Tag Archives: midi

cuse: For this, I shall recuse myself

I have spoken previously on my lack of musical skill or talent, and it has come back to haunt me again with cuse.


cuse is a midi sequencer written completely in ncurses, with a fantastic colorful interface, drop-down menus, load-and-save functions, horizontal scrolling on playback, pop-up dialog menus, a slew of track functions and specific controls … almost all of which is completely lost on the vulgar, like me.

Add to that my meager luck with midi applications — I think timidity++ was the only thing midi-ish that has ever actually worked for me — and you can see why I should probably sit this one out.

I’m impressed though, even if I don’t know what I’m doing with cuse, or how to use it properly. If you have more experience with it or can offer some basic advice to a noob like me, I’d be happy to get it.

For the mean time, I’m content with lots of color, a fullscreen and full-width display, easy-to-navigate menu access, nifty peak level animation, steady horizontal panning and a slim running profile. I shouldn’t need to know how to use it — all that is more than enough to keep me happy. 🙂

cuse is in AUR and will require libcdk as a dependency; the cdk version I got out of AUR was out-of-date, but just needed a version correction and updated integrity sums before it would build. cuse itself gave me no problems.

I don’t see this in Debian. Come on, Debian! Let’s get going here! 😉

timidity++: Miracle of miracles, again

Seems like I’ve been fighting to play back midi tunes of any sort, for years now. My most recent attempt with pmidi failed abysmally, and to be honest I had resigned myself to a state of midi-challenged.

All that changed this afternoon.

2014-05-27-jk7h5f1-timidity-01 2014-05-27-jk7h5f1-timidity-02

I’m having incredible luck with intractable software this year. First mutt, then slrn, and now timidity++. I better buy a lottery ticket. 😯 :mrgreen:

Even better, timidity++ greeted me with a snazzy ncurses interface that has almost everything I look for in an application, except color … unless you count the graphical spectrogram. But I’m willing to overlook monochromatics, since timidity++ actually plays back music — as in, the vibrations that go in my ears and tickle my brain.

Surprise, surprise. The only embarrassing part was that my speakers were turned to the max setting in every direction, which drew some attention from people around me. 😳

All that can be brushed aside, since this is my first successful attempt to get anything audio out of a midi arrangement. And it sounds quite good.

Just as a note to future self, I installed timidity++ and the timidity-freepats packages out of the Arch repos, copied /etc/timidity-freepats.cfg to /etc/timidity.cfg, and started up the timidity service with sudo systemctl start timidity. In other words, I followed the instructions in the Arch wiki. 🙄

Why this works now and hasn’t with other software in the past is a mystery for later. I’m pleased for once to have gotten music out of a midi program. I haven’t been this proud of an audio accomplishment since I milked Revolution Void from the ISA-based hardware in a 120Mhz machine. Those were the days. … 😀

pmidi: If a tree falls in the woods

Apparently today is the day for sound players. This one, unfortunately, I don’t have much to show for.


midi is my No. 2 weak point after networking. That’s pmidi above, and as far as I can tell, it seems to be working.

Of course, I hear no sound coming out, which says to me that — for the umpteenth time — I have failed to correctly configure something.

I even tried to fiddle with my sound settings, but nothing interesting seemed to happen.

I only feel a little bad about that though, because there’s nothing much to show with pmidi. It can show a list of available ports, you can specify a port and specify a delay and … that’s all.

But other than that, there’s nothing graphical to show. No progress bar, no obvious controls, no interface aside from the files you list in the command.

So if there’s nothing to show, and if there’s nothing to hear, I have only one question: If pmidi falls in the woods and no one is there, is it working? 😕

midicomp: Translate your midi files

Sorry for the delay. I ran into some real-life logistical issues yesterday. As a result I have a backlog of posts to write but enough time today to swim through them. So I think I can catch up.

I should mention first that I have rotten luck with midi applications. I can’t recall a single one that has played anything out over my speakers, and yes, I’ll take the blame for that.

But it does leave me rather despondent and unhopeful, whenever the next tool comes along.

midicomp, as I understand it, translates .mid files into and out of plain text, and I’m glad to say this one seems to be working for me.


Of course, it’s just converting between one format and human-readable text. I don’t suppose there’s much that I could screw up there. 🙄

I should mention that I have seen “midicomp” in one or two places around the net, but most links seem to point at a dead site. The version that you see here was cloned from github, and now that I think about it, may or may not be related to the missing title.

Like I said, I have rotten luck with midi applications as a general rule. That probably stems from almost never using them; if you have more use for them and needs something to convert back and forth, this should do the trick.

By the way, this is not in Debian or Arch/AUR (this working version, that is). So if you’re looking for something painless to adopt. …

abcm2ps and abcmidi: Coolness I didn’t know existed

I have all the musical talent of a brick. No, seriously. A dusty brick is more musical than me.

And a person’s got to know their limitations, so I tend to steer clear of anything music-related, if it doesn’t have a “play” button on it.

But the fun part of investigating all these little programs is finding gems like abcm2ps.


I know nothing — nada, zilch, zero — about musical notation or, for that matter, midi playback or conversion.

But with just a little bit of nudging and a quick search at abcnotation.com, and I get something that’s pretty cool — converting a short text file to something very visual.

But again, for all I know, that sheet music might actually just play random tones. I can’t read it. But the conversion looks pretty cool. :mrgreen:

Now, my next attempt was to run the same stuff through abcmidi.

Not so much luck there. What I got, or what I tried to play, ended up being empty, which is usually a sign that I did something wrong.

I suppose, technically, in an ideal world, there should have been sound coming out of my computer from somewhere. But it wasn’t happening.

I don’t blame abcmidi though. If I had more knowledge about midi, or maybe abc notation, or maybe just about music, my results might have been more … cool. 😉