I am trying to write scores for some popular bollywood songs using lilypond. I am checking the correctness of score by playing back the midi file. I am observing that the playback quality by different midi players are vastly different. Specifically timidity on Mac produces a very "jerky" (for want of a better word) output. If I upload the same midi file to some online apps like bandlab the output is much more "smooth". I am unable to attach audio files to this question but if you visit https://test.meedee.in you can listen to the audio and observe the difference. I also observed that if I transpose the song up by an octave even the output from timidity sounds smooth.
I use a mac and timidity fits very well into my workflow but unfortunately does not produce kind of audio that I am looking for. Importing into bandlab every time is going to be painful. What other options do I have? I also tried timidity on linux and mediaplayer on windows. Both of them are atrocious.
Can I improve the audio on mac itself by using articulation? I tried including "articulate.ly" and using slurs. It made absolutely no difference to the midi output.
Midi is not some kind of audio format, midi is a protocol that tells a synthesizer or sampler what notes to play. So it is quite expected that different synthesizers will produce different sounding results.
TiMidity is a sampler that uses Ultrasound patches or .sfx or .sf2 soundfonts. This is what provides TiMidity with the samples it uses. The soundfont that your Mac installation comes with probably has very small amounts of samples per instrument, meaning that e.g. on a violin vibrato will become slower the lower your notes are. This leads to what you consider "jerky" sound.
So the solution would be to find yourself a soundfont that sounds adequate to you. There are a number of popular free soundfonts out there.