How MidiIllustrator converts MIDI to Notation

One of the principle features of MidiIllustrator is its ability to generate attractive, accurate and flexible scores from the raw musical information contained in MIDI and Karaoke files. Although tremendously popular with musicians for their ability to store rich detail about the 'sounds' in a given piece of music, these files comprise mainly note pitches and durations, and typically contain very little information about how the music should be notated. MidiIllustrator is therefore tasked with filling all the gaps to complete the visual picture; for example, beaming and tying notes, creating clefs and key signatures, and placing accidentals next to notes on the score as appropriate.

What You See versus What You Hear

In scores generated by MidiIllustrator from MIDI files, the notation you see on the screen or printed page is completely independent of the music you hear during playback.  MidiIllustrator keeps these two aspects of the music completely separate so that you may at all times hear the music performed as its author intended, even when the score has been arranged to provide maximum clarity and readability.  Music performed with the most 'expression' or 'feeling' is often not the most readable music (see Accuracy versus Readability below).  For this reason, MidiIllustrator keeps the original performance in a MIDI file intact when notating. The underlying MIDI note data is hardly ever changed. As a result, when the look of the notation is 'tidied up' for the sake of presentation, the feel of the music is never lost.

Of course, when desired, you can also use MidiIllustrator's powerful editing modes to make real changes to even the underlying performance data.  In Edit Mode you have complete control over composition - MidiIllustrator will settle on the current interpretation of the song's original MIDI content when editing begins.

Accuracy versus Readability

When notating, MidiIllustrator conducts an in-depth analysis of the musical data, at all times balancing the need to:

MidiIllustrator can, for instance, readily distinguish groups of short, barely asynchronous notes played in quick succession which should correctly be notated 'arpeggiated', from groups of concurrent notes played with approximate synchronicity, which should be correctly notated as a chord. On another occasion, MidiIllustrator might decide to form a chord from a cluster of notes which, on face value, could also be notated as an arpeggio or trill. In this last case, a careful study of the music 'style', its rhythms, note pitches and changing hand positions will contribute to the decision making process. The most feasible, readable form of the music should prevail, offset against the need to display truly complex passages with accuracy. Of course, 100% accuracy in this endeavour is impossible, but in cases where a mistake is made, corrections can be easily made to the final notation.

MidiIllustrator can generate attractive scores from even poorly 'sequenced' MIDI files

Generally, the quality of a MIDI file's 'sequencing' can affect the quality of the resulting score. 'Sequencing' here refers to the way in which each note's attack time and duration is recorded in the MIDI file. Music which is sequenced with 'feeling' and 'expression' to sound good when played back often does not make for very readable notation. MIDI files which have, on the other hand, been 'quantized', or sequenced with greater accuracy, generally produce scores which are easier to read. Sequencing notwithstanding, MidiIllustrator will generally make sensible decisions about how to notate a complex or 'live performance' MIDI recording. With MidiIllustrator's transcription options, you may also control or limit the complexity of such scores in order to make the notation more accessible.

Advanced notation features

The MidiIllustrator MIDI to Notation engine can identify and represent even the most complex musical ideas, such as tuplet note groupings and multiple voicings in a single staff. Furthermore, you can instruct MidiIllustrator to notate your scores in a particular way, for example presenting difficult notation in simplified form.

What else can you do with MidiIllustrator?