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Most Yamaha-format accompaniment styles for keyboards include multiple introductory sections (IntroA, IntroB, IntroC). The loose convention is that IntroA is relatively simple and starts with a measure of downbeats. This presents a problem if you want to use the introduction in a performance. Furthermore, the downbeat is unnecessary in the Accompaniment Machine — the program includes a visual beat indicator. Here’s a quick way to silence the taps when you’re in the AutoSequence mode of the Accompaniment Machine:

 -4 0 IntroA
 -4 0 StyleVolume 0.00
 -4 0 G
 -3 0 StyleVolume 1.00
  1 0 MainA

The command sequence drops the volume to zero through one measure of the five measure introduction. In performance, you need to remember that there will be a measure of silence after you start the accompaniment.

A cleaner solution is to modify the style to eliminate the measure. I’ll go through the steps in this article. We’ll see how to use the Export and Import functions of Style Master and how to set up automatic program launching in MIDI File Organizer. Then, we’ll review some techniques for the useful Speedy MIDI utility.

 

Step 1. Use MIDI File Organizer (or another file management program) to set up a work environment. Figure 1 shows an example. The working directory, C:\TEMP, contains a subdirectory to hold individual sections of the style.

Set up a directory to hold the individual style sections.

Figure 1. Set up a directory to hold the individual style sections.

 

Step 2. Run Style Master and load the style (Figure 2). If you preview IntroA, here’s what it sounds like:

It’s a nice introduction to the song if we can eliminate the downbeat. Click the Export button, navigate to the directory C:\TEMP\SmallHotel and click OK. Style Master breaks the style into the individual MIDI sections (right-hand window of Fig. 1).

Style Master with the sample style loaded

Figure 2. Style Master with the sample style loaded.

Step 3. Speedy MIDI is an essential freeware program to install if you do any work with MIDI files. You can download the program at https://sourceforge.net/projects/speedymidi/. Over the years, I have tried at least ten different MIDI editors and digital workstations. There is no perfect solution. Here are the pros and cons of Speedy MIDI:

Pros

  1. It has by far the best display of the structure of MIDI files of any available program.
  2. It does the things it does simply and logically. These things include changing the MIDI file structure (e.g., remove tracks, remove measures,…), set the MIDI channel voices, listen to file, make global changes like transpositions,…

Cons

  1. Speedy MIDI was not designed for composing or musical editing. You can’t modify individual notes. MuseScore (https://musescore.org/en) is a good option for creating or modifying the musical content of MIDI files.
  2. There are no instructions, neither a manual nor even a help file.

In light of the later, I will go over the Speedy MIDI operations for this simple example in detail.

 

Step 4. Speedy MIDI has another drawback — when you want to open a new file, the load dialog always starts in a default directory rather than the last place you were working. This problem is easily rectified with MIDI File Organizer. In the Settings window, you can define a tool to launch a highlighted file automatically in Speedy MIDI. Figure 3 shows the setup for Speedy MIDI and MuseScore. Now, you can highlight a file in either navigation window of MIDI File Organizer and then right-click and choose the Speedy MIDI tool. The file is immediately available in the program. Use this method to open IntroA.mid in C:\TEMP\SMALLHOTEL.

Settings window of MIDI File Organizer

Figure 3. Settings window of MIDI File Organizer showing a tool to launch a file in Speedy MIDI.

 

Step 5. In Speedy MIDI, press Control-F to display all tracks (Fig. 4). In this case, each track corresponds to a MIDI channel. There are no additional tracks (e.g., lyrics) because Style Master exports Type 0 files with only musical information. Click the green arrow in the toolbar at the top if you want to listen to the section content. An inspection of Fig. 4 shows that the downbeat occurs in the style percussion channel (09h). There is no musical information in the other channels, so we can simply eliminate the first measure. Click in the measure box above the first track to highlight the measure in all tracks (Figure 5). Then press Control-Delete to remove it. Save the file.

Speedy MIDI display with IntroA of the style loaded

Figure 4. Speedy MIDI display with IntroA of the style loaded.

Speedy MIDI with the first measure highlighted

Figure 5. Speedy MIDI with the first measure highlighted.

 

Step 6. If we inspect the modified IntroA.mid with MIDI Microscope, we find that Speedy MIDI has saved the information to a Type 1 MIDI file with individual tracks for each MIDI channel. This brings up a general issue of MIDI editors. Because musical data allows many interpretations, editors always seem to do something that you don’t want. In this case, there is no problem because Style Master automatically converts the information to the required Type 0 format on import. Click the Import button in Style Master, choose the directory C:\TEMP\SMALLHOTEL\ and click OK. The section files are reloaded, reformatted if necessary and organized. Now when you preview IntroA, the downbeat is gone. The final step is to save the modified style.

I’ll discuss other Speedy MIDI operations in future articles. In the meantime, the program logic is straightforward and you can discover most capabilities by experimenting with test files.

Footnotes

[1] Find out more about KBD-Infinity: Home page.

[2] If you have comments or questions, please contact us at info@kbd-infinity.com.

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