two years. So, I end up recording the MIDIs onto MP3 files, which everyone in the church can play. So, why is it that church choir members can no longer play MIDI files?
I do have to confess my own inability to play MIDI files on Chromebooks and Droid phones, so maybe this is a problem of Googledom. I haven't bother to explore the matter very much because I have so many other devices that DO play MIDIs. So, maybe that's it. We can blame it on Google.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Helen
Date: 09 Apr 19 - 10:51 PM

Yeah, why not Joe. Either Google or Microsoft, or both. LOL


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 03:44 AM

No problem with MIDI on my 2018 Mac Book Pro.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 04:24 AM

A quick google says that iOS has a MIDI library and there are a lot of apps using it. Seems Safari isn't one of them though, and nor is anything else I have installed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 08:28 AM

I've had a quick look at Android and MIDI

There may be other but for one, playback is possible with Midi Voyager

Also, MIDI USB support exists from Android 6 although it looks as if it's implementation is vendor dependent. If you have a suitable device it should be possible to use it as a MIDI controller. I'll leave others to look further into this.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 09:17 AM

This might be worth investigating...

Numerous free VST instrument emulations are availble to download.
They can be quite convincing sounding replicas of real world instruments
Normally they are intended for use in software sequencer DAWS

[https://transverseaudio.com/posts/best-free-daws-for-music-sound-design-2019].

But if DAWs are too complex and demanding,
there are also a few free programs that allow these VST instruments
to be installed as standalone instruments
which can be played by Keyboards or other controllers..

[https://www.google.com/search?q=free+vsti+host&oq=free+vsti+host&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.4989j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8]

This might be a bit daunting for beginners,
though they could be encouraged and helped by more experienced mudcatters...

For instance I've started using the free edition of Cantabile Lite - Free VST Host

So far I've loaded in my paid for VST instruments,
and have only scratched the surface of this software's options...

On another less capable PC I'll use it with entirely free VST emulations of classic organs, reed,
and string instruments etc..

Alternatives to Cantabile might be easier for completely inexperienced players
who just want to play midi files through authentic sounding instruments on their computers...

This may be of interest for mudcatters who have so far not considered
such versatile software music tech...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 09:30 AM

Blimey pfr. We seem to have moved from wondering if computers can still play MIDI (OP) to quite a vast world of what can be done!

I'll put this suggestion down as something to investigate (scratch the surface of) at some future date...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 09:40 AM

https://www.google.com/search?q=best+free+vst+instruments&oq=best+free+vst+instruments+&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.8888j0j7&sourceid=


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 11:44 AM

Don't blame Google. Blame sites like BBC sites and YouTube
that go around kicking littler programs and pulling out their plugs.

BBC sites have been messing with my MIDI keyboard for years.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 11:44 AM

A few notes, for the perplexed, that may help.

MIDI is not a sound file or a way of encoding music, not directly. It was invented as a way of getting electronic music devices to talk to each other using a common standard. Keyboards to synth modules, etc. It transmits, effectively, a series of instructions, that inform the receiving device what to do.

Of course that stream of data could be captured and put in a file, which in the early days of t'interwobble was very handy because they were small, unlike MP3s.

Nowadays, *most* things that MIDI was used for in a file format are better done using other things - notation with Sibelius (or abc software), sound using audio files, or audio hosting websites, etc. So the need to make MIDI "just work" is not there like it used to be (and supporting it properly takes a surprising amount of time and effort).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 12:24 PM

But I'd think a good number of notation programs use MIDI for their audio output and with abc, abc2midi is a standard utility...

Of course the sound you get from MIDI devices varies tremendously and there is no knowing what a MIDI's going to sound like on someone else's PC. In cases such as Joe's where the aim is just to convey how a tune goes, it doesn't really matter but there may also be cases where you want to record the sound output you are getting.

Just as a curiosity item and only chosen as I downloaded it from Mudcat Midi while I was playing with Midi Voyager on my phone but this is what I get from the phone with the suggested sound font installed. This goes through my keyboard and would be closer to what I'd attempted when I had the Yamaha daughter board...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 12:26 PM

Rev, I strongly disagree with your last statements.

A communication protocol similar to MIDI is nowadays as handy as it used to be.

So is a file standard similar to the MIDI file format - a different topic, but related. Such a format is by no means a poor-man's substitute for MP3 etc., but has its own semantics and reasons of existence, in very peaceful coexistence.

What has gone is the need for utmost economy in terms of bandwidth and file size, that came with a trade-off considered too high nowadays. New standards are highly desirable and easily designed; the problem being of marketing. But even if a new standard were agreed upon, MIDI would still be supported "forever".

A format uniting the features of notation with most of MIDI is MusicXML, fortunately well-established now - after long struggles with software vendors. This gives us hope for a MIDI successor as well.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 12:32 PM

There's quite a different issue between typing & creating MIDIs and just playing them. I never had any idea my computer or browser even 'might' play them. I found the 3 programs I mentioned above in a feeeware Usenet group, and have been able to play them just fine ever since.... with many options, like being able to play single tracks of a complex multi-instrument score.
   The ones I noted above are free, and play just fine on my Win7 machine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 01:12 PM

Re: Cantabile...

I'm learning to use the free Lite Edition.

It looks like the $69 Cantabile Solo

"for home hobbyists, amateur musicians and light-weight stage performance"

includes a midi [and media] player...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 01:35 PM

But Bill, a lot of what's been talked about really involves the playback. A midi player sends its data to a synth. In some cases, including the Android app I mentioned, the synth is built in but in others, it's a separate device which could range from say the "built in" software synth included with Windows to rack mount modules costing over £1000+

Of course from the home user side we (including me although I have some curiosity on the subject) accept the defaults where present or otherwise come up with something that does the job but I believe at the higher end, folks may even be sending different channels to different modules to get the sounds they want.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 01:36 PM

(sorry, missed my name twice...)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Apr 19 - 05:32 PM

Well... if Joe Offer reads this again, maybe simple playback is all some of the people to whom he sends stuff needs...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: DaveRo
Date: 11 Apr 19 - 09:43 AM

GUEST wrote: A quick google says that iOS has a MIDI library and there are a lot of apps using it. Seems Safari isn't one of them though, and nor is anything else I have installed.
I tried a mudcat midi link on my wife's newish iPad using Safari. It recognised it as audio/midi and suggested playing it in iMovie, which was presumably the default media player - but which couldn't play it. She has not installed any media player - had there been one I could have sent it to that.

So an iPad - latest version of iOS - cannot play midi by default.

Does anyone know what free media player an iPad user could install that will work with Safari to play one of Joe's midi links, such as:

http://www.joe-offer.com/MudcatMIDI/2019/SongOfFarewell.mid


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Apr 19 - 10:13 AM

As a result of this thread, I'm trying to jog my memory
of stuff I used to know in depth a long time ago..

Yesterday it occurred to me that many folks, me included, avoided setting up bloated Windows media player on brand new PCs.
[being able to uninstall it altogether would be a better option]

Instead installing VLC for videos, and far superior Foobar 2000 for music..

Anyway, it ocured to me that amongst all the available optional plugins for Foobar,
there might be a midi file player...

... and there is...

https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_midi


https://www.google.com/search?q=foobar+2000+midi+file+player+plugin&oq=foobar+2000+midi+file+player+plugin&aqs=chrome..69i57.129

Though my quick download and test late last night didn't work for some reason...

However, here's a link to someone who gives instructions for a more complicated install...

http://www.ghostlps.com/foobar2000-the-windows-soundfont/


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Apr 19 - 03:05 PM

That's a nice addition to my MIDI players... never knew foobar would do it. I did have to upgrade Foobar, but it's a pretty easy, automated upgrade.
It does, however, just simply play the tune.

I tend to prefer Van Basco's mentioned above, which allows me to choose one instrument..or any combination of tracks in a multi-track MIDI.... and also shows a piano keyboard playing the tune... and even lets you control the speed and key!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 11 Apr 19 - 06:36 PM

And a (Linux) player I sometimes find handy is just a command line.

First off, let’s see what I’ve got available:
jon@worthy:~> pmidi -l
Port    Client name                     Port name                                                                                                            
14:0    Midi Through                   Midi Through Port-0                                                                                                   
16:0    UM-2                            UM-2 MIDI 1
16:1    UM-2                            UM-2 MIDI 2
At the moment, MIDI 1 on the UM2 is connected to the keyboard. MIDI 2 isn’t connected to anything but could wind up as a module from ebay…

So to play midi file to keyboard:
jon@worthy:~> pmidi -p 16:0 my.midi


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: ST
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 02:48 AM

So, long thread short, sound cards with built-in MIDI synths seem to be a thing of the past, and most if not all popular systems come without a ready-to-use software synth. Right?

Progress, that's what they call it. Shucks.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Penn
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 03:58 AM

Searching the iOS App Store for “midi file player” a free app called “MIDI opener” is offered.
When that’s installed, clicking on the midi file link above offers to open it in iMovie (which can’t open it) but the MORE.. button allows you to choose to open it in the MIDI opener app, which can play it.
Works on iPhone and iPad (both are up to date).
I think once you’ve opened it once in MIDI Opener, that’s what is offered the next time you click on a midi file. I guess it would work from email too.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 05:17 AM

errrrmm.. how long does it take to think of the obvious...???

I just googled midi player plugin chrome browser...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 07:50 AM

Well ST, as far as I can make it out for SW synths:

Windows - Yes, "built in"

Linux - Varies per distribution but SW synths usually available in distribution for installation

OSX - ?

Android - I don't think so but player apps can provide a solution

ios - Individual players???

chrome - Individual players???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: DaveRo
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 07:58 AM

GUEST,Jon wrote: Android - I don't think so but player apps can provide a solution
Joe's midi link that I posted plays fine on my bog standard Google Nexus 9 tablet (Android 7) through the default media player, Google Play Music.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 08:07 AM

That's weird DaveRo. I had no joy with that on my Wiley Fox Android 7.1.2) phone yesterday (it is one of the default suggestions) but they are playing now.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 09:35 AM

Well I’ve just revisited Timidity using OpenSuse 15.0. Installing that does add 2 fluid synth sound fonts and all that’s needed to use them is to comment/uncomment a couple of lines in usr/share/Timidity/timidity.cfg to have:
source fluidr3_gm.cfg
source fluidr3_gs.cfg
I’ve difficulties with my own system from there in that a) the installed defaults just produce a buzz and b) I can’t get Timidity to start as a service in my 20 minute mess around and will leave that alone. That said, starting using:
jon@worthy:~> timidity -iA -Os1l
Back to my pmidi to show ports:
jon@worthy:~pmidi -l
Port    Client name                      Port name
14:0    Midi Through                      Midi Through Port-0
16:0    UM-2                              UM-2 MIDI 1
16:1    UM-2                              UM-2 MIDI 2
128:0    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 0
128:1    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 1
128:2    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 2
128:3    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 3
And midis are playing OK to Timidity.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: DaveRo
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 09:53 AM

Timidity has stopped playing URLs for me on SuSE - so I can't play the link I posted by clicking it in A browser. It'll play a local file, so I have to download it. The bug is at least 2 years old.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 10:18 AM

back in the 1980's, I remember going in Carlsboro's old shop in Mansfield. I was enquiring about a product, previously I'd phoned up about.

Who did you talk to on the the phone?
Colin
Colin! Why d'you talk to Colin. Colin's a drummer! he can't even spell MIDI!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 10:36 AM

I din't know that could be done Dave (and have Firefox to prompt with Rosegarden as an option).   I've just tried timidity commands using urls as per the manual and all I get is file not found.

I suppose I could use pmidi to open links in Firefox. I don't see how you get the parameters in and have them work but a simple script like:

#!/bin/bash
pmidi -p 128:0 $1
works. The drawback is you have to play the whole file (or kill the process).

Years back, I had a setup, possibly using mozplugger???, but I don't remember what happened there...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 11:42 AM

There was a time.. late 1990s
We could download massive libraries of midi songs on slow dial up from dodgy musicians sites..
and I could import them into my Yamaha QY70 pocket sized [well big pocket]
'swiss army knife' multi track midi file sequencer
and advanced XG general midi sounds player.

Last time I got it out the memory battery needed replacing, but it still worked well as a sounds module...
It's one item of kit I will use more when my Laptop DAW is fully set up...

Just hinting, the QY70 and later more advanced QY100 are contenders for ebaying...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Apr 19 - 12:00 PM

Thanks for another tip, pfr.

I have bought a Yamaha MU50 on ebay which might be with me Saturday or Monday and should keep me occupied for a good while but I may well want to try something else too.

I had a browse through the MU 50 manual late last night.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 08:21 AM

The NanoSynth went for £60

The MU50 came yesterday and is connected to my PC via the UM2. In XG mode, it’s quite similar to my PSR290 keyboard and in many cases I’ve been unable to detect a difference in sound between the two. On differences, it has got me back to a “plunkier” banjo sound which I prefer although, playing with a downloaded “Stairway To Heaven”, I’d say I prefer the PSR290s “acoustic nylon guitar”. I guess Yamaha made some revisions over time to the same basic sound set?

The MU50 does appear to make it easy to edit various parameters, attack, decay, some effects, for the sounds but I’ve yet to mess around with that.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 08:36 AM

At the moment I'm filling a laptop with midi controllable sampled sound sets.
One piano is about 7 gigs of data...

Which seems ridiculously excesive compared to the perfectly acceptable sounds in those classic midi modules
that had to make the most of a few megs of memory at best...

Club singers made a living with a general midi module and a hardware midi file player..
Sounding superbly state of the art on a Saturday night after a few ciders..

My Yamaha sampler cost just under a grand in 1998,
the memory in that is laughable by todays requirements.
Our first PC from Tiny cost £1500 in 1999
and had the luxury of 128 megs of memory...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 08:48 AM

memory jogging time...

That 1999 £1500 Tiny branded PC had 128 meg ram and a 9 gig hard drive,
and had to be relied on for a good 5 or 6 years..

My 7 or 8 year old laptop that I'm refurbing now has 8 gig ram and two 500 gig SSDs

I recall those minimal memory XG sounds were great at the time,
and probably still stand up well enough through a stage PA...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 09:10 AM

That's an incredible amount of memory!

My first PC was the Amstrad PC1512 around 1986. That had a whopping 512K or RAM. Still you could do things with it. The Gem graphical desktop (sort of like Windows) it came with was slow but there were text based things like the Wordstar word processor, etc. The PC had a life after I'd moved on to Windows and something faster. Mum wanted something to record units of treatment per patient, produce totals and simplify her increasing paperwork load so I wrote something and gave her the machine. It finally retired from the hospital when she did late 90s.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 09:27 AM

probably still stand up well enough through a stage PA

Mine sounds fine through one at home. It's crazy I know but through bits I got over several years, I've quite a reasonable, permanently set up bi amped PA system in my bed/living room.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 11:10 AM

And for the fun of it, here's a short clip, played first time through keyboard and second through MU50.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Can Computers Still Play MIDI?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 19 - 06:49 AM

For Windows users, yes
For Mac users, no


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