TiMidity++ is a software synthesizer that can play MIDI files without a hardware synthesizer. It can either render to the sound card in real time, or it can save the result to a file, such as a PCM .wav file.
Install the package.
You should also install a SoundFont to be able to produce sound. Some popular choices of SoundFont include:
First you should add yourself to the audio group.
# gpasswd -a <user> audio
As with most group changes, you will typically need to restart your user session (e.g. log out and log in again), so that the new group is visible in the output of the
Configure your preferred SoundFont.
The Freepats project provides a set of instrument samples which are compatible with TiMidity++.
To use Freepats with TiMidity++, add the following lines to
There are other SoundFonts available. To install theSoundFont, append its path to the TiMidity++ configuration file:
timidity.service user unit.
Note that starting the service may fail if you have changed your
audio group membership but not yet restarted your session.
If you are using PulseAudio, that may also cause the service to fail. You may want to add the following command as an auto start program in your desktop environment. Or, if you just want to start TiMidity++ in daemon mode once, you can use the following command which will make console output viewable:
$ timidity -iA
There are two ways to use TiMidity++. Either as MIDI player or as daemon adding MIDI support to ALSA.
You can simply use TiMidity++ to play MIDI files:
$ timidity example.midi
-ig for a text-based/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 or use
-h to get help.
The GTK interface offers such features as a playlist, track length estimates, volume control, a file load dialog box, play and pause buttons, rewind and fast forward buttons, as well as options to change the pitch of or speed up or slow down the playback of a midi file.
If you are runing TiMidity++ as a daemon (ALSA sequencer client), it will provide MIDI output support for other programs such as rosegarden, aplaymidi, vkeybd, etc.
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 now play MIDI files using aplaymidi:
$ aplaymidi filename.mid --port 128:0
Another example is vkeybd, a virtual MIDI keyboard for X.
$ vkeybd --addr 128:0
--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, or kaconnect. As a result when you play around with the keys on the vkeybd TiMidity++ plays the appropriate notes.
Connect to virtual MIDI device
Once you have the TiMidity++ daemon running and it is working with aplaymidi, you can connect it to a virtual MIDI device that will work in programs such as rosegarden or scala.
snd-virmidi kernel module and (optionally) configure it to be loaded at boot. Read Kernel modules for more information.
Use aconnect to verify the port numbers:
$ aconnect -o
client 14: 'Midi Through' [type=kernel] 0 'Midi Through Port-0' client 20: 'Virtual Raw MIDI 1-0' [type=kernel] 0 'VirMIDI 1-0 ' client 21: 'Virtual Raw MIDI 1-1' [type=kernel] 0 'VirMIDI 1-1 ' client 22: 'Virtual Raw MIDI 1-2' [type=kernel] 0 'VirMIDI 1-2 ' client 23: 'Virtual Raw MIDI 1-3' [type=kernel] 0 'VirMIDI 1-3 ' client 128: 'TiMidity' [type=user] 0 'TiMidity port 0 ' 1 'TiMidity port 1 ' 2 'TiMidity port 2 ' 3 'TiMidity port 3 '
Now create the connection:
$ aconnect 20:0 128:0
You should now have a working MIDI output device on your system (
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 have installed some samples and your SoundFile is added to
/etc/timidity/timidity.cfg. See SoundFonts for more details.
Daemon mode plays sound out of pace
TiMidity++'s ALSA output module (default) may cause this issue in ALSA server mode. Try another output option, for example, libao:
$ timidity -iA -OO
And test it using aplaymidi. If this does not work, you may want to configure JACK and set TiMidity++'s output to jack.
Tips and tricks
TiMidity++ can also convert MIDI files into other formats. The following command saves the resulting sound to a WAV file:
$ timidity input.mid -Ow -o out.wav
To convert to another formats, you can use FFmpeg. This will convert it to mp3:
$ timidity input.mid -Ow -o - | ffmpeg -i - -acodec libmp3lame -ab 256k out.mp3
How to make DOSBox use TiMidity++
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 any name that you want, add a dot in front of it if you want to hide it.
Make sure you started TiMidity++ as daemon as the instructions above, use the aconnect command.
Edit this configuration file with any editor, go to the section:
[midi] mpu401=intelligent device=default config=
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.