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FluidSynth is a real-time software synthesizer based on the SoundFont 2 specifications.

Installing FluidSynth

The first step is to install fluidsynth from the official repositories.

However, FluidSynth will not produce any sound yet. This is because FluidSynth does not include any instrument samples. To produce sound, instrument patches and/or soundfonts need to be installed and fluidsynth configured so it knows where to find them. You can install SoundFont sample.

How to use FluidSynth

There are two ways to use FluidSynth. Either as MIDI player or as daemon adding MIDI support to ALSA.

Standalone mode

You can simply use fluidsynth to play MIDI files:

$ fluidsynth -a alsa -m alsa_seq -l -i /usr/share/soundfonts/fluidr3/FluidR3GM.SF2 example.midi

Assuming than you installed fluidr3.

There are many other options to fluidsynth; see manpage or use -h to get help.

ALSA daemon mode

If you want fluidsynth to run as ALSA daemon, edit /usr/lib/systemd/system/fluidsynth.service and append the ExecStart Line with the soundfont you want to use, for fluidr3:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/fluidsynth -is -a alsa -m alsa_seq -r 48000 "/usr/share/soundfonts/fluidr3/FluidR3GM.SF2"

After that, you can start fluidsynth service and possibly enable it.

This will give you an output software MIDI port (in addition of hardware MIDI ports on your system, if any):

$ aconnect -o
client 128: 'FLUID Synth (5117)' [type=user]
   0 'Synth input port (5117:0)'

An example of usage for this is aplaymidi:

$ aplaymidi -p128:0 example.midi

How to convert MIDI to OGG

Simple command lines to convert midi to ogg:

$ fluidsynth -nli -r 48000 -o synth.cpu-cores=2 -T oga -F example.ogg /usr/share/soundfonts/fluidr3/FluidR3GM.SF2 example.MID

Here's a little script to convert multiple midi files to ogg in parallel:

maxjobs=$(grep processor /proc/cpuinfo | wc -l)
midi2ogg() {
	name=$(echo $@ | sed -r s/[.][mM][iI][dD][iI]?$//g | sed s/^[.][/]//g)
	for arg; do 
	fluidsynth -nli -r 48000 -o synth.cpu-cores=$maxjobs -F "/dev/shm/$name.raw" /usr/share/soundfonts/fluidr3/FluidR3GM.SF2 "$@"
	oggenc -r -B 16 -C 2 -R 48000 "/dev/shm/$name.raw" -o "$name.ogg"
	rm "/dev/shm/$name.raw"
	## Uncomment for replaygain tagging
	#vorbisgain -f "$name.ogg" 
export -f midi2ogg
find . -regex '.*[.][mM][iI][dD][iI]?$' -print0 | xargs -0 -n 1 -P $maxjobs bash -c 'midi2ogg "$@"' --