As musicians, we all want to get a nice sound coming out from our musical composition. I just remember when I was younger. I was studying classical guitar and I always wanted to create my own music. At first I tried as the old timers did: Writing directly to a score sheet.
Later I realize it was a really hard task. Now I just can’t stop admiring Mozart, Beethoven and all great artists that wrote music in that way.
Today we have the power of computers. And for us, there is a wide range of tools available to get started. But for now I want to talk about the first piece of software that helped me to begin in the world of music composition.
Timidity++ is a tool for musicians and composers that converts regular MIDI files to audio files. Let me remember you that both files are not the same. A MIDI file contains only digital data regarding to notes, timing, instrument definition and a lot more information. These files can be read only by a computer based device. But they don’t contain audio data. This is why you can store score sheet information in them. And all music information stored on them can be read by a synthesizer. Also, MIDI files are really small compared to audio files.
On the other hand, an audio only contain audio data in form of waves (as the nature of sound). And these can’t be read by any music notation software unless the software has some sort of converter to import it.
A MIDI Render
Now in 2013, Timidity is really old and it’s piratically useless compared to others. However, it still is a good tool to get started with, because it is free.
How does it work?
Basically what it does is to interpret all data from the MIDI file and renders that data to an audio sound. Usually a .WAV sound. It also works as a player like winamp (run time MIDI render).
To work it uses sound patches. These sound patches can be SoundFont2 files or the EAWPATCHES.
To show you the power of timidity I’ll show you an example with a simple MIDI file and a file converted by Timidity:
This a composition made by me I named it “The Way”
Converted MP3 File Note: I converted the file to MP3 to decrease its size.
Timidity is still available out there. You can find its home page here at SourceForge. The program is open source. However, what I could never find is the Eawpatches. Fortunately, I have them and I compiled a timidity installation with them:
You can download the program directly from here.
Timidity++ with Eawpatches
After downloading this file, I suggest you to follow the next tutorial that will guide you to use this amazing tool.
NOTE: During the installation you must set the path in your hard drive directory. For example, if your hard drive directory is C so the installation should go to C:\timidity.
After the installation, go and find Timidity main executable in the directory you installed it. Go to the installation directory and double-click on timw32g.exe. I suggest adding a direct access to this file to your desktop.
To open a MIDI file go to File menu – Open File(F)
Push the play button. The music should be played. Timidity is set up by default as a player. To set up the player as a direct WAV file converter, go to Config. Menu Preferences (P)
The next screen should be loaded
Go to the output TAB, at the output section where Windows Audio Driver is shown, select RIFF WAVE File.
Select an output filename.
Press the OK button, then load a MIDI file and click on the play button. No sound will be produced; the wave file will be rendered and saved to the hard drive. To set up Timidity as a player, just go to the config menu preferences, the output tab and select Windows Audio Driver.