feature of the week

10.3: MIDI Playback

| feature of the week

MIDI, the eponymous digital musical language, is a bit of a chameleon. It’s a way of describing musical activity, but in practice that can take several different forms: it can be used to send keystrokes from a keyboard to software that responds almost immediately by producing sound, or it can be used to communicate tempo changes and setup information—like telling that software to use a different sound bank.

It can also be used to save and recreate songs at a later date, much like an audio track such as an MP3 file. Instead of including actual sound information, however, MIDI songs are a record of musical events—this note was pressed with this velocity, this pedal was released, and so on. When software is asked to “play” that information back, it reproduces those actions faithfully but can use any of the sound banks at its disposal to produce results that may sound like they were played on an entirely different instrument. Certain kinds of software can even try to represent that information visually, as sheet music.

With forScore 10.3.4, we added the ability to import, link, and play back MIDI files just like you’ve already been able to do with other audio tracks. You can play them back, add automatic track turns, loop sections, and adjust their playback speed. The first time you try to play a MIDI file you’ll be prompted to download a small sound bank from our servers, then you’ll be ready to go.

Whether you’re using a MIDI device to control forScore’s features and page turns, using score-specific commands, sending messages with buttons, reusing common commands with presets, or using forScore to produce piano sounds as you play, there’s something for everyone in this diverse language. And now, we can add one more: MIDI file playback.