realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

I’m currently using ABC navigator to listen to tunes & read abc’s. Grest tool but can’t help wishing that the instrument patches sounded more realistic.

I’m wondering what ABC software has the most realistic sounding instruments when playing back? Or is this as good as it gets?

Queue the helpful answers, smart arse comments, intentionally unhelpful answers & answers in the form of a question (yes i am aware this question has been asked before, listening to a real musician is better, learning by ear is better etc. etc. blah blah barf… 😉

Thanks
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Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

It really depends on your soundcard, not the software. The best (?) playback is via an external midi player if your soundcard is not much good.

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Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

I seem to remember Weejie posting a clip of some sample sounding pipes playing back, I presume, midi/abc files. Best sound I’ve heard from a robotic abc/midi/score player to date and quite realistic, if indeed thats what it was. E-mail Weejie and ask!

TBH, I’m not that bothered about the quality/realism of the sound generated by an abc player. It’s just a reference for me…….

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

You don’t want to upgrade your soundcard for a better midi-output!!!???

Seriously, it also depends on the libraries and API used by the player. For example, try the opensource midiplayer TiMidity++, which supports Freepats. This is an (also os) attempt to get better midi sounds and works quite well.
http://timidity.sourceforge.net/
http://freepats.zenvoid.org/

Also, the API included in the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) is fine, so players written in Java generally sound better in my opinion. Once I have written a tiny midi playback application in Java for just that purpose, adjusting playback-speed and stuff. If you want, I can send it to you, maybe it sounds better to your ears.

But in the very end, it is and always will be midi. :P

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

The only thing the midi files are good for is as an aural illustration of just how pitiful the amount of information there is in the dots/abc

And if you don’t think this is helpful, you have your head in a bucket.

Having said that, the concertina midi sound is remarkably accurate.

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Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

yes the concertina is quite good. i agree, i also don’t mind the flute & harmonica, but that’s about it.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

Thanks for the replys though a lot of it is above my grasp.

i’m basically looking for the ABC navigator software with more realistic sounds if it exists, i’m not looking to customise my own set of sounds, just use something that is already available.

Thanks

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

“i’m basically looking for the ABC navigator software with more realistic sounds if it exists”

You could just save the midi and play it with an other player.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

To get a more realistic sound, plug a MIDI instrument into your PC and play the file on that instead of the sound card.

But the instrument sound isn’t the real problem with MIDI file derived from ABC, it’s the lack of dynamics and the robotically perfect timing. You can sometimes get better results by transferring the MIDI file into a MIDI sequencer program and using the ‘humanize’ function, but generally you are flogging a dead horse.

If you look at a MIDI file generated by someone playing even a simple tune on a keyboard it contains so much information that it couldn’t be translated into a comprehesible ABC or score. And an ABC file contains so little information that you only get a very rough rendering of the tune when you translate it to MIDI.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

“the concertina midi sound is remarkably accurate”
“the concertina is quite good”

Not quite the same thing. 🙂

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Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

ABCExplorer comes with over a hundred alternative instruments built in, you may find one of the those ‘less unrealistic’. Picking one without a hard attack softens the effect of the mechanical timing.

On the other hand, I just tried ‘Gunshot’ with a hornpipe - and its lot better than some clog dancers.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

Perhaps if we locked Michael Eskin in a room with those Concertina/Accordion iPads, he could conjur up a translator that would process the midi output before it was sent to the speakers.
https://thesession.org/discussions/24756/

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

“I seem to remember Weejie posting a clip of some sample sounding pipes playing back, I presume, midi/abc files.”

I was using ABCNavigator for some clips - played through Midi Yoke NT and Kontakt - the sampled pipes are from the Kontakt library, and from Bolder Sounds.
It gets quite involved and costly and probably not worth the effort.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

BTW, the soundcard is not that important - except for the latency aspect. Most cards - and onboard sound these days can handle a lot more than they could just a few years ago.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

Agreed with some of the comments with the soundcard. Unless you’re using something that’s quite old you don’t need to worry about it. What I find is try every instrument you have in the list - the sound can vary a lot between instruments so just keep trying them until you find something good.

I use ABC explorer and find that the default accoustic grand piano is great for playbacks. Not too traditional but sounds pretty realistic.

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Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

I was looking up some of the links I’d posted on here. Here are three - the first and last are ABCs played the way I mentioned earlier - the middle one was written out in Sibelius, but could be done in ABC, I reckon:

https://www.box.com/s/s7qkf4qj91b037k0nyjv

https://www.box.com/shared/5m9olqopkd

https://www.box.com/s/n9quj7ollhhp39mpqdoo

Even straight playing of ABCs through sampling software is likely to sound better than the default sounds.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

I have some ideas about making it possible to use FluidSynth in future versions of my EasyABC editor. If I get time to implement that it would be possible to load any SoundFont, i.e. the sound would be fully customizable. FluidSynth is what the open source program MuseScore uses internally.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

I hope Nils does it! Meanwhile, MuseScore will, I believe, read abc. So, you can use that for playback with multiple soundfonts.

Re: realistic sounding ABC playbacks!?

Ah, MuseScore, of course! The ABC plugin comes with the main installation today.