F. Sandro FLORIANI Site Design & Development 
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How I Create My MIDI Music

In order to create a MIDI music file, one needs a Sequencer program. I use an old version of Cakewalk (Cakewalk Sonar 9) - its 16 tracks are more than sufficient for my modest composing skills.

Sample of Cakewalk Sonar 9 main work screen (Track View)

Staff view of the first 3 measures of the English horn part in the above piece (Misrilou)

Basically, what I do is re-writing manually the notes/chords of a piece I am interested in from its musical score, usually as a piano part, then replace/orchestrate it by adding other instruments and their parts, and bits of my own creation.

If connected to an instrument with MIDI output, say a keyboard, a sequencer can also acquire directly what is being played with it. I used this method a few times in the past, but found that writing directly is faster after all.

MIDI vs. MP3

There are several ways to record music in order to play it on a computer, among which:
  • MIDI: a MIDI file is small and contains coded instructions for the computer sound card/circuit - conceptually, this is similar to the vector method of managing screen graphics as for instance by AutoCAD. The above piece has a total size of 13 Kb, and below is a small part of its file:

    String chords·Â0·²`·@ ’>d·Bd·Ed‹ E··B··>··Bd·>d·Ed‹ E··>··B··>d·Ed·Bd–@B··E B

  • MP3: an MP3 file is comparatively large and contains a digital recording of the musical piece like a CD or tape - conceptually, this is similar to the raster method (bitmaps) of managing screen graphics.

Sound Fidelity

This defines how closely the electronically produced sounds imitate those of real instruments/voices. While MP3 has a high degree of fidelity - predictably since it works from them, after all - MIDI has to rely on the players and sounds tables/fonts available on the specific computer it is heard on.

The defaults available on Windows are particularly bad, and produce ugly sounds only remotely resembling real sounds.

Therefore, I had to replace the Windows defaults with better alternatives:

  • Virtual MIDI Synthesis is tool that can replace Microsoft Midi Mapper and Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth for MIDI ouput,
    and produce decent sounds in combination with a good - and large (362 Mb) - sound font like:

  • Timbres Of Heaven GM_GS_XG_SFX V 3.2 Final.sf2.
I can then convert the resulting MIDI file to MP3 using the Free MIDI to MP3 Converter, and obtain an acceptable - if not high - fidelity .

Thus, the pieces on my Big Band Ballroom page are available in both versions, the MP3 ones sounding more"real". I have not made MP3 versions of the pieces on my Concert Hall page because they are rather too large.

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