What are MIDI files and how to use them?

October 12th, 2020|Guides|2 Comments

The definition of MIDI

MIDI is a very fun­da­men­tal data for­mat in the world of music pro­duc­tion. While it does not con­tain any audio, it con­tains the infor­ma­tion of what an instru­ment plays, i.e. which keys are played and at what veloc­ity. It can also con­tain other infor­ma­tion such as sus­tain pedal use. A MIDI file can both be recorded by the use of an elec­tronic key­board (or other devices sup­port­ing MIDI) but it can also be cre­ated man­u­ally in MIDI edit­ing soft­ware (e.g., Logic Pro X which I use). 

When a MIDI file is loaded into MIDI edit­ing soft­ware you will be pre­sented some sort of x‑y-plot with keys on one axis and time (bars) on the other axis just as shown below.

MIDI file in Logic

MIDI file in Synthesia

How to use MIDI files with Synthesia

It is very easy to load your own MIDI files in Syn­the­sia. First, you will need to down­load and install Syn­the­sia from here: https://synthesiagame.com/. Then you need to pur­chase one or more MIDI files from my store (MIDI store).

In order to load your down­loaded files in Syn­the­sia you’ll need to do the following:

  • Open Syn­the­sia and nav­i­gate to ‘Set­tings’ from the front page.
  • Select the ‘Songs’ tab in the left panel.
  • Click the ‘+’ to add the file path for where your down­loads are located.
  • Go to the front page and click ‘Play a song’.
  • Search for your song in the upper right corner
  • Click play!

More information on MIDI

For more infor­ma­tion, please read this com­pre­hen­sive blog post which con­tains absolutely all you need to know about MIDI: https://blog.landr.com/what-is-midi/. For any ques­tions or feed­back on this post, feel free to leave a com­ment below. 


  1. Marc November 19, 2020 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Jakob, does the midi file con­tain the PDF­sheet as well? Or is some­thing that you get by down­load­ing the midi in syn­the­sia directly as alter­na­tive to see it just on screen. As how to play it is good in syn­the­sia, how­ever at some point I will like to have it in PDF and not just by see­ing how to play it. Thank you for your advise. Marc

    • Jacob's Piano November 19, 2020 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Marc, No the MIDI is only the MIDI file. A MIDI file can how­ever be loaded in soft­ware like Syn­the­sia which is able to show the cor­re­spond­ing sheet music of the MIDI file, and some soft­ware can also con­vert the MIDI file to sheet music. But how well that works depends on whether the MIDI file is quan­tized or not. No mat­ter what I sug­gest that you pur­chase the sheet music if that’s what you want :) My orig­i­nal sheet music can be found on this page and some of my cover arrange­ments can be found on https://musicnotes.com. Thanks for ques­tions! /​Jacob

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