Thursday, September 17, 2015

What is the difference between Styles & MIDI songs?

In an on-going effort to respond to user questions, we’d like to talk today about the difference between “Styles” and “MIDI songs” available on the website. First we must redefine “what” Styles and MIDI songs are and then we can explain the difference between the two.

Q. What, exactly, is a Style file?

A. Styles are found in the Accompaniment section of your keyboard, and can make you instantly sound like a one-man band! Just play a chord with your left hand, and you’ll hear drums, bass, guitars, and more all playing along to the same chord. Yamaha keyboards feature a variety of styles to play along with, from rock and pop to jazz and country. “Style Files” are at the heart of those exciting accompaniment patterns. 

A Style Files contains music (MIDI data) and system parameters that are played by the Style Engine. All Yamaha keyboards featuring Styles have a Style Engine built into their software. It smoothly and seamlessly recognizes and follows chord progressions played on the keyboard, then instantaneously plays the selected Style File to sound the correct chord and instruments to provide an interactive accompaniment to the melody you are playing with your right hand.

Q. What, exactly, is a MIDI song?

A. Yamaha designs Premium MIDI songs specifically to function with the learning features of Yamaha MIDI keyboard instruments. Unlike a basic “General MIDI file” you may find on the Internet, each MIDI song is optimized with additional features to work with the score, tempo and transpose features of Yamaha instruments, as well as the lesson features such as "follow the lights" and "song waiting". You can make custom mixes of MIDI songs on compatible Yamaha keyboards using the mixer feature and mute the instrument parts that you want to play on your keyboard!

These are only a few examples of the power and additional features a Yamaha Premium MIDI song provides.

Check out the latest Premium MIDI songs here:

Q. How is a Style file different from a MIDI song file?

A. A Style file reacts in real time to chords you play on the keyboard, producing an accompaniment or 'backing band' for the music you are playing. A MIDI song file is linear and plays a specific song.
From a producing point of view, you would either be making an arrangement of a song or a sound alike, in both cases no original composition is required. When making a song you don't take care if it sounds good when transposed into different keys, whereas this is hugely important when making a style.

As a user, for MIDI songs you can turn tracks on and off, adjust the tempo and transpose keys, but you don't have any real control over the song, it just plays. With Styles, you are in control of what the band actually plays, leaving you free to sporadically repeat a chorus or create a new verse.

So there you have it. Hopefully this clears up any differences between the two and shows the unique characteristics and power of each type of file.

Please keep the questions coming! You can add a comment or question below.