Chapter 1. Introduction

Screenshot

Screenshot of karaKB's main window

karaKB is a non-academic tool that will allow you to have an incredible fun with your MIDI files and MIDI instrument! Rather than listening passively to your music or having a hard time training on your keyboard, you can readily play/record one or more tracks of your choice with your own feel! The funny thing is that you don't need to be able to play piano at all: at the time you press a key (any key) on your MIDI keyboard, karaKB will play the right note(s) from the appropriate track(s), as specified in the MIDI file.

Now if you want to be able one day to play piano and would like some training, karaKB can still help you thanks to its extensive set of options. karaKB will alleviate your interpretation task in the exact way and to the right degree you want.

You can choose either to let the computer render specific elements contained in the MIDI file, or to play them yourself instead .

Such elements include:

duration of notes;
velocity of notes;
pitchbend;
MIDI controller effects;
aftertouch and pressure events (polyphonic or global);

When you are almost ready to do everything by yourself, just configure the program so that it will only show you the notes to play, and expect you to play all of them, not just trigger them with a single keystroke.

Another important parameter you'll want to act upon is the choice of tracks. Some tracks will be left to the program, and some to you or your fellows musicians (and non musicians, since karaKB transforms everyone in a spontaneous and infaillible interpreter). Most of the MIDI files are made up of several tracks, which will allow optimal flexibility in your learning curve.

You further have the possibility to improvise and add/remove/merge tracks as you would with any MIDI sequencer. In that case you could for example play the accompaniment chords with single keystrokes of the left hand, letting karaKB retrieve the notes just in time from the MIDI file. At the same time you could play an improvisation, on the same keyboard if you split it, or on another MIDI instrument of any kind connected to your PC. You could actually be a band playing together, while you all have different skills and levels! Each player would customize his/her track(s) to have more or less help from the computer.

Of course you can sing at the same time since karaKB will display any lyrics included in your MIDI file (i.e. Karaoke files).

So finally you need absolutely no musical knowledge to come up with your own interpretation of ANY music you can find in a MIDI format, and there are loads of them on the web!

Here is a minimal sampling of web addresses where you can find MIDI files by the score.

Search engines for MIDI files

MIDIsite - MIDI Files Search Engine
vanBasco's MIDI Search
Searching the Internet for a Certain MIDI File

MIDI resources lists

MIDI / Synthesizers
CLASSICAL MUSIC ARCHIVES
The MIDI Farm Internet
Harmony Central: MIDI Tools and Resources
Classical MIDI Resources
Classical MIDI
Naamloos
The Classical MIDI Connection: The Baroque Period
'Perfessor' Bill Edwards Ragtime MIDI and Sheet Music Covers
Stefan's Ragtime Parlor - My Rag MIDIs
Collection of MIDI with lyrics
Standard MIDI Files on the Net
All MIDI files site