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midi2abc - program to convert MIDI format files to abc notation


midi2abc -f infile [-xa] [-ga] [-a acbeats] [-m time signature] [-ppu parts per unit]
[-aul denominator of unit length] [-gu] [-b bars] [-Q tempo] [-u pulses] [-k key] [-c
channel] [-obpl] [-bpl bars] [-bps bars] [-o filename] [-s] [-sr units] [-sum] [-nt]
[-splitbars] [-splitvoices] [-midigram] [-mftext] [-nogr] [-title string] [-origin string]


midi2abc takes a MIDI format file and converts it to something as close as possible to abc
text format. The user then has to add text fields not present in the MIDI header and
possibly tidy up the abc note output.

The output of midi2abc is printed to the screen. To save it to a file, use the redirection
operator, (e.g. midi2abc -f file.mid > file.abc) or specify the output file using the -o

Use only one or none of the options -u -gu, -b and -Q. Midi2abc normally converts the MIDI
time units into quantum units normally corresponding to the abc 1/16th note or 1/32nd
note. If none of these is present, the program will use the PPQN information in the MIDI
header to compute the suitable conversion factor. For most MIDI files on the web, it is
recommended to rely on the MIDI header information and not use any of the options other
than the formatting options.

The program will extract the time signature information from the MIDI file if it is
present. Otherwise it will assume 4/4 or you could specify it with -m. option.

If the tune has an anacrusis, you can use either the -ga or -xa option to estimate the its
length. Alternatively, you can specify its value using the -a option. The anacrusis is
specified in half unit lengths, where the unit length is defined by the L: field. For
example if L: 1/8, then a quarter note would be indicated by the value 4, (4 1/16 units).

-a acbeats
where acbeats specifies the anacrusis in half unit lengths.

-xa extract the anacrusis from file by finding the first strong note

-ga guess the anacrusis by minimizing the number of ties across bars

-m time signature
time signature

-b bars
number of bars wanted in output

-Q tempo
tempo in quarter-notes per minute

-u pulses
Allows you to specify directly the number of midi pulses per abc time unit.

-ppu parts per abc unit length
Normally, the smallest note unit that midi2abc can extract is half the L: unit
length.This is called the quantum unit. Thus for L: 1/8, midi2abc can extract 1/16
notes but not 1/32 notes. You can change this by specifying -ppu 4 for example.
The number of parts should be a power of 2.

-aul denominator of abc unit length
Normally midi2abc chooses a unit length of 1/8 or 1/16 depending upon the time
signature. For time signatures smaller than 3/4 the L: 1/16 is used and for larger
time signatures L: 1/8 is used. You can specify the unit length to be used using
this parameter. Thus -aul 32 will cause midi2abc to use a unit length of 1/32 nd

-gu Tells midi2abc to estimate the number of midi pulses per abc time unit from the
note duration or spacing in the MIDI file.

-gk Tells midi2abc to guess the key signature by minimizing the number of accidentals
even if the key signature is already specified in the MIDI file. By default the key
signature is the one specified in the MIDI file. If it is not specified, then the
program guesses the key signature by minimizing accidentals.

-k key key signature: -6 to 6 sharps.

-c channel
select only this midi channel.

-f infile
input file in midi format

-o output file
specifies the output abc file name.

-s do not discard very short notes.

-sr quantum units
do not notate a short rest smaller than the specified size after a note. If the
size (in quantum units) is zero, nothing is done. For larger values, the rest is
absorbed into the preceding note. In other words, the preceding note is lengthened
to include that rest.

-sum print a short summary of the input midi file.

-nt do not look for triplets or broken rhythm

-obpl Print only one bar per line instead of 4. For complex music this improves the
readability and avoids some problems with some abc to postscript converters. This
option is deprecated.

-nogr (No note grouping.) Inserts a space between all notes. It makes a less pretty
postscript file but it is easier to edit.

-bpl nbars
Print nbars of music on every line followed by a backslash.

-bps nbars
When nbars have been printed (including those lines joined by a backslash
continuation) go to a new line (with no backslash).

This parameter changes the way midi2abc prints chords composed of notes of unequal
length (polyphonic chords). Normally, midi2abc joins the longer notes to the notes
in the following chord using ties. A more readable output, can be obtained if the
measure is split into separate parts using the '&' feature in abc notation. The
algorithm for dividing the notes in a polyphonic chord to separate voices
(label_splits in midi2abc.c) needs some improvement. I welcome any assistance.

This parameter like above handles polyphonic chords by splitting an entire voice
into multi voices.

When this option appears, all other options are ignored and no abc file is
produced. Instead a list of all notes in the MIDI file are printed in a fixed
format. Each line represents a pair of MIDI note on/off event. The line contains
the on/off time of the note, its track number, channel number, midi pitch and midi
velocity. The last record indicates the duration of the MIDI file in MIDI pulse
units. The output is designed to go into a graphical user interface which will
produce a graphical representation (piano roll).

When this option appears, all other options are ignored and no abc file is
produced. Instead a list of all the MIDI commands are printed. The output is
designed to go into a graphical user interface provided by runabc.tcl.

-title string
Replaces the default title field following T: with the given string.

-origin string
Adds an O: field with the given string.

* The key is chosen so as to minimize the number of accidentals. Alternatively, the user
can specify the key numerically (a positive number is the number of sharps, a negative
number is minus the number of flats).

* Note length can be set by specifying the total number of bars or the tempo of the piece.
Alternatively the note length can be read from the file. However, by default it is
deduced in a heuristic manner from the inter-note distances. This means that you do not
have to use the MIDI clock as a metronome when playing in a tune from a keyboard.

* Barlines are automatically inserted. The user specifies the number of measures in the
anacrusis before the first barline and the time signature.

* The program can guess how the length of the anacrusis, either by looking for the first
strong note or minimizing the number of notes split by a tie across a barline.

* Where a note extends beyond a bar break, it is split into two tied notes.

* The output has 4 bars per line.

* Enough accidental signs are put in the music to ensure that no pitch errors occur if a
barline is added or deleted.

* The program attempts to group notes sensibly in each bar.

* Triplets and broken rhythm (a>b) are supported.

* Chords are identified.

* Text information from the original MIDI file is included as comments.

* The -c option can be used to select only 1 MIDI channel. Events on other channels are

midi2abc does not ...

* Supply tune title, composer or any other field apart from X: , K:, Q:, M: and L: - these
must be added by hand afterwards, though they may have been included in the text of the
MIDI file.

* Support duplets, quadruplets, other esoteric features.

* Support mid-tune key or time signature changes.

* Deduce repeats. The output is just the notes in the input file.

* Recover an abc tune as supplied to abc2midi. However, if you want to do this, "midi2abc
-xa -f file.mid" comes close.

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