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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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Pickup bar translates to pickup measure, i.e. an anacrusis.
So, Anvil has a command that allows a measure with just a few notes, not the full measure to be created.
Try it.

JohnG.
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Hello Marcus,

I don't think that midi knows about a partial bar, and you may need to use a full bar and start with a rest of appropriate length. That is, in effect, what the music is doing anyway. Otherwise you'd need to use a different time sig for the first bar, then set 2/4 at the start of the next bar, and see what that does. But, why didn't the composer do that? Is there a difference?

As for the grace notes, there may be a complication if there is a difference between what Anvil will allow you to enter, and what midi will accept. Certainly midi can accept grace notes, although they may need to be 'tweaked' into the data after other things are done, and certainly after any Quantize has been done. You might need to adjust the midi note resolution if it will not initially accept the notes (will they end up as 16th, or 32nd, or less ?). When I've tried to play something into midi to record, I end up with a mass of such notes. I've looked at some of the pieces in the 'Classics in Sequence' book I mentioned before, and there are grace notes there, although not quite as small as you've got here, but the only comment in the notes is that they need to be added afterwards, esp after Quantize is done, so any problem is just the problem of getting them in.

Do remember. Composers certainly take liberties with the score, and performers will do likewise for 'artistic' purposes. Why should you be different?

Geoff
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Marcus,

No problem.

Aggravated?? Why on earth? I'm not aware of anything that you might have said that might have caused any aggravation.

Best of luck with your sequencing. Years ago, I'd got a few scores thinking I might try and do something, but I never got around to anything. That's aggravating. Me aggravating myself!!

Geoff
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Hello Marcus,

To answer the first question, these first few notes at the end of the first measure are a very common feature of all sorts of music, not just classical.
E.g. many Irish jigs begin with a note before the main down beat.
They're often referred to as "pickup notes" or, more correctly, an anacrusis.

A MIDI file is normally made with the first bar set with the correct time signature, in this case of 2/4, and the pickup notes are added at the end of that measure.
What one can do, to avoid a long pause, is to set the tempo initially, to a faster one at Measure:Beat:Tick - "001:01:000" and then add the correct tempo (80?) at the appropriate point within the measure 001:02:240 (assuming 480 TPQN)

See attached file anacrusis.jpg

Alternately, one can make the first measure just 1/8 and the second measure 2/4.

As to the Contrabass, this is what I'd do: see GraceNotes.jpg.

Hope that helps?

JohnG.
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Hello Marcus,

I've downloaded the bits you've just sent, and I'll see if there's anything else.

But, initial thoughts. What are you using to play back the file? If the setup you use uses a fairly standard double bass sound, which would have a pretty slow attack, then the notes (pretty short duration I'd expect) might be to short to register any actual sound. If you want to hear them, you might need an alternative sound. If you need to check that the notes ARE sounding, put a PC (Program Change) in just before to set something like a piano (short attack) and then set the db back after the notes. If you do now hear something, then it's the envelope of the sound that's causing the problem. Oh, another possible solution might be to TEMPORARILY increase the volume for those notes?

Geoff
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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 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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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 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,

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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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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Hi John,

Thank you, but I've since decided to make the first measure a full one with the beginning notes at the end, and also make do without some of those double bass grace notes.

--Marcus
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  1. John Garside
  2. 2 weeks ago
  3. #19
The full measure is the correct decision, but why miss out the grace notes?
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In e-mailing Tom of Anvil Studio he pointed this out to me (see below) which I wasn't aware of.:
How to insert a Pickup Bar
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Hi Geoff,

Yeah, I figured something like that might be the case. I was just double-checking.

I hope I didn't aggravate you in any size, shape, or form. Sometimes it's hard to tell emotions just by reading the post in the absence of emoticons.

Thank you,

Marcus
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Hi John,

Sorry for the late reply. Anyway, what's a pickup bar and what purpose does it serve?

--Marcus
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Hi John,

That's what I thought it meant, although I don't know exactly how to use that feature.

--Marcus
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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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I recently discovered something.

As one can see in the zipped folder attached, I've done the first five measures of the 2nd movement to Beethoven's 3rd, as seen in the MIDI file titled "symphony_3_2_(nc)daitch.mid", but the notes don't look quite like the ones in the first five measures of the other file, titled "beets3m2.mid", which I downloaded from midiworld.com.

My discovery was in finding that the author of the latter MIDI file did indeed try to emulate grace notes in the double bass section. I overlooked that, because I was unable to hear those grace notes in the file.

Now I'm wondering how the author of that file managed to squeeze in any of those grace notes, also looking at the one in the violin section.
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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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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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