General Info and My
These are selected MIDI files which are either new or in an unusual
form like the all-in-one Elgar and Brahms Symphonies and the Elgar
Violin Concerto plus the GS files which are GM on the other sites
(Enigma). It also includes the Myriad "singing" and playing scores as
Most of my "normal" files are available at Classical Archives but the Poulenc "Suite
Française after Gervaise" may be found at the no-longer-updated Classical MIDI Connection and the UK site.
I've been requested to write a little on my sequencing
techniques though it's too large a subject to put in more than a brief
I, like everyone who sequences orchestral scores, put all
the tracks in one at a time (usually with step-entry rather than
real-time.) taking care to follow the expression. (Even when expression
is not indicated, some shape to the line is desirable.) I will do
several measures at a time and adjust the general balance as I add
tracks. I usually only make fine adjustments in tempo later but may do
it roughly as I go along. Vibrato may be done with System Exclusive
messages, put in by hand or entered in real time with a MIDI keyboard
using the modulation controller ("mod wheel", CC1) depending on the
effect I want.
The orchestra is, by nature, a contrapuntal instrument and
even block chords are produced by a combination of mostly single notes.
So the horizontal line in each (sustained) instrument must always be
worked out satisfactorily and blended with the other lines to make a
good vertical sound.
It must be borne in mind that a sustained sound is like a
living thing and should not remain at a steady level most of the time
if the sound is to be dynamic rather than static. With a percussion
(piano, harpsichord, drums etc.) instrument where there is an attack
and a decay of the sound, this should be handled by velocity only. In a
sustained sound, I use the expression controller (11) for crescendos
and decrescendos on single long sounds. On very long sustained notes,
it's still a good idea to vary the volume slightly even if it's not in
the score. For short ones, velocities generally suffice. For fps, fzs
and accents on long notes etc., I use the expression controller
accordingly. Of course, I set the volume (CC7) at the beginning of each
track usually to 100, and only change it if I need more sound in a
In a cantabile passage, I may set velocity to an average
level for the expression involved, say 50 or 60 for pp, 70 for p, etc.
In these passages, an attack may be softer at first and then swell on
the same note, perhaps with a decrescendo after. The expression (or
volume on some soundcards.) controller is the only way of doing this.
In many instances, it may be necessary to adjust velocities in these
passages due to the limitations of sound sources which may change sound
quality and volume from one note to another. Soloing the track and
listening carefully is the only guide here. In addition, I have
increasingly found that, in two-note slurs, it is best to lower the
velocity on the second note if it's in a decrescendo.
I generally use Strings 1 (48 or 49) for brilliant string
passages and Strings 2 (49 or 50) for legato work.
I don't agree with those who insist on creating these files
without listening to recordings, if they exist. MIDI sequencers are
mostly not that familiar with the orchestra and the effect intended may
not be immediately apparent from the score. I know for example, in my
own case, how much I underestimated the volume of the brass
instruments. If the sequencer has individuality, then listening to
other performances will not be harmful. If he or she doesn't, at least
it will be "correct".
A good musical education is a big help to get comfortable
with different styles. I learned a great deal, for example, from
various teachers that I met as a piano accompanist to violinists and
other instrumentalists. One especially good instructor (though perhaps
not as a teacher of violin technique in the earlier stages.) spoke of
how to take the space needed for a musical effect and this has really
stuck with me. There is no substitute for a cultivation of a sense of
I've learned a lot by opening and listening to other files
to see how certain things are achieved and even opening poor sequences
can be an educational experience in seeing how they aren't achieved.
Next page: Beginning of new file
and how I approach it.