Now I don't really read music, but I do enjoy being able to reel off a thing or two on the piano, sort of Bill-Murray-in-Groundhog-Day style (if you know what I mean). It's hard work... at least for me. So for a while now I've been thinking of adding to my list of homebrew projects a piece of software that could take midi files of piano pieces and highlight the piano keys being played on a keyboard during playback. It would be a kind of cheat for learning the piano.

Thankfully there's no need! I found this great little application that does the job handsomely. It's called MidiPiano and it's free. In fact the source code is available for those who want to tweak it.

The great thing about midi files is that unlike mp3s there's much less fuss over copyright and there are lots of databases online from which midi music files can be downloaded for free. Midi music is of much lower quality than mp3 but that's because it encodes individual notes. And it's because of its format that it can be replayed easily the way it is in this app. Have a go! You'll probably have to lug your piano keyboard in front of your monitor (or vice versa), but surely that's a small price to pay to become a budding pianist!

piano, software, hack, midi