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timidity++ is a MIDI to WAVE converter and player which is basically used to play MIDI files if your sound card does not support the MIDI protocol natively.

Installing timidity++

The first step is to install timidity++ itself. It can be installed via pacman from the extra repository:

# pacman -S timidity++

However, timidity++ will not produce any sound yet. This is because timidity++ does not include any instrument samples. To produce sound, instrument patches and/or soundfonts need to be installed and timidity++ configured so it knows where to find them. This guide shows two ways of getting sound samples: Freepats and soundfonts.

Setting up the sound samples


The Freepats project provides a set of instrument samples which are compatible with timidity++. It can be installed from the community repository:

# pacman -S timidity-freepats

To use Freepats with timidity, add the following lines to /etc/timidity++/timidity.cfg:

dir /usr/share/timidity/freepats
source /etc/timidity++/freepats/freepats.cfg

Then timidity++ is ready for use.


There are many soundfonts available. This example will show how to install the fluidr3 soundfont, which is accessible via the AUR.

Note: It will be assumed that you know how to build packages from the AUR. If you have never used the AUR before, please take a look at the AUR User Guidelines.

As sfarkxtc, a decompressor for soundfonts, is a make dependency of fluidr3, we install it first. Notice that it is accessible via the AUR.

After sfarkxtc has been installed, we will be able to build fluidr3 which may take some time.

If fluidr3 has been installed properly, we have to add its path to the timidity++ configuration file. Just add this line to /etc/timidity++/timidity.cfg:

soundfont /usr/share/soundfonts/fluidr3/FluidR3GM.SF2

Then timidity++ is ready for use.

How to use timidity++

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

Standalone mode

You can simply use timidity++ to play MIDI files:

$ timidity example.midi

Add option -in or -ig for a text mode/gtk+ interface. E.g. as a Xfce/GNOME user you may want to set MIDI files to open with the custom command `timidity -ig'. There are many other options to timidity; see manpage or use -h to get help.

Alsa daemon mode

If you want timidity to run as ALSA daemon, just use:

# /etc/rc.d/timidity++ start

If you want to have permanent MIDI support, add timidity to your daemon list in /etc/rc.conf:

DAEMONS=(... timidity++ ...)

Or if you just want to run timidity with ALSA support once, you can use the following command which will make console output viewable:

$ timidity -iA

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

$  aconnect -o
client 128: 'TiMidity' [type=user]
    0 'TiMidity port 0 '
    1 'TiMidity port 1 '
    2 'TiMidity port 2 '
    3 'TiMidity port 3 '

You can not play MIDI files using aplaymidi:

$ aplaymidi filename.mid --port 128:0

Another example is vkeybd, a virtual MIDI keyboard for X.

You can install vkeybd from the AUR.

$ vkeybd --addr 128:0

Option --addr 128:0 connects the input (readable) software MIDI port provided by vkeybd to the first output (writable) ALSA port provided by Timidity. Alternatively you can use aconnect(1), community/aconnectgui or AUR packages patchage, kaconnect. As a result when you play around with the keys on the vkeybd timidity plays the appropriate notes. See also USB Midi Keyboards.


timidity++ does not play MIDI files

It may be that your soundfile is not set up correctly. Just run:

$ timidity example.midi

If you find a line like this in the terminal output, your soundfile is not set up properly.

No instrument mapped to tone bank 0, program XX - \
this instrument will not be heard

Make sure you've installed some samples and your soundfile is added to /etc/timidity++/timidity.cfg. See Setting up the sound samples above for more details.

How to make DOSBox use Timidity++

The following method is tested in version DOSBox 0.72 (don't know if this works for OLDER or NEWER!).

First of all, you need to write a config file. Input the following in DOSBox to create a configuration file:

config -writeconf dosbox.conf

you can replace dosbox.conf by anyname that you want, add a dot in front of it if you want to hide it.

Make sure you statred Timidity++ as DAEMON as the instructions above, use the aconnect command.

Edit this configuration file with any editor, go to the section:


put the ALSA connection port into the back of config=, in default:


Restart DOSBox within a terminal so you can see its debug messages, by no accident you should see a successful initiation on port 128:0.