In 2006, I was asked to join the Yamaha XF file production team. XF files are MIDI files based on Yamaha’s “eXpanded General MIDI” format and enhanced with meta information like chords, lyrics, vocal types and information tags.
In addition to making the files, my job was to perform quality control (QC) on all of the files by providing in-depth feedback to several producers, create and maintain a substantial wiki of technical information related to production and help organize the thousands of files we produced. Essentially, my job was to work myself out of a job by working with our producers to create technically and musically perfect content…which I recently so I guess this can be categorized as a “success!”
Here are some excerpts from a few of my favorites, all sounds come from the Yamaha Tyros 2, no external processing.
Stevie Wonder, “Send One Your Love”
I just like how the melody and the harmonica came out. One of the hardest things about making these files is finding a good sound for the melody and then making it sound musical. Using the filter to change timbre, expression to gently fade notes and create articulation and paying close attention to the length of notes really help make it musical.
The Who, “Who Are You?”
I don’t mind saying what an utterly difficult tune this was to pull of in MIDI. Not only is it a long tune but there are so many little changes that occur in all parts from bar to bar. I guess that’s real music played by real people for you! What I like about this excerpt is how the guitar solo turned out. It’s really difficult to get fast, repeated notes to sound natural, especially when we don’t have the benefit of many velocity-switched layers.
Missouri University Fight Song, “Every True Son”
This was part of a larger project to recreate each of the top ranked college football team’s fight songs. What I like most about this file is how “big” it sounds even though there are only ever 32 notes playing (as opposed to the 200-300 people playing in the marching band.) The key: lots of non-static detuning.