Volume and Tempo Controls

Command Location: View Menu / Toolbars / Status Bar with Volume & Tempo

Volume and Tempo controls are integrated into the Status bar allowing you to dynamically change the Master volume and Master tempo of a score as it is played back.  As an alternative, you can use the Volume and Tempo keyboard shortcuts to set the Volume and the Tempo at any time.

You can show a list of Status Bar display options by right clicking on the Status Bar.


The slider to the left controls the volume.  To the right, the current tempo is displayed in beats per minute.  When values are changed, the new volume/tempo is shown in the left of the status bar as a percentage of the score’s original volume/tempo at the current cursor position.

These controls are master overrides, not absolute settings (see below).  Use the Tempo dialog to set the starting tempo for the score or add tempo MIDI events later in the score using the Expressions Dialog MidiIllustrator Maestro Only Feature .


The volume is a master setting meaning that the individual volume setting of each staff is incremented or decremented from its original value as the volume changes i.e. it is not an absolute setting.

Note that the final volume of scores when played back is controlled by the Windows Mixer dialog (or the 'Windows volume control').  In general, MidiIllustrator does not alter the volume settings at this level (see the exception below).

Automatically Adjustment of MIDI Device Volume

Some programs erroneously reduce the master volume of the "Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth", which is the default MIDI device used for playback on many Windows systems.  If the Windows 'master' volume for this device has been set to zero, then no sound will be heard during playback of any scores which use the device.

MidiIllustrator now checks to see if the Wavetable Synth is the playback device each time playback begins.  If it is, and the current volume is zero, MidiIllustrator automatically increases the volume to 50%.  This action simply reproduces the result you would see if you manually increased the "MIDI" or "SW Synth" volume value in the Windows Mixer dialog (also know as 'the Windows volume control').

Volume Control Behavior

The volume control has two modes depending on the staff selection state of the score. These modes are designed to allow you to easily focus on a particular instrument or instruments in a score.  You can individuate a selection of instruments gradually by increasing the performance volume relative to other instruments in the score.

Mode 1)  No Staves Selected

If the various staff volumes are uneven, then some staves will reach the boundaries of 0 or 127 before others, at which point increasing or decreasing the volume further will have the effect of gradually synchronizing all staff volumes. Eventually all staves will have the same minimum or maximum value.

Mode 2)  Staves Selected

When one or more staves in the score is selected, altering the volume will effect the selected and unselected staves in different ways.


You can quickly reset the volume to its original value (100%) by clicking on the "Vol:" label to the left of the slider.


The tempo displayed on the status bar is the number of beats per minute (BPM) based on the current beat length and the current rate of play back. The beat length is also illustrated with a note graphic. The note will be equivalent to one beat in length.

Like the volume control, the tempo control is a master override, not an absolute setting. The tempo value you specify will reduce or increase the original tempo of the piece (at the current cursor point) to a percentage of its original value. For instance, if the piece was originally recorded at 60 BPM in 3:4 time then setting the tempo to a value of 250% will result in a tempo of 150 BPM (2.5 * 60 BPM = 150 BPM).

MIDI Tempo controller events in the current MIDI file control the speed at which a song is played back, and these events will update the status bar BPM value dynamically during playback. As the song playback rate slows down or speeds up, the BPM value will decrease or increase accordingly.  The Master % value will not change with these tempo ‘events’, however, and if the tempo at a certain point in the MIDI file drops from 240 BPM to 120 BPM and you have manually set the Master tempo to 25%, for example, the actual tempo you will hear in playback will drop from 60 BPM to 30 BPM (25% of 120 BPM).

The tempo can be modified to any percentage of its original value, so long as the resulting tempo is between 20bpm and 750bpm.

Saving the Tempo

You can apply the current master tempo to a saved copy of your score, using the Save As Dialog.  Alternatively, use the Tempo dialog to set the starting tempo for the score or add tempo MIDI events later in the score using the Expressions Dialog MidiIllustrator Maestro Only Feature ).


You can quickly reset the tempo to its original value (100%) by clicking on the "Tempo:" label to the left of the slider.