Using MIDI in Abel

Besides making bell sounds using digitised samples that are sent to your PC loudspeakers using DirectX, Abel can also use MIDI. This is a technology that allows note and effect information to be exchanged between synthesisers, computers, music keyboards, and other electronic musical devices.

As far as your PC and Abel are concerned, there are two types of MIDI device:

External MIDI synthesisers often support "sampling" whereby you can play a sound into the synthesiser and it will then play that sound back at different pitches. If you have one of these keyboards, this can be an easy way of getting Abel to use the sounds of your own bells.

You can see a list of the current MIDI device drivers installed in your computer by going to the Sound Options Dialog in Abel and clicking on the MIDI Output Device drop-down box.

Abel's MIDI support is limited, and there are several things to note:

General MIDI

The MIDI specification does not describe what instruments correspond to which patch numbers. This was deliberate, as MIDI was intended for professional musicians to assemble a custom palette of musical sounds. General MIDI was devised once MIDI started to be adopted by the general public, and defines a standardised patch map (so that, for example, a Grand Piano sound is always the same number) in order that users could exchange MIDI files with some hope that they might sound somewhat similar on someone else's computer.

General MIDI only defines the program change numbers and the instrument names; it does not define what those instruments actually sound like, and as a result the quality of reproduction varies enormously from one device to another.

Abel is configured by default to send patch number 14 to your MIDI device, which corresponds to program change number 15 "Tubular Bell" in the General MIDI specification.

You can find a description of General MIDI and the instruments and corresponding program change numbers here: MIDI sound set.

See also:

  Sound options