How To Make MIDI Files in Two Ways

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Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) files are the most modern approach to creating music using computers and the internet.

You don’t even have to know how to play any instrument, and you don’t need to understand musical notes and annotations.

All you have to do is learn how to make MIDI files.

A MIDI file can carry almost all of the properties of any musical instrument or piece, and you can find a multitude of free software floating around on the internet.

You can create MIDI files from scratch, or you can edit a pre-existing MIDI file to create an entirely new one.

How To Make MIDI Files From Scratch

To create MIDI files from scratch, all you need is a reliable MIDI editor.

It doesn’t even have to be a paid application as long as it comes with a wide array of sounds that you can put into play.

If you have a MIDI keyboard, it can provide a more hands-on approach to creating MIDI files.

You can create MIDI files without built-in sounds on your editor, too.

Compose and record your own MIDI file using the available sounds, effects, and editing features to fine-tune a piece.

Follow these steps when creating MIDI files from scratch:

Step 1: Open your MIDI Editor.

Step 2: Create a new MIDI file by opening a new sequence.

Depending on the MIDI editor, each sequence can represent a track or contain overlaying multiple tracks.

Step 3: Assign inputs to separate tracks within the same MIDI file.

The MIDI editor will record everything from any input devices programmed to work with your computer.

You can use your MIDI keyboard or controller, a microphone, or other musical instruments with input access to your computer.

If you can set your MIDI interface to have individual inputs, you should also be able to assign unique tracks for each input type.

With separate tracks for each input, editing can be much easier during post-production.

Step 4: Hit record and start making inputs.

Some MIDI editors run the record tool as soon as you open a new file or sequence.

It will appear on-screen as a red dot to let you know that recording is in session.

You can change this parameter within the editor’s settings to only record the inputs you need.

Step 5: Play and test your inputs.

After each recording, replay and listen to your sounds.

Doing this will help you decide whether to create an entirely new sequence or save the one you just made.

Step 6: Edit all inputs to your liking.

After testing all your input sounds, you can start altering tracks and segments using the MIDI editor, much like editing a pre-existing MIDI file.

Shift the recordings to different time intervals, copy and paste the sounds to varying parts, and set the tempo or timescale.

In the next section, we will be discussing the different functions you can work with to complete creating a MIDI file from scratch.

Step 7: Create backups and save your files regularly.

Don’t put hours of recordings to waste by forgetting to make backups.

If you find and test a particular input to your liking, make a copy and save it to file immediately.

how to make midi files easily

Altering MIDI File Contents To Make New Files

More often than not, it is easier just to select and download your favorite MIDI files from the internet.

This method is especially beneficial if you want to work around popular hits or classical musical pieces that have been around for ages.

However, pre-existing MIDI files are typically large files (sometimes more than 100 kilobytes) packed with too many tracks that make the sound cluttered.

For example, you might download a file off the internet for a specific top hit, but it contains too many unnecessary instrument sounds.

With the same MIDI editor, you can individually alter all of its tracks to suit your purposes.

The following list discusses the several actions you can take to modify a pre-existing MIDI file.

Pitch Bend and Modulation

There may be segments of a MIDI file that you want to sound more lively than other parts.

To do this, you will have to play around with pitch bend or vibrato.

MIDI editors will have an interface for adjusting pitch, note value, duration, and many other values.

You will typically find these controls under the Edit submenu if your MIDI editor has one.

Changing Notes

A MIDI editor will also let you change the way each musical note sounds.

With a sequencer, you can increase or decrease the pitch, modify the time placement of a note, or change the length of a specific sound.

Changing the Volume

Since a MIDI file comprises several instrument sounds, you can alter the volume of each specific whole track.

You can also choose to modify the volume of an isolated segment within a particular track.

This tool is essential for creating entirely new sounds from pre-existing MIDI files.

If you want membranophones to sound louder than aerophones, select the bass tracks and increase their volume.

Alternatively, you can also select all the wind instrument tracks and reduce their volumes altogether.

Removing and Inserting Segments

Even when creating MIDI files from scratch, you will always benefit from the cut and paste or trim and insert functionalities of MIDI editors.

There may be times when you think a piece is too long and a segment is unnecessary, or a file is too short, and it needs more zing.

With cut or trim, you can remove partial segments from anywhere on any track.

Otherwise, use the paste or insert tools to add entirely different segments anywhere you need them.

Many MIDI editors allow you to work with multiple MIDI files simultaneously so that you can mix and match sounds from different pieces.

You can also transport trimmed or cut segments from a particular track within a MIDI file by pasting or inserting it on a different part of the same file.

Adding Your Own Tunes

Finally, you can also combine working from scratch with editing existing files.

Spice things up by adding entirely new segments into parts of a pop track.


Learning how to make MIDI files is usually easier the first time if you work around existing files that you can download off the internet.

With these available files, you can have a sneak preview of what you can accomplish on your own if you start from scratch.

With the right tools on a MIDI editor, you can start creating your music out of nothing, just like staring at a blank canvass.

You may want to try several free MIDI editors first to have a broader outlook on the tools you can use when creating music.

Sometimes, you might even need to shift between different MIDI editors while working on the same file to take advantage of tools unique to both editors.