Re: Playing Composed MIDI Files

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Posted by Kevin Dolan on October 17, 2003 at 23:44:16:

In Reply to: Playing Composed MIDI Files posted by ziili on June 13, 2003 at 15:19:56:

: I have a problem with playing my files in WinAmp and also Windows Media Player..
: I composed a file in a program called CakeWalk Home Studio 2002, I saved the file and when I tried to play it in WinAmp, it sounds very weird (definetely not like I meant it to sound)..
: isntead of the "beat" I hear a piano..
: and the instruments also seem to have changed..
: any thoughts? I would really appreciate if anyone could solve this problem!

: Thanks in advance,
: ziili

Hello, Ziili! Are you new to creating MIDI sequences? You do not say so… Certainly, I made a similar error when I first started making MIDI sequences. Perhaps you are indeed a ‘newbie’, and not suffering from some odd technical fault, and you thought you had assigned such as Bass guitar to a channel, but in fact the channel stayed resolutely with what it had already had properly assigned to it, and so on. As I discovered, it is not enough to simply assign instruments to channels on the ‘Matrix’ window (that is what the window is called in Emagic’s LogicFun, which I use, where all the notes are in the form of tiny blocks occupying what looks like a huge lattice, with a piano-style keyboard down the left side…). That just allows you to try things out on a temporary basis. Instead, you need to highlight (by clicking) each channel you are using for your sequence, choose its ‘Event List’ from the appropriate pull-down menu. (Again, ‘Event list’ is Emagic’s terminology – chances are you will have something similar. This list shows in numeric form everything happening in that channel during the MIDI sequence performance: the ‘voice’ [Grand piano, Strings, and so on], the Reverb value, if any, Chorus value, if any, the notes, etc.). Then you just assign the orchestral ‘voice’ you want on the appropriate line near the top of the list. Then close the Event list down. As I say, you do this for every channel in your piece of 'MIDI' music.

Sadly I am not familiar with Cakewalk, but I am sure your software manual will give you further details on assigning ‘voices’ to each MIDI channel. With luck, and a greater familiarity with the mysteries of the Event List and its weird Commands and MIDI jargon, you should not have any further problems. Once you have saved your MIDI sequence, you should hear it, played by such as WinAmp, sounding just as you intended.

In truth, though, I get fed up wading through tedious manuals written by engineers rather than musicians or composers. I found, when I first started, that the best way for me to learn was to download good quality MIDI sequences from the Internet, and then shamelessly open them using my MIDI sequencer software. Then, after playing them, and watching the little blocks and notes unfold as I listened, I then just played around with them, experimenting with the controls and commands, trying new orchestral instruments, etc., just to see what all the menus on the sequencer provided, and what all the little bits and pieces did. You can always COPY and PASTE useful Commands and other elements and data from one MIDI sequence (perhaps something off the Internet) to a sequence of your own. No, this is not plagiarism if it is just the occasional line! No melody notes are involved here! You could also create your own dummy MIDI sequence files and templates to save work. Experiment! Have fun! It will teach you a huge amount. Meanwhile, there are lots of good tutorials on the Internet to help you along.

Best of luck, anyway. I hope this has helped a little.

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