User:Robert Urmann

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General Information

Contributor since: 2008-11-30

Parent of Johannes Brahms since: 2009-08-12 (see Adopt-A-Composer program if you’d also like to volunteer for dedicated composer pages and help improving and maintaining their site on CPDL)

Works with editions by this editor: 104 (see list)

A word on MIDI and .mid(i) files

Basically, MIDI [Musical Instrument Digital Interface] is an industry-standard protocol that enables electronic musical instruments to communicate, control, and synchronize with each other – simply to say: the ‘language’. But, how does it come that you can listen to it? Like a language it has to be spoken! (Okay, you can read it, too; you can also read scores without hearing anything. But reading is not speaking.) Behind the scenes the input device (mainly a MIDI compatible keyboard, even your computer keyboard could) sends MIDI commands (coded as bits and bytes carried by direct current) to an interpreter (sequencer/synthesizer/sampler/sound card etc.) which has certain sound or noise samples stored. These samples are then activated and transmitted to an amplifier where loudspeakers are connected to. Now you can hear something. What exactly you will hear depends on the interpreter and the sounds stored there. This is like telling the concertmaster: ‘Play a G!’ He or she will play any ‘g’ on the violin which can be heard. Translated into MIDI syntax we have given some important information: which instrument shall play which note. What is still missing? You’re absolutely right: pitch, duration, and volume! This basic information can be stored in a MIDI file consuming just a few bytes, and therefore MIDI files are that small.

Why am I telling you this? MIDI files contain clean music commands. There is no room for interpreting or how to play certain notes. Also, the sound is up to your equipment, which depends on the implemented samples.

Voice MIDI instrument #
Soprano Pan Flute 76
Alto Recorder 75
Tenor String Ensemble 1
also: Strings
49
Bass String Ensemble 2
also: Slow Strings
50

What have I done to make pure music more pleasant? First, I use different MIDI instruments for different voices. The MIDI Manufacturers Association has developed the General MIDI Level 1 standard, which provides a standard sound set. I assign voices as shown in the table. If you like you can assign other MIDI instruments or even real sounds by editing the files with your favorite MIDI editor (each voice is on its own channel). All voices are at the same sound volume, so don’t expect to hear differences between p and ff. Also, you won’t spot any (de)crescendo. Changing loudness of single tones is not possible in MIDI as well as glissandi. I would have to program many short notes on chromatic (or quarter tone) intervals to reach such an effect. The same applies to volume changes: many short notes … This is simply too much. All tempi reflect my personal perception, and, of course, you can alter them with your playback software. Quicktime has a simple function for it. I also tried to simulate some retardation and acceleration where it was quite easy to accomplish.

Anyway, MIDI files are good enough to get an idea of the music – and suitable for ‘proof-hearing’. At present, not every file is generated by this means. I’ll fix them when I come across. Still, enjoy!

Contact Information

There’s a link on the left side of this page to contact me when you’re a registered user. You can also sign up for the official CPDL forums – my username is the same as here on CPDL.

Feel free to ask for transposed editions of my Early Music scores, but, please, allow for some time to re-arrange the score layout. You can ask for other page formatting (e.g. US letter), too – but then count in a couple of days, please. Remember: we are all volunteers, not professional publishers! Setting music beautifully is not done with just a few clicks … I spend a lot of time for it.

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