MIDI Synth

The ``S'' in ``Apple IIGS'' stands for sound, powered by the built-in Ensoniq synthesizer chip (pretty advanced stuff for a personal computer in 1986). The early versions of the operating system had tools to access the built-in oscillators, but it wasn't until System Software 6.0 was released that Apple put in place its own integrated music and sound system, known as MIDI Synth.

The music sequence file format is similar to, but just a little different from, standard MIDI file format. In addition to the notes, MIDI Synth defined its own file formats for holding waveform information and instrument specification. Playing a single song requires three files:

  • The sequence file, which contains the notes to be played.
  • The instrument file, which defines how up to 16 instruments sound.
  • The wave file, which hold 64K bytes of waveform information.
The sequence file specifies an instrument file, and the instrument file specifies a wave file. A single instrument file can be shared among many different sequences. Wave files and instrument files are usually closely coupled.

Apple included synthLAB, a program to play sequences and record MIDI input (if the user had a MIDI interface attached to the computer).

From this page, you can download ``Shrinkit'' archives of some software I've written and songs I've translated into MIDI Synth format.

Note: If you are using Netscape Navigator, you will probably need to ``shift-click'' on the links in order to get them to download to your system rather than display as garbled text.

The Software Archives

waveLAB 1.0
This May 1994 update to the program first released a year earlier requires System Software 6.0.1. waveLAB is an extension to Apple's synthLAB program. Its focus is the creation of waveforms and instruments for use with MIDI Synth. You can put together waveforms from other sources, or create your own waves by specifying multiples of harmonics. You can tweak all the parameters associated with instruments. Let me know if you have ideas for version 1.1.

synthfile 1.5
This January 1994 version of synthfile runs under either the GNO or ORCA shell. (It will not run directly from the Finder.) The program prints the contents of sequence, instrument, and wave MIDI Synth files, decoding them into text. When you specify the -p option, it will play sequence files. It's real handy to put it into play-only mode (no text output), give it a series of songs, stick it in the background (under GNO), so you'll have a musical backdrop while you do your other work. Archive includes source code.

MIDI Surgeon and midi2gs
When I looked into how similar MIDI data files were to MIDI Synth sequence files, I knew it would be reasonably straightforward to make the translation. A little poking around on the net turned up some source code routines to read MIDI data files, and it only took a little tweaking to get them working under ORCA/C. I created additional routines to write the information in MIDI Synth format and put the whole thing together into a little shell program named midi2gs. I added a desktop interface and the ability to manipulate and play MIDI Synth sequence files, named the new program MIDI Surgeon, and sold it for publication in the Vol. 5 No. 3 (Jan/Feb 1994) issue of GS+. An enhanced and speedier version (2.0) appeared in the Jul/Aug 1995 (Vol. 6 No. 6) issue. Unfortunately, GS+ ceased publication several years ago and EGO Systems (its parent company) no longer offers back copies of the magazine or its disks for sale. If I find out whether the person who purchased the rights to the programs wants to distribute them, I will place the information here.

MIDI Instrument Banks
Apple included five different instrument bank files (together with the companion wave files) on the System Software 6.0 and 6.0.1 synthLAB disk: Combo.bnk, Demo.bnk, Orch.bnk, Piano.bnk, and Synth.bnk. I've seen others and created one myself. You'll want access to all of them so you can choose just the right instrument when you do your own translations.

  • MIDI.bnk: I created this one to work with MIDI Surgeon. It combines several instruments from Apple's banks with ones I created with waveLAB.

  • Update to Piano.bnk: While translating several piano pieces, I noticed that some of the notes sounded awfully sour. Tweaking the piano definition with WaveLAB fixed the problem.

The Music Archives

When I was testing MIDI Surgeon, I gathered dozens of MIDI files from all over the net to see how well they converted. When GS+ released the program, I put them on GEnie, comp.binaries.apple2, and FTP sites in order to help promote it. I did the same thing when the second version was released. It's an awful lot of songs when they're brought together in one place!

Some of the translations done with version 1.0 would sound better if they had been done with version 2.0, because it added surgery commands to improve the volume level. If you find one that sounds a little ``off,'' let me know and I'll try to improve on it.

Archives containing a single song
``Dust In The Wind'' by Kansas
``From a Distance'' (as sung by Bette Midler)
``Hotel California'' by The Eagles
``Peggy Sue'' by Buddy Holly

``Awesome'' collection
I found several songs of interest in a collection named "Awesome." The original archive contains 28 MIDI files; some translated well to the GS and others didn't. I split the ones that translated into two groups in order to have more easily managed archives:
AwesomeSeq.SHK contains the ones that translated better: ``Paradise City'' by Phil Collins, ``Bad'' by Eric Clapton, ``Beat It'' by Michael Jackson, ``Another One Bites the Dust'' by Queen, ``Bohemian Rhapsody'' by Queen, ``Ebony and Ivory'' by Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson, ``Candle in the wind'' by Elton John, ``Crocodile Rock'' by Elton John, ``Maniac by Michael Sembello, ``Paradise City'' by Phil Collins, ``Rosana'', ``We Are the World''
Awesome2Seq.SHK has some nice sounds as well, but someone else may want to try and re-instrument them: ``We Built This City'' by Starship, ``Easy Lover'' by Phil Collins & Philip Bailey, ``Every Little Step'' by Bobby Brown, ``Have You Never Been Mellow, ``Smooth Talker'' by Sade, ``Staying Alive'' by Bee Gees, plus two more unidentified songs (``walk'' and ``who'')

J. S. Bach
Brandenburg Concertos: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5
Chorales: ``Herr Gott, num schleuss den Himmel auf'' (number 19 from Orgelbuchlein); ``Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ'' (number 5 from Schubler collection); ``Kommst du num, Jesu, vom Himmel hereunter'' (number 6 from Schubler collection); ``Sei gegrusset, Jesu gutig'' (Partite diverse; choral + 11 variations); ``Valet will ich dir geben''
Fugues: Canonical: #14, #15, #16, #17; Double: #9, #10; Mirror: #12, #13; Inverted subject: #3, #4; Regular subject: #1, #2; Stretto: #5, #6, #7; Triple: #8, #11; Unfinished: #18
Inventions: Concerto, Doubled, Fugue (C-minor), Fugue (G-minor), #1 - #15
Partita: All of Bach 1st Partita in B flat major, plus the Air in G from the 6th Bach Partita
Sinfonia: #1 - #15
Trio Number 3 (three parts)
The Well-Tempered Clavier: Volume I (first half), Volume I (second half), Volume II

The Beach Boys
``Fun, Fun, Fun'', ``Good Vibrations''

``Bert's Greatest Hits, Vol. I''
13 selections from an archive found on the net, including: Debussy's ``Claire De Lune'', Rachmaninoff's ``Etude-Tableau'', Bach's ``Tocatta and Fugue in Dm'', ``Careless Whisper'', Chuck Berry's ``Johnny B. Good'', ``You Don't Know'', Art Tatum's ``Blue Moon'', Zez Confrey's ragtime classic ``Dizzy Fingers'', ``Sentimental'', ``Twelfth Street Rag'', two themes from the movie Being There, and ``Over You''

The Beatles
Original collection: ``Eleanor Rigby'', ``I am the Walrus'', ``Strawberry Fields Forever'', ``I Will'', ``Honey Pie'', ``While My Guitar Gently Weeps'', ``Beacuse'', ``Hey Jude'', ``Hello/Goodbye''
Collection #1: ``All My Loving'', ``Carry That Weight'', ``The End'', ``Golden Slumbers'', ``And I Love Her'', ``Imagine'', ``Magical Mystery Tour'', ``Michelle'', ``Back in the USSR'', ``Yesterday''
Collection #2: ``Got To Get You Into My Life'', ``Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds'', ``The Long and Winding Road'', ``You Never Give Me Your Money'', ``Penny Lane'', ``Sexy Sadie''
Collection #3: ``Get Back'', ``Happy Birthday'', ``Honey Pie'', ``I Saw Her Standing There'', ``Jump Jack'', ``Taxman''
Collection #4: ``Because'', ``Can't Buy Me Love'', ``Fool On The Hill'', ``While My Guitar Gently Weeps'', ``I am the Walrus'', ``Yesterday''

Moonlight Sonata
From quartet Op.18 No.5: Minuet + Trio, Andante + Variations
Collection #1: 15 files, including 7 waltzes, ``Bagatelle''
Collection #2: ``Moonlight Sonata''; String Quartet, Op.132 Movement 1 (Allegro); ``Fur Elise''; ``Ode to Joy'' [two versions]; ``Pathetique''

Hungarian Dances 3, 6, and 7

``Beginnings'', ``We Can't Stop the Hurting'', ``Color My World'', ``Hard Habit to Break'', ``Hard to Say I'm Sorry'', ``If You Leave Me Now'', ``Make Me Smile'', ``Remember the Feeling'', ``Stay the Night''

Nocturne in E Flat, Polonaise, and two Preludes (Op. 28 No.20 and Op. 28 No. 7)

Contemporary Christian: ``Angles Watchin Over Me'' by Amy Grant, ``All the Time'' by David Meece, ``Doxology'' by Petra, ``Takin' the Easy Way'' by 2nd Chapter of Acts, ``Friends'' by Michael W. Smith, ``Great is the Lord'' by Michael W. Smith, ``There is a Redeemer'' by Melody Green, ``El Shaddai'' by Amy Grant, ``Majesty'' by Jack Hayford
Hymn collection #1: ``A Mighty Fortress'', ``Abide With Me'', ``All Glory, Laud, and Honor'', ``All Hail the Power'', ``Amazing Grace'', ``Beautiful Savior'', ``Blessed Assurance'', ``Blest be the Ties that Bind'', ``Beneath the Cross of Jesus'', ``Break Forth'', ``Break Thou the Bread of Life'', ``Breathe on me Breath of God'', ``Come Thou'', ``Come Ye'', ``Crown Him With Many Crowns'', ``Dear Lord'', ``Doxology'', ``Duke Street'', ``Faith of Our Fathers'', ``For the Beauty of the Earth'', ``God of Our Fathers'', ``Great is Thy Faithfulness'', ``Holy, Holy, Holy'', ``How Bright'', ``I Love to Tell the Story'', ``I Need Thee Every Hour'', ``In the Garden'', ``In Christ There is no East or West''
Hymn collection #2: ``Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring'', ``Jesus Call Us'', ``Jesus Loves the Little Children'', ``Joyful, Joyful'', ``Just as I Am'', ``Lead On O King Eternal'', ``Let Us Break Bread Together'', ``Living For Jesus'', ``Nearer, My God, to Thee'', ``Now Let Every'', ``Now Thank We All Our God'', ``O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing'', ``O Love That Will Not Let Me Go'', ``To God be the Glory'', ``Trust and Obey'', ``We Gather Together'', ``We Give Thee but Thy Own'', ``Were You There'', ``What A Friend We Have in Jesus'', ``When Morning'', ``When I Survey'', ``Wonderful Words'', ``Wondrous Love'', ``Ye Servants of God''
Hymn collection #3: 27 more hymns
Traditional Christian songs ``Amazing Grace'', ``Ave Maria'', ``Simple Gifts'', ``Hallelujah Chorus'' (from Handel's Messiah), ``How Great Thou Art'', ``Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring''

Christmas songs
``Angels We Have Heard on High'' (two versions), ``Angels from the Realms of Glory'', ``The Angels Sing'', ``Away in a Manger'', ``Carol of the Bells'', ``I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day'', ``Deck the Halls'', ``Frosty the Snowman'', ``God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen'', ``Hark, the Herald Angels Sing'', ``It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas'', ``Jingle Bells'', ``Joy to the World'', ``Let It Snow'', ``It Came Upon a Midnight Clear'', ``O Come, All Ye Faithful'' (two versions)

Eric Clapton
``Tears in Heaven'' and ``Wonderful Tonight''

Classical songs
``Bugler's Holiday'', Chopin's Prelude in A, ``The Blue Danube'' by Strauss, ``The Minute Waltz'', ``Pomp & Circumstance'', Bach's Prelude # 3, ``Teddy Bears Picnic'', ``Victor Borge Suite''

DMCS collection
This collections, originally written with the Deluxe Music Construction Set, includes: Aria from Bach's Cantata number 68, Chorale 135, The first and third movements (``Preludio'' and ``Preludio'') from Bach's Partita #3 for solo violin, Bach's Fugue in C-minor (BWV 574), a woodwind quartet by Mozart, Pachelbel's Canon in D, Telemann's ``Passepied'', the A-major Polonaise (``Militaire'') by Chopin, Sinfonie (Invenzioni a tre voci) by Bach, Mozart's piano sonata in C, and the first movement of Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto in B-Flat

Five songs
A collection of five songs: ``Follow Me'', ``Guantanamera'', ``Music Box Dancer'', ``Stardust'', and variations on ``America'' (also known as ``God Save the Queen'')

Two songs by the French composer Faure

``GMIDI'' collections
I translated a bunch of songs from an archive named ``GMIDI''; there were so many I had to break them into several archives:
Bachs includes ``Bouree'', third movement from ``Brandenburg Concerto No.6'', ``Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring'', and a song by J. C. Bach (not J. S. Bach).
Blues and Jazz includes four songs.
Classical includes theme from Mozart's ``Marriage of Figaro'', theme from Haydn's Symphony in G Major (``Surprise Symphony''), Mozart's ``Jupiter Symphony'', and Grieg's ``Hall of the Mountain King''.
Ragtime includes Joplin's ``Maple Leaf Rag'' and two others
Traditional includes ``Rock-a-bye Baby'' and ``America'' (or ``God Save the Queen'').
Another archive, GMIDI2 contains 4 songs, including Brian Adams' ``Everything I Do'' and Whitney Houston's ``Saving All My Love''

``Rhapsody in Blue'' and ``Porgy and Bess''

Opus 12, No. 1 - 8

The movements from Opus 1, Number 5, in G major
Three pieces: ``Hallelujah Chorus'' from The Messiah; Organ Concerto: opus 7, no. 6, B-flat minor; ``Water Music''

Sonata 7

Movie and Television Themes
From Both Movies and TV: Chariots of Fire, Deliverence (``Dueling Banjos''), 48 Hours, Cheers, Entertainment Tonight, Hill Street Blues, M*A*S*H
Movie Themes: Back to the Future, Exodus, Batman, Flash Dance (``What a Feeling''), Indiana Jones, Live and Let Die, The Naked Gun, The Pink Panther, Star Wars, Dr. Zhivago (``Somewhere My Love'')
Television Themes: The Andy Griffith Show, Fawlty Towers, The Flintstones, Gilligan's Island (1st year), Gilligan's Island (2nd year), Hawaii 5-0, Mission: Impossible, Newhart, Peter Gunn, The Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks
Theme from French movie Jeux Interdits (Forbidden Games)
Star Trek: Themes from the original series and The Next Generation

``Eine Kleine Nachtmusik'' (K.525): 5 movements
Divertimento in F (K.138): 3 movements
K.330: 3 movements
Collection #1: Seven files, including ``Rondo alla Turka'' and three movements of Piano Sonata 1
Collection #2: ``Eine Kleine Nachtmusik''; Jupiter symphony; Symphony # 25, 1st movement

``The William Tell Overture'' (also known as ``The Lone Ranger theme'')

``Sonata Longo 430'' and ``Sonata in B flat major''

Opus 68, No. 11 - 20

Simon & Garfunkel
``The Sounds of Silence'', ``Old Friends'', ``At the Zoo'', ``A Hazy Shade of Winter'', ``Mrs. Robinson'' (from the movie The Graduate), ``Bridge Over Troubled Waters''

James Taylor
``Country Road'', ``Fire and Rain'', ``Up On the Roof''

Concerto in C (P.82)

For Further Information...

If you like this page, you might enjoy visiting other MIDI Synth archives:

If you're playing with wave files, you'll want a sound editor. You can access the following:

Here are some links related to MIDI in general (not specific to the Apple IIGS):

Find anything wrong with this page...bad spelling, corrupt links, misstatements of fact, etc.? Is there anything that can be improved? Please let me know by following the e-mail link at the bottom of this page.

Return to Dave Tribby's Apple II Page
or the Apple II page maintained by Terry Allen

This page was last modified November 15, 1998, by Dave Tribby