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MMD > Archives > April 2018 > 2018.04.21 > 04Prev  Next

Converting Floppy Diskette Music Files to MIDI
By Julie Porter

[ Paul Wong wrote in 180420 MMD -- ]

> Years ago I bought the DOS-based PianoDisc software for downloading
> and converting MIDI files into PianoDisc files and vice versa, but
> the software doesn't recognize the files when I try to open them in
> my external floppy disk drive.  How can I get these non-PianoDisc
> diskettes converted?  Thanks!

In the tech section of this website there is some old code called
PDFILE which was designed to recover bad or unreadable disks.  This
is the direct link: 

It should run under Windows 98 or Windows XP; however, as it makes
direct calls to the BIOS, it may not work on later operating systems.
It is also unlikely to read from an external floppy drive which uses
a USB bridge [i.e., which connects to the computer via USB].

Program PDFILE ignores the sector IDs on the disk and attempts to
read the disk by physical blocks.  If the disks are too old or have
been erased it may not be possible to read them.  If the data can be
read it, PDFILE knows how to extract MIDI from the internal format
(PianoDisc format or Yamaha ESEQ format).

I take it the old DOS tools were the GNMIDI ones.  PDFILE can read
and write the same disk image format on the hard drive that the GNMIDI
tools created.  It runs from the command line in batch mode and is
suitable for maintaining archives of disk images and the individual

You may also want to look into a program called DosBox.  This is an
emulator that runs on any operating system, e.g., Macintosh, Linux
and newer Microsoft systems such as Windows 10.  DosBox is designed
for game emulation, so it can emulate the sound card and the direct
hardware access with the correct timing.

I find that the serial emulation on the Mac is better than running
the code native under DOS on XP.  I have not attempted to see if it
can emulate reading floppy disks with bad sectors.  Some games also
intentionally wrote bad sectors or direct access as a way to limit
copying the media.

Julie Porter

(Message sent Sat 21 Apr 2018, 19:36:41 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Converting, Diskette, Files, Floppy, MIDI, Music

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