How to play MIDI files

Suggestions from StF+ users (January 2023)

<The following pointers have been compiled from suggestions made by StF Newsletter subscribers. They have not been verified by the StF+ website but are offered in good faith as options to explore.>

  1. MIDI files consist of instructions to play simulated instruments rather than recordings of actual sound. ("MIDI" stands for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface".) For that reason, whereas the StF CDs (i.e. MP3 files) are playable using a computer or CD player, MIDI files can only be played through a computer.

  2. An advantage of using MIDI files rather MP3s is that you can adjust the speed and pitch of the playing without distortion. (But beware of playing the files through some digital organs as the 'sustain' command may hold notes on the organ, creating an unhelpful effect!)

  3. Many (but not all) electronic keyboards run off midi. You can play your keyboard to a computer and it will generate a midi file of your performance. But it also works the other way around; you can play a midi file into a keyboard and the keyboard will play it. 

  4. PCs with Windows Media Player (WMP) built in will play midi files. The successor to WMP – Groove – does not. 

  5. Bespoke MIDI (keyboard) machines are available e.g. Roland MIDI


A full explanation with suggestions has been prepared by the Revd Mike Bossingham.


Programs suggested as options for exporting/playing MIDI files


Use your phone

MIDI files can be played OK using a phone, tablet or laptop.

Using a micro SD card, copy the MIDI files onto your Android phone or tablet (there is room for all the files, they are very compact...). Download the free app "MIDI File Player" by Volcano Mobile, which enables you to play the files through the headphone socket.  A cable can be obtained cheaply to connect this socket to a guitar amp or the Aux socket of your church PA system. If you are more "techy" you can download a SoundFont file which may give a more realistic piano effect. 


Programs suggested for exporting MIDI files to MP3s

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