Thursday, September 2, 2010

9/2 Scorch, MuseScore, SynthFont, Rock'n'B

I've already made a few posts about MIDI (maybe too many), but it's proven to be so educational for me I'll post one more time about it to note a few last tricks.

Appreciating B's music is greatly enhanced by following along with the score.  But if you're not accustomed to score-reading, it can be a bit tiring since it requires some concentration.  If you get lost, it can even get frustrating.  One way to get used to score-reading is to follow a MIDI score with a "Scorch" file, which is a web MIDI file which will play along to a scrolling standard score. Just install the Scorch plug-in (you may need to restart the computer even tho it doesn't ask you to) and check out the links below.
Look for this symbol for Scorch files:
When you hit the "play" button, the music will play through whatever MIDI synthesizer is built in to your soundcard and the score will indicate where the music is playing.  In large orchestral scores this makes life alot easier.

Another way to see a MIDI score sroll with the music is by importing the MIDI file into a score notation program like Finale or Sibelius.  Those cost some "hard change", so an alternative I recommend is MuseScore, an open source program which is pretty similar.  It even comes with it's own MIDI synth.  Download MuseScore here.
After installing it, open a MIDI file.  When it asks you "Shortest note on import" choose 1/64. After a short wait it will import the MIDI file and create sheet music that goes with it.  When you play the MIDI file the sheet music will scroll along with it.  The music score won't look exactly like the published sheet music but in most cases it will be close enough that you can follow the music.  If there are too many notes then you can change the import "shortest note" to a higher value like 1/32.

Now this is where it gets pretty cool.  Download a program called SynthFont.  With SynthFont you can load custom MIDI voices to go with your MIDI scores.  On the web there are many free "soundfonts" which are instrument sounds or groups of sounds for use in MIDI players.  Kind of like software ROM cards.  Instead of the cheap MIDI piano sound that came with your PC, you can get a near-studio quality soundfont which sounds pretty close to the real thing.  The way it works is easy once you get used to it.  Read the manual that comes with it.  It's well-written.

Below you can find soundfonts:

Last week I posted an analysis of String Quartet Op. 131 M7 - here's my "rock" version using soundfonts - good for turning young people on to B perhaps?


  1. And what if you do something like this?

  2. Btw, MuseScore also support soundfonts.