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I have a MIDI file example.mid on my Mac OS X 10.6 laptop.

The laptop is connected to a MIDI keyboard (old Yamaha Clavinova, if it matters) via a Roland UM-One mk2 USB-MIDI interface. Using Apple's Audio MIDI Setup utility, I have configured the interface. Audio MIDI Setup's "Test Setup" feature will make my keyboard play notes. I can play notes on the keyboard, and have them appear in the MuseScore notation app. Thus, I think I have the laptop connected to the Clavinova correctly.

How can I make the notes in my MIDI file example.mid play on the MIDI keyboard, via the Mac OS X 10.6 laptop? I don't want the Mac OS software to make sounds, I want the Clavinova to make the sounds. Quicktime Player and VLC generate sound themselves, so they don't seem to do what I want. I suspect I want a different kind of utility, which relays the contents of the MIDI file to the MIDI interface, for the keyboard to receive and play.

I think part of the answer will be to explain what that MIDI-relay utility is called. I see references to "sequencers" and "DAWs" in articles like Wikipedia's List of MIDI editors and sequencers, but the article doesn't really explain whether a "sequencer" or "DAW" is supposed to do what I am looking for.

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It seems like the wording I'm looking for is "plays MIDI files on an external device".

Most software I found which claimed to "play MIDI files" did so using QuickTime or their own code to make sounds.

I'll quote Tetsujin's helpful definition for 'sequencer' and 'digital audio workstation':

A "sequencer" is the descriptive name of a piece of software originally designed specifically for the recording/playback of MIDI data [usually through an external device, such as your Clavinova] These days, you would expect that one could also deal with audio recordings, software instrument plugins [soft-synths] etc.

A DAW is a 'digital audio workstation'... fancy name for a 'sequencer' ;-)

The specific software I found to play MIDI files on my external device was Aria Maestosa. This is a MIDI editor/sequencer which is GPL licensed. Starting with version 1.4, it "Support[s] sending midi output to external devices". The current newest version of Aria Maestosa, 1.4.10, requires Mac OS X 10.7 or above. I fell back to Aria Maestosa 1.4.9 for Mac OS X 10.6, dated 2013-10-27.

I ran Aria Maestosa, selected my MIDI interface via the "Output" menu, imported a MIDI file, then pressed the "play" buttons. The music came from my Clavinova, not from the computer. Achievement unlocked!

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A "sequencer" is the descriptive name of a piece of software originally designed specifically for the recording/playback of MIDI data [usually through an external device, such as your Clavinova] These days, you would expect that one could also deal with audio recordings, software instrument plugins [soft-synths] etc.
A DAW is a 'digital audio workstation'... fancy name for a 'sequencer' ;-)

If you just need simple playback through your MIDI interface to your Clavinova, then maybe something on http://www.macmusic.org/software/cat.php/lang/en/id/7013/ may help. My eye was drawn to 'Mighty Midi', on the second page - http://www.440audio.com/en/software/v705-Fenix-Wox-Mighty-MIDI/ though I haven't tried it myself.

The Clavinova, depending on its age, would be expected to be able to handle GM [General Midi] or XG [Expanded spec GM] files - though if the files were made for Roland they may not sound great on Yamaha & vice versa, as the voicings & sonic spec were very different.

If you want to dig deeper into the workings of the files, then perhaps Yamaha's XG Edit software would be a good place to look [though it's many years old now & the chap who wrote it has long since left Yamaha, it still should work] http://www.yamahamusicsoft.com/en/category/Computer+Software/product/1017294/XG+Edit/?currency=USD

If you need more info, let me know.

Edit - Sorry, I just realised XGEdit is OS9 or Windows only, apologies.

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  • Thank you, the terminology explanation is helpful. It turns out that the developer website for Mighty Midi, fenix.wox.org . Thus the download link doesn't work. I'll look through the other entries on MacMusic.org, though. – Jim DeLaHunt Aug 31 '14 at 16:01

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