I am trying to understand the midi text files. I did two conversions using the site midi to txt converter, converting a drums only sample and a full midi song.

  • The site gives you two possible formats, raw and delta. What is the difference between them ?

I attach two images, one is the drum track comparing raw and delta , the other is the full song comparing raw and delta.

  • I named the columns 1 - 5 the raw and 1d - 5d the delta. I see the first column changing only. What is column 1 and column 1d ?
  • My guesses for the rest of the columns, ch should be differents
    instrument, v velocity and c midi channel mapping (the tone)?
  • The tempo stamp at the beginning of the file is counted in what units?
  • At the full song, before the columns, is some incomprehensible stuff (red box), what is that ?
  • Column 2, on drum track is on/off, on the full song its Par/PrCh . Whats that and why is it different?

A link to a complete guide would be helpful also,

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1 Answer 1


You'll want to get ahold of the software author and ask him. But I've written some midi software - I'll take a crack at it...

The site gives you two possible formats, raw and delta. What is the difference between them ?

don't use delta - that's the time straight from the midi file (additional time since last event). Raw is in song ticks. Find 2 notes that are a measure apart to see how many ticks per measure. Divide by 4 to get a quarter note, etc.

ch will be the midi channel. n is the note (60=middle C probably). v is velocity (between 1 - 127 for note on)

I don't see a 'c' column ??

tempo is in microseconds per quarter note (usually displayed in less precise quarter note per minute)

stuff in the red box are system exclusive events. a bunch of binary that only one particular synth understands. if it came from a roland, a yamaha won't understand it. Another model of roland MIGHT, but might not. Usually stores exact sounds, etc.

The Par stuff is a control change event (control change on channel 9 on control 64 (hold pedal) to value 64 (hold down)

I'm guessing ParCh is system common midi events starting with hex $Fx.

In any case, I'd recommend not using that utility. I doubt it will work for all midi files you come across. Here's where I learned about midi.

It's a pretty steep learning curve, but VERY fun.


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