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  1. Marcus
  2. Creating with MIDI
  3. Friday, 08 May 2020
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As some of you may be aware, I'm trying to transcribe Beethoven's 3rd Symphony into MIDI format. I'm currently almost halfway done with the 1st movement, so I'll be preparing the 2nd pretty soon. In the opening bars of the 2nd movement, there are a few techniques I can't figure out how to emulate. Firstly, I don't know how to contain one measure within merely a position of an 8th note in a 2/4 time signature (3rd symphony 2.png). Second, I don't know how to mimic grace notes into a MIDI file (3rd symphony 3.png). This can be shown in the two images mentioned, which are found in the zipped folder attached to this post.

In the meantime, I'm aware that there's the complete 3rd Beethoven symphony on other sites, and from midiworld.com I downloaded both the 1st and 2nd movements that someone else did in MIDI. But in the 2nd movement, it appears that the sequencer kept the first measure as a full one, and avoided the grace notes highlighted in the double bass part.

Is something like this possible to implement using a MIDI sequencer? I use Anvil Studio.
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Hi Geoff,

Thanks for your replies. I think I've got all the grace notes in up to the point where I'm at. Also, I'm well aware of the "every instrument at the same volume" issue. However, playing different volumes, emulating the dynamics notated by Beethoven into MIDI, sounds a bit choppy on my PC. Believe me, I've experienced something like that, not on my own MIDIs, but on those I downloaded from MIDI World. The ones from that site use different volumes, and they sound rather messy on my PC. So I don't think I'm gonna change the volume in whole or in part on any of my MIDIs.

I hope all this helps.

Marcus
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Hello Marcus,

Volume and Pan will both need attending to. Not sure if you've dome anything yet in the 1st mvt?

Pan isn't too bad, you just need to look at the standard plan for the setup of an orchestra and assign pan accordingly to match, and the initial setting at the start of the piece will stay put right through. And there's prob a standard setting you can find somewhere and copy, i.e. someone else has already worked it out.

Volume is more of a problem, as this can change often during the piece, both as notated by the composer and as tweaked by the conductor. BUT there's the additional problem that the various devices that might be used for playback may have different RELATIVE volumes as regards different instruments. No way round this, I guess? If your settings arouse any complaint, just put it down to YOUR 'artistic license'??

Geoff
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Marcus,

Oops, sorry, previous play was actually on 1st mvt, wrong file.

Now tried the correct file, no tremelo strings now!

Sounds good, but I note that all the instruments are playing full volume, and the same volums, and this does not sound right, also all pan set to middle (0) and this makes things sound odd again. This time done a compare between the Yamaha device and the purely digital sound of SynthFont and the latter sounds better, but maybe the former may need some coparable adjustment re reverb etc?

Did this example 0:48 sect, include the grace notes or have they not got in?

Geoff
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Marcus,

Just had a play-thru, sounds very good, although the 'tremelo strings' effect seems somewhat heavy on my system (using SynthFont with the 'Timbres of Heaven' SF2 file), I'll try it on the other system playing thru the Yamaha MU90r as well.

Using Synthfont, I can record as .WAV, but it gives a 14Mb file which is too large for the forum! Even zipped!! Hmm, wonder if it'll do mp3 instead??

Geoff
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Hi Geoff, John,

Thanks a ton for all of your help, I really appreciate it! Right now, I'm looking for feedback on the progress I'm making so far in my own MIDI file, although it's still very incomplete at the moment. You'll find the file in the zipped folder attached to this post. What do you guys think?

@John - I hope you enjoy your lunch!

Marcus
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Hi Marcus, Geoff,

Geoff, yes I work in Event List, mostly to enter MIDI Controller events when the controller lanes don't suffice.
(I've been messing with MIDI editing and programming (in Basic then) since the mid eighties on an Atari back then.)
But also in notation view for score entry and, equally, in PRV (for Marcus, Piano Roll View) to tweak note start and end timing and arrange note overlap for legato playing.

Marcus, take a look at the attached picture "GraceNotes2.jpg" where I've moved to the PRV and extended the view to 64th notes.(LH red box.)
That's the original you're looking at. Now look at the RH red box and you'll see I've deselected the quantisation to note start and note end.

Now take a look at second picture "GraceNotes3.jpg" and you'll see that I've been able to adjust the precise timing of the notes so they fit a legato style of playing.
In PRV you can enter notes and edit them to you're hearts content.
So, the grace note is a 64th note entered at beat 2 of the second measure, followed by an 8th suitable shortened to fit into the correct timing.

Any use?

JohnG.

( Must find time to get on with my own work but first cook some lunch!)
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Marcus,

I still think this screen is where you need to be.

Any chance you could do me one of the screen images of in the Events list, at a point where you need to be adding grace note(s), and I'll see what it looks like. It'll prob mean something to me. Otherwise, I'll need to check in the Muse?? software and see what that does, but I don't think that has an similar screen. The SynthFont system DOES mind you. that will let you do the sort of edit you need to do, and as I've got that already... But you maybe have NOT got that?

Geoff
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Hi Geoff,

I took a look at the Events List in Anvil, and it's all text, most of which I don't even understand. I'm a visual learner, so the Events List isn't really that helpful to me. Too complicated.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Marcus
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Marcus,

I still think you need to be looking at the Events List screen, Anvil does have one. I quite accept that this screen will look the least understandable to you, but this is the screen that lets you get at the 'nuts and bolts' of the data (midi) This should allow the entry of the grace notes, defining the specific tick counts where each note starts and finishes.

I've not got Anvil here, so I cannot refer to the screens. I've looked at the manual for Anvil, and I note that it says VERY little about the Events screen, which is sad, as this is the screen where I would be most at home.

Within the Events list screen, you would need a way to add a new note, calculate the start tick, and the length, give the midi note number, etc. Another prog I was looking at (SynthFont) also has a reasonable Event list, but no visible way of adding a new line, but this does have a 'Duplicate Line' option so you just make a copy of one line in the right place and then change the details of the copy to the new details you need for the new note. Confusing?

I wonder how familiar John is with the Events list screen/options?

Geoff
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Hi John,

I experimented a bit with Anvil, and while I'm still a little puzzled as to how the author of the original MIDI file managed to do it, I came up with a solution that will work for the time being. In the meantime, would you think it's a good idea to ask the developer of Anvil how that particular author managed to squeeze that grace note in?

Marcus
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Many, many, MANY moons ago I used to be the administrator of MidiWorld.
Les Winters, the originator, handed it over to me when he became very ill, went back to his home country and later, sadly died.

The problem became, with the forum, that the number of spammers that jumped aboard daily became too much to handle.
The MIDI conversations dwindled to almost nothing, so I closed the board but left the files in place.

Somewhere, goodness knows where now, I've got a complete backup of the site, and a login, which I seem to have mislaid. :-(
It all happened something like ten years ago and I've moved from Germany, where I lived for some years, back to England in the meantime.

How time slips away, and so, so many people I knew are no longer with us.
Ah, well!
It's what happens, I guess, when you get old.

Try changing the grid to 64th notes and show 64ths too. You'll see, maybe how it was done.

JohnG.
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Hi John,

Thanks for getting back to me, and it's quite alright.

Anyway, I've already found a way to put the double bass grace notes into the score. Now I'm trying to figure out how to put a grace note in the first violins part without having to mess up note space or decrease the length of any of the regular notes in order to accomplish it.

As you can see in the attachment, the author of the MIDI World MIDI file managed to put a single grace note in one of the measures without having to decrease the length of any of the other notes. Look at where the arrow I drew points. Can you figure out what he did, or should I come in contact with someone more familiar with Anvil?

Marcus
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Hi Marcus,

Sorry, away writing the Ave Maria from Verdi's Otello. (My wife's a semi-professional operatic mezzo!)
Trying to get some human feel into the string parts.

In composer view set the attributes as you can see in the following picture "GraceNotes.jpg".

What I did was to select the 32nd note value over at the right hand side and tick "triplet".
In order to get the two naturals I changed the Key to C major and then clicked where I needed the notes on the staff in the right place.
Then I unclicked triplet, selected the 16th note value (the score shows a dotted 8th note), and clicked that into place.
Then I changed the key back to E flat major to check the result.

Any use?

JohnG.
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Do not too many people here have enough experience with Anvil Studio to know how to manually insert grace notes into a MIDI project without messing up note space per measure? And believe me, I did do a Google search for forums focusing on Anvil, but I saw no reliable ones relevant to the software; there isn't even an official Anvil forum.

Do any of you have any suggestions? And if not, is there someone I can ask to help me move forward?
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OK, thank you all for your helpful replies. :)

Now, if any of you guys are familiar with Anvil Studio, I would like to know how to manually insert grace notes into a MIDI file (like what Geoff assumed was the case) without having to shorten one or more of the other notes. If any of you are unaware of the file where I found grace notes allegedly inserted manually, please download the file I attached titled "Beethoven3rdSymMvt2.zip". The MIDI file in there that's not mine should be titled "beets3m2.mid" or something like that. The other file is mine, and it is incomplete.

Marcus
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Unlike so-called landmark nuances, grace notes never affect the subdivision of the rhythm or the "counting" of the bar music containing them, so there is no need to delete other bar notes to keep the time signature intact.
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Hi John,

I understand; but now I'm having trouble with how to implement changes such as those you mentioned through using Anvil Studio. I tried every possible, plausible way I could think of. Am I missing something with the program I normally use (Anvil, that is)?

Marcus
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Hi Marcus,

The reason you may not be hearing these notes correctly is because the author of the file has obeyed the 'slur' markings for the double bass in the score.
In order to achieve the slur effect using MIDI, the chanel is set to monophonic, and the notes are overlapped.
This is what has been done with this file. See "Eroica_2-02.jpg" below.

In this picture you'll see the notation of the first measure at the top left, below it the piano roll view (PRV) where you can just make out that the notes ovelap one another.
Lastly, as Geoff has mentioned, if you look at the List View, top right, you'll see that the 1st note overlaps the 2nd by 4 ticks (at 480 TPQN), the same with the 2nd to 3rd,
and the 3rd to 4th.
The way to make these sound correctly using a standard MIDI player is to undo the overlap, e.g. the first three grace notes need their length reducing ...
everywhere that they overlap.

The MIDI player soft/hardware should (N.B. should) make a sound something like the mp3 attached in the zip file.
This was made using basses from a virtual orchestra sample player.

The trouble with this way of working is that you can't have two sets of notes occuring simultaneously, like the pair of flutes from measure 46.
These have to be given their own separate MIDI channel to sound correct.



Any help?
JohnG.
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Marcus,

I would assume that the grace notes have been manually edited into the data.

I assume that the system you're using has either or both of an Midi Event screen or a Piano Roll type screen, and either of those should have the ability to edit the data. It's just a matter of which is nore convenient for you, as regards the way the software is done. You just need to add in the details of the notes in the right place. I see that the file that had the notes in had the grace notes about 141 ms long, and I note that for the set of three notes, the end of each was slightly overlapping the start of the next.

Specifically for one set, the first note was 3.077 to 3.218, the second was 3.205 to 3.346 and the third was 3.333 to 3.474. I assume that the overlap would have given the slurring.

NB - note that different devices may have sounds with slightly different envelopes. What you do to get the sounds heard on your setup might not be OK on another setup, but as long as you don't make the volume too much louder you should be OK.

Geoff
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Hi Geoff,

I copied the MIDI World file and edited the copy; I tried your first suggestion, in which I didn't notice a difference; then I tried your second suggestion, in which I DID notice a difference. I was able to hear the grace notes very well after raising the volume. My problem is still unresolved though, because I've changed my mind and I now want to transcribe everything I can, including the grace notes, into the MIDI file on my own (without having to copy and paste someone else's work).

Marcus
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