ABC2MIDI(1)                 General Commands Manual                ABC2MIDI(1)

       abc2midi - converts abc file to MIDI file(s)

       abc2midi infile [refnum] [-c] [-v] [-ver] [-t] [-n limit] [-CS]
       [-quiet] [-silent] [-Q tempo] [-NFNP] [-NFER] [-NGRA] [-STFW] [-OCC]
       [-NCOM] [-HARP] [-BF] [-TT] [-o outfile] -CSM [filename]

        The default action is to write a MIDI file for each abc tune
        with the filename <stem>N.mid, where <stem> is the filestem
        of the abc file and N is the tune reference number. If the -o
        option is used, only one file is written. This is the tune
        specified by the reference number or, if no reference number
        is given, the first tune in the file.

       refnum process the tune with reference number refnum

       -c     selects checking only

       -v n   selects verbose option where n is the level (optional)

       -ver   prints version number and exits

       -t     selects filenames derived from tune titles

       -CS    use 2:1 instead of 3:1 for broken rhythms

       -quiet Suppresses some common warnings.

              Suppresses other messages.

       -n  X  limits the length of the file name stem to X characters

       -Q  tempo
              sets the default tempo in quarter notes per minute if it was not
              specified in the abc header.

       -NFNP  Ignore any dynamic indications !f! !ff! etc.

       -NFER  Ignore any fermata indications (eg H or !fermata!).

       -NGRA  Ignore any grace notes.

       -STFW  Place lyric text in separate MIDI tracks.

       -NCOM  Suppress some comments in the output MIDI file.

       -OCC   Accept old chord convention (eg +D2G2+ instead of [DG]2).

       -BF    BarFly mode: invokes a stress model if possible.

       -HARP  Roll ornaments=roll are generated for the harpist (same pitch)

       -TT    Changes the tuning from A = 440 Hz.

       -o outfile
              write output to outfile

       -CSM infile
              load a set of custom stress modes from a file

       * Broken rhythms (>, <), chords, n-tuples, slurring, ties, staccatto
       notes, repeats, in-tune tempo/length/time signature changes are all

       * R:hornpipe or r:hornpipe is recognized and note timings are adjusted
       to give a broken rhythm (ab is converted to a>b).

       * Most errors in the abc input will generate a suitable error message
       in the output and the converter keeps going.

       * Comments and text fields in the abc source are converted to text
       events in the MIDI output

       * If guitar chords are present, they are used to generate an
       accompaniment in the MIDI output.

       * If there are mis-matched repeat signs in the abc, the program
       attempts to fix them. However, it will not attempt this if a multi-part
       tune description has been used or if multiple voices are in use.

       * Karaoke MIDI files can be generated by using the w: field to include

       * Nonnumeric voice id's, eg. V: soprano, as proposed for the new abc
       standard is accepted.

       * Invisible rests specified by x are treated the same way as normal
       rests (z).

       * Decorations may be indicated using either the deprecated notation
       (eg. !fermata!) or the standard version 2.0 notation (eg. +fermata+).

       * No field is inherited from above the X: field of the tune.

       * There are some extensions to the abc syntax of the form

       %%MIDI channel n

       These control channel and program selection, transposing and various
       other features of abc2midi.

       Each of these should appear on a line by itself. All of them are
       allowed within the abc tune body. By using these in combination with
       the part notation, one can, for example, play a part transposed or in a
       different key.

       The idea behind this syntax is that other programs will treat it as a
       comment and ignore it.

       %%MIDI channel n

       selects melody channel n (in the range 1-16).

       %%MIDI program [c] n

       selects program n (in the range 0-127) on channel c. If c is not given,
       the program is selected on the current melody channel. Most modern tone
       generators follow the General MIDI standard which defines the
       instrument type for each program number.

       %%MIDI beat a b c n

       controls the way note velocities are selected. The first note in a bar
       has velocity a. Other "strong" notes have velocity b and all the rest
       have velocity c. a, b and c must be in the range 0-127. The parameter n
       determines which notes are "strong". If the time signature is x/y, then
       each note is given a position number k = 0, 1, 2 .. x-1 within each
       bar. Note that the units for n are not the unit note length. If k is a
       multiple of n, then the note is "strong". The volume specifiers !ppp!
       to !fff! are equivalent to the following :

       !ppp! = %%MIDI beat 30 20 10 1
       !pp!  = %%MIDI beat 45 35 20 1
       !p!   = %%MIDI beat 60 50 35 1
       !mp!  = %%MIDI beat 75 65 50 1
       !mf!  = %%MIDI beat 90 80 65 1
       !f!   = %%MIDI beat 105 95 80 1
       !ff!  = %%MIDI beat 120 110 95 1
       !fff! = %%MIDI beat 127 125 110 1

       %%MIDI beatmod n

       Increments by n (or decrements if n is negative) the velocities a, b
       and c described above. The instructions !crescendo(! and !crescendo)!
       are equivalent to inserting a %%MIDI beatmod 15 wherever they occur.
       (Alternatively you can use !<(! and !<)!.) Similarly the instructions
       !diminuendo(! and !diminuendo)! are equivalent to %%MIDI beatmod -15.

       %%MIDI deltaloudness n

       where n is a small positive number.  By default the crescendo and
       diminuendo instructions modify the beat variables a, b, and c by 15
       velocity units. This instruction allows you to set this default to
       value n.

       %%MIDI nobeataccents

       For instruments such as church organ that have no greatly emphasized
       beat notes, using this will force use of the 'b' velocity (see %%MIDI
       beat) for every note irrespective of position in the bar.  This allows
       dynamics (ff, f, etc) to be used in the normal way.

       %%MIDI beataccents

       Revert to emphasizing notes the the usual way. (default)

       %%MIDI beatstring <string of f, m and p>

       This provides an alternative way of specifying where the strong and
       weak stresses fall within a bar. 'f' means velocity a (normally
       strong), 'm' means velocity b (medium velocity) and 'p' means velocity
       c (soft velocity).  For example, if the time signature is 7/8 with
       stresses on the first, fourth and sixth notes in the bar, we could use
       the following

       %%MIDI beatstring fppmpmp

       %%MIDI transpose n

       transposes the output by the specified number of semitones. n may be
       positive or negative.

       %%MIDI rtranspose n

       Relative transpose by the specified number of semitones. i.e.  %%MIDI
       transpose a followed by %%MIDI rtranspose b results in a transposition
       of a+b. %%MIDI transpose b will result in a transposition of b
       semitones, regardless of any previous transposition.

       %%MIDI c n

       specifies the MIDI pitch which corresponds to c. The default is 60.
       This number should normally be a multiple of 12.

       %%MIDI grace a/b

       sets the fraction of the next note that grace notes will take up. a
       must be between 1 and b-1. The grace notes may not sound natural in
       this approach, since the length of the individual grace notes vary with
       the complexity of the grace and the length of the following note. A
       different approach (which is now the default) assumes that the grace
       notes always have a fixed duration.  To use the other approach you
       would specify,

       %%MIDI gracedivider b

       where b specifies how many parts to divide the unit length specified by
       the L: field command. For example if b = 4 and L: = 1/8, then every
       grace note would be 1/(8*4) or a 32nd note. Time would be stolen from
       the note to which the grace notes are applied. If that note is not long
       enough to handle the grace then the grace notes would be assigned 0

       %%MIDI chordname name n1 n2 n3 n4 n5 n6

       Defines how to play a guitar chord called "name". n1 is usually 0 and
       n2, n3 to n6 give the pitches of the other notes in semitones relative
       to the root note. There may be fewer than 6 notes in the chord, but not
       more.If "name" is already defined, this command re-defines it. Unlike
       most other commands, chordname definitions stay in effect from where
       they are defined to the end of the abc file. The following illustrates
       how m, 7, m7 and maj7 could be set up if they were not already defined.

       %%MIDI chordname m 0 3 7
       %%MIDI chordname 7 0 4 7 10
       %%MIDI chordname m7 0 3 7 10
       %%MIDI chordname maj7 0 4 7 11

       %%MIDI gchord string

       sets up how guitar chords are generated. The string is a sequence made
       of of z's, c's  f's and b's for rests, chords, fundamental and
       fundamental plus chord notes respectively.  This specifies how each bar
       is to be played.  An optional length is allowed to follow the z's, c's
       f's and b's  e.g. czf2zf3.  If the abc contains guitar chords, then
       abc2midi automatically adds chords and fundamentals after encountering
       the first guitar chord. It keeps using that chord until a new chord is
       specified in the abc. Whenever the M: field is encountered in the abc,
       an appropriate default string is set :

       For 2/4 or 4/4 time default is equivalent to : %%MIDI gchord fzczfzcz

       For 3/4 time default is equivalent to : %%MIDI gchord fzczcz

       For 6/8 time default is equivalent to : %%MIDI gchord fzcfzc

       For 9/8 time default is equivalent to : %%MIDI gchord fzcfzcfzc

       The gchord command has been extended to allow you to play the
       individual notes comprising the guitar chord. This allows you to play
       broken chords or arpeggios. The new codes g,h,i,j, G,H,I,J reference
       the individual notes starting from the lowest note of the chord (not
       necessarily the root in the case of inversions). For example for the C
       major chord, g refers to C, h refers to E and i refers to G. For a
       gchord command such as,

       %%MIDI gchord ghih

       Abc2midi will arpeggiate the C major guitar chord to CEGE. The upper
       case letters G,H,I, and J refer to the same notes except they are
       transposed down one octave. Note for the first inversion of the C major
       chord (indicated by "C/E"), E would be the lowest note so g would
       reference the note E.

       Like other gchord codes, you may append a numeral indicating the
       duration of the note. The same rules apply as before.  You can use any
       combination of the gchord codes, (fcbghijGHIJz).

       %%MIDI chordprog n

       Sets the MIDI instrument for the chords to be n. If the command
       includes the string octave=n where n is a number between -2 and 2
       inclusive, then this will shift the pitch of the instrument by n
       octaves. For example %%MIDI chordprog 10 octave=1.)

       %%MIDI bassprog n

       Sets the MIDI instrument for the bass notes to be n. If the command
       includes the string octave=n where n is a number between -2 and 2
       inclusive, then this will shift the pitch of the instrument by n
       octaves. For example %%MIDI bassprog 10 octave=-1.)

       %%MIDI chordvol n

       Sets the volume (velocity) of the chord notes at n.

       %%MIDI bassvol n

       Sets the volume (velocity) of the bass notes at n. There is no
       corresponding melodyvol command since there are 3 velocity values for
       melody, set using the beat command.

       %%MIDI gchordon

       Turns on guitar chords (they are turned on by default at the start of a

       %%MIDI gchordoff

       Turns off guitar chords.

       %%MIDI droneon

       Turns on a continuous drone (used in bagpipe music) consisting of two
       notes. By default the notes are A, and A,, played on a bassoon at a
       velocity of 80. This can be configured by the %%MIDI drone command
       described below.

       %%MIDI droneoff

       Turns off the continuous drone.

       %%MIDI drone n1 n2 n3 n4 n5

       Sets the drone parameters where n1 is the MIDI program, n2 and n3
       specify the MIDI pitches of the two notes in the chord, and n4 and n5
       specify the MIDI velocities of the two notes.  If you do not set these
       parameters they are by default 70 45 33 80 80. A value of zero or less
       indicates that the setting of this parameter should be left as it is.

       %%MIDI drum string [drum programs] [drum velocities]

       This sets up a drum pattern. The string determines when there is a drum
       beat and the drum program values determine what each drum strike sounds

       e.g. %%MIDI drum d2zdd 35 38 38  100 50 50

       The string may contain 'd' for a drum strike or 'z' for a rest. By
       default a voice starts with no drum pattern and '%%MIDI drumon' is
       needed to enable the drumming. The drum pattern is repeated during each
       bar until '%%MIDI drumoff' is encountered. The %%MIDI drum command may
       be used within a tune to change the drum pattern.  This command places
       the drum sounds on channel 10 and assumes your tone generator complies
       with the General Midi standard - if it does not, then you may hear
       tones instead of drum sounds.

       In both the gchord and drum commands, the standard note length of a
       single note f,c,z or d is not set by the L: command. Instead it is
       adjusted so that the entire gchord string or drum string fits exactly
       into one bar. In other words the duration of each note is divided by
       the total duration of the string. This means that, for example, the
       drum string "dd" is equivalent to drum string "d4d4".  You cannot
       currently specify fractions directly (eg. C3/2) as done in the body of
       the music, but it is still possible to express complex rhythms. For
       example, to indicate a rhythm such as (3ddd d/d/d/d, you would write
       the string "d4d4d4d3d3d3d3".

       %%MIDI drumbars n

       The %%MIDI drum line can sound quite monotonous if it is repeated each
       bar. To circumvent this problem a new MIDI command %%MIDI drumbars n
       where n is a small number will spread out the drum string over n
       consecutive bars. By default drumbars is set to 1 maintaining
       compatibility with existing abc files. You should take care that the
       drumstring is evenly divisible between the drumbar bars. Also the time
       signature should not change between bars in a drumbar unit. (Sample abc
       file in doc/CHANGES June 24 2008.)

       %%MIDI gchordbars n

       This command spreads the gchord string over n consecutive bars just
       like drumbars (above). (A sample is found in doc/CHANGES March 17

       With version 1.54 Dec 4 2004 of abc2midi, notes in chords (eg. [FAc])
       are not played in the same instant but offsetted and shortened by 10
       MIDI time units. Thus the first note in the chord (eg. F) is played for
       the full indicated time, the second note (eg. A) starts 10 MIDI units
       later and is shortened by the same amount and the third note starts
       another 10 MIDI units later and is shortened by another 10 units. This
       introduces an "expressivo" option and avoids the heavy attack. (This
       does not apply to gchords or multivoiced chords.) The amount of the
       delay and shortening may be configured by the MIDI command

       %%MIDI chordattack n

       where n is a small number. If n is zero, then abc2midi should behave as
       in earlier versions. The delay n is in MIDI time units where there are
       480 units in a quarter note beat. The program may not run correctly if
       n is too large and there are short chords.

       %%MIDI randomchordattack n

       Like above except that the delay is a random variable uniformly
       distributed between 0 and n-1.

       %%MIDI trim x/y

       where x and y are two numbers. This command controls the articulation
       of notes and chords by placing silent gaps between the notes.  The
       length of these gaps is determined by x/y and the unit length specified
       by the L: command. These gaps are produced by shortening the notes by
       the same amount.  If the note is already shorter than the specified
       gap, then the gap is set to half the length of the note.  The fraction
       x/y indicates a note duration in the same manner as specified in the
       abc file.  The actual duration is based on the unit length specified by
       the L: field command. It is recommended that x/y be a fraction close to
       zero. Note trimming is disabled inside slurs as specified by
       parentheses. You can turn off all note trimming by setting x to 0, eg
       0/1. By default, note trimming is turned off at the beginning of a tune
       or voice command.

       %%MIDI expand x/y

       where x and y are two numbers defining a fraction less than 1.  This
       command controls the articulation of notes and chords in the reverse
       manner. The notes are lengthened by this fraction so they overlap the
       start of the next note.

       %%MIDI drummap note midipitch

       Please see abcguide.txt.

       %%MIDI ptstress filename

       This command loads file filename into abc2midi which contains the Phil
       Taylor stress parameters and puts abc2midi in the mode where it applies
       these stress parameters on every note. This model runs in opposition to
       the standard beat model, so the MIDI beat, beatstring, beatmod commands
       become ineffectual.  This also means that the dynamic indications !f!
       !pp! etc.  do not work any more.

       There are two different implementations of the stress model.  Model 1
       modifies the note articulation and takes control of the MIDI trim
       parameters too. To revert back to the standard model, put the command
       %%MIDI beataccents.  Model 2 modifies both the onset and ending of each
       note allowing a musical beat to expand or contract in time. However,
       the length of a musical measure should be preserved. Note if you using
       model 2, which the current default, you must include -BF as one of the
       runtime parameters of abc2midi.

       The model divides a bar into equal segments. For each segment, a
       loudness or MIDI velocity is specified and a duration multiplier is
       specified. If a note falls into a specific segment, it assumes the
       velocity of that segment and its duration is modified accordingly. If
       the note overlaps more than one segment, then the note assumes the
       average of those segment values.

       The input file specifies the number of segments and the loudness and
       duration multipliers for each segment. The file has the following
       format. The first value is the number of segments and each line
       specifies the velocity and duration multiplier of the specific segment.
       The velocity is limited to 127 and the duration is a decimal number.
       The note durations is modified by varying the gap between notes, so it
       is not possible to extend a note. This preserves the regular tempo of
       the music. The program scales, the note duration indications by
       dividing it by the maximum value which here is 1.4.

       %%MIDI stressmodel n

       where n is either 1 or 2, selects the stress model implementation.

        other %%MIDI commands such as bendvelocity, bendstring, controlstring
       have been introduced recently and are described in the file

       The proposed standard introduces a new copyright field using the syntax

       %%abc-copyright (c) Copyright John Smith 2003

       Abc2midi now inserts this in the MIDI file in the form of a metatext
       copyright tag. Changes were made to the event_specific function in
       store.c to process the copyright information. It is also copied into
       the Karaoke track (if it is created) as as @T field.

       abc2ps(1), midi2abc(1), yaps(1).

       James Allwright <>

        by Seymour Shlien <>

       This man page describes abc2midi version 2.27  June 25 2006.

       Copyright 1999 James Allwright

       abc2midi is supplied "as is" without any warranty. It is free software
       and can be used, copied, modified and distributed without fee under the
       terms of the GNU General Public License.

       More complete documentation may be found in abcguide.txt which comes
       with the abcMIDI distribution.

                                   June 2017                       ABC2MIDI(1)