MIDI file simplification

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All MIDI attachments must be one of the following:
  • Your own, original work submitted under some license that permits free private use (I recommend public domain or Creative Commons).
  • Adapted from works created prior to 1923. This goes for both the composition and arrangement. This means you cannot post MIDI versions of recent songs.
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j4cksp4rrow
Posts: 6

Post by j4cksp4rrow » 03-23-14 4:38 am

Hi all! I just got a midi from the web. I liked the song, but it is way too complicated to be played. is there any programs that can do MIDI simplification? Or is there somebody that will kindy to simplify it for me? thanks a lot!

DanClark
Posts: 39

Post by DanClark » 03-23-14 4:29 pm

j4cksp4rrow,

It turns out that I'm currently trying to create a good workflow to clean up and simplify scores from MIDI files, and then create a new MIDI file . "Simplify" for me means:

1) Quantizing the MIDI file properly during import to Sibelius,

2) Cleaning up the score, including adding, modifying, and deleting Clefs, Key Signature, Time Signature, and various notational errors, and

3) Modifying the score to make it easy enough for me to practice with in Synthesia.

"Simplifying" can be complex depending on what you want to do and "complicated" can have multiple meanings. First, you need to describe what you're seeing and what you want to do to "simplify" it. Is the scoring too complex? Too many 1/8 and 1/16 notes? Lots of chords that span 10 or more keys? Assuming that is is NOT copyrighted, you should post it here on the board so we can download and look at it. (Nicholas, is this the best way?)

Regarding simplifying a score for someone else, I can't do that. The process is a bit time consuming and what are acceptable results for me may not be acceptable for someone else. That said, I'll try to help you find the right tools provide some advice based on my experiences.

Regards,

Dan.

p.s. My workflow for creating MIDI files is:
1) Open MIDI file in Sibelius and modify score.
2) Export the Sibelius score to MIDI file.
3) Import Sibelius MIDI file to Reaper, and edit MIDI (velocity, note overlap, etc). MIDI channel numbers are NOT modified.
4) Export Reaper tracks to new MIDI file.
5) “Play” Reaper MIDI file in Synthesia and point the output MIDI stream to the Garritan Personal Orchestra sound library.

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 03-23-14 9:15 pm

To begin with, if you feel the song is too complicated to play, it may be out of your reach. How long have you been playing, and what can you or can't play? Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or an advanced player? Can you play pieces, where your hands are doing different things, like arpeggio in the left or some bass rhythm, and a melody on top of chords in the right?

With that answered (or not answered) let's say you want a simplified version of the song. The best way to simplify a song, is to learn some basics of harmony and rhythm. For a start, the melody is always the top note, and you could remove all notes from the treble, except the top note.

Then we have to find out which chords are in the song. It's a bit harder to talk about this, when I don't know the name of your song, but you can do a Google search "song x chords", at least if it's a popular song. If you know a bit about major and minor chords, chord progressions and scales, you may be able to do this by hand. Quite often the first and the fifth of a chord is played in the bass, sometimes only the root, which makes it harder to figure out which chord you are supposed to play.

To sum it up, either go through the procedure above, or choose a less difficult song to practise.

DanClark
Posts: 39

Post by DanClark » 03-24-14 12:15 am

Pianotehead,

You make very valid points about understanding a song and the inherent difficulty of playing that particular song. While my suggestions above are useful for dealing with MIDI quantization, conversion, and structural issues, even the best "mechanical" modifications aren't much help if the piece is simply too difficult for a person's stage of development. (I'm working through the challenge of separate hand movement right now, so I well understand this stage of our growth path.)

I suggest that the first step in the MIDI editing process is to take your advice to heart and evaluate the difficulty of a song. For example, I cleaned up and simplified one MIDI file of a song by a famous pianist. Chords are simplified and some notes are removed. But then I realized that I don't have the necessary skills to play most of it right now. I could simplify it further, but then the essence of the piece song would be destroyed. So I've set aside for a while until I master the requisite skills in my student pieces. It's a humbling but necessary part of the growth process.

Regards,

Dan.

User avatar
jimhenry
Posts: 1759
Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 03-24-14 10:06 am

Consider whether you might be better off picking a piece of sheet music that is a good fit for what you should be playing and then building a MIDI file from it. I often find it easier to create a MIDI file than to clean up an existing MIDI file, particularly one that is a recorded performance.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

DanClark
Posts: 39

Post by DanClark » 03-24-14 5:25 pm

Jim,

An excellent point.

Right now about 50% of my MIDI files are created from sheet music using music scanning software. The downside is that the process is a little complex. The upside is that it provides a more accurate starting point and lets you create a MIDI files from a huge number of printed scores. (Everyone, please observe copywrite laws.)

The leading music scanners appear to be SmartScore X2 and PhotoScore. I've had good luck with SmartScore, but other folks have had good luck with PhotoScore. Music scanning software was the topic of discussion in this thread on Piano World Forum: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthre ... 170/1.html . After some testing using the same score, we came to the conclusion that the results you get from each software package will depend on the exact score scanned. I.e. both should can you good results, but one may be better than another for certain scores.

The output of these software packages is MusicXML (or MIDI). This is imported into an editor (Sibelius for me). In my case, I clean up the score in Sibelius and then export to MIDI for further manipulation in Reaper. I'm still a relative neophyte at this, but it's fun stuff and provides a good starting point for cleanup and simplification.

Jim, what software do you use to create a MIDI file? "Enquiring" minds want to know. :)

Regards,

Dan.

p.s. I am pretty sure that all here understand the issue, but just to be clear... ALL of my MIDI files are either non-copywrited MIDI files, purchased copywrited MIDI files (one or two, I think), scanned from non-copywrited scores, or scanned from purchased hardcopy scores. I'll be happy to share my non-copyrighted scores and files, but will NOT share anything that is copywrited.

User avatar
jimhenry
Posts: 1759
Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 03-24-14 7:16 pm

DanClark wrote:Jim, what software do you use to create a MIDI file?
I use Harmony Assistant. I bought it years ago for certain features that are useful for organ music. I think there are better choices today. I use MuseScore from time to time and I think it will do the job for most people.

Procedurally, I use step entry most of the time. I use the computer keyboard to enter the note duration and a music keyboard to enter the pitch. I think I can enter most music that I am interested in at the rate of about 1 minute per measure.

I tried music scanning but I didn't find it saved much, if any, time. I don't always have a good printed score to work with anyway.

My goal is not to produce a nuanced MIDI file that would sound like an accomplished pianist performing the piece. It is to produce a boringly accurate transcription that I can use to learn the basic music. I add interpretation and expression without Synthesia after I learn to play the notes as written using Synthesia.

I am also not trying to produce a massive library of MIDI songs. I am only trying to produce MIDIs for the music I am learning. For me, learning means being able to play the music, with a band, in public, from memory. The amount of music that I can cope with is small, perhaps 1 piece every month or two. I spend very little of my music practice time producing MIDI files. Synthesia or no, you just have to put in the hours playing. Probably less than half of my practice time is done with Synthesia. It spikes when I am learning something new and I might go for many days, or even weeks, not using Synthesia at all when I am perfecting a piece.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

j4cksp4rrow
Posts: 6

Post by j4cksp4rrow » 03-25-14 2:44 am

Ok all, thaks for your help. I asked for simplifications as It has too many tracks and It is theoritically "impossible" as you'l have more than 20 keys to press at once
Attachments
Indonesia_Raya_WR_SUPRATMAN.mid
(14.63 KiB) Downloaded 174 times

DanClark
Posts: 39

Post by DanClark » 03-25-14 1:03 pm

j4cksp4rrow wrote:Ok all, thaks for your help. I asked for simplifications as It has too many tracks and It is theoritically "impossible" as you'l have more than 20 keys to press at once
j4cksp4rrow,

What instrument do you want to play? It's not particularly complex, but the key issue (IMO) is that this is an orchestral piece that's not scored for a piano. (I'm assuming that you want to play the piano with this.) You can remove some of the systems (MIDI tracks), but I think you would need to substantially re-score the remaining systems to give you a playable piece on the piano. IMO, that is more difficult challenge than actually playing the piece.

Regards,

Dan.

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 03-25-14 4:08 pm

You're right Dan, it would be a huge job to clean up a MIDI file with so many tracks. Gilbert de Benedetti actually has a simplified two track version of this song, the national anthem of Indonesia. This is the same website that provides the MIDIs that come with Synthesia.

http://gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/L ... iaRaya.mid

Possibly it's too simple for you, depends on your level of skill, but it would be easier to add notes to the simplified MIDI above, rather than cleaning up a 13 track MIDI. I found a tutorial on Youtube for this anthem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWFQb0BV0oQ

You could change the MIDI to fit the tutorial.

PS Nicholas, is it time to update the MIDI collection of Synthesia to include all the new songs, Gilbert has added to his website?

Nicholas
Posts: 12069

Post by Nicholas » 03-25-14 4:15 pm

Pianotehead wrote:PS Nicholas, is it time to update the MIDI collection of Synthesia to include all the new songs, Gilbert has added to his website?
Actually, I've recently been considering a much more diverse (in type of music and difficulty range) repertoire. Now that we've got an in-house music arranger, it seems like new songs could become part of each Synthesia release!

DanClark
Posts: 39

Post by DanClark » 03-25-14 4:35 pm

Pianotehead wrote:You're right Dan, it would be a huge job to clean up a MIDI file with so many tracks. Gilbert de Benedetti actually has a simplified two track version of this song, the national anthem of Indonesia. This is the same website that provides the MIDIs that come with Synthesia.

http://gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/L ... iaRaya.mid

Possibly it's too simple for you, depends on your level of skill, but it would be easier to add notes to the simplified MIDI above, rather than cleaning up a 13 track MIDI. I found a tutorial on Youtube for this anthem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWFQb0BV0oQ

You could change the MIDI to fit the tutorial.

PS Nicholas, is it time to update the MIDI collection of Synthesia to include all the new songs, Gilbert has added to his website?
Pianotehead,

I agree, this is a very good start. I opened it in Sibelius. At first glance, the file looks very clean. I haven't tried it, but it looks playable in Synthesia without modifications. (There are lots of raw MIDI files that are anything but playable.) And it's a good base for j4cksp4rrow to start adding notes.

Nice catch.

Regards,

Dan.

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 03-25-14 4:37 pm

That's good news, Nicholas, thanks for replying so fast. Back to the OP's question, I found this version which seems quite playable. Someone has been so nice to share his work he did to simplify the Indonesian Raya, but not nice enough, because he chose to share it in a format almost nobody uses, not that I know of, at least. He posted it as a Noteworthy Composer file.

http://nwc-scriptorium.org/db/anthems/indonesia.html

Luckily there is a free viewer, in which it can be opened, but not converted, so the OP will have to type it in by hand. That is still less work, than cleaning up the original MIDI file.

http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/player/

Edit Thank you Dan, we posted at the same time, approximately. Now j4cksp4rrow should have something to work from.

DanClark
Posts: 39

Post by DanClark » 03-25-14 5:36 pm

Nicholas wrote:
Pianotehead wrote:PS Nicholas, is it time to update the MIDI collection of Synthesia to include all the new songs, Gilbert has added to his website?
Actually, I've recently been considering a much more diverse (in type of music and difficulty range) repertoire. Now that we've got an in-house music arranger, it seems like new songs could become part of each Synthesia release!
Nicholas,

This is good news. A nice clean MIDI file is well worth the modest fee that you are charging.

Thanks,

Dan.

j4cksp4rrow
Posts: 6

Post by j4cksp4rrow » 03-26-14 4:25 am

Ok all, thanks for your valuable help. And, if someone would, please post Auld Land Syne MIDI on the forum.... Once again, thanks.


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