How to use the examples from this blog

To illustrate certain concepts on this blog, I usually include a recording. These recordings are in MIDI format, not MP3.

There are two reasons for using MIDI: 1) the files are very small so they download quickly, and more importantly 2) you can follow along with my playing on your computer screen.

MIDI files are not audio recordings. They are more like sheet music in electronic form. In other words, MIDI does not capture the sound waves coming from my digital piano, but rather which keys I press and how long I hold them down.

You can play these MIDI files directly from your web browser. But there is a better way:

1. Download and install vanBasco’s Karaoke player (free).

2. Right-click the link to the example file in your web browser and click Save As…

3. Start vanBasco. Click the Playlist, Control and Piano buttons at the bottom of the vanBasco window, to open their respective screens:

vanBasco Player buttons

4. Open the downloaded MIDI file in the Playlist window. Click PLAY to listen. The Piano window now shows you what is being played. Very handy!

vanBasco on-screen keyboard

5. You can even slow down the playback or transpose to another key using the Control window:

vanBasco tempo and key controls

Tip: If you download a MIDI file that also has drums and other instruments, then the on-screen keyboard will show the notes from all of these tracks together, which isn’t very helpful. Fortunately, you can mute the tracks you don’t want to see (and hear) in the Output window.

Read more articles on Piano Clues:

Basic Theory

Chords and Harmony

The Circle of Fifths

Arrangement, Improvisation and Composition

Reading Music and Sheet Music

How to Record Piano

Software and Virtual Instruments

Scales and Exercises

Digital Pianos

Links and Other Stuff

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