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: 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: For any questions or feedback on this post, feel free to leave a comment below.


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.

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

  1. Nathan Ulery says:

    Will the two track midi files work with PD IQ and PianoDisc Systems?

    1. Jacob's Piano says:

      Hi Nathan,

      They so many different systems that uses MIDI files, and unfortunately it is impossible for me to say how it works on all of these. But these are standard MIDI files, where the MIDI tracks are separated on two MIDI channels :) If you buy some MIDI files and experience it don’t work at all for you, then let me know and we’ll figure out a solution!


  2. Artyom Zhuk says:

    Hi Jacob, I’m interested in a question. What kind of automation do you have on your midi in DAW? I have it shown as a smooth polyline (control 88). If I could somehow throw off the screen.

    Sorry for my English)

    1. Jacob's Piano says:

      Hi Artyom! When it comes to MIDI files of piano tracks, then the only MIDI parameter used is the sustain pedal (CC number 64) :)

  3. Dustin Fitch says:

    I have a yamaha csp 150 and am trying to figure out how to get the midi files to work with yamaha smart pianist through Android. I can open it with the app but iy won’t let me use the file. Any tips, or an I going to need an apple product. Thanks

    1. Jacob's Piano says:

      Hi Dustin! Thanks for posting. Unfortunately, I can’t guide you here :( MIDI files can be used in so many different ways… However, it is a standard format MIDI file, so you should be able to make it work. Try to post in a Yamaha-specific forum where people know more about Yamaha keyboards. It certainly has nothing do with whether you use Apple products or not, that I’m sure of :) Btw, if you purchased some of my MIDI files, and then don’t work then shoot me a mail and we’ll figure something out! Cheers, Jacob

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