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  Tuesday, 24 August 2021
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I am a beginner.

I want to generate sheet music from music played on a keyboard. I have Musescore software which can read in a Midi file and write it out in stave format.

I have a fifteen-year old Yamaha keyboard (Electric Piano P70) which has Midi input and output. I’ve bought a Midi-USB adaptor and downloaded “Red Dot Forever” which looked as if it should read the Midi file into the PC but this does not work properly - it picks up a few notes but not all. I think that this is a problem with the Yamaha. I had this modified to enable an electronic organ pedalboard to be connected via the Midi input and played with the keyboard.

To check the cable and PC, I connected the PC directly to the pedalboard Midi output port, and this works properly with the Red Dot Forever, so I am reasonably satisfied that the problem is with the Yamaha, not with my cable or with my PC. I don’t think I am up to working on the Midi settings in the Yamaha, and wouldn’t in any case want to compromise the organ pedals setup.

So my question is this. Can I buy a cheap simple device to do what I want, i.e. play on the keyboard, and have this read into the PC as a Midi file. I’ve been looking at Midi keyboards, and they all seem really complicated, and do far more than what I need. They look as if they would need weeks of climbing learning curves before I could get anywhere.

Any advice/suggestions welcome.
1 month ago
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#10427
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Hello,

Two initial things here.

Firstly, which MIDI/USB interface/cable are you using. There is a cheap Chinese made unit tthat is much discussed on the web, that canuses a number of problems, in particular it is prone to miss notes. This could well be causing your problem. The device has major problems with 'running status', which is where the device that generates the midi data (i.e. the keyboard) generates the 'status byte' for the first note, and then does NOT generate the status byte for following notes where the status byte is the same. This is a perfectly normal and legitimate midi process, but the interface gets confused by it.

Check and see if the keyboard can be told to NOT use 'running status' and see if that helps?

Secondly, the version of MuseScore that I have will receive Midi data OK, and place this directly into a file, which can be saved as a midi file, and displayed as a score. maybe you do NOT need to be using another piece of software if you have MuseScore? If you're using the two systems together, this might also be causing problems?

Let's try and soprt these points out, and move on from there?

Geoff
1 month ago
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#10436
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Hi Geoff

Many thanks for this.

First, the cable. I bought this from a small local electronics/electrical shop which I try to support, rather than buying online from Amazon or others. They have provided excellent support and advice in the past, but may have let me down this time, as the cable is unbranded, and may well be the cheap Chinese one you mention.

However, when I connected it to the organ pedalboard and PC and used the “Red Dot Forever” software, it worked first time. The notes I played were recorded, and reproduced in the Midi file which I was able to play with Musescore. I didn’t try playing anything fancy – not easy to do anything fancy on an organ pedalboard. But this shows that the cable works at least at this level.

When I first connected the Yamaha keyboard to the PC, and used the Record function on “RedDot Forever”, a few of the notes were recorded but not the whole sequence. I did get a Midi file which again only showed up a few notes on Musescore. So there was some communication, but not accurate.

I then consulted the Yamaha manual (when all else fails, read the instructions.....). There is very little there about Midi control. There is MIDI Transmit/Receive Channel Selection so I did this, and there was now no response at all!!!

I couldn’t find anything about “running status” but there is a section entitled “local Control On/Off” so I tried this. I played several notes and found that most of them were not recorded. I then tried playing CDEFG in sequence very slowly, and it did now reproduce these. I saved these to a Midi file Musescore then read and converted to a score correctly.. So it is now working up to a point, i.e. if you play very slowly (not necessarily a problam for me!)

I then tried playing two chords, well separated in time, and it only reproduced one note from each chord.

The only other Midi instruction in the Yamaha manual is “Control Change on/off” which I don’t think is relevant.

I can’t see anything in my version of Musescore which would enable it to get data directly from the Midi signal – it was version 3.2. I’ve updated it to the most recent version, and I still don't see an option to do this. Am I missing something, or is there something else I should add?

I am happy to buy a new cable if that is the problem but at the moment, I’m not convinced that it is.

I hope I have responded to all your suggestions.

Again, many thanks for your help.

Catherine
1 month ago
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#10437
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PS. There is lots of information in the Manual about the format of the Midi file it produced but I don't think any of this can be controlled from the keyboard.
1 month ago
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#10440
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Hello Catherine,

Sorry, but the situation regarding the midi/USB cable is confusing. The 'problem' cable does work OK in some circumstances, but not in others. If you do a search on the web re midi usb cable problems you should find quite a lot, incl some pictures.

Yes, the specific device appears to be unbranded, but I think the same device is also sold branded.

Your description of what works and what does not DOES sound like this is the problem.

This cable has been discussed a number of times on this forum, but I've not got a link to hand.

As for MuseScore, I've got v 2.2 on my computer here, and if I go into the prog, on the main screen, there are 2 menu lines at the top of the screen, the first is text items, the second is icons. In the middle of the second line, there is an icon for a midi socket (DIN type plug). If you point your mouse at that, it should say 'Toggle MIDI Input'. I don't know much more than that, as I've not got any midi connected to this PC (I use a DOS machine for most midi things, as that machine has my Roland sound card it, and the interface to connect to midi devices).

However, for the input to work, MuseScore needs to know about the midi connection, as does WinDoze. This SHOULD be OK though as the other software you're using seems to work?

Geoff
1 month ago
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#10441
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Hello,

Just for information, I incluse a link to some info about the problem cable/interface:

https://karusisemus.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/cheap-usb-midi-cable-how-to-modify-it/

This piece is about how to modify/fix the device, I'm not suggesting that you try this, as if you read the notes right through the writer admits that it might not work for you, but it does discuss the deficiencies of the device in some detail, and also why it works, or seems to work, in some situations, but not in others.

Geoff
1 month ago
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#10442
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Hi Geoff

That is the one I bought – disappointing that my little shop was selling them. I have no desire (and indeed no capability) to modify it!

So I’ve ordered a Roland UM-ONE mk2 USB MIDI Interface which I assume should work. I will report back when I’ve tried it out.

Re Musescore – as soon as you pointed out the icon, it was glaringly obvious, but before that, I did not “see” it at all. I tried setting it up, and was able to get some notes played on the keyboard to appear on the score, but not reliably. I will repeat this when I get the new cable, and see how it works.

Many thanks again for you help

Catherine
1 month ago
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#10443
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Thanks Catherine,

A number of people who've had problems with the likes of the Chinese unit have gone on to the Roland device. The Roland name I suppose.

They've all reported that all the problems have vanished, and everything is now working exactly as it should.

I hope you have the same result.

Sounds like the MuseScore is working OK too. I'd expect that with the new interface/cable this will be fine.

I've not done a great deal with MS, it's more relating to showing the score, and some file conversion. The main software I use for Playing midi files is something called SynthFont, and this is interfacing with a Sound Font system using the 'Timbres of Heaven' SF2 file, which is MUCH better (and bigger) than the virtual synth that comes with WinDoze. The system had the added option that when 'playing' a file back, as well as listen to the result you can immed send the sound playback to a .wav (or if a lesser quality but smaller file is perferred, to an mp3 file). Handy if you need to send the result to someone?

Geoff
1 month ago
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#10470
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HI Geoff

The Roland cable arrived today and as you predicted, it worked properly straight away. So again, many thanks for your help.

My next problem is just how well it picks up the timing of my playing - what I play as single chords come out much of the time as notes separated in time. So I need to sharpen up my playing, or learn a bit more about how Musescore deals with Midi to see if I can get it to overlook my sloppy playing. Onwards and upwards!

Best wishes
Catherine
1 month ago
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#10471
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Catherine,

Thanks for the update.

Regarding the chords, you need to try and work out what the problem is here.

Firstly, you need to look at your computer (WinDoze I assume) and make sure that the system is doing as few other things as possible while you are recording. Try to close all other processes. Look at Task Manager to see what else is active, and if anything substantial is heppening, try to get rid of it. As you note, midi IS time critical.

Secondly, once you've recorded something, there may be processes within the software to 'tidy' things up, usually called 'quantize'', but don't use this too harshly else the music will sound too mechanical.

If the differences are small, this might not really be a problem? Maybe the timing precision of the default settings of midi are just too precise/fine, so the eye sees things that the ear would not be THAT aware of. People doing this sort of thing often spend more time making the music more 'human', less robotic, than they might have spend entering the music in the first place?

Finally, if things are THAT bad in places, you can always manually adjust the timings of the music. I'm not sure if MuseScore gives you a 'piano-roll' edit screen, or an event list, but these would allow you to tweak the chords into total alignment. BUT - if EVERY chord was 100% aligned, would that not start to sound too mechanical, esp when you've listened to it 3 or 4 times over?

Geoff
1 month ago
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#10473
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HI Geoff

I am trying to create a score of what I am playing on the keyboard, and the score does need to be precise or it will be very difficult to read.

I'm fairy sure that the "problem" is that I am not playing the notes of the chord together.

I played eight 4-note chords with two additional intermediate notes. This is the score which Musescore created first time round

prelude.gif

It is probably an accurate representation of what I played but would be pretty horrendous to read.

Next time,I tried a bit harder to play the notes together, and got a better result (I don't seem to be able to upload the file (I'm told it is an unsupported format even though it is a .gif).

I'm sure there are things I can tweak and will work on these, as well as the accuracy of my playing.

But again, thanks for your help - I wouldn't be here without it.

Regards
Catherine
1 month ago
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#10474
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Hello Catherine,

Er, yes. I can understand what you're seeing here.

However, I've seen what happens when I try to do the same thing, and it's MUCH worse!

Firstly. Regarding the .gif file. This forum system says it supports the .gif format. Which clearly it does, as your first file shows correctly.

However, if it supports .gif, then it supports .gif. This will probably exclude .GIF - although in most systems this would count as the same thing, but here it might not. So, to attach a .gif make sure it's .gif (lower case). Does the same thing with .mid files, likes .mid, does NOT like .MID, although as far as my DOS systems are concerned they're one and the same thing!

It might help if you could send me the .mid file. I can experiment more with that, both in terms of playing the file, and also load it into MuseScore and experiment with options to 'improve' (I'll not say 'correct' just yet) things?

Right, the displayed score is showing two separate problems, and they both need sorting. Separately?

There MAY be the problem you suggest, i.e. the notes of the chord are not being pressed 'together' enough, and midi is sensitive enough to see that, and MuseScore is displaying that separation. But that's NOT the main problem.


The MAIN problem is that MS is trying to fit the notes to the beat, and your playing is not accurate enough TO THE BEAT to allow this, so you're getting masses of partial notes where the played notes are over or under the beat. Not sure if you can do this easily, but if you take the existing score and adust the tempo (currently 120) up or down you will find a setting that displays the played music MUCH better. Or maybe parts of the score? More specifically, the score is being displayed as if it's being played at 120, but it's actually being played at 110 (or 130 ?).

This is where you could use a metronome. Maybe MuseScore has a metronome setting that you could play along with?

Enough to be going one with for now?

Geoff
1 month ago
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#10475
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HI Geoff

First the gif. The first file was indeed gif, and second GIF (no idea why, I created them both by using the Snipping Tool to cathc the secreen and saving from there). I changed GIF to gif, and am inserting this, and you can see how much improved (by which I mean it is much closer to what it should be) than the first. All I did was try harder to play all the notes at once.

prelude2.gif

I'm not sure how I can send a midi file - it is not included in the supported file types.

I will now have to consider the second part of your message. I should first explain that I made the recording with "Red dot" - this is a very siimple program which which records the input signal and saves it to a Midi file on request. There are very few varaible parameters - you can ignore key pressure, channel pressure and program change. I ticked the first two, not the last for no particularly good reason. I then open the recorded midi file in Musescore and it immediately shows its interpratation of the file as a score.

I've played around with the Musescore settings as you suggest, and have got a much improved version, but it still thinks I am usually plaing the bottom note first (which I may be doing!). One of the things I checked was "is a human performance"!!

prelude a.gif

But i am climbing the learning curve under your direction.

I haven't been able to record the midi directly using Musescore - I will have to read the instructions more carefully...

Cheers
Catherine
1 month ago
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#10476
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Progress.

Some of those look quite a lot better. The 109 misi be much closer to what you're actually playing than 120 is.

As for the filenames.

Hm. When I first joined this forum, I was somewhat distressed that the forum software did NOT accept .mid file attachments. I mean, it's the MIDI Mfg Assn!! I complained about this, and shortly after something got changed, and then you COULD attach .mid files.

It was that way for while.

Recently, there have been a number of other changes to the forum, and it does look like the change to allow use of .mid files has been 'lost'. Hmm... SAD!

I think that if the .mid files are zipped up into a .zip file, that this is OK again, but the zipping is an extra complication, and may be a complication too many for some.

I'll use a PM (Personal message) to send my email address, that should avout a few complications?? You'll see a 'Notification' on the forum screen, follow that and you should be able to see the PM and reply to it.

It would be VERY handy for me to get a copy of your midi files.

Geoff
1 month ago
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#10477
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Aaargh - seems the PM facility, that WAS there, although not easy to get at, is no longer there. Or hidden. Or I'm missing it?
1 month ago
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#10478
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That's very annoying.

I've set up a new email address - midiforum137@gmail.com for this purpose. If you are happy with this, you can send me an email there, and I will send the files.

I will not use the email address again after that. Would close it down but not sure how to!!

Cheers
Catherine
1 month ago
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#10479
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Hi Geoff


I've now made progress with Musescore. This is the score I got when I input it from the keyboard via midi to Musescore: - I sed step-time" mode to do this:

prelude mscore 1.gif

These are the first four bars - I input these directly to Musescore

original.gif

I think the notes in the midi one are correct, but there are two problems : 1) all the notes are in the treble clef (2) it is only showing crotchets. These are, however, Musescore issues which I'm sure I can resolve by finding and reading the appropriate part of the manual.

Cheers
Catherine
1 month ago
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#10480
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Catherine,

It's a long time since I tried to do anything with step time, but I did use it with the computer keyboard (not midi input). I seem to remember that you selected the note size, pointed at the stave where the note was to go (this deficed what note) and pressed a key (or clicked a button) to insert the note. So it was up to you if it went on the upper or the lower stave. I'd guess that if you are using midi input, and you play a chord, then the chord will go to whichever stave is active. There might be an option to split the notes later.

Associated with this, if you've selected the note size, or just accepted the default (possible) then all the notes will be set to this as they are entered. YOU need to select the different note size as required.

Not sure about the second one - again, useful to see the midi file.

I've sent you an email by the way.

Geoff
1 month ago
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#10481
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I've replied!
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