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Jedi Council Member
Picture of Keith
posted
Things just keep getting worse and worse for MIDI files on a Mac. First, you'll recall, if you download a MIDI file from some site, it won't play on a Mac. (Windows, of course, does not have this problem.) To get a usable MIDI file, you must instead download it as a QuickTime Movie. That makes little sense with music files, but a Movie it must be. Once you have the Movie, you can then use QuickTime to convert it into a standard MIDI file which will play in both QuickTime and iTunes, and it can then be opened by other music programs.

Now I find that, as of iTunes 6.0.2, MIDI files can no longer be converted to MP3 in iTunes. This is causing me great aggravation. The MIDI file can be converted to AIFF, but only if you've spent $30 on QuickTime Pro, and the AIFF file can then be converted to MP3 in iTunes. It's very inconvenient and a major step backwards for Mac users.

At the websites of both Finale and Sibelius notation programs, the developers have complained bitterly that trying to write a program for the Mac borders on the impossible because Apple keeps changing their MIDI standards without warning. I might add that they're always changed for the worse.

I've already downgraded to QuickTime 7.0.1. Now it looks like I'll have to downgrade to iTunes 6.0.1.
 
Posts: 668 | Location: Dearborn, MI | Registered: October 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Master
Picture of arrakian
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Keith:
... if you download a MIDI file from some site, it won't play on a Mac. (Windows, of course, does not have this problem.)

Therein lies your answer.

quote:
Originally posted by Keith:
At the websites of both Finale and Sibelius notation programs, the developers have complained bitterly that trying to write a program for the Mac borders on the impossible because Apple keeps changing their MIDI standards without warning. I might add that they're always changed for the worse.

...and yet Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic, and others seem to be able to keep up. i think their (Finale/Sibelius) problem might not be "how hard" it is to work on a Mac, but whether they're really willing/trying. If writing MIDI apps/control was so bad, non of the above vendors (not to mention anyone else) would support the Mac, especially with the market share Windows has!

It may be time to get another notation program...


- One Nation Under A Groove -
 
Posts: 1360 | Location: S.E.MI | Registered: June 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Council Member
Picture of Keith
posted Hide Post
Pray, what other natation program would you recommend?
 
Posts: 668 | Location: Dearborn, MI | Registered: October 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
I don't work with MIDI, but you might try the OtherWorldComputing Audio& Music Forum
http://music.macsales.com/list.php?f=2

Also - Does Garageband import MIDI? If so, would it do the conversion?


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2074 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Master
Picture of arrakian
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Keith:
Pray, what other natation program would you recommend?

Well, off the top, Quickscribe in DP does notation...


- One Nation Under A Groove -
 
Posts: 1360 | Location: S.E.MI | Registered: June 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Council Member
Picture of Keith
posted Hide Post
My impression of QuickScribe is that, as with GarageBand, it will display the notation of whatever is in the MIDI tracks. What I'm talking about is where you write the score out, and the software plays it, all channels at once. Can this be done with QuickScribe?

Ms. Disler, MIDI can be imported into GarageBand, but then you are stuck with the hideous sounds of the Symphony Orchestra Jam Pack. And then, the conversion to MP3 is even more awkward -- it must be imported into iTunes as an AIFF file, then converted.

It used to be that the MIDI sounds in QuickTime were, to my knowledge, the finest orchestral General MIDI sounds anywhere. Then the sounds became shrill; then you couldn't convert the MIDI file directly to an MP3 file.

At the Scarab Club a couple of weeks ago, I heard the music --performed live-- of a young composer, Erik Santos, who uses Digital Performer on a G5. He says that Digital Performer's orchestral sounds are inexpensive and realistic. I haven't heard them, but I've had such a bad experience with sound libraries that I'm unwilling to squander more money on them.
 
Posts: 668 | Location: Dearborn, MI | Registered: October 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Master
Picture of arrakian
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Keith:
...Digital Performer's orchestral sounds are inexpensive and realistic. I haven't heard them, but I've had such a bad experience with sound libraries that I'm unwilling to squander more money on them.


Ever heard of this Electronic Musician's Editor's Choice 2006 winner?


- One Nation Under A Groove -
 
Posts: 1360 | Location: S.E.MI | Registered: June 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Dave
posted Hide Post
WOW!!!!

That was really something to listen to.


Dave McGuire
President - MacGroup Detroit

"What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?"
 
Posts: 2115 | Location: Orion Twp, Michigan | Registered: July 25, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Council Member
Picture of Keith
posted Hide Post
There is also an impressive-sounding demo of the Garritan Personal Orchestra® as used in Finale 2006. It can be heard here.

I was so impressed by this that, despite being a Sibelius partisan, I purchased an upgrade to Finale 2006 just so I could have sounds like that. As I owned an earlier version of Finale, the advance upgrade only cost me about $100. Finale advertised that the Garritan sounds were automatically setup and adjusted, so they were easy to use.

Unfortunately, once I took delivery of Finale 2006, I found that upon installation, it had wiped out my Address Book and most of the Preferences for other applications. I also could not use the Garritan Personal Orchestra sounds with my usual Griffin iMic USB output. (This was not unexpected, as I can't use it in Sibelius with Native Instrument's Kontakt Gold sounds either.) I also found the Garritan sounds to require excessive fussing over. I took the radical and unmasculine step of actually reading the PDF manual, and I note that there are 33 pages (all of Chapter 6) devoted to Playback alone. It boggles the mind how anyone, other than the government, could devise anything so needlessly complex.

I found that to produce the GPO sounds one needs to coordinate settings (many of which must be entered by hand) in six (6) different windows:
the left of the score's window
the Audio Unit Setup window
the window for the individual bank
the pop-up window for Load
the Instrument List window and its sub-windows
the drop-down menu (and sub-menus) under MIDI

Of course, if you have not already done so, you must first set the tempo in the drop-down portion of the Playback window. The Playback tutorial also gave instructions that the Mod Wheel on each channel must be adjusted each time an instrument is loaded. This is a mistake and a grave danger.

I have yet to produce a decent recording using the Garritan Personal Orchestra, and I've pretty much given up on it. I find it difficult enough to think-up original music without additionally having to figure out how to work abstruse software. The whole experience left me reluctant to squander any more money and left me very suspicious of demo MP3 files at websites. (I need to get a less-expensive hobby -- like yachting.)

Even better orchestral sounds can be heard at the demo page of the Vienna Symphonic Library. Unfortunately, I've been told that that sound library will not work on a Mac.
 
Posts: 668 | Location: Dearborn, MI | Registered: October 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Master
Picture of arrakian
posted Hide Post
The Synful Orchestra has a demo available to try before you buy- multiple times, if you like.


- One Nation Under A Groove -
 
Posts: 1360 | Location: S.E.MI | Registered: June 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Jedi Council Member
Picture of Keith
posted Hide Post
The point of my bellyaching is that at one time, not so long ago, you didn't have to buy the Synful Orchestra for $480, nor did you have to purchase the Garritan Personal Orchestra for $200 (for the basic version), nor the Vienna Symphonic Library for $4000. The QuickTime General MIDI sounds would never fool anyone into thinking the music had been made with a live symphony, but the piano sound was very convincing, and so were the brass sounds. Someone with a good ear might be able to tell the difference, but the QuickTime piano sounds were at least as pleasing as a Grinnell Bros. spinet.

MIDI files also have the advantage that they are easy to make and are small enough to send as an E-mail attachment. Plus, it's an infinitely malleable medium. You can easily change the pitch, tempo or notes of a MIDI file. It's a fine medium that everyone has given up on, including Apple. QuickTime's MIDI sounds were once the best in the industry, but now even the piano sounds "fizzy." To my ears, at least, the old QuickTime sounds were not entirely realistic (as if realism were the only goal of computer-generated music), but they certainly sounded more euphonious and musical than the hideous sounds of the $100 Symphony Orchestra Jam Pack.

It's a sad thing, because what kid with an interest in music can afford $1000 for Digital Performer plus the Synful Orchestra? I, for that matter, can't either.
 
Posts: 668 | Location: Dearborn, MI | Registered: October 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
I see what you're talking about. Hopefully Apple will address this issue:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303429

Maybe something on this site can provide info on where MIDI is headed:
http://www.midi.org/


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2074 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
I sympathize with your disappointment. Sometimes "more is less." As another little experience: In OS9 one used to be able to use keyboard strokes to enter the Apple key "cloverleaf" into a WP document. No longer possible - I recently spent too much time trying to figure out a keyboard way. Now one must find it using the MacOS Character Palette (look in Lucida Grande & Charcoal, the system fonts), manually click it into a document. - And even this method won't work in AppleWorks.

[For anyone interested, use "Cmd" or your choice of characters where you want to use the Apple key mark - for example in a Procedures or Tutorial type document. Manually enter the character once using the Character Palette, or in InDesign the Swash palette. Then use Find/Replace to enter it in the rest of your document.]


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2074 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Master
Picture of arrakian
posted Hide Post
In both your cases, it comes down to importance.

The percentage of the music creating people that want/need to use MIDI to make mp3/sounds through QT is small, and getting smaller by the day. Most use MIDI to talk to between sound generators, synths, and hardware controllers. Most I know that use General MIDI, use either sound cards for their keyboards, or soundsets supplied from elsewhere. I doubt most even knew you could use QT to play MIDI messages and get sounds out.

How often do the populpous of Mac addicts really use the "clover", or even need to? In both cases, when it starts to collectively "catch dust", then it'll get rusty, and put on a shelf.

I, too, moan at the rising prices for audio production these days. All I would seriously need is a great, digital "multi-track tape deck" to do music on. Everyone now seems to think they have to throw the kitchen sink in to compete, when all they really need is cross-platform compatibility, efficiency, and stability. Pro Tools dooes that, BUT to work it you gotta use only their hardware, with pro-quality sound (24/96k) starts@$1100.


- One Nation Under A Groove -
 
Posts: 1360 | Location: S.E.MI | Registered: June 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Council Member
Picture of Keith
posted Hide Post
Arrakian, you couldn't be more wrong. That's the wrongest reply ever posted at this board. Congratulations!

The four top music notation programs are Finale, Sibelius, Noteworthy Composer, and Mozart. All of them produce their sounds in MIDI format. All of the 'ware's sites have pages at which you can hear MIDI versions of their user's compositions
Noteworthy composer = http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/links/music.htm
Mozart = http://www.mozart.co.uk/mzusers/examples.htm
Finale = http://www.finalemusic.com/showcase/fs_home.asp
Sibelius = http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/html/sibeliusmusic/cached_stores/-1_116.html

In the last two of these, at least, you will need their company's free player to hear the music, but the sounds you hear will be the General MIDI QuickTime Sounds of your Mac. (Alas, Windows users usually have SoundPlaster cards, so their sound isn't nearly as good, and the reason I want to convert MIDI to MP3 so that I can send my music to Windose users.)

Of these, only SibeliusMusic offers the scores shown for sale, so naturally, the music is better there than at Finale Showcase, where the free music is worth about what it costs. At Sibelius Music, there are 33,254 scores offered, and all are heard in MIDI form. 25,786 people have listened to my pieces there (as of 0200 GMT), and many liked the way they sounded. (A few have left compliments, though just as many have posted scathing criticism.) http://members.sibeliusmusic.com/invictus

At the Classical Archives, http://www.classicalarchives.com/midi/ there are 17,980 MIDI files available for your listening pleasure. The site does not allow deep linking, but I'll recommend Steve Martin's MIDI sequence of "The Dance of the Hot, Wet Nurses" ([I]Danse des nounous[I]) from [I]Pétrouchka[I] by Igor Stravinsky, or the Symphonies of Carl Nielsen as sequenced by Jeremy Dimmick. True, no one would be deceived into thinking that an actual symphony orchestra was playing, but they still sound very musical and enjoyable -- better than some CDs. I own several recordings of the Scarlatti sonatas, but when I feel like listening to Nick Scarlatti, I always choose the MIDI performances by John Sankey. They're far better than anything on CD (or LP). My favorite rendition of the Beethoven Sonatas is sequenced by B. Hisamori. (Fine performances, but the piano sound has deteriorated since Apple changed QuickTime's MIDI.)

Not quite as large --gigantic instead of immense-- is the MIDI library at
http://www.classicalmidiconnection.com/cmc/index.html
(Alas, this site will no longer work with a Mac since Apple changed their MIDI standards.)

But there is a wealth of classical music in MIDI form at an Italian site,
http://kunstderfuge.com/

There are many, many other sites devoted to MIDI performances of classical music, and, y'know what? It's ALL FREE! You can download and save any of these pieces. Use them as ringtones. Convert to AIFF and use them as alerts and mail notification sounds! They can be sped up, slowed down, altered, arranged, transposed, abbreviated, and opened in notation programs. Furthermore, many more pieces are available as MIDI sequences than as recordings. I once read mention of the American composer Reginald De Koven (1859-1920), but there are no CD or LP recordings available of his music. What to do? Go to the Classical Archives and listen to the fine MIDI versions! I once found a score of the [I]Fest Overture[I] by Eduard Lassen (a student of Liszt's). There is not now, nor has there ever been a recording of this work, so I made a MIDI file of it for posterity!

Of course, the MIDI medium is not merely limited to classical music. I once worked in a record shop, so I know that there is a much wider and comprehensive selection of Ragtime available in MIDI on the Web than there is on either CDs or LPs. AND ALL OF IT'S FREE! MIDI IS an end product, not a signal.

Perhaps that explains the decline in the number of sites which offer free MIDI versions of pop music (I notice that [B]Laura's MIDI Heaven[B] is now kaput). MIDI was free and easy, and easily sent and quickly loaded as part of a web page. But nobody was making any money offa it. There IS profit in the Kontakt sounds from Native Instruments or the ghastly Symphony Orchestra Jam Pack or the latest version of iLie '06, so perhaps it was to someone's benefit to make MIDI unplayable and obsolete? (A rhetorical question.)

Free music for everybody? They'd rather hear the cash registers beeping.
 
Posts: 668 | Location: Dearborn, MI | Registered: October 05, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Genius
Picture of Phyllis Evans
posted Hide Post
Just my 2 cents, but I have never liked midi. It has never been able, nor will it ever be able, to show the subtle expression found in the real thing. It is mechanical and lifeless.

I know that you think it's great, Keith, but for someone who saw Toscannini live, it's a very sorry substitute.


"I really need a new tagline"
—P M Evans
 
Posts: 3773 | Location: Redford, MI | Registered: June 10, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
posted Hide Post
I have never used MIDI, so probably should stay out of this discussion. However, I experienced it being used in an entirely different way than for digital sound, and someone may find this interesting.
On a recent tour of pipe organs in this region, one very new, "COMPLETELY pipe" organ, midi was installed to "record" the digital processes - NOT audio. Believe it or not, the whole file fit on a floppy. When the floppy was "played," it activated the organ to "perform" the piece that the organist had "recorded." In other words, the pipes & keyboard were activated from the digital file. It was NOT - I repeat, NOT an audio recording. (No offense - It took me a few minutes to absorb this concept when I observed it!)

I think this process is being installed on some European cathedral organs so they can be "played" and demonstrated for tourists.


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2074 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Dave
posted Hide Post
I think using MIDI for ringtones is quite appropriate... however one should not expect the same quality of sound as listening to a Symphony Orchestra. If you hear the basic melody of the "1812 Overture" coming from your pocket or computer, it pales in comparision to hearing it played live. Call it "warmth" or whatever you want, but digital music lacks something.

My youngest son is in the Mens Glee Club at his High School. They had a concert with all the Music Departments on Tuesday and I was tickled pink to be in the audience. Most of these kids will never make a living performing music but I would have paid money for that performance that night.

Was everything perfect?
No

Should it have been perfect?
No

A Senior had asked the Band/Orchestra teacher back in 6th grade if he could play "Rhapsody in Blue" in concert sometime. The teacher replied "I'll let you perform it in 12th Grade". 7 years later this young man played, as far as I can tell, a flawless version with the Orchestra. It was spellbinding... One of the teachers acting as his page turner forgot to turn a page because he got caught up in the moment and was awestruck.

Music should do that to you Wink

MIDI can fill that gap where songs may have not been recorded in the past. *I* don't think it does the composer/musician justice, but that's just my opinion. If you compose or record music, should you not be compensated? Free music means one of two things to me. Either you are such a generous person to share your work with others that money isn't needed or desired, or you got screwed by the record label.

Stepping off podium for now...


Dave McGuire
President - MacGroup Detroit

"What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?"
 
Posts: 2115 | Location: Orion Twp, Michigan | Registered: July 25, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
Picture of Jack Beckman
posted Hide Post
Mary Jo,

What you saw is what MIDI does - controls instruments. When you play it back on a computer, you're controlling "virtual" instruments. In the case of the pipe organ, it was a real instrument. But it's basically the same thing.

That's why you can fit it on a floppy - the files only contain the commands for the instruments to play.

You might want to read this explanation:

http://www.midi.org/about-midi/abtmidi.shtml#protocol


===
Professor Hubert Farnsworth: “Nothing is impossible. Not if you can imagine it. That’s what being a scientist is all about.”
Cubert J. Farnsworth: “No, that’s what being a magical elf is all about.”

 
Posts: 5470 | Location: Sterling Heights, Mi | Registered: January 25, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Donna
posted Hide Post
This is like a player piano. This has been around in pianos for some years. Player pianos used rolls with holes in them to trigger the action of the hammers (visualize punched cards). In recent years a similar model has been used with regular pianos. I think originally diskettes were used. Probably now they use flash cards. I haven't looked at this in years. But same concept. A file triggers the action. No different for an organ, although the "action" required is different from that for a piano--same concept. Checkout <http://www.music-cog.ohio-state.edu/Bosendorfer_lab.html> and the Diskclavier.
 
Posts: 2284 | Location: Ann Arbor MI USA | Registered: October 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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