Getting familiar with MIDI

Posted by HEx 2014-01-11 at 03:45

So I recently came into possession of a Yamaha P-80 digital piano. Now that my MIDI cable has finally arrived I've been toying with controlling it by computer. MIDI is a terrible protocol, with no concept of plug-and-play whatsoever. And since the P-80 has a very limited set of instruments, with only a token attempt at mapping them onto General MIDI, any software trying to control it needs to have a preset specifically tailored for the P-80.

The program I tried using, Rosegarden, did not. So I made one: p80.rgd. (I haven't played much with the controllers but all the instruments are present and correct.)

Here's a MIDI file I used for testing, and here's how it sounds in FluidSynth with the Fluid-R3-GM soundfont1:

Here's a tweaked version for the P-80, and here's the P-80 rendering it:

The tune is the in-game tune from Spring Weekend, a demo version of which was included on a Windows 98 CD I had many moons ago.2

[1] Well, how the first quarter of it sounds, anyway. For some reason (workaround for poor looping facilities?) the file contains four identical copies of the fragment I recorded.

[2] And while I was googling, I came across Raymond Chen on MEP:TPC.