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How do I hear the tunes

Sandro 07 May 98 - 10:53 PM
steve t 08 May 98 - 01:03 AM
Sandro 12 May 98 - 05:14 PM
Jon W. 12 May 98 - 06:18 PM
Jenny 12 May 98 - 11:07 PM
Joe Offer 13 May 98 - 02:35 AM
steve t 13 May 98 - 02:37 AM
Jenny 13 May 98 - 11:35 AM
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Subject: How do I Hear the Tunes?
From: Sandro
Date: 07 May 98 - 10:53 PM

Dear Friends-- Great web site. I am a banjo player/beer-on the-dining-room-table-singer who has spent all his life frustrated because I could not read noted music. I want to hear the sound tracks of posted songs but am unable to do so, having spent the last two hours in "plug and pray" with nothing to show for it.

Can anyone help me? I have a pentium chip computer with a basic processor running around a hundred mh. I keep getting an error message about an MIDI driver. I also have a basic sound card and a couple of speakers. Is there something special that I need? Am I overlooking something obvious? I've been known to do that.

Thanks, Sandro

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Subject: RE: How do I hear the tunes
From: steve t
Date: 08 May 98 - 01:03 AM

The best thing to do is find a friend who knows about setting up computer operating systems on PC's.

Still, I doubt the following can screw up your sound any worse than it probably is now.

For Windows 95, you could try:

my computer

control panel

add new hardware


no (don't let windows search for your new hardware)

select sound video and game controllers

select "have disk"

pop in the floppy that came with the soundcard

point Windows to the correct directory in your floppy

hit return, you should then get a list of several drivers, one of which will have MIDI written in the description. Highlight that driver and hit return to install it. You might get asked for your Windows 95 disk during the installation.

Sometimes you can also get lucky and find a simple EXE file on the net at the soundcard's manufacturer's homepage. You'd just run that instead of going through all those steps.

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Subject: RE: How do I hear the tunes
From: Sandro
Date: 12 May 98 - 05:14 PM

Dear Steve T

Thank you very much for your help. This weekend I am going to solve this thing. I will start with your instructions.


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Subject: RE: How do I hear the tunes
From: Jon W.
Date: 12 May 98 - 06:18 PM

If worse comes to worse and you're desparate to hear the tunes, there is a way to do it without even a sound card. Search on the internet for a DOS program called MIDIPLAY.EXE and download it and install it (sorry I don't remember the site I got it at). Then to play a tune from Mudcat, hold the shift key when you click on "Click Here To Play" and you can save the tune as a MIDI file. Then switch to a DOS window and type "MIDIPLAY tunefile.mid" (substitute the real name of the file for "tunefile.mid") and it will play on your PC speaker. MIDIPLAY makes some compromises but the arrangements (melody only) in the DT usually are so simple that the compromises don't make much difference.

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Subject: RE: How do I hear the tunes
From: Jenny
Date: 12 May 98 - 11:07 PM

When I got my new computer, I downloaded RealPlayer 5, so I don't have a trouble playing the music straight from DT, however, I've not been so successful when I've saved it to my hard drive. Is MIDI the answer to my dilemna?

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Subject: RE: How do I hear the tunes
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 98 - 02:35 AM

Well, Jenny - RealPlayer is for playing RealAudio recordings (which are kind of like tape recordings), and doesn't have anything to do with MIDI files. If you have a sound card, your computer will also probably have a MIDI driver installed. The MIDI function of your sound card is a little synthesizer. MIDI files are like player piano rolls, recordings of the keystrokes that make the MIDI operate. Is that easier to understand?
If you have a sound card installed and a MIDI driver properly configured, you should be able to click on the name of any MIDI file on your hard drive, and it should begin playing. When I've had sound problems, I've usually been able to fix them by reinstalling the software that came with my sound card.
Hope that helps.
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: How do I hear the tunes
From: steve t
Date: 13 May 98 - 02:37 AM


If you are saving MUDCAT files from the DT (they say click here to play), yes, they are all MIDI files. Hold shift down when you click to save them to disk.

If you can play them using your web browser, you ought to be able to play the saved files by double-clicking on them. If nothing happens when you click on them, the simplest thing to do is open the saved files using your web browser. In Netscape use file, open-page, choose-file, files-of-type "all files", (then find your saved midi file and open it). In MSIE, use file, open, browse, files-of-type "all files", (then find the file again).

Other non-critical info: My MIDI files have a little icon beside them that containing two purple musical notes. The icon indicates that the computer recognizes them as a registered file type, in this case a MIDI file.

There are LOTs of types of sound files you can get over the web. WAV files (soundwave files), MP3 files (compressed WAV files), RA files (Real Audio compressed sound files), and MIDI are the most common. MIDI is the smallest -- on MUDCAT it's just a record of what notes to play. Often, it will may also contain note intensity information and instrument choice information. MIDI is not like a recording which will always sound the same -- MIDI will sound different according to how your soundcard decides to reproduce the notes and instruments it is told to play.

I don't think it's real player 5 that's letting you play the music. It's probably just the new software that installed properly for your computer. Real Player is mostly for listening to compressed radio/audio files as they are downloaded. MIDI is a very much more compressed format -- your midi setup decides how to play midi files. My old computer used to play MUDCAT MIDI's with some strange instrument that had a dramatic shift in timber when it went to the higher frenquencies. I never got around to figuring out how to change the default instrument sound. My new computer makes Mudcat's MIDI files sound just like a piano. I struggled for a few hours to get a neighbor's soundcard (a no-name card) to work for her with no luck. Plug and play stuff seems either to work perfectly, or to be very difficult to get running.

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Subject: RE: How do I hear the tunes
From: Jenny
Date: 13 May 98 - 11:35 AM

Thanks Joe and Steve for the midi info ... will take some time today putting your suggestions into effect. ttfn ... jen

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