How to Make MIDI Files From MP3

by Fred Decker, studioD

Your computer is capable of playing sound files in a number of different formats, with MP3 and Windows Media being two of the most widely-used. Both play sounds as straightforward media files. The MIDI format is rather different -- it's more like sheet music telling your computer or instrument which notes to play. Converting your MP3 files into this format is difficult because each instrument must be separated out and converted into MIDI instructions. Only a few programs are capable of this, including WIDIsoft's WIDI Audio Midi Converter and Intellisoft's Ensemble.

Using WIDI

Step 1

Launch WIDI to open an interactive Wizard that will guide you through the conversion process.

Step 2

Click "Transcribe Pre-recorded MP3, Wave or CD" in the first dialog box and then click "Next."

Step 3

Type in the name and location of your MP3 file, if you know it, or click "Browse" and use the file-search tools to locate your music file. Click "Next" again. You'll be prompted to choose conversion presets, but unless you have a problem just click "Next" once more to use the default settings.

Step 4

Click "Finish" to close the Wizard and view the finished MIDI conversion and edit it if you wish. When you're done, choose "File" and then "Save" from the menus or click the File Save icon on the toolbar.

Using Ensemble

Step 1

Run the Ensemble converter.

Step 2

Click the icon in the top left corner of the toolbar to start a new MIDI conversion. An interactive dialog box will open.

Step 3

Choose the first option labeled "My music is recorded as a wave, MP3, WMA, AAC or AAIF file" and then click "Next." Select your MP3 file from the file-search dialog box and click "Open."

Step 4

Verify you've got the correct file by pressing the Play icon, if necessary, and then click "Next." The wizard will ask you whether you know what instruments are used in the MP3 file. For basic use, choose "I Do NOT Know What Instruments Comprise the Original Audio." Click "Next."

Step 5

Click the "Easy" setting if you want the program to convert the music as it is, or the "Notation" setting if you plan to convert the MIDI file into sheet music. The "Notation" setting adjusts the time signatures for transcription, screening out minor variations or errors in the tempo. Click "Next."

Step 6

Type a file name for the MIDI file or just click "Next" to accept the current file name; then click "Finish" to begin conversion. When it's finished, the Results dialog box gives you several options including playing the resulting file, editing it, changing the settings and re-doing the conversion, or saving the project. Choose your options and click "Close" when you're finished.

Tips

  • Once you're satisfied with your MIDI files you can use additional programs to convert them into sheet music for printing or sharing.
  • A basic MIDI conversion turns the music's primary melody into a single file for playback or transcription. More sophisticated conversions can separate multiple instruments and create a separate set of MIDI data for each one, enabling you to recreate the original arrangement.

About the Author

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Photo Credits

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