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Given a MIDI file how can I transform it something that sounds like the vocal cadences on the wikipedia.org/wiki/Candence entry? I understand that the end result will be an audio file and not a MIDI file and I'd like it to sound like the audio files on the Wikipedia page.

What vocal synths/samplers would I need?

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    You should clarify your intentions. For instance, if you already have a MIDI file of that recording then all you need to do is change the program number to something like 53 or 54 to correspond to a vocal sound and export it as .mid file. But if your goal instead is to have people hear a specific vocal sound like on that Wiki page (which are audio and not midi) then you'll need some sort of vocal synth or sampler to generate those sounds from the MIDI note data. But, it won't be a .mid file then. It will have to be audio in the end. So which do you want?
    – user66401
    Sep 30, 2020 at 0:56

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Ok, so essentially what you need to do is load that MIDI file into a DAW or something can play back MIDI using a VST synth/sampler or soundfont.

If your goal is for the end result to sound as much like the audio files on the Wikipedia page, then ideally you'd want to use the same sound generator (VST, soundfont, etc). If not then it's a matter of finding one as similar as possible to what they used.

Here's what I can tell you about what they used:

  • Wikipedia/Mediawiki has a <score> markup element which lets people embed Lilypond scores onto the page.
  • The Lilypond scores for those vocal cadences are using the "voice oohs" setting for Staff.midiInstrument. Basically, this is Lilypond's way of saying use General MIDI program number 54.
  • From that Lilypond code the score image and a MIDI file are automatically generated. The MIDI file is automatically converted to an .ogg audio file which is what you hear on the page.
  • It seems that this MIDI to .ogg conversion is done with FluidSynth.
  • FluidSynth uses soundfonts and you choose your own soundfont to use.

Here's what I'm still unsure about:

  • Whether FluidSynth includes any soundfonts by default.
  • What exact soundfont is used on the Wikipedia page given that you can load your own.

But the FluidSynth documentation does list a couple soundfont recommendations.

So, there are a couple ways that you could go about emulating that sound:

  • Install Mediawiki locally as well as the extensions for the <source> element. Then just do exactly what they did by writing out a Lilypond score on a page. But this is long way to go and does not technically answer your question because you'd need to write Lilypond notation instead of using a MIDI file.
  • Try to find the appropriate soundfont that FluidSynth is using, load that into a DAW or some other program (ex. MuseScore) that can both read/import MIDI and playback with a soundfont. Be sure to use program number 54 so you get the "voice oohs" instrument from that soundfont. Maybe experiment with different soundfonts until you find something that works. Then you'd export the end result as an audio file.

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