Friday, October 16, 2015

How to Edit MIDI Files on Your Clavinova

Editing MIDI Files on the CVP705/709/709GP, CVP605/609/609GP Clavinova

When MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) was first introduced over 30 years ago, I couldn’t begin to imagine the great things that could be done with this new protocol. As MIDI is a digital language musical instruments speak, software was becoming available to study in the piano books you already owned, but now with an orchestral accompaniment to enhance the process. Piano arrangement books were also becoming available, making performing more exciting as well. Fast forward to the present, now MIDI files are even more amazing due to the advancement of sound sampling technology that make these files sound incredible.

As MIDI represents messages with instructions that speak to digital instruments, it is possible to change everything about a MIDI file. Voices assigned to different channels can be changed, as well as volume balances, panning, and tempos.

At the start of a MIDI file, there is a silent message that sends information to your Clavinova in a split second, telling your Clavinova everything about how to play the song file, it is called a “set up” message. Every MIDI file has a set up message that tells the Clavinova which voices, effects, tempo, etc. to be set up to play the song file.  Keep this term handy in your mind.

Before starting to edit a MIDI file, I set up a couple of short cuts on my own Clavinova to make this process easier. The assignable buttons located to the left of the display can be customized to your liking. I keep the “Mixer” and the “Song Creator” function stored in the assignable buttons, as these features are used a lot in MIDI file editing.





To set up this function:

  • Touch the Menu icon in the display of the home screen
  • Touch the Assignable icon
  • Touch the left of the screen where it says “Assignable”
  • There you will see 4 function assign buttons
  • Touch #1, and scroll down until you find the “Mixer”
  • Select “Mixer” and touch “Close”
  • Touch #2, and scroll down until you find “Song Creator”
  • Select “Song Creator” and touch “Close”


When learning to play a new song, it is wonderful
to be able to adjust the tempo of a MIDI file we’re playing with. Many times a MIDI file may not be set to a tempo you like, or can keep up with.

To edit a tempo:

  • Load the MIDI file to be edited
  • Use the tempo buttons on the left of the Clavinova control panel to adjust to song to your liking
  • You can listen to the song while adjusting tempo.
  • When the perfect tempo is found, press “Stop” in the song control area. This must be done prior to resaving the file, as we are changing the “Set up” message
  • Touch the “Assignable” button where you stored “Song Creator”. If you haven’t stored this into your assignable buttons, touch “Menu” from the home screen, go to page 2 of the icons, and touch “Song Creator”
  • Touch the display where you see the word “Set up”. Notice all the choices that can be saved to the start of your MIDI file. Be sure tempo is checked, and press “Execute”
  • After this is complete, touch “Close”
  • To save the song that now has the new tempo, touch the download icon at the top of the page, and select where you wish to save the file (User or USB). Touch Save here
  • It is advisable to name your new song file with a different title, as it’s always a good idea to leave the original MIDI file as it was, in case you want to make other changes at a different time. If I have made only tempo adjustments, I usually save the same song title with the beats per minute saved. Example: Saints 124

If you have created a file and have decided you don’t like the instrument voices you choose for the different channels, or their volume levels, this can all be changed. As well, if you’re working with an older MIDI file, or a file you have downloaded from the internet (a non-Yamaha Music Soft file), many of these files have terrible voices assigned to the different channels, as well as bad balance levels. These voices and balances can also be changed.

  • Load the MIDI file you wish to edit
  • If you assigned the “Mixer” to one of your assignable buttons, select it. If you’re not using your assignable buttons, touch Menu from the home screen, and touch Mixer icon
  • At the top of this screen, touch the Song ch 1-8 tab, or Song ch 9-16 depending on which channel you wish to work with 
  • Each channel will display the voice used, the panning and the volume
  • To change the voice, touch the instrument icon in the display, and your Clavinova will show you the voice that was assigned to that channel. Select any other voice on your Clavinova to replace the one there, and the results can be amazing. Once you have decided which voice to use, touch Close. This can be done while the song file is playing

While the Mixer page is open, you can also adjust volume levels of each channel, as well as the panning (where the sound is placed in the stereo field).

  • Once you have made all of your adjustments in the Mixer, press “Stop” in the Song Control area. The file must be stopped, or the changes cannot take place, as you are changing the “Set Up” message at the beginning of the song file. 
  • Touch the “Assignable” button where you stored “Song Creator”. If you haven’t stored this into your assignable buttons, touch “Menu” from the home screen, go to page 2 of the icons, and touch “Song Creator”
  • Touch the display where you see the word “Set up”. Notice all the choices that can be saved to the start of your MIDI file. Be sure the features your changed are checked, and press “Execute”
  • After this is complete, touch “Close”
  • To save the song that now has the new changes, touch the download icon at the top of the Song Creator page, and select where you wish to save the file (User or USB). 
  • It is advisable to name your new song file with a different title, as it’s always a good idea to leave the original MIDI file as it was, in case you want to make other changes at a different time.  
These are basic editing tools, but can really enhance a prerecorded MIDI file, as well as fine tune one you have made yourself! Stay tuned for more editing tips in the future!

Lori Frazer
Yamaha Consultant
Keyboard Division

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