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MIDI File Accompaniments for the Mass - Some Pointers

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  • MIDI File Accompaniments for the Mass - Some Pointers

    For certain reasons, a lot of church choirs have decided to use MIDI files not only for their rehearsals but for the masses as well. We cannot blame them, because the use of pre-recorded music in MIDI files offers more advantages. But if we are to adhere strictly to norms for the liturgy, using pre-recorded music (in any medium) is really not acceptable. However, the availability of accompanists in some communities is really scarce, or some music ministries make do with accompanists who lack musical skills which limits them to only a few choice of music for the liturgy. Somehow, such cases might justify the use of pre-recorded music (minus-one accompaniments and MIDI files in particular).

    A pre-recorded MIDI file offers a lot of advantages; far more than an ordinary church musician can imagine. MIDI files are very compact; often a file of only 10 kilobytes can produce a full minute of music. Their smallness allows easy transfer and sharing. Besides, most of the latest models of electronic keyboard instruments at present are capable of playing back files in General MIDI format.

    MIDI files can also be sequenced in ways that suit diverse musical palates. One can have a variety of choice of accompaniment – from a simple piano music arrangement to a fully-blown orchestration which a single accompanist cannot do even if there are some features in the instrument that offers instant orchestrations. Through MIDI files, other music ministries will have a chance to study and sing songs that have complex and difficult accompaniments.

    In using MIDI files for accompaniment during the mass, there might be some instances when the pre-recorded music is too short or too long for a particular mass part. If it is too long, the choir can simply cut their music, but must be done not in a rushed or abrupt manner. They should cut the song where it is appropriate and simply fade out (not stop) the accompaniment. If it is too short, the choir may opt to sing another song (I suppose this is not applicable for the Entrance), or play an instrumental music as a supplement. If a group decides to use MIDI files for their service, there must be wise perceptions and/or pre-coordination as to how long a song will be sung and how many songs should be prepared for a certain part, particularly for the communion.

    Another important thing for MIDI file users is to check the files on the instrument before hand to ensure that they are properly working so as to avoid any inconvenience. Make back up copies of the files on other storage media (like floppy disks or USB storage devices) to have an alternative in case the instrument fails to access the file for playback.
    123
    Yes
    81.30%
    100
    No
    18.70%
    23
    Last edited by concertino; 06.11.10, 02:20 PM.

  • #2
    Re: MIDI File Accompaniments for the Mass - Some Pointers

    hmm... I guess this topic is important, especially to those who sing without instrumentalists.

    My blog: http://azwc.blogspot.com/ | http://eowpo.multiply.com/
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    • #3
      Is MIDI helping us or not....?

      Hi peeps... just want to ask your opinion on this. Don't be tricked by the title of the thread as it is incomplete...

      The complete question would be...

      "Is MIDI helping us (develop our talent) or not?"

      In most cases, choirs that does not have an accompanist would tend to totally depend on MIDI instead of encouraging people with talent to play (whether Piano, Organ or Guitar) or recruit people that has the capability to step-up to lead as instrumentalists. It is a sad reality that we do not strive to learn because of too much dependency on MIDI...

      Have your thoughts heard here. Anyway, the Church encourages us to...

      MS 67 "It is highly desirable that organists and other musicians should not only possess the skill to play properly the instrument entrusted to them: they should also enter into and be thoroughly aware of the spirit of the liturgy, so that even when playing ex tempore, they will enrich the sacred celebration according to the true nature of each of its parts, and encourage the participation of the faithful."
      It is my pervent hope this thread/polls help us rethink and make us strive to learn to play...
      I am not who you think I am because I do not pretend to be somebody.
      Do not assume that I know everything because I am a nobody - Alexander

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

        sometimes people depend on MIDI sequences for their accompaniment and this is an advantage to them, but a disadvantage because there is no substitute for live performance. playing "live" along with a sequence it is okay I guess. I understand that it is hard to find, train and nurture a person to play keyboards for accompaniment in church or assemblies.

        MIDI is helpful to me because I can analyze how a particular MIDI sequence is structured and I can figure out the meter and chord progressions are layed out. It is good as a practice tool because you can speed up or speed down a particular sequence so that you can play along with it. It is also easy to transpose up to a certain extent. as an arranger you have the luxury of making an orchestral arrangement and previewing it, before you can have it played by an orchestra or a band.

        The problem with MIDI is that we fail to understand that it is just a "tool" to help us and that we just become dependent on it.

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        • #5
          Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

          A problem faced by many smaller churches is that it is increasingly difficult to find an organist, or a musician of any kind, who is willing to play week after week in church.

          Some organists may be willing to play if paid, but many of our rural churches cannot even afford a small amount for an organist.

          Technology today can offer some help.

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          • #6
            Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

            Originally posted by Alexander View Post

            "Is MIDI helping us (develop our talent) or not?"

            It is a sad reality that we do not strive to learn because of too much dependency on MIDI...

            Have your thoughts heard here. Anyway, the Church encourages us to...



            It is my pervent hope this thread/polls help us rethink and make us strive to learn to play...
            yes, as a singer malaki natutulong sakin ng midis. dahil din sa midis, mabilis namin natututunan ang mga kanta.

            let us also face the fact na merong mga musicians na ang talento lang talaga e pagkanta at hindi ang pagtugtog ng instrumento or pag-areglo ng kanta.

            sorry po, pero personal opinion ko lang. I am not sure as to when isinulat ang Musicam Sacram pero i think during that time, hindi pa nila nakikita ang mga darating na teknolohiya sa musika. I don't see anything wrong with the use of midis or any recorded accompaniments as long as nakakatulong sya sa celebration lalo na sa pag-uplift ng spirit ng mga uma-attend ng misa. And i am sure, kung ginawa man ang mga minus-1 ng mga sacred/liturgical songs, ang objective nun e makatulong hindi ba mas nakakaenganyong kumanta kung maganda lalo na kung busog sa pandinig ang accompaniment? in fairness to the composers and arrangers, am sure nung inisip nila ang mga nilikha nilang awitin, naririnig na nila sa isip nila ang naaangkop na instrumento or mga instrumento na dapat kasama sa awiting iyon na lalong magpapaganda sa pandinig natin. btw, nakalagay din sa musicam sacram na pwede rin naman gumamit ng ibang instrumento na makakatulong sa pagpapaganda ng selebrasyon.

            regarding naman sa mga musicians/instrumentalists na hindi makapagserve, sadya pong me kanya-kanyang apostolate lang ang bawat tao, baka lang hindi nya pa panahon na magserve as music minister. At sabi din nga, many were called, but few were chosen.

            dapat nga bang maging issue ang paggamit ng midi?

            personal na opinion ko lang po....
            St. Cecilia, pray for us!

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            • #7
              Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

              i may agree that midi files greatly help the choir in so far as the rehearsals are concern, however, i still believe that an accompanist/instrumentalist is needed to give color (proper interpretation) of the midi files

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              • #8
                Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

                Very good one chitto, follow-up ko lang based sa mga points na nabanggit mo.

                Originally posted by chitto View Post
                I am not sure as to when isinulat ang Musicam Sacram pero i think during that time, hindi pa nila nakikita ang mga darating na teknolohiya sa musika.


                As far as I know, it was written on 5 March 1967 and no revisions or updates has been issued to consider technological advancement. But let me point this that I personally have nothing against MIDI for use lalo na sa mga walang instrumentalists but I am for... "somebody stepping up to take the lead" mapa-guitar or keyboard man yan. Expert man or beginner basta merong madiscover na bagong talent at me spirit na magserve....

                Let me quote again MS 67

                67. It is highly desirable that organists and other musicians should not only possess the skill to play properly the instrument entrusted to them: they should also enter into and be thoroughly aware of the spirit of the liturgy, so that even when playing ex tempore, they will enrich the sacred celebration according to the true nature of each of its parts, and encourage the participation of the faithful

                This particular paragraph has actually 2 points and I wan't to capture these so as not to miss the point...

                1st point....It mentions about the "organists and musicians" (maybe referring to instrumentalists and not singers/choirs as there are heaps of MS specific paragraph referred to them) not only "possessing the skill"

                2nd point....But "they should also enter into and be thoroughly aware of the spirit of the liturgy, so that even when playing ex tempore, they will enrich the sacred celebration according to the true nature of each of its parts".
                Having said that, MIDI on its own may have the "skill" of the encoder but this will totally miss the second point as MIDI's don't have the awareness of the present situation and may not play "ex tempore" and may not "enrich the sacred celebration".


                Hence my original question which will refer back to developing the "skill to play properly" as too much dependency may lead to... "sige MIDI na lang muna. tsaka na ako magpa-practice" compounded by the attitude of Procrastination....

                Originally posted by chitto View Post
                yes, as a singer malaki natutulong sakin ng midis. dahil din sa midis, mabilis namin natututunan ang mga kanta.
                Originally posted by chitto View Post
                let us also face the fact na merong mga musicians na ang talento lang talaga e pagkanta at hindi ang pagtugtog ng instrumento or pag-areglo ng kanta.


                As I've mentioned earlier... I am not referring to skillful singing though, really it would help those who has difficulty reading notes (like me) and can be an aid to read notes lalo na pag madalian at very busy tayo.

                Negative lang dito is, dependency again would lessen our skill at babagal na tayo bumasa ng notes... isa itong skill (nakalimutan ko lang ang term) na pag inabutan tayo ng pyesa at binigay ang starting note, we'll be able to sing it immediately...

                Originally posted by chitto View Post
                regarding naman sa mga musicians/instrumentalists na hindi makapagserve, sadya pong me kanya-kanyang apostolate lang ang bawat tao, baka lang hindi nya pa panahon na magserve as music minister. At sabi din nga, many were called, but few were chosen.


                I have no objection on this point by chitto, but as I've said, this is not always the case... marami kasi sa mga me talent, nahihiya lang mag step-up maliban na kung yayain mo or i-invite natin... maraming talent sa paligid, minsan di nila alam na me calling sila, kasi baka tayo yung instrumento para sila ma enganyo...

                In this instance... I am speaking based on my personal experience

                Originally posted by chitto View Post
                dapat nga bang maging issue ang paggamit ng midi?

                As I've said earlier in my point
                "I personally have nothing against MIDI for use lalo na sa mga walang instrumentalists"


                Its not the just the point with MS 97.

                My two cents...
                I am not who you think I am because I do not pretend to be somebody.
                Do not assume that I know everything because I am a nobody - Alexander

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

                  Mukhang everyone is giving a YES response, it seems that the MIDI is doing a great job in making you a better instrumentalist... tama ba ang impression ko sa mga sagot?

                  Kasi ako personally, as an instrumentalist... YES and NO... Yes kasi, nadidinig ko how it was supposed to sound or be played... at NO kasi parang may tendency na maging dependent ka na lang sa pakikinig at di ko na mapractice mag read and mag interpret ng music sheet.
                  I am not who you think I am because I do not pretend to be somebody.
                  Do not assume that I know everything because I am a nobody - Alexander

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

                    The midi does not replace the trainor, nor the organist.

                    However, the midi is a useful tool particularly in cases of emergency, like:

                    1. If there is a song we have to learn in a very short time (like overnight), I would encode the voices separately and the choir members would learn from a computer. Latecomers can practice on their own. Using midis also ensures that everyone learns the correct notes. The trainor would still practice the choir as a group and the accompaniment would be live during the Mass.

                    2. You can play a midi repeatedly before Mass so the churchgoers can learn a new song.

                    3. Some of our choirs use a midi back-up whenever their organist really cannot come.

                    4. A psalmist told me that she learns a new psalm by playing midis of the song on her computer while in the office.

                    5. I also know of an office which plays the songs sang in our church using midis played on a computer as accompaniment.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

                      I think I am the only one who answered no,
                      because I took it as "Is MIDI helping us in live performance".

                      Sa practice, malaking tulong ang MIDI though.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

                        For me its a big help, especially for us who do not have musical director (self supporting).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

                          Originally posted by thenonhacker View Post
                          I think I am the only one who answered no,
                          because I took it as "Is MIDI helping us in live performance".

                          Sa practice, malaking tulong ang MIDI though.
                          Ako din bumoto sa NO pero di pa sa POLLS.... kasi SKILL wise, MIDI is like studying with OLD NOTES... alam mo na ang lessons bago mo ito aralin...

                          BTW, that's the POINT why I created the POLLS.... its for your SKILLS not as a back-up for service.
                          I am not who you think I am because I do not pretend to be somebody.
                          Do not assume that I know everything because I am a nobody - Alexander

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

                            YES, it helps.

                            A lot of musicians do not have access to orchestras or to other instruments simply because they cannot afford it or they do not know how to play it. Just imagine how much it will cost you whenever you hire an orchestra coz you want to listen to revisions in your arrangements.

                            The Juilliard School in New York, Berklee School of Music in Boston, UCLA and London Royal School of Music are just some of the finest music schools in the world; and they are all offering courses in Music Technology or had made it as part of their curriculum for several years now.

                            Truly, MIDI files are great help in teaching choirs and singers but it must not be confined to that. Behind the small files with mid extensions is a far bigger world of knowledge. Most notation softwares are created based on the MIDI devices used by computers. They just change extension names when they associate the saving of files with their programs, thus having the mus, orc, cw, enc and others out there.

                            But even if you're using MIDIs, you must also have an understanding of acoustic instruments and voices.

                            The art and craft of music has taken on new dimensions in the last several years, largely due to MIDI. There is now an infinite (and affordable) choice of sounds and textures available.

                            While technology has changed rapidly, the principles of music remain unchanged. MIDI is a powerful tool but not a replacement for solid musical thought. It gives us control over our music in ways never before available, but the music still should have substance on its own. MIDIs and technology can challenge, stimulate, and gives us ways of hearing and manipulating music we may never have considered. MIDI - it's an amazing and powerful tool and YES, it helps.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Re: Is MIDI helping us or not....?

                              It is really tough to say that it helps, having said that it is also very useful to those of us who do not have access to an accompanist.
                              My ears do not favour the midi created music as I prefer the good old acoustic ones - which is terribly hard to replicate with your midi player.

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