Playing Your Musikalisches Würfelspiel MIDI File

Why MIDI?

The Minuet / Trio MIDI files are tiny (~2.5KB for your entire 32 measure piece), so they are easily downloaded. MIDI files basically carry a list of instructions of what notes to play and when to play them. They do not contain any sounds, but instead rely on a sound source which they use to give instructions to. You will most likely listen to your Minuet using a MIDI player (see below) on your computer. Your computer in this case will have an instrument sound, and a MIDI file will give instructions to the computer about what to do with this instrument. If you have a MIDI instrument hooked up to the computer, a MIDI file could be used to control the instrument, telling it when to play each note.

In addition, the small size of MIDI files is great for saving disk space (I have to store all the measures here on the server) and makes manipulation of the measures fast and easy, especially since they can be converted into readable, changeable text files, using the great utilities MF2T and T2MF by Piet van Oostrum.

The drawback is that the quality of the sound you will hear depends on the sound you have. If you have a MIDI instrument with a sampled Grand Piano, it will sound reasonably like a piano. If your MIDI instrument's has poor quality sounds, the music will not sound very good.

If you are using a MIDI player instead (see below), it is more that likely that you will be listening to a cheesy, dreamy, synthesized "piano" sound. Don't let that discourage you though. The Minuets are pretty cool.

Playing MIDI on a Mac

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 2.0Beta, which is now available for the Mac, supports MIDI as a background sound within the web browser.

Mac Netscape 2.0 Users! You can now obtain KM's Multimedia Plug (0.3.2) which allows embedding of the MIDI file into the web page. The most recent copy can be obtained here. Just throw it into your Plug-In's folder. Requires the QuickTime Musical Instruments extension. Thanks to Gary Markowitz (gmark@usanetworks.com) for the information. (~35K)

Another Netscape 2.0 Plug-In solution! You can get LiveUpdate's Crescendo 2.0, which allows embedding of a MIDI file into a web page. It has a nice CD player interface.

Two other possibilities I know of:

  1. Get a great MIDI player for the Mac: Arnold's MIDI player 2.6b (shareware, by Arnaud Masson), which allows you to play MIDI files though your Mac speaker (~200K).
  2. Convert the MIDI files into QuickTime Movie (.MooV) files, using All MIDI 1.1.2fat (freeware, by Paul C. H. Ho), which allows drag and drop conversion of MIDI files to QuickTime MooV movies (20K). You can then play the .MooV files on something like Movie Player (from Apple Computer), Sparkle (by Maynard Handley), or QuickMooV (shareware, by Paul C. H. Ho).
Both solutions require QuickTime 2.0 (I think). Arnold's MIDI player is the more direct solution, since you can configure your Web browser to launch it upon downloading. In addition, if you have the QT2.0 Musical Instruments Extension installed, you can change what instruments are used to play a MIDI file. However, this extension takes up additional memory.

If you have a MIDI instrument, but can't get your MIDI software to recognize MIDI files you download, try using Midi Typer 1.0 (freeware, by Peter Castine). This a drag and drop utility which alters MIDI files so your Mac will recognize them (48K).

Other Mac MIDI information is available at Big Sky MacEzine Issue 22. You can find other Mac MIDI software at Harmony Central.

Playing MIDI on a PC

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 2.0Beta actually plays MIDI files in-line, using the BGSOUND SRC=URL tag. This is the easiest way. If you are using this browser, you should hear your piece from within the output Web page.

A Netscape 2.0 Plug-In solution! You can get LiveUpdate's Crescendo, which allows embedding of a MIDI file into a web page.

Otherwise, you will need to acquire a MIDI player. You may have received one with your Sound Card (if you have one).


Thanks to Joshua Shagam (jshagam@nmsu.edu) for this info:

Under DOS, you use the one which comes with your soundcard or you can use a 
nifty shareware utility called Play (don't know filename, author, etc. since 
it's been a LONG time since I've used it).

Under Windows, you can use Media Player, which comes with Windows, MIDISoft 
Recording Session, which comes with just about every soundcard, Cakewalk 
(nice - and expensive), and any other Windows program which supports the 
Win3.0MPC extensions or Win3.1 and later.  You can even play MIDI files 
through Windows Write, Word for Windows, Cardfile, and Object Packager! :)  
(Well, those all call Media Player, but it's a neat trick nontheless)

Also, with installing helper apps, you only need to create a MIDI type on 
Mac and UNIX.  Under Windows, MIDI is a standard type already.  (Windows 
already comes with all the MIDI extensions, drivers, etc. built in.)

Other Platforms?

I know nothing about this. If you know of solutions, please send detailed information (so I can put it here) to jchuang@biology.berkeley.edu. Thanks!

Configuration

  1. Go to the Preferences Menu of your Web Browser.
  2. Select "Helper Applications".
  3. Create a new MIME type (there may be a "NEW" button).
  4. Enter "audio" as the MIME.
  5. Enter "x-midi" as the SUBTYPE.
  6. Enter "mid" in the EXTENSIONS box. At this point your Web browser can now recognize .mid files as MIDI files.
  7. Now select an application (i.e. your MIDI player) by hitting the "BROWSE" button and finding the directory where your MIDI player resides.
  8. Finally, make sure that the "ACTION" is set to "launch application". This tells your browser to launch your MIDI player whenever it downloads a MIDI file.