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MIDI , YAMAHA DiskLavier & other MIDI Players

What is MIDI and why do I care?

MIDI is the acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.  This is the electronic standard to allow musical instruments to communicate.  SMF is the acronym for Standard MIDI Files.  An SMF file contains all the information necessary to play back pre-recorded or composed (sequenced) music.  SMF format type 0 is the one compatible with most playback devices.  You can find lots of details on MIDI using any search engine.  Some frequently asked questions are answered at  ALT.MUSIC.MIDI.  There are lots of other sites with similar midi help.

There are literally thousands of MIDI files (songs) on the Internet to download , edit if you desire, put on a floppy and play on the MIDI capable piano or keyboard.  To play on a Yamaha Disklavier or similar piano you should  make sure the file is SMF Type 0, although newer units will also play Type 1.   Next, the file should have the piano parts on channel 1 (or 1 and 2) and set as Acoustic Grand (see your piano instructions for specifics).  If you plan to do a lot of Internet downloading I would suggest finding shareware (see below) or purchasing music editing software such as Yamaha's XGWorks,  Cakewalk, or PowerTracks Pro Audio..  I use Cakewalk Home Studio 9.  It's been around for years and is very popular.  Although it is not real rich in documentation, basic editing is fairly easy to learn using the help files.  At the bottom of this page is a link to a retailer of the product.  Cakewalk.com also has a trial version that you can download and try, but the link below gives about a 30% discount.  It's also available (good info in reviews) at Amazon.com.  For PowerTracks go to pgmusic.com.

It sounds difficult to use Midi files on my Disklavier or other device. How do I get started?

I would first try downloading piano solo midi files. Try the links shown below ( right click on the midi file you desire and save link to your computer).  Play them on your computer before making a floppy, and then try them on the piano.  I would be ready to adjust the disklavier volume control as they load since some are set at a high volume when created (For files I want to keep, I initially reset the files volume settings to 100 or less (try 80), using Cakewalk).  While this will help volumes in general,  there are more sophisticated ways of adjusting volumes and note velocities that have been discussed on the user groups and can be tried later.  If all else fails,  read the Yamaha Disklavier or other device manuals.  One other very important item ... I would definitely join the Disklavier Users Groups and also browse their archives (see links below).   This alone could save you hours of trial and error and frustration.

Here are some useful links: 




Classical Music Archives  - Large collection of Midi music

Classical Piano Midi Page - Another Midi Collection

Beethoven Depot - all the Ludwig you might want

Internet Piano Page - classical midi, well sequenced

Bach on Disklavier  - Pianist Peter Taussig shaping Bach on the Disklavier

Classical Music Midi Page - Good Rachmaninov, others

Classical Midi Connection    - midi + links

Piano-e-competition  - link to international competition

Midiworld - good midi sequencing instruction, classical midi

Perfessorbill  - Large collection of  Ragtime MIDI

Player Piano Rebirth  -  midi converted paper rolls

Melody Lane - Irving Berlin, Early America, Sports, Folk and other MIDI songs, many are piano tracks

Passion 4 Jazz - Jazz Midi collection

Pianoman - Piano Jazz, Doug McKenzie

Van Bosco - Midi search engine

Luciano's Piano Bar - Good mix of piano music

Jazz Piano Collection -Berlin,Gershwin,Porter,Davis,etc.

John Roache's Ragtime - good ragtime piano collection

Standard Midi Files on the Net - Many Links, busy, includes midi search engine page

Top 111 Midi - Link to lots of midi sites, many with piano selections

QRS Music    - MIDI song for sale and other items

PGMusic - Commercial site with a 5 volume set of 900 piano works, said to be spectacular.


Giebler Enterprises - MIDI, DiskLavier, PianoDisc Conversion programs  SEQ1 to MIDI(SMF), Type 1 to 0, etc.

Shareware Music Machine - Many MIDI utilities, converters, etc.

Gnmidi.com - Gunter Nagler's Midi Utilities (shareware utilities for type conversions, volume changes, etc.)

JAZZ++ - Shareware Midi sequencer, MIDI info

MIDISOUND - Midi information

MUSITEK - MIDISCAN, SMARTSCORE, and other printed sheet music to MIDI products.

pgmusic.com - for PowerTracks Pro Audio workstation

D.U.G. - Disklavier Users Group (to subscribe), includes useful tips and many helpful enthusiasts (note: links not available)

Piano-e-competition  - An excellent site relating to international competition performed on  Disklaviers.  Midi files of the competition winners is also available.

Yamaha MusicSoft - Disklavier and other Yamaha musical instrument site

YAMAH-XG  - Yamaha's XG page with royalty free MIDI and more...

eGroups - eGroups Disklavier group - The messages page has good info but you need to subscribe to access it.  Well layed out format to look at messages

Bach on Disklavier  - Pianist Peter Taussig shaping Bach on the Disklavier

My quick checklist for Disklavier use of Midi files:

1. Download midi file from web (filename.mid)

2. Start sequencer (Cakewalk) or utility and load the file

3. Confirm that the piano parts are on channel 1 (or 1 and 2) and are Acoustic Grand Pianos.  if not, change them. 

4. Check volume and change to 100 or less if higher 

5. Save, or convert  file  as a Format 0 file type (can be file 0 or 1 if using on Disklavier Mark IIXG or newer)    

6. Copy onto a floppy (High Density if a newer Disklavier, Double Density- 720KB  if pre-Mark II)

7. Test on Disklavier (volumes may need some changing, especially for accompanied piano)


Important:  Make sure your technician checks error history, adjusts and calibrates your Disklavier periodically.  This is usually done at each tuning.


Music News  - Excellent Classical/Jazz News, interviews, music downloads

Try the picture link below for some good digital sheetmusic:

  Digital Sheet Music


About - Lots of midi & mp3 music and info



              Sheet Music for Children                       Classical Sheet Music


Want some MIDI music on your wireless?  Try here:


  MIDI BASICS by Lee Whitmore
        Need MIDI Cables? MUSICIANS STORE

I have some favorite sheet music, can I transcribe that into MIDI?

Software is available to scan sheet music and convert it to a MIDI file.  Musitek came out with a product a few years ago called MIDISCAN that does just that.  They have improved on it since then and now have a couple of other products that are better (Smartscore and Piano Edition).  There will still probably be a large  amount of editing required but it can be useful.  


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