Using midi files to learn your part

What is a midi file?

It is a computer representation of the sounds involved in a piece of music. Files vary in quality, but they generally sound like someone has accurately bashed out the pitch and duration of the notes on a piano, organ or other instrument. There may be more than one midi file for a particular piece. For example, an SATB song with accompaniment might have separate files for each line, plus a file for the accompaniment, or they might all be combined in one file.

How do I use a midi file to learn my part?

You need four things:

  1. A PC, smartphone or tablet
  2. The music score for the piece – that’s the proper paper copy! 
  3. The midi file or files for the piece
  4. A midi player

What’s a midi player and where do I get one?

A midi player is a computer program, or app, that runs on your PC, tablet or phone. It reads the midi file and converts it into sound, so that you can listen to your part and playback difficult corners.

There are many different midi players, but to get started here is one suggestion each for Windows PC, iphone/ipad and for android phones or tablets.

  • For Windows PC, vanBasco’s Karaoke Player. David Frith has helpfully provided some getting-started information which you can find here.
  • For iPad or iPhone, Symphonix Evolution Player. Please note the word Player. On the iPad there is also a more expensive app called simply Symphonix Evolution. This allows you to compose music on the iPad, but is outside our scope here.
  • For android phone or tablet, Synthesizer and Scores midi. This app also allows you to do more than play midi files, but you can ignore the wider functions for now.

Where do I get the midi files for our next concert?

We will put up a page for each concert in this Members section of the website. You can find the files for the February 2013 concert here.

Thanks, but I need more help to get started

If you get stuck, please add a comment below describing where you got to, and we will update the information with more details so everyone can share.

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