This tutorial is intended to provide you with the information needed to set up your MIDI score so that it is correctly configured and includes all information required by our system to process your music. The examples given below are from our setup of the Bruckner Adagio (2nd movement) 1st Symphony (which you can listen to here). Further down, in later sections, we use excerpts from other works and provide both the notated and MIDI scores. In all cases, we used Cubase as the DAW.
In images 2.1 and 2.2 below, please note the following:
Check it out!
In the example below (Image 2.3) you can see six MIDI tracks and one audio track. All tracks are left aligned, so they all start at the same time in the DAW (and on export). The audio track is clearly playing in advance of the notes in the MIDI score, but the notes in the MIDI are time-aligned with the audio, so that the MIDI notes play at the correct time in relation to the audio recorded by your musician
Advanced users can conduct their musicians with rubato, or ask their musicians to record with rubato (and without a click-track). As long as your MIDI notes are time-aligned with their Expression-leaders, our system will process them correctly. We do not require your MIDI score to have a click-track, nor do we require your score to be metronomic.
In image 2.4, the audio is shown as it might appear in your DAW. The audio is in musical and time alignment with the MIDI, but the tracks do not have the same starting point. This arrangement cannot be read by our system.
To easily solve this, ensure that your audio and MIDI tracks have the same starting point when exporting from your DAW.
For example, in the Cubase project illustrated in image 2.5 below, the tracks to be exported are correctly selected, and consequently Cubase will automatically add time to the beginning of the audio file so that on export, all files align. In image 2.5, you can see a grey bar across the top delineating exactly what range is selected, so that on export, the DAW will add time to the front of the audio track. This ensures that all tracks align correctly, and are properly processed by our system.
Misalignment Example 2 – correct and incorrect audio-MIDI alignment
In the examples below, you see MIDI notes that are mapped onto pizzicato in strings. The audio consists of a musician playing pizzicato.
In image 2.6, everything is correctly aligned.
In image 2.7, the MIDI note starts in the correct place, but is too long. This should be corrected so that the end of the MIDI note is close to the end of the musician’s note in the audio track.
In image 2.8, the end of the MIDI note is in the correct place, but the attack of the pizzicato in the audio track is not aligned with the start of the MIDI notes, so the rhythm will be incorrect. This should be corrected so the start of the MIDI notes aligns with the player.
Special Legato TIP!
For good quality legato in your MIDI parts, after you have finished composing/arranging your piece, select the MIDI notes you wish to have legato, and create a slight overlap across the ends and beginnings of the legato section.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT implement the above tip with repeating notes! Always make sure no repeating notes are overlapping!
In image 2.9, you see the MIDI notes as they are normally created
In image 2.10 you see the ends of the MIDI notes slightly overlap the beginnings of the subsequent notes.
Your project must include a conductor or tempo track, as in image 2.11 below, to ensure that your MIDI and audio tracks align when imported into our system.
Note: In this image you can see there is also a time-signature track. Although we recommend that projects are always clean and well structured, for the purposes of our system, we do not need the time-signature data. We only require that the MIDI and Audio tracks are aligned with each other and start together when imported to our system.
Flute – 5
Oboe – 10
Clarinet Bb – 15
Clarinet A – 20
Bassoon – 25
Horn – 30
Trumpet Bb – 35
Trumpet C – 40
Trombone – 45
1st Violin – 50
2nd Violin – 55
Viola – 60
Cello – 65
Double Bass – 70
Special Expression-Leader Tip!
An Expression-Leader should be selected because that particular Leader provides the desired musical expression. That is, the musical expression you want to hear and will ask your musician to perform
In this image image (2.12), Oboe 2 is set to follow the Oboe Expression lead (musician’s part) by assigning it a Value of 10 ( the Symphonova Online Stem Service value for the Oboe Leader). This is the value that will be sent by CC17. The control lane can be seen at the bottom of the image.
IMPORTANT: If you are changing the Leader between 2 adjacent notes that have no pause between them, the CC17 value for the new leader must be positioned directly on the onset of the note that is led by the new leader. In the image below, the CC value can be set arbitrarily before the note begins because the follower isn’t playing there (there is a pause).
KeySwitches are used to identify the articulations you wish to have in your virtual parts. Our list of KeySwitches for each section of instruments can be found here.
Special KeySwitch Tip!
In the image above ( Tut2.17), please note the following two important details:
You (or your conductor) have clear ideas about the performance you expect to hear of your music. To heighten the sensitivity and specificity of our system to your desired and intended expressive outcome, we have adapted MIDI Velocity so that it serves you as an effective tool for additional control. In our system, MIDI Velocity gives you the ability to enhance the dynamic responsiveness of our system, enables you to help the system capture your musical intention, and to support the musical intentions of the musicians, to whom you give the same musical instructions.
To get the best out of our system, you should set the Velocity to distinguish between two kinds of playing:
Here are the two guidelines (rules) that should make it easy to decide when to set the Velocity values high or low:
Dynamic Response Rules
To implement the Dynamic Responsiveness rules, we suggest that your default setting is for all Velocity values to be set low. Then when considering the performance of your score, set the Velocity values high in the instruments and places where you will ask your musicians to perform with fast-changing dynamics, or where the composition has short articulations.
For all images below, we used the Cubase DAW. Note that in Cubase, low velocity values are coloured blue/violet, and high velocity values are coloured red.
This example illustrates settings of high/low Velocity values in a quick tempo.
In image 2.13a below you see an excerpt of the Musette from Grieg’s Holberg Suite. Outlined in red are the 1st Violas. A description of the score for purposes related to Velocity and fast/slow change of dynamics is as follows:
Now take a look at the MIDI score of the same excerpt (image 2.13b). The first 15 MIDI notes are all blue (low Velocity value), because there are no abrupt or sudden dynamic changes on or between notes.
Then there are two MIDI notes that are red. The first of the red MIDI notes is set to a high Velocity value because it has an accent. The intended expression is for the performance of the note to be significantly different from the previous note, and for it to change quickly on the note itself: two fast dynamic changes! The second MIDI note is also set to a high Velocity value because it changes back to the original dynamics of the first 15 notes.
To summarise, each accented note and the 1st note after the accented note, both have high velocity values, because the dynamics change abruptly with their onset.
The 3rd and 4th notes of each of the three groups have low velocity values, because any change between them and the 2nd note of the group is continuous (there are no further accents or quick dynamic changes on or between these notes).
This example illustrated how notes with quick, sudden dynamic change on or between them are set at a high Velocity value, and
notes with gradual, continuous dynamic change on or between them are set at a low Velocity value.
The following two examples illustrate the setting of a high/low Velocity values in a slow tempo.
Below (image 2.14a) is the score of the first ten measures of the Mahler Adagietto (Symphony no 5) and the related MIDI (image 2.14b).
The cello part is pianissimo and slow, but from measure 7, the articulation changes from arco to pizzicato.
In the MIDI score, you will see that the Velocity is set to a low value from the beginning of the piece, and then to accommodate the pizzicato articulation, the Velocity is changed to a high Velocity value.
It’s simple: export your project as a MIDI Type 1 file.