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.

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About Jacob's Piano

I am Jacob Ladegaard also known as Jacob's Piano. I am a pianist and composer located in Copenhagen, Denmark. On this site I invite you in to my musical world. You can purchase sheet music or MIDI files for my original work or find the help you are looking for in my blog posts.

14 thoughts on “What are MIDI files and how to use them?

  1. John says:

    Hi Jacob, is there any chance you can upload the MIDI files for Tifas theme and Aeriths theme from FF7 ?

    Thanks,
    John

    1. Jacob's Piano says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for writing. I only have MIDI files available for the cover songs I am playing. I will consider the two songs you mention, but I can’t promise you anything :)

      Cheers, Jacob

  2. GILL COTTER says:

    How do you edit a midi track to enable synthesia to know which is left and right? It all loads for the right.

    1. Jacob's Piano says:

      Hi Gill,

      Are you using one of my MIDI files? In all my MIDI files there are two MIDI channels (one for left hand and one for right hand). Then Synthesia will automatically separate the two channels. So it sounds very weird if this happens with one of my MIDI files. Can you let me know which one?

      /Jacob

      1. Nick says:

        Hi,
        I have the same question how when you export a midi track from your daw synthesia knows which one is left and with one is right?

        1. Jacob's Piano says:

          I split my MIDI track into two regions and place them on two different tracks. Then I edit the MIDI regions such that the right than is on one track and the left is on another track. Then I export that as one MIDI file that contain two different channels (in Logic you just select both tracks, right click and the choose ‘Export as MIDI file’). Synthesia will now automatically give the right and left hand different colors when you load the MIDI file :)

  3. Mirek says:

    Hi, what about music with “more than just a piano” (f.e. Winter melody) – is there a posiblility to buy sheets and those “more” somehow? Midi ar something?

    1. Jacob's Piano says:

      I currently don’t share my string accompaniment in either MIDI files or Sheet music, but it is definitely on my list of things I’m working on implementing. But unfortunately I can’t give you specific time of when I expect it to be available :)

      1. Mirek says:

        Thanks for Your answer. That was not what I was hoping but that’s what I expected. I’ll wait then…
        If someday finally the possibility appears, will be some newsletter with great news sended (I’m on some mailing list – I have purchased some sheets and furthermore planning purchase another)?

        1. Jacob's Piano says:

          Yes, you should be notified by mail then! :)

  4. Marc says:

    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

    1. Jacob's Piano says:

      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

  5. Holly Manning says:

    Is sheet music Available for a river flows in you?

    1. Jacob's Piano says:

      No. I only sell sheet music for my original work due to copyrights. For cover songs, I only have licenses to sell MIDI files.

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