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MMD > Archives > May 1996 > 1996.05.07 > 05Prev  Next

Listening to MIDI on Macintosh
By Philippe Rouillé

Paris, May 7th 1996

As a Macintosh user (with System 7.1), I am trying hard to listen to MIDI files.  Some are given to me by friends, some appear on the FTP site maintained by Jody, and some appear in "text" form in the mailing list digests.  Most of them are made in PC and stuffed formats, and, for a Macintosh user, it is sometimes difficult to open them.

So I cannot yet listen to everything, but here are the results of my experiments, with the very good advices and patient help from Jody Kravitz and Robbie Rhodes.  (See what Robbie does with Apple File Exchange, in the 96.05.05 digest.  But everybody hasn't got a Mac and an (old) PC).

1) With a music software like Mastertracks (there are other good
   softwares), you may open MIDI files and play them.  You see the
   score streaming under your eyes, but you hear nothing ...
   ...Unless you plugged in your modem port for example a MIDI
   interface (there is one made by Apple) linked directly (or through
   an expander) to a real musical instrument able to be MIDI-linked (a
   Yamaha Clavinova for example).

2) The only way to listen to a MIDI file on the Macintosh computer
   itself, without having it linked to an external MIDI instrument,
   seems to open (in fact import) the MIDI file with Lecture Quicktime,
   provided of course you have the files Quicktime and Quicktime
   Musical instruments placed in the extensions folder of your system.
   Click on convert, then on options, but *not* on save as a movie.  I
   didn't find the Apple MIDI manager of any use for that purpose, but
   perhaps I am wrong.  Nevertheless, some people told me that some
   softwares do exist which allow you to hear directly MIDI files on
   the loudspeakers of your Macintosh provided it is an AV or
   multimedia machine.  I certainly would like to know more about it.

3) Most of the available MIDI files with this list or through FTP or
   through the web are compressed (stuffed) with Pkzip.  (The binhex
   problem is normally solved automatically by e-mail softwares such as
   Eudora, which solves sometimes too the zip problem ; but the problem
   stays entire with FTP).  Till now, the best software I found to
   make such files readable for a Macintosh Machine is a shareware by
   Aladin, called Dropstuff with EE (Expander Enhancer), and which
   should be used with StuffIt Expander.  Both may be obtained in one
   stuffed package of 529 Kb, called DropStuff w/EE 3.5.2 Installer,
   either from the FTP site:


   or, if you are linked to the net, in one of these two sites, which
   give you very simply all you always wished to know about the Common
   Internet File Formats (File Formats - Macintosh.  File Suffix.
   Format Description.  How to read them.  .ARJ. PC format common):

   Once you get this file on your machine, you click on Installer to
   unstuff the 2 softwares, and install them.  To transform a .zip file
   in a Mac readable file, just drag the file on the icon of StuffIt
   Expander (and not on the icon of Dropstuff, although the presence of
   Dropstuff is necessary).  You probably get a Text file, that you
   transform in a MIDI file with a desk accessory such as Deskzap,
   changing the type from "Text" to MIDI, and the creator from "ttxt" to
   your music software (for ex.  "MTPC" if you use Mastertracks).  Then,

4) I haven't yet found the right way to convert in a MIDI file the MIDI
   files enclosed in the text of some digests of this mailing list,
   especially as they often appear in 2 separate parts: Eudora cannot
   deal with texts more than about 7 pages (courier 10), and even
   Simple Text find these files too long...  Should I transfer it to a
   file opened by a Word Processor like Word 5, and save it as Text
   only ?  Anyway, I keep trying.

I hope this will answer some questions of other members of the list using Macintosh computers.  But, being no computer specialist, I need myself to go further on (especially on point 4), so please, if you can give better or more complete hints, tell us here.

Philippe Rouille

(Message sent Tue 7 May 1996, 21:25:10 GMT, from time zone GMT+0200.)

Key Words in Subject:  Listening, Macintosh, MIDI

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