How do I go about writing midi files?

Discussion in 'General Sequencing' started by music_2000, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. music_2000

    music_2000 New Member

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    How do I go about writing midi files? say I wanted to sequence a song lets say britany spears toxic would I just listen to the song over and over and try to rewrite the song on a sequencer or would I get a copy of the sheet music and try and do it by copying the sheet music into a seqencer. I'm really stuck here. I tried to do usher's Yeah but I couldn't find the right sounds and I wasn't in time. note the sequncer I currently use is Jazz++ and I do NOT have a midi keyboard at this point. as a pianist I also have the uncanny ability to listen to a song and play it back on the piano. :confused2 anyone help
  2. jeaniesing

    jeaniesing Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod

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    sounds like you need to GET a keyboard ;)...

    I go with the first technique.... listen a lot and try to reproduce... don't worry about getting the sounds perfect the first time through... Myself? I'd lay down a big section of the bass line first... then start layering over it with the rest of the parts. I'm also hooked on combining GeneralMIDI sounds to get closer to the sound I want... by duplicating a track I've created to a second track then mixing, say, 2 guitar sounds. Others are way-into Soundfonts (which you'll have to research separately ;)). The only way to start is to start... Good Luck and keep asking questions... there're a lot more talented than me on this board!
  3. Graeme

    Graeme New Member

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    You've really answered your own question. Get a midi keyboard - you'll find it so much easier than any other method.
  4. iroquail

    iroquail New Member

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    I agree about firstly getting a midi keyboard. Helps if you can play it too. But whats the trick to doing guitar parts on midi? How do you get the strumming effect for instance? Guitar chords are voiced differently aren't they?
  5. Graeme

    Graeme New Member

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    You asked much the same question in another thread, but this one is a bit more explicit, so I'll try and answer it more in depth here.

    When you're trying to emulate any instrument, it helps (in fact, it's essential) to know and understand the mechanics of that instrument, in terms of the way it produces the sound and the manner in which it is played.

    Unlike a (say) piano, where you can play several notes all at the same time, this is simply impossible on a guitar. It is only capable of producing one note at a time and a chord will consist of several notes which quickly follow each other. So, if you want a 'strum' effect, you need to delay each note of a chord by a small amount, relative to the previous note. The delay varies with the structure and tempo of the tune - you need to experiment to determine what works best for your particular composition.

    Since a guitar can be strummed using either an upstroke or a downstroke, this means you also have to consider this aspect of it as well, since the delay will go, respectively, from high note to low note, or vice versa. A 'rhythm' part will consist of both up and downstrokes - not necessarily consecutively - and this is another factor you need to take into account. In fact, I think this is probably the most important thing to get right if you wish to approach anything near a realistic result.

    Because of the time difference when playing chords, you'll probably find you need to advance the whole part by a few ticks, otherwise, it will sound as though the guitar part is behind the beat. Guitar players naturally compensate for this, of course.

    I'm not absolutely sure what you mean about the voicing. It's certainly true that you can play the same chord in several different ways on a guitar (inversions) but that's true of other polyphonic instruments as well. Compared to keyboards, most chords will have a bigger 'spread', since there is a two octave difference between the high and low strings (and only four string in-between these two limits) and many guitar chords (particularly simple ones) can contain more than one instance of a note (anywhere between unison and an octave or two apart).

    You have to understand that you shouldn't introduce a chord structure which would be impossible to play on a real guitar, because it would mean the playing of two notes on the same string. This is a bit like drum parts where a real drummer would need three arms. It sounds clever, but ultimately it also sounds wrong - because it's not possible - and gives the game away.

    Having done all this stuff, you then have the problem of emulating the sound of the instrument (something I talked about in the other thread). Few sound engines have very realistic guitar sounds in themselves. In most cases, 'Classical' and other nylon strung sounds aren't too bad, but it gets progressively worse as you approach the jazz, pop and heavy sounds. For the best results, you're probably best taking a basic guitar sound and then processing it through the various sorts of 'black boxes' that many guitarists use anyway.

    ... and I haven't even started on bends, pull-offs, hammer-ons and the like :) .
  6. iroquail

    iroquail New Member

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    Thanks, what you say makes sense although it still sounds very complicated to me. Probably be best if i learnt to play a guitar. Anyhow, you've been very helpful. Probably as involved if i wanted to do real orchestral sounding strings too!
  7. Emusic

    Emusic New Member

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    Keep on playing the piano/keyboard. Gradually you will get the hang of it. All of the sudden you will realize the ability to hear chords, instruments and 2nd voices. Separating them and putting them to midi takes a musician. Thats what you will become if you take your time with the keyboard. Its never too late. I started at the age of 33, and have a very good hang of it now after some intense years of playing.
    Good luck.
  8. absolutsth

    absolutsth New Member

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    has anyone ever used guitar pro for compositionof midi files?
  9. Emusic

    Emusic New Member

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    Keep in mind that there is a "strumming device" out there. It's a midi device you attach to your belt. It has 6 short strings and can be played as a guitar. You hold down a chord on the keyboard with your left hand and strum on the midi device attached to your belt with the other hand. I tested this device some 10 years ago. Pretty impressive. It picks up note velocity and note order and timing from the small guitar device on your hip/belt and transfers it into midi. Gonna try to get one of those again. It works like a charm. Can be finger played or played with a plectre.
  10. Emusic

    Emusic New Member

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    Actually I tested one of those Midi Guitar devices today. Fun and works great in adding a guitar feel to your guitar midi soundpatches and tracks.
    Here is a link to Digitar by Charlie Lab
    http://www.charlielab.com/eng/digitar.html
  11. Nah!

    Nah! New Member

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    What's the difference between a midi keyboard and a normal keyboard? :confused2
  12. Emusic

    Emusic New Member

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    Midi Master/controller keyboard...
    most often a keyboard without internal sounds. Used to control other sound devices via MIDI, often often through a computer based sequencer. Can also be connected directly to a soundmodule.

    Soundmodule="a box" with sounds but without a keyboard to operate them.

    Midi Keyboard/Synth
    A synth/keyboard with onboard sounds and midi in/out. Can be used as a master keyboard as well

    Non Midi synths/keyboards....
    .... to my knowledge these arent made these days.
    The old analog synths where non-midi (not possible to connect midi devices coz they didnt have in/out midi connectors)

    hope this helps
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2004
  13. Nah!

    Nah! New Member

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    Thanks a lot! :D
  14. Graeme

    Graeme New Member

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    However, if you have one of these (and some of them are very collectable instruments) it is still possible to have them retrofitted with midi.

    The only real problem is that, being analogue, the midi implementation is through eith pitch to midi or voltage to midi - neither of which is as accurate as a fully digital system. Even so, it does make these intruments usable in a modern environment.

    Coming back to the guitar thing, it is a difficult instrument to emulate using midi and it's probably easier to just play a guitar (or get a friend who does) to put those parts down.
  15. Emusic

    Emusic New Member

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    A lot of those analog synths are reproduced in software versions today. Some of them pretty impressive. This way you can even run them in a MIDI environement.
  16. wbsmith892

    wbsmith892 New Member

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    finale, sibelius, noteworthy, midinotate.. there are endless numbers of notators
  17. newmax03

    newmax03 New Member

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    it all depends on what you want to do. If you want to make something pretty to print out use a program like sibilius or finale. But if you just want to get down and dirty to put out to a keyboard use cakewalk and save yourself the headaches of finale. One more thing, sibilius has an awesome add on of scanning and creating an editable file for you. It's hot.

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